My 5 Favorite Animals in Star Wars

There are some wonderful animals that are included in Star Wars, and though some of them are merely beautiful or super-cute, some of them play a vital part in the saga. To be clear, these are non-sentient beings, not aliens that simply look like animals (the Ewoks, for example).

Tookas, also called tooka-cats were a subspecies of feline cats. They were often kept as pets, but were also considered by many to be feral nuisances. When properly trained, they could be excellent hunters of pests. One specific breed of tooka was the Loth-cat, native to the planet Lothal. Tooka were known to enjoy milk. Tooka were common in the underworld of Coruscant, where they hunted Nuna. Tookas first appeared in the Star Wars franchise as "Adoris feline" in Otherspace, an adve...
  • Lothwolves and lothcats. I put these two together, because they’re both from Lothal in Rebels. The lothcats are cheeky little creatures, and Ezra, who is from Lothal, has a kind of connection with them through the Force. He’s sort of like Obi-Wan, who also shares a connection with animals. The lothcats helped out our Rebel friends on a few occasions through Ezra. And the lothwolves are my absolute favorite–they’re strikingly beautiful, but more importantly, they seem to be connected to the Force themselves, being able to travel long distances in a short amount of time, utilizing a kind of Force-powered hyperspace (like the Pergil, which I just remembered and want to include here) . And of course, the main Lothwolf who calls himself Dume harbors the spirit of Kanan (that’s what we’re led to believe, anyway). The lothwolves may not even qualify for this list as they’re arguably sentient creatures (along with the Pergil).
Meet the Mysterious Crystal Foxes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Vulptices (crystal foxes). I loved these tinkling, crystalline foxes from The Last Jedi. Not only are they beautiful, but they helped (perhaps unknowingly) what was left of the Resistance escape the cave on Crait. When danger threatens, do what the natives do: run and find a back door!
I got Porg! Quiz: Which Adorable Star Wars Creature Should You Have as a Pet? | Movies
  • Porgs. Let’s face it, these guys are just adorable.
Varactyl aka Boga | Star wars canon, Star wars episodes, Star wars universe
  • Boga the veractyl. This is the beastie that Obi-Wan rode on Utapau when he was looking for, and pursuing, Grievous in Revenge of the Sith. The novelization of the movie gives more insight into the communication between Boga and Obi-Wan; we find out Boga is a female, and that she trusts Obi-Wan implicitly. And I bet you can hear her trilling call in your mind right now.
Pin by David Kurle on StarWarsTheRiseofSkywalker in 2020 | Star wars ii,  Star wars facts, Star wars episodes
  • The Vexis Snake. This is the injured snake-thing that Rey healed on Passana in The Rise of Skywalker. Normally I would put this under the category of “monster” because, hello, giant snake. But this one is simply hurting, and gives Rey an opportunity to show us her Force-healing skills. Once he’s all better, he just slinks away. And it shows Rey’s compassion for all creatures. When Poe was ready to shoot it because it scared him, Rey felt its pain and healed it.

Honorable mentions

  • Beasts of burden–tauntaun, eopies, dewbacks, bantha, fathiers, blurggs, etc. Let’s give a shout-out to these creatures that haul our characters’ gear, as well as their butts, over long distances in often extreme environments.
  • The mudhorn in The Mandalorian. This beastie eventually became the sigil of Din Djarrin, in The Mandalorian. I kind of felt bad for her, because she was only trying to protect her egg. The mom in me cries out, lol.
  • Ahsoka’s owl. I believe it’s called a covoree, and this bird appears with Ahsoka in Rebels on several occasions. It’s Ahsoka’s spirit animal and guide, or morai, and some believe it is representative of The Daughter, from the Mortis arc in Clone Wars, because of its similar coloring. The Daughter represented the Light Side of the Force. The covoree most notably showed up when Ezra pulled Ahsoka into the World Between Worlds, and acted as a guide.
Morai | Wookieepedia | Fandom

There are others that would probably qualify as animals, but I put them under the “monster” category, because they instill fear in us: wampa, sarlaccs, giant spiders, rancors, krayt dragons, that sort of thing. Maybe I’m being unfair–but at least I included the vexis on my list, right? “Favorite Monsters” might be a good post for next time.

There are also tons of animals that are described in Star Wars books, but they’re too numerous to count here, so I’ve just included those in the films and shows.

What’s your favorite Star Wars animal? Did I miss anything obvious? Let me know in the comments!

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My 5 Favorite Star Wars Romances

Love has always been a big part of Star Wars. The love of friends. Of family. Of ideals. Of all that is good. But what I’m going to talk about here is romantic love, which is just as important. In fact, a tragic love story is at the heart of the very existence of the saga.

Here’s my top five favorite love stories in Star Wars:

Han Solo and Leia Organa

Han and Leia in Cloud City (The Empire Strikes Back)

The Han and Leia love story was the first Star Wars romance I experienced (and probably the first movie romance, come to think of it, besides all those Prince Charmings in Disney films), and it still remains my favorite. Han Solo was definitely not a Prince Charming; in fact, it was his “scoundrel” status that made the romance interesting to my young mind. The feisty Princess Leia had met her match (and vice versa), and the sexual tension lurking in their verbal sparring made it all the more sweet when we finally heard “I love you” and “I know.”

