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High Republic Wednesday: The Fallen Star Review

(There may be some spoilers for The Fallen Star in this post).

by Claudia Gray, PRINT ISBN: 9780593355398 E-TEXT ISBN: 9780593355404

The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray, is the third adult book in Phase One of The High Republic series, and it does a great job of wrapping up the “beginning of the end” of the the Jedi and The Republic at their very best.

This trilogy has shown the rise of the Nihil, a group of anarchist mauraders who take what they want, when they want, without regard to the lives of others. In Light of the Jedi, the Nihil cause the Great Disaster; in The Rising Storm, they attack the Republic Fair on Valo; and in this book, they insidiously attack the star of Chancellor Lina Soh’s Great Works, Starlight Beacon. Meant to be a light in the darkness of space across the Outer Rim, the state-of-the-art space station is home to a Jedi contingent, an advanced medical bay, and a place of refuge for people who need help.

Once again, the Republic and the Jedi believe the Nihil threat is nearly over, but they are wrong. They have no idea the Eye of the Nihil, their leader, is Marchion Ro, who has worked in the shadows, and who has sent a secret group of followers to the station to incapacitate it. They’ve also smuggled a creature onboard that somehow affects a Jedi’s connection to the Force. So when things start to go wrong, the Jedi are weakened.

Padawan Burryaga helps during the crisis.

Jedi Master Stellan Gios has stepped in as Marshall while Avar Kriss is on a mission to find Lourna Dee, who the Jedi believe is the Nihil leader. Elzar Mann, his good friend and fellow Jedi Master, has joined following a sabbatical after struggling with the dark side in the previous book. Elzar is accompanied by Orla Jareni, a Jedi who has become a Wayseeker, or one who explores the Force on their own, outside of the Order. Also on the station are Jedi Master Nib Assek and her Padawan, the Wookiee Burryaga, Jedi Master Indeera Stokes and her Padawan Bell Zettifar (along with his charhound, Ember, of course), and a Jedi we haven’t seen yet, Regald Coll (who happens to think he’s hilarious).

Also on board are pilots Affie Hollow, Leox Gyasi, and Geode from the Vessel (all were in Gray’s YA book Into the Dark); Nihil collaborators Chancey Yarrow and Nan, who were brought on board as prisoners; as well as several other pilots who happened to be on the station when things start to go wrong.

The Nihil saboteurs manage to sneak on board, cut communications, disable the escape pods and just about everything else; then blow up part of the station which causes them to move into the pull of the planet Eiram’s gravity (the station had been on a mission to help the planet after a devastating storm). So basically Starlight will eventually fall into the planet’s atmosphere and plummet to the surface, presumably killing all on board and a good portion of a coastal city on Eiram.

Orla Jareni and her white double lightsaber.

The Jedi begin a problem-solving mission, but their efforts are sabotaged by the mysterious creature that is roaming the station–one that instills crippling fear and paralysis in any Jedi who comes near, blocks their access to the Force, and that will literally suck the life out of them, reducing them to dry husks if they don’t get away. Several Jedi fall prey to this creature, whose description is deliberately vague, from the disoriented and terrified Jedi’s point of view.

The entire story takes place on the station (except for the few brief scenes with Marchion Ro on his ship), which leads to a kind of claustrophobic feeling, a feeling of urgency and anxiety.

The most interesting character arc in the book for me is Stellan’s–Stellan is a picture-perfect Jedi, the poster boy for the Jedi Order and the face of the Jedi for the Republic. Now, he’s cut off not only from the Order but from the Force itself, and Stellan is having an identity crisis. He doesn’t know who he is outside of the Order or without his connection to the Force, and it seriously affects his confidence. The very name of the book, in my opinion, not only refers to Starlight Beacon, but to Stellan himself. His friends, Elzar and Avar, had always referred to him as their “polestar,” a moral compass for them both. But now Stellan barely knows which way is up, lol.

Leox Gyasi of the Vessel.

Elzar, too, struggles in this story. When he is on retreat with Orla, he comes to realize his descent into dark-side emotions is a result of his denial of his feelings for Avar. Interestingly, I think Elzar is a foil to Anakin. Anakin struggles with similar emotions, and I think he would have done much better during the High Republic. First of all, when Elzar recognizes the dark side in his emotions and actions, he goes straight to his friends, confident that they will help him. And they do. He gets support, love, tears and hugs, special retreats. He’s taught to deal with these emotions, not bury them, not deny them. It’s a different situation, but I can’t help but think of Anakin’s mishandling when I read about Elzar.

Anyway, Elzar has decided to back off from the Force for awhile until he feels confident he’s dealt with these things properly, and as a result, doesn’t initially feel the disorientation the other Jedi feel on the station. This forces him to step up and become a leader when Stellan is out of commission, something he’s never felt comfortable with, and does a fine job. But Elzar isn’t completely out of the dark side woods yet.

Elzar Mann, reluctant leader.

