Star Wars Soundtrack: What’s your favorite?

If there’s one thing Star Wars fans can agree on, it’s that the music is spectacular.

When I was in the thick of my Star Wars obsession as a teenager, I had cassettes of the soundtracks of all three original films. I’d pop them into my walkman (a primitive ipod, for you kiddies, lol) and listen to them as I took walks, or even as I fell asleep at night. I could relive the movies this way, in a time when it was harder to come by the movies once they were out of the theater. I knew every note, every theme, every scene each piece represented, and they were burned into my brain. I haven’t listened to the soundtracks in this way for decades, and the only other movies I did this with was The Lord of the Rings movies much later, in my thirties.

But I’ve never forgotten the joy that those soundtracks brought me.

John Williams is, of course, a legend in the Star Wars universe (among many other fandoms and films), and is considered a genius when it comes to scoring iconic movies. I’ve never done a post on the music of Star Wars; I’m not sure why. So I figured it was time. It’s hard to choose among all that glorious music, but I made the agonizing choices below as my five favorite themes (these are arranged chronologically by film release):

It’s interesting that as much as I loved the original score and had memorized every note, I only have one song from the OT here. That’s because, I think, the most iconic themes–the main title theme, The Imperial March, The Force, Binary Sunset, etc–are contained in them, and are no brainers as favorites.

Honestly, I love all the music, and this list could be different tomorrow, and again the next day, depending on my mood, lol. But some very close Honorable Mentions would include:

  • Princess Leia Theme (ANH)
  • Han Solo and The Princess (ESB)
  • The Asteroid Field (ESB)
  • Battle of the Heroes (ROTS)
  • Kylo Ren’s Theme (TFA)

What are some of your favorite Star Wars themes? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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My Top Ten Star Wars Heroes

I was inspired to write this post from a Star Wars fan group I was scrolling through the other night. I often see the question “What are your top ten favorite Jedi?” or villains or pilots or whatever. But heroes in general? Nope. I had to think about it, because there are a lot of heroes in Star Wars, but how would I rank them and why? So after some thought, I came up with this list, in descending order:

  • Ahsoka Tano

I have to go with Ahsoka at the top of the list. Not only is she an incredible Jedi, but after Order 66 she worked as Fulcrum, the secret contact for the Rebellion during their fight against the Empire. Even after the defeat of the Empire it seems, from events in The Mandalorian, that she’s still working to help those in need, as well as possibly be looking for Ezra (through her search for Thrawn). Her battle against Maul at Mandalore is incredible, her compassion for Rex and the Clones during Order 66 (even though they were trying to kill her) is heartfelt and heartbreaking, and her confrontation with Vader in Rebels is unforgettable. I really can’t think of any flaw in her, lol. Nobody’s perfect, but she’s pretty close. Whether as a Jedi, a spy, or a friend, she’s a great hero.

  • Leia Organa
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Phone Wallpaper | Moviemania

Leia Organa is a true hero of the galaxy, whether as Princess of Alderaan, a Senator (both Imperial and New Republic), a soldier of the Rebellion, or a General of the Resistance. Leia was truly dedicated to helping the galaxy be a better place, whether she was on mercy missions as a young Senator, fighting the Empire in the Rebellion, passing important legislation in the New Republic, or gathering together those who would resist the First Order. Her bravery, her strength in the face of tragedy, and her commitment to the cause is unparalleled. Perhaps her most important act was sacrificing herself for her son Ben Solo, to bring him back to the light. So even as a Mom, Leia was truly heroic!

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi

In every incarnation, whether in the Clone Wars, the prequels, Rebels, or A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a hero. He was a holonet hero (along with Anakin) during the Clone Wars, he discovered the Clones on Kamino and defeated General Grievous in the prequels, defeated Maul in Rebels (and showed compassion to his old Nemesis as well), watched over Luke for what must have been a lonely twenty years on Tatooine, and sacrificed himself to Vader to save Luke in A New Hope. Even after death, his Force ghost was often there to advise Luke. Obi-Wan wasn’t perfect–he made some questionable decisions concerning Anakin when it mattered most–but he always loved him and did what he thought was best. Obi-Wan’s commitment to the Light never wavered, and his impact on the galaxy can’t be overstated.