The Han-Leia romance is the only one on this list that ends with a long-lasting marriage. Yes, they were seperated at the time Han died at the hands of their son, but they’d had many years of arguments and reconciliations and the things married couples do in the course of their relationship. I’m sure they washed the dishes together a couple of times, maybe changed little Ben’s diapers when the droid nanny wasn’t around, and rocked a screaming Ben to sleep on countless nights. This is what married couples do, the things that either cement the relationship and deepen it, or blow it apart. So yeah, they argued and annoyed each other, but they also got on with it and loved each other, too. And tried to build a new government while they were at it, and maybe weren’t there for Ben when he really needed them. But they loved each other to the last.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Satine Kryze

Obi-Wan and Satine in Clone Wars

I didn’t realize Obi-Wan had a love interest until I watched Clone Wars, and I was enthralled by the idea. Who could possibly win Obi-Wan’s good, kind, but platonic heart? She’d have to be an extraordinary woman indeed. And Satine Kryze, Duchess of Mandalore, turned out to be that woman. True, they met and fell in love when they were quite young–when hearts and hormones are easily aroused–but that love, though never consummated, endured through the years. Even though Obi-Wan never said the words “I love you” to Satine, his admission that he’d have left the Jedi Order for her speaks volumes. And the fact that Satine didn’t ask him means that she loved him enough to want what was best for him–that he was meant to be a Jedi–and that she was willing to sacrifice her own happiness for him. These two did a bit of verbal sparring themselves when they first meet up after years of not seeing each other, mostly concerning her pacifist postition in ruling Mandalore, but I believe it’s Obi-Wan’s concern for her welfare (and maybe a wee bit of sexual tension) that gets him all riled up about it. I believe he truly respects Satine for her pacifist beliefs, and loves her all the more for it. And I love how they call each other “my dear,” in their prim little way.

Like almost all of the relationships on this list, this one ends with a premature death. When Maul takes his revenge on Obi-Wan by killing Satine, it’s Satine who reiterates that she loves him with her last breath. Obi-Wan is speechless, but we can see the pain and love in his eyes as she dies in his arms. And it’s his memory of Satine that prevents him from falling to the Dark Side in his rage, as he envisions killing Maul and everyone in the room in retaliation (this is shown in the short story “Kenobi’s Shadow” in the book Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark). But he knows it’s not what Satine would have wanted for him. He wins the silent, solitary struggle for his soul because of her. This love story will always pierce my heart.

Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla

Hera and Kanan in Rebels

This relationship enchanted me, because I was never quite sure where they stood during the whole of Rebels until the very end. Hera and Kanan certainly had some kind of connection going on, and they were quite flirty. So are they in love? Or are they just lovers? Friends with benefits? Do they sleep in the same bed? What’s going on??? These questions kept popping up in my head, but they didn’t necessarily need to be answered. They clearly cared for each other, and would give their lives for each other, and that’s enough for me.

But toward the end of Rebels, it was clear Kanan wanted some clarification himself from Hera. He questioned her about what would happen after the war ended, what kind of life she wanted. Hera had been too busy fighting the war to give it much thought, or to want to commit to anything else–or anyone; but Kanan, early on the more flippant of the two, was getting serious. He didn’t push her, but once he was blinded, Kanan gained a depth of wisdom that made him “see” what was important in life. It was only at the end, just before he gave his life to save her and the others, that Hera finally realized she loved him and told him so. I admit it, I cried when he died.

So imagine my happiness and surprise when, at the end of the last season, Hera appears with a green little boy by her side (no, not Baby Yoda)–Jacen Syndulla, Kanan’s son–Ha! Same bed after all. But I was truly delighted that Kanan lived on in their little boy.

Quinlan Voss and Asajj Ventress

Ventress and Vos' Greatest Hits: A Dark Disciple Refresher | StarWars.com
Ventress and Vos in Dark Disciple

This was a surprising but strangely satisfying relationship told in the book Dark Disciple, by Christie Golden. The Jedi Quinlan Voss and the former Sith assassin Asajj Ventress fall in love while she teaches him a bit of the Dark Side of the Force so he can accomplish his mission of assassinating Count Dooku. I wasn’t too familiar with Vos, but it was gratifying to see someone like Ventress–full of anger and bitterness–open herself up to love. This girl’s had a rough life, after all–being taken away from her Nightsister family at a young age to become a slave; taken in by a Jedi to be taught how to use her Force abilities, only to see him killed before her eyes; apprenticed to Count Dooku as a Sith, only to be abandoned and betrayed by him; her return to her Nightsister family, only to see them slaughtered by Grievous and his droids; and on and on. This girl deserves a little happiness, darnit. And she finally gets it through Vos and a love neither of them had ever known. But, naturally, the course of true love never does run smooth. Vos falls to the Dark Side when he’s captured by Dooku, and their fate is uncertain. So she suffers again. In the end Vos comes back to the Light, but Ventress is killed while protecting him in a battle. Her death crushes him. Some of her last words to him are “Remember…you always have a choice to be better…you always have a choice to…to pick the right path.”

Vos buries her on Dathomir with her Nightsister family, and Ventress is finally at peace. I had wondered what happened to Ventress after Clone Wars, and though I’m sad she died, I’m glad she at least had a little bit of happiness toward the end.

Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala

Star Wars Stuff (@starwarstuff) / Twitter
Anakin and Padme on Coruscant (Revenge of the Sith)

Ah, Anakin and Padme, the great tragic love story of Star Wars. I was never particularly enthralled by it, maybe because Anakin’s obsessiveness turned me off. And to see Padme, a strong, intelligent, capable woman in the first two movies of the prequels become undone by love, to just die of sadness when she had babies who needed her–well, that just galled me a little bit. Am I being unromantic? Sorry. Maybe if I had seen the prequels when I was younger, in my teens or early 20’s, I would have melted over it. But I saw it when I was older, and I’m even older now, so I guess I just prefer the steadiness of Han and Leia, or the quiet endurance of Obi-Wan and Satine. Or even the light touch of Hera and Kanan. Maybe I don’t have the patience for the grand passions of the young anymore. How sad for me, right?