I wish Avar were more a part of this story, but she’s been featured mostly in the comics, so even though she arrives on the station at some point, her part in this story is told in a comic. This frustrates me a bit–I want more of her, and of other characters that have been exclusively in the comics, like Keeve Trennis and Skkeer, but I can barely keep up with the books, never mind the comics (financially anyway, lol). I’m hoping for an omnibus of the High Republic comics soon, so I can get it all in one place, at once.

But that’s a minor complaint. It’s an excellent book, and ends this phase in a dramatic and foreboding way. I’m sad that we won’t see these characters again for awhile, as Phase Two is going even further back in time, to 150 years before this story. I’m disappointed about that, but have faith that the writers know what they’re doing. At least the next book in this wave is a YA book called Midnight Horizon by Daniel Jose Older, and focuses on Jedi I got to know in Gray’s Into the Dark, Master Cohmac Vitus and Padawan Reath Silas.

Have you read The Fallen Star? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Eternal Relationships

There are spoilers for Eternals in this post, so beware.

You can check out my fairly non-spoilery review of Eternals here.

I can’t stop thinking about Eternals, both the movie and the individual characters who make up the Eternals, and I have some thoughts that spill over into this post. What thoughts, you ask? Is it about the Celestials and who they are and where they come from? Is it how the Eternals change the face of the MCU going forward? Is it Thanos and whether he was actually a good guy? Easter eggs?

Nah. It’s all about the ships. No, not this ship:

Exploring Marvel's Eternals' Meteor Dust Spaceship - IGN
That’s the Domo, by the way.

I’m a little obsessed about the Eternals relationships, romantic (“ships”) or otherwise. There’s just so many of them, and they’re a big, loving, dysfunctional family; there are relationships between them (and a few humans) that are just fun and fascinating to think about and speculate on. I’m just gonna dive in:

  • Thena and Gilgamesh. These two have the deepest, most poignant bond in the film. They are both warriors, and respect each other as such, and usually work as a team as they battle the Devients. They’re the closest of friends, and while I have no idea if it goes beyond that, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Gilgamesh is willing to risk his life to watch over Thena when they find out she has “Madweary,” a malady that can strike an Eternal after centuries. It’s literally their mind falling apart under the weight of their memories. Gilgamesh tenderly watches over her, protects her from herself, and cooks wonderful meals for her. Because that’s what you do for someone you love.
Kiss the cook.
  • Ikarus and Sersi. Icarus and Sersi, over the course of a few centuries, fall in love and have the kind of long-term relationship we can barely fathom, lol. They actually take part in the first (fairly tame, but even so) sex scene in the MCU. Their love seems sweet and idyllic, although the fact that Ikarus learns about the people they’re helping only so he can get closer to her is troubling. Sersi truly loves human beings, while to Ikarus we’re just part of the mission, and that’s a bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the film.
Ikarus and Sersi are a whole lot of beautiful.
  • Sersi and Dane. In the present, Sersi is involved with Dane Whitman. He doesn’t have a lot of screentime, but their few moments together in the film shows that he loves her. He wants her to move in with him, but she keeps putting him off. Sprite tells him that Sersi’s not quite over her ex (Ikarus), and that’s probably true. By the end of the movie, though, she’s definitely worked through that, and seems ready to go on with him, but she’s taken by Arishem to who knows where. Now it looks like Dane is ready to take up the Ebony Blade and become the Black Knight, though I’m not sure how that will help him get Sersi back. We’ll see.
Love, interrupted.
  • Druig and Makkari. This is probably the sweetest pairing in the movie, and my favorite, mostly because it’s subtle and surprising. You can tell they’re good friends from the beginning, and like to tease each other, and then by the middle of the movie you can see something’s shifted and you’re just as surprised as the rest of the team. Putting the broody, laconic guy with the vibrant, feisty gal is always a satisfying move. I love how Druig is a different person when he’s around Makkari, lighter and a bit happier. She is his “beautiful, beautiful” Makkari. Awwww.
They’re so damn cute.
  • Kingo and Karun. Karun is Kingo’s “valet,” which basically boils down to a personal assistant and cameraman. But also a close friend. Karun has been with Kingo for fifty years (he thought Kingo was a vampire, at first) and knows about the Eternals and Kingo’s role in protecting humanity. Karun is the stand-in for us; he’s the human who looks upon the Eternals with awe and admiration, and has unshakable faith in them. When Kingo disagrees with his fellow Eternals and decides to absent himself from the coming battle, Karun follows him home, even though he doesn’t really want to. He wants to stay and fight. But he’s a loyal friend, and sometimes I think Kingo doesn’t deserve him, lol.
It’s like Alfred from Batman. But funnier.
  • Phastos and Ben. Poor Phastos is broken-hearted after Hiroshima, and blames himself for giving humans technology that helped them ultimately create such a terrible weapon. He told Ajak that humans were not worth saving. So imagine our surprise when we find him happily living with another man and their adopted son. First of all, I think it’s great that the MCU finally created an openly gay superhero–it’s long past due. Secondly, I love how Phastos and Ben show that, yeah, in the aggregate, humans suck; but on a smaller, family level, we’re capable of so much love. Phastos is willing to fight the Emergence for the love he has for his son’s future, and that’s a beautiful thing.
The 10 Best Duos In Eternals | Screen Rant
Love redeemed.
  • Ajak and Ikarus. They’re not romantically involved, of course; Ajak is like the den-mother to the Eternals. But Ikarus is the unofficial second-in-command, and Ajak shares the truth of their mission with him after Babylon. So they share a secret. Ikarus is devoted to that mission, and to Arishem, apparently more than he is to Ajak or the Eternals or humans. He can’t believe that Ajak changes her mind about earth, and so he….kills her. He kills her! This is unforgivable, and yet is there something to be admired in his loyalty to Arishem? In his willingness to sacrifice a planet for the billions to come? Nope. Captain America said it himself: “We don’t trade lives.” The fact that Ikarus killed someone he loved for an idea is rather horrible. And he did love her–you can see that when he brings her body back to her house in South Dakota. But the deed is done and sets the rest of the story in motion.
We have to save the humans, right Ikarus? Right?
  • Sprite and Ikarus. Let me be clear, I do NOT ship these two for obvious reasons. But Sprite does love Ikarus, and therein lies the tragedy: she’s a woman trapped in a child’s body. And that, to me, is pretty awful. She’s thousands of years old, and has the body of a 12-year old. WTF Arishem? When she plaintively asks Kingo, “Why did Arishem make me this way?” it strikes a chord in a lot of people who don’t understand why they are the way they are and shake their fists at the heavens. And there’s no answer. That’s why she’s so willing to follow Ikarus, even after his betrayal; not only does she love him, but she wants to end her frustrating existence here on earth and start over somewhere else. I’m so happy Sersi was able to make her human, so she can grow up. And grow old and die, but she’s ready for that, just to have a chance to live a full life. She’s definitely like Tinkerbell, as Kingo suggests, but she’s also Pinocchio, who finally becomes a real person. Good for her. I even forgive her for stabbing Sersi, lol.