  • Luke Skywalker

There will be some who think Luke should be higher up in the list, and I get that. Luke is the original hero of Star Wars, after all. He blew up the first Death Star, was a hero of the Rebellion, saved his friend Han from Jabba the Hutt, confronted the Emperor, and brought his father, Darth Vader, back to the light. And don’t get me started on that hallway scene in the Mandalorian! Totally awesome. But, like all humans, Luke had flaws. Or rather, he made some mistakes–most glaringly, after his gaffe with Ben Solo, he retreated from the fight, and from the galaxy, cutting himself off from the Force. Not from cowardice, just regret, and shame, and a firm belief that the Jedi must end. Luckily, he got over that and helped the Resistance at Crait–sacrificing himself so they could get away, in the most Jedi-like way possible. Bravo, Luke.

  • Din Djarin

Din Djarin was just your average bounty hunter (well, possibly an exceptional bounty hunter) until he met a little guy name Grogu, and then he became the Dadalorian. He formed a strong, yet tender, bond with this special child, and would do anything to protect him. Even if it meant giving him up, he would do what was best for Grogu. As most parents do–in the end, we have to let them go. Which isn’t heroic, just necessary, but Din was definitely heroic in his quest to protect Grogu from those who would harm/take him, and to get him where he ultimately belonged–with a Jedi. Not that we sobbed or anything when the time came for Grogo to go with Luke, lol. I’m eager to see what kind of hero he’ll be to the Mandalorians in future seasons of the show.

  • Rey

Rey is the hero of the sequel trilogy, becoming the last hope for the Jedi as the First Order grows in power. She joins the Resistance and becomes fast friends with Finn and Poe, as well as forming a strong bond with Leia, who takes her on as an apprentice. Rey is the only person, besides Leia herself, who believes Ben Solo can be turned back to the light. When she fatally injures him on Kef Bir, she instantly turns around and Force heals him, showing a compassion that defines her. On Exegol, she defeats Palpatine with the help of the Jedi who came before, nearly giving her life to do it. With Palpatine gone, the Sith Eternal and the First Order fall, freeing the galaxy from evil once again.

  • Han Solo

Despite his smuggler/scoundrel status, Han Solo early on becomes one of the bigger heroes of the galaxy. No matter how he might prefer to think of himself, he’s got a big heart and always ends up doing the right thing. He comes back at the last minute to help Luke blow up the first Death Star, becomes a General in the Rebellion and leads the attack on Endor, ultimately being successful in that mission, allowing the second Death Star to be destroyed. He helps free the Wookiees from the waning Empire on Kashyyyk. When the First Order threatens the galaxy, he plays his part to help, but loses his life in trying to bring his son back from the Dark. He begins the saga as a pilot for hire who’s in it for the money; he ends it with sacrificing himself for love.

  • Chewbacca

Wherever Han Solo is, there is Chewbacca. Whenever we talk about loyalty in Star Wars, we must talk about Chewie. A copilot, a good shot with a bowcaster, a steadfast friend. When Han helped save him from the Imperials in Solo, he owed Han a life debt, and stood by his side for many years. Chewie helped his friends during the Rebellion, and then went back home for awhile to be with his newly freed family on Kashyyyk. He eventually found his way back to Han Solo, and once again stood against tyranny and fought the First Order.

  • R2D2

Okay, so maybe R2 should be at the top of the list. Because without this little droid, our heroes wouldn’t have gotten very far. His very first act on screen is to get the Death Star plans from Princess Leia and get them off the Tantive IV, away from the Imperials and into the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. In every movie and in the Clone Wars, he’s always plugging into some data portal or other and gathering information, making doors open or close, distracting the enemy, and whatnot. In the sequel trilogy he’s largely absent, powered down since Luke disappeared, but he carries the last piece of the map to Luke’s location inside him. He’s a feisty, brave little astromech, with plenty of grit and attitude. He also has the patience (most of the time) to put up with Threepio’s insufferable complaining. Now that’s heroic.