But this isn’t about me, it’s about Anakin and Padme, and it IS tragic, and I do get choked up when Padme says, “I don’t know you anymore. You’re breaking my heart. You’re going down a path I can’t follow.” Evil has touched and poisoned this love, and it’s horrible and unfair and it affects the entire galaxy. So even though it’s not at the top of my list, it’s here because of the sheer importance of it to the saga.

Honorable Mentions

  • Bail and Breha Organa. We don’t see too much of this couple, and we don’t see Breha at all except at the end of ROTS when Bail puts baby Leia into his wife’s arms. But I’ve read some books that have the Organas in them, and especially in Leia: Princess of Alderaan. These two have been married for many years, and it’s a happy relationship. Breha is the Queen of Alderaan, and Bail is her Viceroy. She deals with the politics at home, and he deals with it in the Senate and the galaxy at large. It’s an equal partnership, one of love and respect. And they adore their adopted daughter, and raise her well. I hate that they perished when Alderaan was destroyed.
  • Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade. So this is Legends material, and to be honest I haven’t read any of the books that puts these two together. I just know about it from fan sources, but I still love the idea of Luke having a wife. They had a child together–Ben Skywalker. I love that. I liked grumpy Luke in the sequels, but was a bit sad at the idea of him being an old hermit who had never known romantic love. Early on, I’d hoped Rey was his daughter, possibly from Mara Jade, or someone else, but it was not to be.
  • Owen Lars and Beru Whitesun. Luke’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s long-lasting marriage gave young Luke a grounded and stable childhood (besides the natural dangers of Tatooine like Tusken Raiders or other scum and villainy), raising him in a way Obi-Wan couldn’t. The Lars’ were practical, down-to-earth folk who wanted nothing more than to work their moisture farm and stay out of trouble. They were committed to Luke and to each other. Owen was perhaps a bit hard on Luke sometimes, but only because he feared his lineage and what might happen to Luke.
  • Ziro the Hutt and Sy Snootles. Just kidding.
The 8 Greatest Villains Introduced in THE CLONE WARS - Nerdist
Ziro and Sy Snootles in Clone Wars

Love Stories Not Meant To Be

Han and Q’ira. I liked this romance between young Han and intrepid Q’ira in Solo: A Star Wars Story, as well as their getting to know each other in the book Most Wanted, by Rae Carson. Han’s heart being broken by Q’ira is the reason he became such a scoundrel in the first place. Luckily he met an equally feisty princess later on to melt that armored heart of his.

Cassian and Jyn. I would have loved to see where this relationship could have gone if they HADN’T ALL PERISHED at the end of Rogue One. Truly devastating, but their sacrifice meant everything to the saga.

What’s your favorite Star Wars romance? Did I miss anyone? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Legends Lore: Jedi Guardians, Consulars, and Sentinels

I’m just starting to learn a bit about Legends material in the Star Wars universe. I’ve read a few Legends books (reviewed on my sister blog The Star Wars Reader), but whatever I’ve learned there, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is literally decades’ worth of material, in hundreds of novels, comics, games, and other media. This may seem daunting, and it is to a certain degree, but it’s also exciting to me. I’ve got tons of material to keep me busy for years; years of learning something new about Star Wars. Can it get any better than that? I think not.

Anyway, even though Rebels is considered canon, it’s introduced me to the concept of the Jedi Temple Guards, which already existed in Legends as a particular kind of Sentinel. When Kanan confronted the Guard in the Jedi Temple on Lothal, I was instantly fascinated. I do believe there were some Temple Guards in Clone Wars as well, escorting Bariss Offee away after she was arrested.

The Temple Guard referring to Kanan's apprentice. GUARD: "The Dark Side, it pulls at him, it calls to him. Eventually he will be consumed by it."

Also, when I did a bit of research on Jedi lightsabers, I learned that certain kinds of Jedi tended to wield certain lightsaber colors. The three major Jedi specialties are Guardian, Consular, and Sentinel, with various subtypes within each. Here’s some basics that I’ve learned:

Guardians

Guardians focused on combat training and were known for their skills with a lightsaber. They are called upon to defend the weak and uphold the laws of the Republic. Their lightsabers were often blue; examples of Jedi Guardians are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.

Subtypes of Guardians include:

  • Exotic Weapons Specialist. These rare Jedi specialized in weapons other than lightsabers, such as lightsaber pikes, flails, whips, and blasters.
  • Lightsaber Instructors. These were appointed by the Jedi Battlemaster to instruct Jedi Initiates.
  • Jedi Ace. These were highly skilled Jedi pilots and dogfighters organized under the Jedi Starfighter Corps.
  • Jedi Peacekeeper. These were Jedi who specialized in policing the galaxy and ensuring laws were enforced in the Outer Rim. They usually worked alongside local militias and police forces.

Consulars

Jedi Consulars used words or nonviolent use of the Force to settle disputes. They sought mental refinement through study and meditation, and pursued the art of diplomacy and mediation. They hoped to calm tense situations through civil discourse, reasoning, and parley, and only drew their lightsabers (usually green to denote their commitment to peace) as a last resort. Examples of Consulars include Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and Qui Gon Jinn.