Whew! Those are all I can think of right now. Did I miss anyone? Who’s your favorite Eternal or relationship? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Hello and happy weekend, my friends!

I’ve finished reading The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray, and I was not disappointed in this third adult novel in the High Republic series, and the last in Phase One. I’ve enjoyed all of Claudia Gray’s Star Wars novels, and she does a great job telling this story of Starlight Beacon, symbol of the Jedi and the Republic, being destroyed by the Nihil, or more specifically, orchestrated by Marchion Ro, their mysterious leader. The Jedi, led by Stellan Gios and Elzar Mann, don’t even know what they’re up against, as something mysterious is affecting the Jedi’s connection to the Force as the incapacitated station plummets toward destruction. I’m going to post a review of the book on Wednesday (my High Republic post day), so stay tuned for that.

Since finishing that book, I’d like to get back to Race to Crashpoint Tower, the middle grade book from Wave 2 of the High Republic, before Midnight Horizon comes out on February 1st. I shouldn’t have a problem finishing the relatively small book in a week or so, and I’ll write up a review of it.

The wonderfully-named Padawans Lula Talisola and Ram Jamoram

I enjoyed the latest episode of The Book of Boba Fett (Episode 4) called “The Gathering Storm.” Again, some good things, some wince-inducing things, but the most exciting thing about it came at the end when we hear Mando’s theme, suggesting Din Djarin will be making an appearance, hopefully next week! For my full review of the episode, you can go here.

In Marvel, I caught the Moon Knight trailer, and man, does that look trippy and weird, and I’m so ready for it! I haven’t seen Dune yet, and so missed Isaac Oscar’s performance in that film, so I can’t wait to see him in this new Marvel series that premieres March 30th. I’m new to Marvel, having caught up with the Avengers and company in the past 6 or so months, and I have no idea who any of these new superheroes and villains are, but I’m just going along for the ride and I’m loving it!

Oscar Isaac looks to be having a spot of trouble in Moon Knight.

Case in point, I’m on my third viewing of Eternals (and have another post on them coming soon, probably Monday; if you want to read my review of the movie you can do so here); and I’ve also watched Shang Chi about three times so far. Just fabulous movie-making. Marvel is really hitting the mark for me right now!

But I’ve also been thinking about another franchise I haven’t visited for awhile: Star Trek. When I heard about the new series Picard, I knew I wanted to watch it, but I wasn’t keen on paying for another streaming service to do so. But now I can watch it on Youtube for about $2 an episode. I can swing that. I loved The Next Generation back in the day, much more than the original Star Trek (although it’s still cool in a campy way), and Picard, Riker, Worf, and Data are a part of my beloved sci-fi memories. So I’ll probably be watching that show during the Disney vacuum once The Book of Boba Fett ends, and I’ll be talking about it here. Can’t wait to see what Jean-Luc has been up to!