  • Kanan Jarrus (and the entire Ghost crew).

Kanan Jarrus is one of my favorite Jedi, and he, along with the rest of the Ghost crew–Hera, Sabine, Zeb, Chopper, and of course, Ezra–belongs on this list of heroes. Kanan used to be Caleb Dume, a Jedi Padawan who survived Order 66. The experience haunted him, and at first, he tried to forget who and what he was in order to survive. But once he met up with Hera, he decided to help those in need, and then later, become an important part of the Rebellion against the Empire. He stumbled around at first in training Ezra, but eventually found his groove, and his own Padawan became a hero of Lothal–freeing that world from the Empire’s grip. Kanan sacrificed himself to save those he loved, and it’s one of the most painful deaths for me in Star Wars.

Honorable mentions:

  • the entire Rogue One crew
  • Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker
  • Captain Rex
  • Bail Organa
  • Lando Calrissian
  • Poe Dameron and Finn

I could go on and on. There’s so many great heroes in Star Wars, people doing what is necessary to make the galaxy a better place.

What about Yoda? He’s a great Jedi Master, and I do love him. But let’s face it, he was the head of the Jedi Order when it fell. He made mistakes. Instead of following the Force, he followed the “rules” of the Jedi. He got the Jedi involved in politics and in a pointless war. Yes, they were all duped and drawn in by Sidious, but come on. He was their leader, hundreds of years old and ostensibly “wise.” So I can’t call him a hero, at least not until he trains Luke, and at that point, any Jedi could have done it. His wisdom comes after the fact. But I still love the guy, lol.

Who are your favorite Star Wars heroes? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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Five of Luke Skywalker’s Best Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honorable Mention:

Coming to get Grogu.

“Talent is nothing without training.”

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

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

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Five of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Best Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’d no longer be himself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obi-Wan doing the Thing

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

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

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

Favorite Scene

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

Favorite Duel/Battle

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

Favorite Line

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

Funniest Moment

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

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

Most Impactful Character

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

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

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

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My Five Favorite Things About Solo: A Star Wars Story

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

Favorite Scene

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

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

Favorite Battle/Duel

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

Favorite Line

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

Funniest Moment

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

Most Impactful Character

Han Solo - A Star Wars Story

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

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

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

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My Five Favorite Things About The Rise of Skywalker

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

Favorite Scene

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

Favorite Duel

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

Favorite Line

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

Funniest Moment

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

Most Impactful Character

I adore Rey’s lightsaber.

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

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

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My Five Favorite Things About The Last Jedi

Here’s my list for The Last Jedi, the second installment of the sequel trilogy. You can find my thoughts on The Force Awakens here.

Favorite Scene

Luke facing down the First Order on Crait. When Luke says to Rey on Ach-To “What, you think I’m going to face down the First Order all by myself with a laser sword?” little did we know that that is exactly what he was going to do. Because in the end, he’s Luke Skywalker, and he does heroic things. He just forgot for awhile, or rather, rejected it. And he did it in the most Jedi-like way: non-aggressive, his actions a subterfuge for a higher purpose–giving the Resistance time to get away. And the fact that he wasn’t actually there just blows my mind. I didn’t see it, at first; I just thought he cleaned up for his appearance, you know? I didn’t notice the clues: the fact that he didn’t leave any red footprints in the salt; Leia’s lack of worry at her brother facing down the enemy alone; his wink at C-3PO; and where the heck did he come from, anyway? His scuffle with Kylo and the “See ya around, kid,” was great, and the fact that he sacrificed himself to do this–and more than likely knew he would die doing it–is just profoundly sad and awe-inspiring. A great scene in a movie full of great scenes.