Subtypes of Consulars include:

  • Ambassador. These Jedi were the face of the Republic, acting as liaisons between newly discovered worlds and the Republic.
  • Diplomat. These Jedi were negotiators who often wrote treaties and resolved political disputes.
  • Healer. These Jedi drew upon the Living Force to heal wounds and cleanse impurities. (Bariss Offee was studying to be a healer, at least in Legends).
  • Lorekeeper. The Lorekeepers were divided into historians, archivists, and librarians, and maintained the Jedi archives. (Jocasta Nu, we see you!)
  • Researcher. Researchers updated the Jedi archives, and were made up of many specialists, including mathematicians, biologists, geologists, archaeologists, etc.
  • Seers. Jedi highly attuned to the Unifying Force were gifted with pre- and post-cognition. In rare cases, a seer became a prophet, divining things such as the prophecy of The Chosen One.
  • Sage. A Sage is a Jedi of advanced learning and wisdom, and who specialized in telekinesis and Force healing. They were also expert trackers, who could find people across the galaxy through deep meditation (I see you Luke in VIII and Leia in IX!)
  • Shadows. Masters of lightsaber combat, Shadows worked silently and alone, wielded double-bladed lightsabers, and could mask their presence with the Force.

Sentinels

The Jedi Sentinels sought a balance between the Guardian and Consular schools of thought. Blending the teachings of both, they also included some non-Force skills such as security, computers, stealth, or medicine. They sought out cities and civilians, rather than staying in the solitude of the Jedi Temple. Their lightsabers were often yellow, gold, or orange. Examples of the Sentinel class are Plo Kloon and Yaddle.

Subtypes of Sentinels include:

  • Artisan. These Jedi often built lightsabers and holocrons, in their attempt to understand creativity as a central aspect of the will of the Force. They have intrinsic skills with tools and machines. (I better understand now why Rey’s lightsaber is yellow–she’s a kind of Sentinel, an Artisan in particular).
  • Investigator. Often working as trackers or spies, Investigators worked closely with law enforcement to solve crimes, and often went undercover. Not to be confused with Shadows, who worked to discover Dark Side Adepts.
  • Recruiter. These Jedi tracked down and identified Force-sensitives, and determined whether or not they belonged in the Jedi Order.
  • Shadow. The secretive Shadows worked to seek and destroy all traces of the Dark Side of the Force.
  • Temple Guard. These Jedi were anonymous Sentinels who served as a security force in the Jedi Temple. They wore formal robes and identity-concealing masks, as the ultimate expression of emotional detachment. They carried double-bladed lightsabers. (The Grand Inquisitor in Rebels had been a Temple Guard before Order 66, and that’s who Kanan is facing in the scene above).
  • Watchmen. These Jedi worked alone and for years on a single planet or system, protecting their rights, overseeing the pursuit of peace, and acting as a liaison between the planetary government and the Jedi High Council.

Who knew the Jedi were so diverse? Not me. Most of these divisions were originally referenced in gaming or comics, and that’s why I’m not too conversant in them. But I do think they’re fascinating and make the Star Wars universe richer for it.

What do you think of all these Jedi specializations? Do you have a favorite? As I’ve mentioned, I love the Temple Guard. Drop me a line and we’ll talk about it!

Thanks goes to Wookiepedia for all this cool information!

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It’s All in the Details

A fictional world needs details to give it authenticity, to suspend our disbelief, and to give it a richness and texture that simply makes us believe.

Here’s a few things about the world of Star Wars that I just learned about in the past year or so, although I’ve been a fan for nearly 40 years:

Aurabesh. This is the Star Wars alphabet. I’m not fluent in it at all, but it’s pretty darn cool. My name would be (Trill) (Isk) (Nern) (Aurek).

Symbols. Every major group or institution has a symbol attached to it. There are many more, but this is a decent sample. For my fiftieth birthday next year, and to celebrate my love of Star Wars, I’m going to get a tattoo of the Jedi symbol, probably on my right shoulder, and then the Rebel Alliance symbol on my left. As someone who’s never gotten a tattoo in her life, this is a big deal.

Star Wars Symbols | Force | Pinterest | Star wars symbols, Star wars  tattoo, Star wars geek

Lightsaber color meanings. Up until recently, I knew only of 3 lightsaber colors: green, blue, and red. The red I knew was for the Sith; and the green and blue for the Jedi, but I didn’t know the difference between the two, if any. Now I’m aware of many lightsaber colors, but I don’t have all the meanings memorized. So here’s a handy chart:

Green had always been my favorite color, until I saw Rey’s yellow lightsaber. Now I want to know more about the Sentinels (as well as the Jedi Consulars and Guardians), and will do some further research on them. So many Star Wars rabbit holes!

Calendar. I don’t know what was used before the designation BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), or ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) but I only recently learned about this system when I began my Star Wars book-reading journey. The book timelines in both Legends and Canon list them in relation to A New Hope’s decisive battle, to make it easy to place it in time (most people are familiar with that event). For instance, the book I’m reading now, Rogue Planet by Greg Bear, is listed as 29BBY. (It takes place three years after The Phantom Menace). It’s always nice to know exactly “when” a story takes place.

So these are just a few of the fascinating details I’ve learned about Star Wars, among many that make it so fun.

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5 Stories I’d Love to See in Star Wars

I know, I know. Every single Star Wars fan on the planet has, at one time or another, said, “I wish they’d make a story about….” and put in their two cents worth on future Star Wars projects. I’m no exception. And while of course the good people at Lucasfilm/Disney can’t satisfy every fan’s wishlist, we all do have our opinions; I simply see it as proof of the richness of Star Wars and its storytelling potential.