I will boldly go wherever this man goes next.

That’s it for this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

The Book of Boba Fett: Episode 4 Review

(Please be advised that this post contains spoilers for Episode 4 of The Book of Boba Fett.)

Episode 4, “The Gathering Storm,” is another example of how much I like this series despite it not being perfect. At all, lol. There are aspects of every episode that I love, and aspects that make me wince a little.

Is Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner in 'The Book of Boba Fett'?
Is there a doctor in the house? Okay, he’ll do.

So Ep 4 consists mostly of a flashback, showing Boba scouting out Jabba’s palace and then finding Fennec Shand near death after she’d been shot by that newbie bounty hunter from The Mandalorian. He takes her to a “mod shop” near Mos Eisley, and she gets patched up with some droid implants. This scene is kind of cool but also too long, and it really just beggars belief. That man is clearly not a doctor, Fennec is near death and he just puts a bunch of pistons in her belly, it’s clearly not a sterile environment, there’s no blood anywhere even though her gut is eviscerated, and she recovers fully in less than a day. But I’m quite attached to my willing suspension of disbelief, especially when it comes to Star Wars, so I’ll just shrug and say, cool!

Anyway, Fennec agrees to help him recover his ship from Jabba’s palace in return for saving her life. They sneak through a side door and end up in the kitchen where a couple of droids are preparing food. The chef droid is awesome in a General Grievous kind of way, wielding his butcher knives like lightsabers. The ensuing battle with the droids is another scene that goes on a bit too long, but we finally get to the ship (Slave 1? Firespray? Idk) and they battle Jabba’s guards to get it out of the hangar. Once that’s done, there are scores to settle. He asks Fennec where to drop her off, but she decides to hang out with him a little longer.

TV Review - "Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett" Fills in More Gaps with Episode  4 - "The Gathering Storm" - LaughingPlace.com
Back in the saddle again.

Boba finds the biker gang that he thinks killed the Tuskens and shoots them down with the ship’s weapons; although Fennec has suggested that a mere biker gang like that isn’t enough to take down a Tusken tribe. I’m guessing that the Pykes, of course, have something to do with it, and will lead to a very personal showdown between Boba and the spicers later.

Next on his list is the Sarlaac pit that almost killed him. He’s looking for his armor; it’s understandable that he can’t quite remember that he was wearing it when he got out and that the Jawas stole it. They get a little too close for comfort and the beaky thing attacks them, almost pulling the ship into its maw. Luckily they get a seismic charge to drop in there and kill the thing; Boba then goes right into it to look for the armor, but of course, it’s not there.

The Book of Boba Fett episode 4 cast: 'The Gathering Storm'
Boba’s wrath.

Boba invites Fennec to join him in his quest to become a crime syndicate leader (she calls it a “gotra,” a word that’s only familiar to me from a Star Wars book called Most Wanted, about young Han and Q’ira, and the mention of a “Droid Gotra;” it comes from Hindu and means a clan, family, or tribe) and she doesn’t understand it.

Boba tells her that he’s tired of risking his life for morons (basically), and that she should be, too, since they were both left for dead on Tatooine. He wants to build something better, something that relies on loyalty. If she joins him, he would protect her life, and she’d share in the spoils. She’s not completely convinced, and tells him that life with the Tuskens made him “soft.” He disagrees, saying it made him stronger.

What I think he means here is that he’s found a different, and better, way to live in this difficult galaxy: working together for the common good of the group, rather than cut-throat ruthlessness. If Boba was a Force-wielder, I’d say he’d gone from the dark side to the light side. And I like that. Some fans would agree with Fennec–they want badass Boba Fett, the one that they remember and love. And while I get it, that’s not what this show is about. It’s one long character arc for this man, who’s been reborn and has learned, grown, and evolved. He’s turned over a new leaf, has made new, better goals for himself (if a crime lord can be considered a good thing, lol), and is constantly learning about himself and what he’s capable of. That story has a lot more depth and satisfaction than a guy in a mask going around shooting stuff up. To me, anyway.

Our Top 4 Easter Eggs From 'The Book of Boba Fett' Episode 4
Turns out he’s a mean drunk.

So once he’s out of the bacta tank, he’s told that he’s completely healed of his wounds, and no longer needs it. Fennec comes up and says his outer wounds are healed, but perhaps not the inner wounds. She’s a perceptive gal. They go to the Sanctuary and witness Black Krrsantan beating up some Trandoshans. Garsa tries to talk him down, but it doesn’t work–he rips one of their arms off anyway. Boba then offers him a job (which I figured was coming), and increases his little “family.”

Then there’s that meeting with the heads of the other “families” of Mos Espa, and tries to convince them to join him against the Pykes. They’re not too keen, but after a little rancor scare beneath the dinner table, he simply asks they not join the Pykes against him, and they agree.