Favorite Duel

Rey and Kylo vs. Snoke’s guards. This was an eye-popping duel, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the prequels. Everything’s red as blood, and Kylo and Rey are working together rather than against each other. And they are a force to be reckoned with. We don’t hear the word “dyad” yet, not until TROS, but these two clearly work well together, and their connection in the Force is apparent. I love Rey’s savage yells, and how Kylo keeps checking on Rey when he can. It’s a foreshadowing of their working together in TROS at Exegol, but here it’s only their potential. As long as Ben is Kylo, it ain’t gonna happen.

Favorite Line

“You’re nothing. But not to me.” This is one of those “Um, thank you?” statements that insult and gratify at the same time. Kylo doesn’t get any points for charm here, but he doesn’t have time for that. He gets right to the point. And so when he holds out his hand to Rey and asks him to join her, adding a vulnerable “please,” you almost want her to take his hand already, for goodness sake. Almost. Again, Rey feels the connection, but can’t accept Ben as Kylo, and rightfully so.

Funniest Moment

General Hugs. Some people thought that this little exchange between Poe and Hux was dumb or silly, but I thought it was pretty funny myself. But I have a goofy sense of humor. I do think it’s exactly in Poe’s nature to mess with Hux like this, and Hux to be fastidious enough to take the bait. When Poe says into his comm “Yeah, I’m looking for General Hugs,” I chuckled. Good enough for me.

Most Impactful Character

Luke Skywalker. See aforementioned “Favorite Scene,” as Luke saved the day in this film. But it wasn’t just that scene that makes Luke the most impactful here; the whole movie was his, when you think about it. Everyone’s been looking for him, Rey finally finds him and–oh my goodness, why is he so crabby?–and we have to process and react to that; we find out that his moment of weakness was the nail in the coffin of Ben Solo and put him on the path to Kylo Ren. Everything centers and swirls around Luke here. We even get to see Yoda once more! A lot of people didn’t like how Luke was portrayed in this movie, and I understand that. Call me weird, but I liked it from the get-go. My first thought was, “Oh, this is interesting.” I HAD to know what the hell had happened to Luke, what was going on his mind, and if and how it would change by the end of the film. What I loved about The Last Jedi as a whole was how it just subverted all of our expectations. The Empire Strikes Back, the second film of the original trilogy, did much the same. TLJ is following a pattern, where the good guys take heavy losses, and characters surprise us in numerous ways. Anyway, that’s a whole other post, lol, but Luke gets the prize for this one.

What did you like about The Last Jedi? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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My Five Favorite Things About The Force Awakens

Having gone through the prequel and original trilogies, it’s now time to check out my five favorite things about the sequel trilogy films. So let’s get right to it with The Force Awakens:

Favorite Scene

Chewie, We’re Home. I think this was the most anticipated scene in the movie. We hadn’t seen Han Solo and Chewbacca onscreen together in about 30 years. It was beyond exciting. Sure, Rey and Finn are cool, and BB-8 is adorable, but we know who we really want to see: the “Legacy” characters. And these two were the first to make an appearance in the sequel trilogy (unless you count the Falcon, which is kind of a character in its own right). But reuniting these two with the Falcon, leading to the iconic line “Chewie, we’re home,” signalled to us fans that we, too, were home.

Favorite Duel

Rey and Kylo Ren at Starkiller Base. Again, not many lightsaber duels in this film, unless you want to count the short confrontation between Finn and Kylo just prior to this. The fact that Rey held her own in this battle–and won (probably because Kylo was an injured, emotional mess, but even so)–shows that there indeed is something special about Rey. The mystery of her, of who she is and where she comes from, intensifies. And the fact that Kylo even survived Chewie’s blaster bolt and can still fight is amazing. The way he pounds at his wound with his fist is disturbing and chilling–drawing upon his pain and rage for his power. Apart from the emotions going on in the battle, I loved the look of it: the red and blue blades glowing against the whiteness of the snow in the darkening gloam. The visuals are just stunning in this scene.