So in an ideal world, what stories would I love to see? Well, here are my top five ideas (and this includes movies, books, comics, TV shows, or whatever medium may tell the story best):

  • Okay, so I know LF/Disney are done with the Skywalker saga, at least in film, but I’m hoping that books aren’t off the table in continuing Rey’s story. I would love to see what she does next, if she trains more Jedi, what the galaxy is like after the Emperor is gone. Is there another central government, or do all the worlds and systems simply rule themselves now? What about Finn’s Force sensitivity? Does he become a Jedi? What role would the Jedi play in this new world? What kind of adventures can Rey, Finn and Poe go on? And what is the legacy of Ben Solo, pertaining to Rey in particular? Is he with her in some form? Force ghost? Voice? I want to know!
Ochi of Bestoon was responsible for the death of Rey's parents, but he was involved with the dark side of the Force way back during the Clone Wars.
  • I’d love to know Rey’s parents story. Palpatine’s clone cast-off–what was his life like? How did he meet Rey’s mother? Who was she? What were their names, for goodness sake! What was their life like on the run from Papa Palpie, and how did they survive? Tell me this wouldn’t be a good story.
Satine Kryze and Obi Wan Kenobi star wars poster prints
  • I would love a book telling the story of how Obi-Wan met the Duchess Satine Kryze when they were young during the Mandalorian Civil War. Qui Gon and Obi-Wan’s mission to protect her, what they did and where they went, the budding relationship between the two young people. And where does Bo-Katan fit into the story? Who are Satine’s parents and what happened to them? What are the particular politics involved? There may be some answers to these questions somewhere, but I want a book, darnit!
  • Shmi Skywalker‘s story. Where is she from, who are her parents, how did she become a slave? I suppose we could go back and back into the history and genealogy of the Skywalkers, but I’d love to know at least Shmi’s story. What were the circumstances of her discovering her pregnancy? I’ve heard a reference about Thrawn and the Chiss’ knowledge of “Sky Walkers,” though I haven’t read any of the books about Thrawn yet to quite know what they are. Coincidence? I think not.
  • This one is kind of obvious, and may be answered in some form someday, but the mystery of where Thrawn and Ezra disappeared to has to be addressed. Some people think perhaps The Mandalorian may shed some light on it, but who knows? Where do they end up, in what circumstances, do they become allies against a common enemy, or do they remain antagonists? And what about Sabine and Ahsoka’s journey to find them? Aarg, so many questions!

There’s literally a zillion spin-off stories that could be told in Star Wars, but these are at the top of my mind. They’re mostly character-oriented, personal stories, the kind that I particularly enjoy. And if none of these stories get told, that’s okay. That’s what imagination is for. Or fan fiction, if that’s your thing!

What stories would you love to see in Star Wars? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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5 Favorite Star Wars Links and Channels (Right Now)

Since my obsession with Star Wars was reignited in the past year or so, I’ve been busy trying to catch up with everything that’s been going on in the universe in the past twenty years while I’d been doing other things. That means many hours watching Youtube videos and scrolling through a ton of other social media, and more importantly, separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I’ve found some great channels and sites that I love, and others that, well, aren’t so great. I like to focus on the positive, so here are my top five Star Wars-related social media channels and sites:

  • Wookiepedia. This is a vast, extremely comprehensive archive of everything Star Wars, including characters, the movies and shows, vessels, books, video games, you name it. I use it a lot when I’m looking for a bit more information on something I’m blogging about, or if I don’t know a thing about a character or planet, etc. I haven’t really begun to plumb its depths, but it’s a great resource when you want information about something specific.
  • At-At Chat. I discovered this Youtube channel early on, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of Star Wars Youtubers who are fond of using clickbait, outrageous headlines and rumors, hateful and/or just plain dumb stuff to get people to their channel and to make money off of it. It’s really annoying. AT-AT Chat is NOT one of those channels. He presents his opinions and ideas on the Star Wars universe in an engaging, yet intelligent and rational manner. No hype, just fun stuff that is remarkably well-thought out and thought-provoking. I especially love his lightsaber-duel analyses and his takes on Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.
  • Star Wars Reading Club. This Youtube channel discusses many intriguing or burning questions about Star Wars in the context of what happened in books and comics, both Legends and Canon. It’s a great resource for me, as I’m still catching up on Legends lore; I’m also not a big comic book reader (though I’m seriously thinking about becoming one) and a lot of great stuff happens in comics that I don’t know about but would love to. The only criticism I have of the channel is the narrator’s monotone style of speaking; I also twitch a bit when he says, “Obi-One.” He knows his Star Wars lore, though!
  • Youtini. I’ve talked a bit about Youtini on my other blog, The Star Wars Reader, but feel it should be mentioned here, too. I just discovered this great resource for Star Wars books and comics, both Legends and Canon. Here you can check out the latest releases, book reviews, and excerpts. There’s also a great timeline page that lists the books chronologically (a separate one for Legends, and one for Canon) based on the BBY marker (Before the Battle of Yavin). I’ve come here quite a bit to make sure my own timeline listings are correct, and to add any books I’ve missed. There’s also a cool application where you can make lists of your own Star Wars library, as well as chat boards to talk about the books. I love this webpage!
  • James Arnold Taylor. In case you don’t know, James Arnold Taylor is the voice-actor who voices Obi-Wan Kenobi on The Clone Wars. Since I’m a big Obi-Wan fan, I was curious about the man who gives him his voice in Clone Wars, and guess what? He’s a pretty awesome dude! Very down-to-earth and likable. He’s got his own Youtube channel where he talks about the voice-over profession in general, and his own projects in particular, which is all very fascinating to me; but what I’ve been especially loving is his series Clone Wars Conversations, where he interviews his fellow co-stars from the animated series. I’ve watched his two-part interview with Matt Lanter, who voices Anakin Skywalker, and it was just so wonderful to listen to them reminisce about their Clone Wars experiences (it was recorded before Season Seven was announced, however), and also surreal to hear the character’s voices coming out of these people’s mouths! He also interviews others from the show, like Sam Witwer who played Maul, Anna Graves who played the Duchess Satine Kryze, and others. If you want more Obitine, you must watch Taylor and Graves recite Romeo and Juliet in Obi-Wan’s and Satine’s voices. Be still my sentimental little heart!