Boba Fett Episode 4 Review – But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Boba makes them an offer they kind of refuse.

Off they go, and Fennec says they need more people to fill their ranks. Boba says he’s got money to pay others, and Fennec informs him that you can always buy allies if you know where to look. Cue Mando’s theme, and we’re all suddenly very excited for where this show may be going.

Will Din Djarin show up in future episodes? It seems certain, and that’s awesome. I’ve missed that guy, lol. And now I think that this show is, apart from Boba’s personal journey, a bridge between Mando Seasons 2 and 3. What’s he been up to since Grogu’s been gone? I’m thinking he’ll help Boba with the Pykes if, in return, Boba helps him with Mandalore. Or whatever it is he wants to do. Very exciting, at any rate.

So what did you think of Episode 4? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday–Padawan Bell Zettifar

(There are some High Republic novel spoilers here, so beware).

Bell Zettifar is one of the many interesting Padawans in the High Republic universe, and one of the most prominent (at least in the novels), so I thought I’d profile him next.

Bell and Ember.

Bell trained with his master, Loden Greatstorm, at the Jedi Temple Outpost on the Outer Rim planet Elphrona, along with Masters Indeera Stokes and Porter Engle. Bell is a likable young man who has a great respect and love for his master, who pushes him to grow and learn about his Force abilities. Bell, like a lot of Jedi in the High Republic, sees the Force in a unique way–he sees it as fire or flames. Fittingly, Bell has become fast friends with a charhound from Elphrona he named Ember, who can breathe flames. The Jedi from Elphrona don’t chastise Bell for taking on a pet (an “attachment”), but others raise an eyebrow now and then (particularly Stellan Gios, who’s a stickler for rules; but everyone loves Ember anyway).

Bell and his master Loden Greatstorm.

In Light of the Jedi, Loden Greatstorm is presumed killed by the Nihil, but Bell has a difficult time letting him go. Many Jedi, including his new master, Indeera Stokes, advise him on his grief; they tell him it’s okay to grieve, but urge him to let go. But it’s hard for Bell to move on. Before he disappeared, Loden told Bell he was ready to become a Jedi Knight. After, however, Bell couldn’t bring himself to ascend to Jedi Knight without his beloved Master. In The Rising Storm, Bell discovers Loden was not killed by the Nihil but had been taken prisoner by Marchion Ro and tormented for his own nefarious purposes. He and Bell were briefly reunited, but Loden was indeed ultimately killed by an awful Nihil weapon, and Bell had to grieve all over again.

In The Fallen Star, which I’m almost done with, Bell plays a prominent part in trying to save Starlight Beacon, and has become good friends with another Padawan, Burryaga the Wookiee.

You can’t talk about Bell without Ember, who is his constant companion, the best girl, so here are a few renditions of the pair:

High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 variant cover by Jon Lam.
The only artist info I could find on this was “bel on Twitter.”

I just love the idea of a Jedi having an animal companion. Ember is more than a pet; she’s a comrade who’s saved Bell’s life on several occasions, she’s part of the Jedi family, and she’s a good friend.

For light and life! Thanks for reading.

Eternals Review

I watched Eternals this past week on Disney+, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it.

Going in, I wasn’t sure I was ready for another group of Marvel superheroes, but it turns out I was wrong. It took me a couple of viewings to absorb their cosmology and the nuances between all the characters, but I’m so on board for team Eternal.

Basically, the Eternals were created (by Celestials, specifically Arishem) to protect mankind from the Devients, a group of scary-looking predators, and to help them progress and evolve over time. They wiped out the last Devients about 500 years ago (they’ve been around since 5000 BC), and are just waiting to get the word from Arishem to go home (a planet named Olympia).

But in the present, the Devients come back, and the individuals that make up the Eternals must come back together to defeat them. But they find their leader, Ajak, dead, and the new leader, Sersi, finds out the true nature of their mission here on earth. And they’re not happy about it.

The plot of the movie is entertaining and it’s their very reason for being, but it’s the characters themselves and their relationships that I fell in love with.

Ajak, their leader, can heal herself and others; Icarus can fly and can shoot laser beams from his eyes; Sersi can change matter into something else (rock into water, for instance); Kingo has laser beams that come out of his hands; Sprite can form illusions; Thena is a great warrior, as is Gilgamesh; Druig can do mind control; Makkari is super-fast; and Phastos can create sophisticated tools and contraptions.

Meet the team.

So here’s the relationship rundown: Icarus and Sersi fell in love and were together for 5000 years, until a few hundred years ago, when he mysteriously left her; in the present, Sersi is in a relationship with the human Dane. Thena and Gilgamesh are a fighting team and great friends (I’m not sure if it goes beyond that, but their bond is deep and strong). Sprite is secretly in love with Icarus, but she’s in the form of a child and cannot take her feelings very far (and he’s with Sersi, so yeah). Druig and Makkari seem like an unlikely pair, but they share a sweet friendship and flirtation over the centuries that becomes more apparent in the present. Phastos gives up on humankind after Hiroshima, but then finds love with another man in the present and they adopt a son. And Kingo, well, he becomes a Bollywood star and has a human valet named Karun who knows all about the Eternals.