Favorite Line

Hearing Han Solo admit to the reality of the Force in a serious way is surprising, and alerts us to how much he’s changed over the course of 30 years; and our next thought is, Wow, shit must have gone down, and in a real personal way for him. I think this is before we learn that Kylo Ren is his son, so it’s a foreshadowing that Han has had some heartbreaking experience with all this mystical stuff, especially since he’s clearly not with Leia anymore.

Funniest Moment

I thought the little scene with Han Solo and Finn on the Falcon was pretty funny. When Finn calls Han “Solo”, and Han just looks at him and says, “Did you just call me Solo?” Then when Finn refers to himself as a “big deal” in the Resistance, Han says, “Listen Big Deal, you’ve got a bigger problem. Women always figure out the truth. Always.” I just loved that, lol.

Most Impactful Character

Kylo Ren. When we first meet Kylo Ren striding down the ramp of the shuttle to confront Lor San Tekka, he seriously gave me the creeps. His distorted voice behind the mask didn’t help much. Who is this guy? I thought. When later in the movie we learn he is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, I was genuinely shocked. I hadn’t seen that coming at all. And it truly broke my heart, for I had imagined the child(ren) of Han and Leia to be the Child(ren) of Light or something, heroes in their own right. But no. This dark, rageful, emo being. And the moment he betrayed his own father, speared him with that unholy lightsaber, and let him fall into the abyss like so much meat, I hated him. HATED him. Intellectually, I knew his character’s arc was probably meant for redemption over the course of the trilogy, but I didn’t care. I hated him. I would never forgive him. Do you here me? Never!! And then of course proceeded to understand his character a bit better in The Last Jedi (a softer, kinder Kylo, at least in his relationship with Rey), and the return of Ben Solo in TROS, and by then I was cheering him on. But in this film? The quintessential, irredeemable villain.

What are your favorite things about The Force Awakens? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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My Five Favorite Things About Return of the Jedi

Continuing my Five Favorite Things about the Star Wars movies, here’s my entry on Return of the Jedi.

Favorite Scene

Image result for luke and leia endor sister

Luke with Leia on Endor. I loved this intimate scene where Luke tells Leia that they’re siblings, and that he must leave to face their father, Darth Vader. It brings their relationship to a new level, as well as helps her understand what he needs to do and why. It’s also the most emotional and upset we’ve seen Leia onscreen, and reminds us that even though she’s tough as nails, she can also be vulnerable.

Favorite Duel

Luke defeats Darth Vader in their final confrontation.

Luke vs. Vader on the Death Star 2. All the films in the Original Trilogy showcase just one major lightsaber duel, and in ROTJ, this is it. And it’s wonderful and glorious and fraught with tremendous emotional weight, as father and son duel it out in front of the Emperor, who naturally cackles with evil delight. The stakes couldn’t be higher: Luke fights not only for the fate of the Rebellion and his friends, but for his very soul–and his father’s soul, as well. We see that he comes perilously close to the dark side as he gives in to his anger and slams away at Vader, nearly defeating him–but he realizes the cost and steps away. Which leads to….

Favorite Line

When Luke steps away from battle with his father and declares these words to the Emperor, then throws his lightsaber away, he shows us his true character: committed to the Light, to good, to the kind of man his father was before he was corrupted by the dark side. This is Luke’s pivotal moment, his most glorious hour. I love it.

Funniest Moment

Han Solo quippery. Of course.

“How we doing?” “Same as always.” “That bad, huh?”

Most Impactful Character

Darth Vader. Darth Vader’s return to the light and saving his son from the Emperor is clearly the most satisfying event in the movie, at least to me. The moment he picks up the Emperor, who is killing his son with Force lightning, and throws him down that shaft, is the most thrilling scene of the movie, the trilogy, perhaps the entire saga. With his sacrifice, Vader–or perhaps we should call him Anakin here–saves his son, and fulfills his destiny as the Chosen One, bringing balance back to the Force. It’s electrifying (if you’ll pardon the pun), deeply moving, and the perfect end to the trilogy.

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