These are the sources I’ve been going to and enjoying over and over lately. I’m sure as I continue to explore the galaxy far, far away I’ll discover some more great channels, and I’ll certainly share them here when I do. They’re almost as limitless as the stars themselves, and I’m so grateful for all the wonderful Star Wars content out there.

What are some of your favorite Star Wars channels and websites? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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My Five Favorite Jedi

If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now: I’m a big fan of the Jedi. I have no ill will towards Sith fans, or those who claim to prefer the Dark Side. I guess. I suppose I just don’t understand them–I’m light side all the way. I’ll always root for them in a fight and consider them heroes, to be admired and emulated.

Anyway, I thought I’d list my top 5 favorite Jedi. Probably no surprises here, since I’m not familiar with a lot of the Legends Jedi (which I hope to eventually remedy). I had a lot to say here, so it’s kind of long. Sorry. But here they are:

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi. Duh. I think he’s universally considered the greatest Jedi ever, with few exceptions. And he’s certainly my personal favorite. Obi-Wan’s skills, commitment and discipline, kindness and compassion, as well as his witty repartee all commend him as the best. But here’s the kicker: despite a lifetime of grief and loss, he never gives in to the Dark Side. Qui Gon Jinn, Satine Kryze, Anakin Skywalker (and Padme, to some extent); not to mention the entire Jedi Order and a way of life he’s always known: all huge personal losses, and grief and sorrow and yes, anger and hatred, flows through him. Yet, he stands firm. Anakin falls because of his mere fear of losing Padme; Obi-Wan endures unimaginable losses, and remains committed to the light. His life arc is interesting, as well: he starts out as a rather arrogant young Jedi, calling both Jar Jar and young Anakin “pathetic life forms;” he goes on to become an amazing war hero during the Clone Wars; and in his later years, he becomes the hermit in the desert who treats his fallen enemy (and the one who killed two of his loved ones) with compassion. No matter his circumstances, he trusts in the Force completely. Despite all this, he isn’t perfect: he’s a bit uptight in the emotions department (which, in the end, served him well); he follows the Jedi Code almost to a fault; and he lost his Padawan to the Dark Side. Did he fail Anakin? Yes. And also no. That’s a debate for a whole other blog post, though. Despite his flaws, Obi-Wan is a class act who sets the bar amazingly high.
Obi-Wan’s “Thing”: Form 3 (Soresu) Ready Stance
  • Luke Skywalker. Ah, Luke. The first Jedi that we really come to know in this whole Star Wars thing. When I was a kid, I thought Luke was cool and all, but Han Solo was my guy. I still love Han, of course, but I’ve really come to appreciate Luke’s character and his arc in the films. I love his innocence in A New Hope, and his growing Force powers in The Empire Strikes Back. But it’s in Return of the Jedi that Luke really shines. His rescue of Han from Jabba and his realization that Leia is his sister are both satisfying, showcasing his newfound confidence and maturity. But of course it’s his confrontation with his father, Darth Vader, that defines Luke’s character. He is tempted by the Dark Side, yes. Terribly. The Emperor’s threat against his friends, and in particular, Vader’s threat against his sister, drives him to the brink of the Dark. But he ultimately achieves what his father never could: to trust in the Force, and in himself. When he throws away his lightsaber and declares to Sidious, “Never. I’ll never join the Dark Side. You’ve failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me,” Luke is willing to throw everything–the Rebellion, his friends, his very life–away to do what is right. That kind of selflessness and devotion to the Light is what defines a Jedi, and Luke passed with flying colors. He plumbed the depths of his own darkness, and rose above it. Daddy Vader was impressed; he finally realized that his son had surpassed him. Luke’s love for his father reminded him that he could be more than the ruined, hateful thing he’d become. Luke reminded him that Anakin was still in there somewhere–something that Padme had believed–and it was Anakin who threw the Emperor down the shaft, saving his son. They saved each other. The whole thing is so powerful and poetic, I just love it. And I haven’t even gotten to Sequel Trilogy Luke, but that’s going to be a whole ‘nother blog post. This one’s long enough!
The man, the myth, the legend.
  • Qui Gon Jinn. I think Qui Gon was one of the best parts of The Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Master, he’s considered a bit of a rebel within the Jedi Order. He often disagrees with the Council, which tends to irritate his more strait-laced young Padawan. But Qui Gon’s contention with the Council doesn’t originate in rebelliousness for its own sake; he simply looks at the Force and the role of the Jedi differently. He tends to put more importance on the living Force, rather than the cosmic Force. All that means is that he thinks a Jedi should focus on the present, and on the Force present in the beings around them. That’s why he takes such an interest in Jar Jar, and later Anakin; he feels they both have a part to play in what they’re trying to accomplish, while Obi-Wan would just as soon leave them both behind on their respective worlds. And of course, Anakin turns out to be the Chosen One. Qui Gon also has an interest in the Jedi Prophecies (of which the prophecy of the Chosen One is a part); not so much to be able to divine the future (which is a form of control), but of what insights they can offer. (There is much more about Qui Gon’s interest in the Jedi Prophecies, as well as his relationship with Obi-Wan, in the book Master and Apprentice, which I highly recommend). The Jedi Council at this point has lost its way, as we come to see more clearly later in the prequel trilogy; but Qui Gon is not one of them. His insight, compassion, and wisdom make him one of my favorite Jedi, and he was taken away from us too soon.