The movie has an overall theme of evolution: of humankind over the centuries, but also of the Eternals themselves. On an individual level, Sersi learns that she is capable of more than she thought: formerly she could only transform one simple element into something else, but in a battle with a Devient she turns the creature into a tree, without knowing how she did it. On a collective level, the Eternals themselves grow beyond their original mission to saving the people of earth. Oh, and I can’t forget one particular Devient who evolves into a sentient creature who can speak and think. Yikes!

Yeah, I ship them. They’re cute.

And if you want to get real meta, my opinion of some of the Eternals evolved over the course of the movie, too. At first, I agreed with Kingo when he said, “Druig sucks.” At first, Druig seemed aloof and righteous and just annoying. But by the end of the film, I loved him. Turns out he’s just intense (and he’s truly a different person when he’s around Makkari). Icarus, also, waxed and waned in my judgment. As the unofficial second in command, he’s super handsome and super strong and just all around super super-heroish. But then he commits an unforgivable act, and I hate him. Then at the end I feel sorry for him. I was all over the map with these people, all in one movie, lol.

There’s some Marvel humor laced throughout and the casting is perfect (and casting a deaf actor to portray Makkari is awesome),

In the end, this was a fun, weird, exciting, satisfying movie, and I’m ready for a sequel right now, lol. One of the end credits sets us up for a sequel, while the other sets up another possible branch for Marvel with Dane Whitman, played by Kit Harington, as the Black Knight (I have no idea who that is, but I’m game).

Have you seen Eternals? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Happy weekend, my friends!

So I FINALLY received The Fallen Star a week after it was released, and I’m loving everything about it so far. While Light of the Jedi focused on The Great Disaster, and The Rising Storm focused on the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair, this one deals with the insidious Nihil plot to take down Starlight Beacon. Not only do they cripple the station, but they smuggle something on board that affects a Jedi’s access to the Force. “Who will survive when the light of the Jedi goes dark?” I’m afraid to find out! I’ll write a review of the book once I’m done and post it here.

The Fallen Star alternate cover by Jama Jurabaev. It’s no secret the station is destroyed, so no spoilers here.

I just barely started the Wave 2 middle grade book Race to Crashpoint Tower, but since I received Fallen Star I haven’t been reading it. Once I’m done with Fallen Star I’ll get back to it, before the Wave 3 young adult novel Midnight Horizon comes out on Feb. 1. I’m in a High Republic tizzy!

This third wave of High Republic books concludes Phase One (Light of the Jedi) of the planned High Republic publishing initiative. Phase Two starts in the fall sometime, and it’s called Quest of the Jedi. I’ve heard that Phase two will take place 150 years prior to the setting of Phase one, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m disappointed that we won’t be seeing most of the Jedi I’ve been reading about the past few months, and will have to start over with all new characters. One character in Phase one we’ll see in Phase 2 is Jedi Master Porter Engle, who is around 300 years old in the recent books, so he’ll be there 150 years ago. I imagine Yoda will be lurking around somewhere, too, though he hasn’t played a huge part in the High Republic yet (at least not in the novels). I’m just going to trust that the writers know what they’re doing, it’s all planned out, and every phase is going to connect with the others, and it’s going to be great. 🙂

Porter Engle, the “Blade of Bardotta.”

If you’re confused about the whole phase and wave stuff with the High Republic, here’s a handy chart:

  • Phase One: Light of the Jedi
    • Wave One: Light of the Jedi (Adult), Into the Dark (YA), A Test of Courage (MG)
    • Wave Two: The Rising Storm (Adult), Out of the Shadows (YA), Race to CrashpointTower (MG)
    • Wave Three: The Fallen Star (Adult), Midnight Horizon (YA), Mission to Disaster (MG)
  • Phase Two: Quest of the Jedi
  • Phase Three: Trials of the Jedi

I haven’t included the comics, in which a lot of events take place, too.

I enjoyed Episode Three of The Book of Boba Fett this past week, though there were some highs and some lows. If you’d like to read my review of the episode, go here.

In Marvel, I watched Eternals, and I really liked it. It felt kind of weird for a Marvel movie; it was just so different. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy some new Marvel heroes, but since I fell in love with Shang Chi, I knew there was a good chance I’d accept them into the fold. I’m going to write a post on my thoughts on this movie for Monday, so stay tuned.

There’s a new (ancient) crew in town.

Speaking of Shang Chi, I watched Assembled: The Making of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I’ve enjoyed all the other making-of specials, and this one was no exception. I’m so amazed at this being Simu Liu’s first major film, and a Marvel film at that! What an amazing experience for him. And naturally since I watched the special, I wanted to rewatch Shang Chi itself, so I did. This is such a gorgeous movie with a profoundly moving family story. I especially enjoyed Ta Lo and the magical creatures there (that dragon!), and their Tai Chi-inspired fighting style is so beautiful and graceful. I just love everything about it!

That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

The Book of Boba Fett Episode 3 Review

Please be warned that there are spoilers ahead.

Episode three, “The Streets of Mos Espa,” is a mixed bag of great moments and moments that left me scratching my head in bewilderment.

The Book of Boba Fett episode 3 review: "An unfulfilling entry in the Star  Wars series" | GamesRadar+
Bantha man.

In this episode, the flashback scene is comparatively short compared to previous episodes, but it was an emotional one. Boba leaves the Tusken tribe for a day to visit the Pykes and demand protection money, but when he gets back his new Tusken family is destroyed. I was surprised at how sad I was about this; they’d kind of grown on me. And they obviously meant a lot to Boba, and it was clear he was devastated. Some fans have complained that the show spent so much time developing these characters only to wipe them out so suddenly, and that it doesn’t make sense. But I had a feeling he was going to lose them somehow; otherwise, why would he have left in the first place, considering how content he seemed with them? And with that sudden loss, we feel Boba’s pain.

In the present, Boba must deal with the challenges that continue to be thrown at him. I think he forgot that to run the place, he needs to deal with petitioners that come his way with complaints. When he goes to deal with the hooligans that are stealing water from the water-monger, he finds….teens on speeder bikes. He finds out they’re stealing the water because the water monger is charging too much. He offers them a job (he needs to grow his entourage, after all) and tells the water monger to lower his prices.

The Book Of Boba Fett' Episode 3 Adds 'Yellowjackets' Survivor
She would be really cool–in another series.

So this “millennial bubblegum gang,” as I’ve heard them called, is a big sour point for many fans. And I get it. They just don’t seem to fit into Star Wars. My big complaint is that they were stealing water because it was too expensive–and yet they seemed to have enough money for their expensive borg implants and flashy bikes. Plays right into the millennial trope–can’t afford the rent, it’s too high, but somehow find the money for $1000 iphones and a monthly mani-pedi. They could have been cool if they were handled a bit differently, but as it is, they’re just annoying, lol.

And apparently they don’t do a good job of guarding Boba, because Black Krrsantan strolled right in and yanked him from his bacta tank and proceeded to kick his bacta-slick butt. They did manage to round him up and get him into the rancor pit. I’m not sure why BK just didn’t shoot Boba, but maybe it’s a Wookiee thing–it’s more honorable to beat someone in hand-to-hand combat. But if someone’s paying you to kill someone, you might want to just get the deed done in the quickest, easiest way possible.

Anyway, before Boba can respond to the attack, the Hutt twins arrive and apologize for sending BK in the first place; they give him a rancor as a gift to make up for it. They say they’re leaving Tatooine and that he should too, as the Mayor has promised it to another syndicate. Boba bonds with the rancor (I really like this scene, too, although I kept waiting for the darn thing to bite his head off, lol; but I have visions of him riding the beast into battle in some future episode, which would be awesome).

The Book of Boba Fett' Episode 3 Sets the Stage for War | Review - News WWC
Boba and the borg.

So Boba and Fennec go to see the Mayor, but his lackey locks the door and flees on a speeder. The teen biker gang pursue him in what must be the slowest, most boring chase scene ever in Star Wars. I really don’t get it. The speeder chase in ROTJ in 1983 is more exciting than this. Maybe I’m spoiled, but I think most of us expect something other than a chase scene that looks like it was done by film school students on a tight budget. It was just so bewildering!

Anyway, they catch him and he says the Pykes are taking over Tatooine, so they’re keeping a close eye on them as they arrive in numbers.

So yeah, not the best episode so far. It’s pushing the narrative along, Boba is increasing his merry little band, and the big bad has been revealed. But it seems kind of a mess, and after the wonderful second episode, a bit disappointing. But I’m not giving up on the series yet; I think there’s hope for some great stuff ahead, as long as things start to get a little more coherent and stream-lined. I’m still curious to see what Boba does after the death of his Tusken family. In some ways, I feel like the first season of the show should have just started with him getting out of the sarlaac pit and go from there; a second season could have dealt with all the present-day stuff, rather than go back and forth with flashbacks. Oh well.

What did you think of Episode Three? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday–Jedi Master Stellan Gios

I’m really enjoying The High Republic stories I’ve been reading in the new novels, and wanted to do a weekly post on some aspect of them every Wednesday if I can. I don’t read the comics at the moment, in which a lot of the stories take place, but I will focus on the adult and young adult novels, and perhaps middle-grade books if I get to them. (And maybe someday I’ll check out the comics).

For my first post, I’d like to focus on Jedi Master Stellan Gios.