Qui-Gon Jinn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Qui Gon Jinn, the mystic. And he’s pretty good with a lightsaber, too.
  • Kanan Jarrus. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of Rebels at first, but once I got through the first season, I was firmly on board. One of the reasons for this was Kanan Jarrus. He’s a fascinating look at what might happen to a Jedi Padawan who survives Order 66. When their entire world fell, they had to find answers to questions like: where do I go? What do I do in this new world of the Empire? How do I stay hidden? How can I answer the terrible betrayal of Order 66? And should I? At first, Kanan was content to forget his old life, to try to stay under the radar, and move on. He tried to convince himself that it didn’t matter, what’s done is done, and he couldn’t care less about what happens in the universe. He works, he drinks and carouses, he hides his Force powers. He has a rather cocky attitude. (The book A New Dawn examines Kanan’s life before he meets Hera and the Ghost crew more thoroughly). But deep inside, Caleb Dume (his given name, associated with his Jedi years) still lives. He tends to pop out in a crisis, helping others and doing the right thing. Very Jedi-like things. There’s something inside Kanan that won’t die and needs expression, try as he might to suppress it. Once he meets Hera and becomes a part of the Ghost crew, he has the chance to utilize that aspect of himself. And once he meets Ezra and begins to train him in the Jedi ways, he finally starts to remember. And not just remember the Jedi ways, but to once again embody them. He becomes more fully himself again, what he was meant to be. By teaching Ezra, he relearns what it is to be a Jedi. When he is blinded, he becomes even more attuned to the Force; he truly comes into his power. I absolutely love Kanan’s arc in the show–when he first meets Hera, it’s she that must show him how to live a meaningful life; but later it’s Kanan who asks Hera what she truly wants out of life when all the fighting is over. He reminds her not to forget about love. And when the time comes (as it inevitably does) for him to sacrifice himself for the cause and those he loves–when his “moment” comes–he faces it with a quiet, stoic bravery that left me in tears. The fact that he seems to resurface in the Lothwolf as an embodiment of the living Force is just, well, awesome. The spirit of Caleb Dume lives.
The Fallen Knight. The Force was with him, always.
The evolution of Kanan Jarrus.
  • Ahsoka Tano. I wrote quite a bit about Ahsoka Tano in one of my Women of Star Wars posts here. Some may say that Ahsoka shouldn’t be on this list, as she says herself to Vader in Rebels, “I am no Jedi.” But, I’m sorry Ahsoka, I beg to differ. You are a Jedi, whether you call yourself one or not. Ahsoka trained in the Jedi Temple from a young age and served as a Padawan to Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. Even though she left the Temple, leaving behind the Jedi and her life there, one cannot simply erase all that. If we can call Luke Skywalker a Jedi, who received some quick training from Yoda as a fully grown man, or even Ezra from Kanan’s teachings, or Rey from Luke’s advice (not even training, in my book)–if they can be called Jedi, then Ahsoka is clearly one. So she makes the cut. Anyway, once Ahsoka moved beyond her snippy, new-Padawan-know-it-all phase, I liked her. She complemented Anakin like no other Padawan possibly could. And she brought out the best in Anakin. I probably loved her even more in Rebels. When she faced Darth Vader and realized he was her former master, she refused to leave him, as she did in Clone Wars, come what may. From what I understand, she’s supposed to make an appearance in The Mandalorian, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do. By the way, I love that Ahsoka uses two lightsabers. If I could be a Jedi, I’d be her: I like how this girl moves.
spoiler] The evolution of Ahsoka Tano : starwarsrebels
Our girl Ahsoka through the years.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Yoda. Who doesn’t love Yoda? Old and wise beyond our imagining. A master for a reason. Cute and ugly at the same time. And fun to watch with a lightsaber.
  • Rey. You may not agree with me, but I liked Rey. A lot. She’s sweet, loyal, strong, not afraid to cry, and defeats her evil grandpa. You go, girl. She’s also the subject of one of my Women of Star Wars posts, here.
  • Jedi Council Members. Plo Kloon, Kit Fisto, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Shakti, and all those other cool Jedi Masters on the Council. (Except Mace Windu. I don’t like that guy.)

You might be wondering, Where’s Anakin? Here’s the thing: Yes, he was a powerful Jedi. Probably the most powerful ever. The Chosen One. Clone Wars hero. But he fell to the Dark Side. What made the above list of Jedi great–characteristics like patience, commitment, faith, and selflessness–are traits that Anakin lacked. So I can’t include him on my list. It’s the same reason I haven’t included Quinlan Voss. In Dark Disciple, he also fell to the Dark Side. I understand the reasons they were vulnerable and fell, and they have my compassion. But I can’t admire them.

Anyway, that’s my list and my why’s. Sorry so long, but I didn’t really want to break it up into parts.

Who’s your favorite Jedi, and why? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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What’s with the SW Haters?