Stellan in his Temple robes. The HR Jedi are a little fancier than the prequel Jedi, and have formal attire for official functions, ceremonies, etc.

Stellan features prominently in the High Republic adult novel The Rising Storm, in which he leads the Jedi in defending the Republic Fair against an attack from the Nihil. His strength is put to the test as he attempts to protect Republic Chancellor Lina Soh and fends off Nihil attackers like the brutal Lourna Dee.

Stellan in his mission robes. Even these are a little fancier than the bathrobes we see the prequel Jedi in.

Stellan is a described as easy on the eyes, a little in love with the sound of his own voice, and one who enjoys being in the limelight. The truth is, he simply loves to teach about the Jedi and the Force, and is always ready to enlighten people. He’s recently become a member of the Jedi High Council, and often feels he isn’t ready to take on the responsibility such a position entails. Like many of the High Republic Jedi, he perceives the Force in a unique way; Stellan sees the force as the firmament, all the stars in the sky (his name is a clue, lol).

Stellan’s unique lightsaber, with its laser crossguard and retracting quillons.

Stellan is friends with fellow Jedi Masters Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann. The three grew up together as Padawans, and have a deep bond. He wasn’t present too much in the first book, The Light of the Jedi (Avar and Elzar starred in that one) but in The Rising Storm, it’s Stellan and Elzar’s relationship that is explored. Elzar is a bit of a loose canon, and Stellan often feels he needs to keep an eye on him, in the best possible way. Their friendship is deep, and they rely on each other for support and advice.

A variant cover of The High Republic comic by Mike Mayhew.

Early on in The Rising Storm, a news reporter named Rhil Dairo has just met Stellan. Here are her thoughts on him:

Rhil liked Stellan. He was a bit stiff, sure…a bit earnest and, on days when she wasn’t feeling generous, a little too keen on the sound of his own voice, but she could tell that his heart was definitely in the right place. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was a handsome son-of-a-blaster. Oh no, not at all. That chiseled jaw beneath the dashing beard, those blue eyes. And the smile. That smile! That was the real killer, right there. No wonder the Council had decided to make him their poster boy. (p. 55)

Later in the book, after the battle and Stellan is carrying the injured Lina Soh in his arms, these are his thoughts:

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Stellan knew the galaxy was watching. He could hear the whine of the cam droids, almost feel their lenses closing in, picking up every scrap of dirt on his robes, the injuries on his face, the tears in his eyes.

Jedi weren’t supposed to cry. They were supposed to keep their emotions in check. But weren’t they also supposed to feel compassion for those in pain?

For light and life.

For light and…

Stellan heard a whimper, but didn’t realize it was his own.

There was no avoiding the suffering of those whose lives had been torn apart, no avoiding their pain. If he could, if the anguish and the misery didn’t cut him to the quick, then what kind of Jedi would he be? (p. 339)

These two passages really show the two faces of Stellan, the public and the private. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him at the beginning of the book, but by the end, I loved him. Right now I’m finding Elzar Mann a little more interesting (more on him in a future post), but there’s no denying Stellan is a stellar Jedi.

For light and life. Thanks for reading!

New Year, New Star Wars Plans

Book Bindings, Paper, Page, Education, Literature, Book

So as I often do at the beginning of a new year, I assess what I’ve done as far as writing/blogging, whether it reached my goals or not, and what I’d like to do for the coming year.

in the last half of 2021, I’d decided to do just one post per week, My Entertainment Weekend Update, to summarize what I’ve been reading and watching for the past week. At the time I started doing it, I was a little burnt out with the blogging, and just wanted to pull back a bit and do other things. And that was fine; it accomplished exactly what I wanted it to do.

But with a new year I feel the energy of a fresh start, and I’ve decided to blog more often again. There’s plenty I want to say about a lot of things, but mostly Star Wars. This coming year is going to be a blitz of Star Wars content, including new shows like The Bad Batch S2, Andor, and Obi-Wan, as well as The Book of Boba Fett continuing. There’s going to be a ton of books too, with Wave 3 of the High Republic and a slew of new canon books. There’s just going to be so much to talk about!

Shows and books and Jedi, oh my!

I’ve also fallen firmly in love with Marvel, and will continue to monitor new shows and the exciting movies coming out this year.

So here’s what I’ve decided to do:

  • Saturdays or Sundays: continue to My Entertainment Weekend Update
  • Mondays: Whatever Monday, which could include book reviews or just about anything Star Wars or Marvel
  • Wednesdays: High Republic Wednesdays, which will be a post on anything High Republic like character profiles, the Jedi, the villains, book excerpts, etc.
  • Fridays: I’ll review the latest Disney+ show (starting with Episode 3 of The Book of Boba Fett)

I might also get back into podcasting, but I’m not sure what path that’s going to take just now. Just in the back of my mind for the future.

So that’s the plan. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me talk about as well–I’m open to suggestions!

MTFBWY