Okay Star Wars peeps, I’m not one to rant, so I’m only going to address this once, and then I’m done.

After a childhood and adolescence obsessed with Star Wars in the 1980’s and early ’90’s, I went ahead, as they say, and “got a life.” Got married, had stepkids, had my own child, explored other obsessions.

At the time the prequel trilogy came out, they didn’t impress me (note: I adore them now). And though I was still a fan of Star Wars at heart, it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind for many years. Probably 25 years, to be honest.

An obsession rekindled.

That all changed with the sequel trilogy. I was excited for them, but wary; and once I did see them, I had to sit with them for awhile and absorb what I saw. But each time, from The Force Awakens to The Rise of Skywalker, I came to love each one. I mean, LOVE them.

Suddenly, I was obsessed again and began to delve deep into the galaxy that I’d been far, far away from for a long time. I had to catch up. I watched The Mandalorian, Clone Wars, and Rebels. I became active on SW fan groups on Facebook. I began reading the new canon books, and some of the EU/Legends. I was so taken with the world of SW again that I began a blog (now two blogs) about it.

And I love it. It’s the greatest fun I’ve had in a long time, and exactly what I needed in this time of my life.

What I didn’t expect, and what continually surprises me, is the amount of controversy that exists in the fandom. In fact, the very existence of Star Wars “haters” within the fandom totally perplexed me at first. How can you be a fan of Star Wars but also hate Star Wars? It seemed a troubling paradox.

Call me naive and out of touch, but I was greatly taken aback at the amount of vitriol I found on social media surrounding certain SW subjects. I’m continually flabbergasted at the amount of rudeness and downright cruelty that certain groups of people level at any part of SW they don’t like, as well as anyone who disagrees with their opinion.

Look at These 35 Star Wars Memes, You Will
You said it, Yoda.

I hadn’t even been aware of the terrible harassment that the actor who played Jar Jar Binks received at the time of the prequel trilogy; so much so that the poor man considered taking his own life.

Excuse me? This is beyond the pale. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t care for the Jar Jar character when the prequels came out (but in my gray-haired wisdom I’ve come to love the goofy guy).

But to harass an actor on social media with hate and scorn? SHAME on them.

The same goes for Jake Lloyd who played young Anakin in The Phantom Menace; and more recently, the ugliness that was spewed at Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in the sequel trilogy.

And don’t even get me started on the hate the sequel trilogy has received. Or the Disney takeover of Lucasfilm in general; or Kathleen Kennedy, or Rian Johnson, or JJ Abrams. All targets of bewildering criticism and hatred bordering on the pathological.

Ruined your childhood? Betrayed George Lucas and Star Wars? Bad writing, lazy writing, writing you could have done so much better yourself? Death threats?

Did I miss something? Call me a geezer, call it a generational gap, call it whatever you want, but I find this behavior appalling and unacceptable. I already knew that the anonymity of the internet age had caused common courtesy (and sometimes even humanity) to fly out the window.

But Star Wars? Really? Damn, what’s not to love?

I don’t understand it, I probably never will, and I don’t think it even matters that I understand it.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Photo | Lando (Billy Dee Williams)
There are more of us, Poe. There are more of us.

I also know that it’s not the whole fandom–nowhere near. There’s a small but very vocal group of fans (trolls) and some unscrupulous Youtubers out there that feed off controversy and bad feelings. It’s the Dark Side of the fandom. They accept their miserable attitude as part of their nature, and embrace it, I suppose. They’re downright Sith-like. That doesn’t make it right.

I’ve always been a fan and champion of the Light Side. As such, I will only ever focus on the love, the positive, and quite simply the greatness of Star Wars.

That said, Star Wars isn’t perfect. It never was, and it doesn’t have to be. The fate of nations doesn’t rely on that to be so. They’re movies. Art, to be sure, to be studied and discussed with passion, yes, but also respect and, I’ll say it, old-fashioned courtesy.

And in the end, Star Wars is meant to be fun. If the haters can’t find the fun in it, or worse, suck the fun out of it, then that’s just plain sad. I pity them.

Okay, rant over, and you’ll never get another one again. Have fun with Star Wars, peeps, and of course–

Keep Calm with the Force | May The Force Be With You | Know Your Meme

Because of Obi-Wan

Why is the prequel trilogy so wonderful?

Why am I obsessed with Clone Wars?

Why is Maul so full of hate?

Why did Maul kill Satine?

Why was Grievous defeated?

Why did Luke grow up safely on Tatooine?

Why did Anakin/Vader lose his legs and burn to a crisp?

NOT why Padme rejects Anakin on Mustafar.

I could go on and on…it’s–

Because of Obi-Wan.

Oni-Wan Through The Years
Perhaps not the most powerful Jedi ever. But certainly the greatest.

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It’s Pilot Appreciation Day!

Who’s your favorite Star Wars pilot? Here’s a list of contenders…

“He was the best starpilot in the galaxy.” Even though most of his missions ended up with crash landings.

Anakin Skywalker

He destroyed the first Death Star. Without his computer.

Luke Skywalker

I never understood the Wedge obsession, but okay. He’s cool. Bonus points for being Obi-Wan’s uncle in real life.

Wedge Antilles

He made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. You know the story. (If you haven’t watched Solo, watch it NOW).

Han Solo

A trigger-happy flyboy…and the Resistance’s star pilot.

Poe Dameron

He’s the son of Solo, so…duh. Bonus points for not killing his Mom.

Kylo Ren

Wish I knew of some excellent female pilots. Maybe Rey counts? Anyone know of other great female pilots? Let me know in the comments!

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