My Star Wars Weekend Update

Hello there, and happy weekend to my Star Wars readers!

So last Wednesday was May 25th, which to fans is known as Star Wars Day because the original Star Wars film (now called A New Hope) was released on May 25, 1977. In honor of that, I re-watched ANH, since I hadn’t watched it anyway in quite a while.

I’m convinced it still holds up, 44 years later. Maybe I’m biased, but I enjoy it just as much now as I did as a kid watching it for the first time. More so now, I think. The funny thing is, I haven’t watched the new editions (when George Lucas tinkered with his original trilogy some time ago and made some additions and changes) that much, so they were still kind of a surprise to me. One thing stood out to me in particular: when Ben Kenobi made the sound of the krayt dragon to scare the Tusken Raiders off. The original sound he made is burned into my memory; but this new sound he makes–it’s just weird, in my opinion, lol. The old sound was like an elephant roaring or something, some beastly call. The new sound was like a person being strangled to death, I swear. It was so odd, and disconcerting.

Anyway, the other thing I wanted to mention was that in the last few scenes during the trench run, whenever Darth Vader was shown, I could see the actor’s eyes behind the lenses in the mask. Was that always the case? Because I swear I never noticed before, if so. But it was so clear, like that last scene in The Clone Wars when he’s holding Ahsoka’s lightsaber and looking up at the sky. Spooky. I’m wondering if that’s something Lucas threw in when he edited the film, or if I was just blind to it all these years, lol.

When I wrote my overview of Resistance the other day, I wondered if the Colossus had been at the Battle of Exegol. So I just did some quick googling, and there it was: on Wookieepedia, it stated that the Colossus received a distress call from Lando Calrissian, and showed up at Exegol, along with Yeager’s ship Blue Ace, and the Fireball, piloted by Kaz (I can’t believe that rickety thing made it through that rough ride to Exegol, lol). So there you have it. Now I just have to pick it out of the crowd the next time I watch The Rise of Skywalker.

The Colossus

I finished reading Clone Wars: Wild Space the other day, and will be working on a review. It was an interesting read: on the one hand, it was really fun; and on the other, the characters just didn’t seem to be in character, if you know what I mean. I’ll get into it more in the review.

The Bad Batch was another good episode, with some interesting events and revelations. I’ll be posting my thoughts on that on Monday.

I was hoping to get to another non-Star Wars entertainment this week, but I just didn’t get to it. I was hoping to watch Winchester, with Meryl Streep. After signing up for Netflix to watch Halston last week, I was scrolling around to see if there was anything else I wanted to watch and put on my list, and I saw Winchester. I remember seeing some documentary about this weird house a while ago, and when the movie came out I thought, I just have to see this. But of course I never got around to it. So I’m going to try for next week.

The big news in our house this weekend is that we got a new kitten! He’s a sweet little black kitten, and he’s just adorable. A couple of months ago, we had to put our 20 year-old ginger cat to sleep; she was just having problems and beginning to suffer. It was so hard saying goodbye to her, and I thought I wouldn’t be ready for another cat at least until fall or winter (I knew we’d eventually get another, as I must have cats in my life). And that was true up to a couple of days ago.

Then I saw a post on Facebook from one of our friends saying she has kittens she needs to find good homes for. There were two black kittens, and two tiger cats. I knew I wanted my next cat to be black, preferably a boy, as I’d only had females most of my life and wanted something different. Both the black kittens were boys, and I figured I shouldn’t let this opportunity slip by. So I contacted her, and all of a sudden, we have a kitten! He’s still figuring out who we are, and exploring the place, but he’s staring to settle down. Our daughter named him Cosmo, lol.

May be an image of cat and indoor
He tired himself out, lol.

So that’s about it this week. Hope you guys have a great day, and if you’re in the U.S., have a great Memorial Day tomorrow!

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

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

Favorite Scene

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

Favorite Duel/Battle

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

Favorite Line

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

Funniest Moment

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

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

Most Impactful Character

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

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

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

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Star Wars Fan Art: Anakin Skywalker

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

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

Jake Bartok on twitter.com

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

Andreas Bazylewski on etsy.com

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

Alvaro Fernandez, 9gag.com

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

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

Anakin Skywalker by TwoFacedHero on etsy.com

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

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Star Wars Fan Art: Ahsoka Tano

There’s a TON of Ahsoka Tano fan art out there, and there are many that are fantastic. It was hard to choose just a few for this post, but I came up with a few favorites:

I think I’ve posted this one on here before, but I love it so much I had to do it again. I think it was created before Season Two of the Mandalorian, before Grogu and Ahsoka actually met; but this prescient artist clearly imagined a tender moment between them.

35 Cool Pics and Memes to Entertain Your Brain.
S. Menyhei, ebaumsworld.com

I love this one with Ahsoka’s talisman, Morai, and the symbols of the World Between Worlds.

a-smiling-travesty.tumblr.com

The energy and brilliance of this one is wonderful.

Natalie Herrera, artstation.com

This one is just as bright and colorful, but softer, less fierce and more luminescent.

#TanoTuesday - Twitter Search / Twitter
Clone Squadron Radio on twitter.com

Ahsoka’s relationship with Rex is special, and I love this one of them together as their world shatters and falls apart.

Media Tweets by Ksenia Z. (@lorna_ka) / Twitter
Ksenia Zalentsova on twitter.com

Ahsoka the White. The colors are beautiful here.

Ksenia Zelentsova, artstation.com

I began this post with the artist S. Menyhei, and I’ll close out with the same artist, this time of Ahsoka and Vader during their confrontation on Malachor. The first was quiet and tender, while this one is dynamic and full of emotion. The many sides of Ahsoka.

S. Menyhei

What do you think of these images? Do you have any favorite Ahsoka fan art? 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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My Five Favorite Things About The Empire Strikes Back

So I realized that after I posted My Five Favorite Things About A New Hope that I totally forgot about Solo and Rogue One, lol. I had planned on doing them in chronological order, but now it would just be weird to go back and do them. So I’ll continue on with the main trilogies, and then at the end do Solo and Rogue One.

Anyway, here’s my five favorite things about The Empire Strikes Back.

Favorite Scene

Carrie Fisher

I’m going to say pretty much all the scenes between Han and Leia. I simply can’t pick just one, because they’re all delightful. The arguing, the banter, the chemistry and sexual tension, the tenderness–it’s all great. The kissing scene in the Falcon, culminating in the “I love you, I know” scene in the carbonation chamber makes up the best love story in all of Star Wars, in my opinion. When I was a kid and first saw Empire, it was about Han and Leia first, lol, and then Luke and Vader.

Favorite Duel

Again, there’s only one duel of note in this movie (besides Luke’s confrontation with Vader in the dark side cave on Dagobah, which is symbolic), and it’s between Darth Vader and Luke in Cloud City on Bespin (which is for reals). And it’s probably my favorite duel out of all the films in many ways. It’s kind of a game of cat and mouse, as they clash, each disappearing and reappearing, pouncing on each other suddenly and violently. Everything about this duel is epic: the part where Vader uses Luke as target practice and Luke smashes through a window and falls; the savage confrontation on the catwalk and the loss of Luke’s hand; Vader’s shocking revelation and offer; Luke’s decision to step off the catwalk and fall into oblivion rather than join his evil father in ruling the galaxy. So much going on here, and we get some insight into each character: Vader is willing to betray his master the Emperor and overthrow him (which is basically what the Sith do, but we wonder if he’s got a soft spot for his son, and therefore a bit of light left? Maybe?); and we see Luke’s total commitment to the Light and choosing to die rather than join evil. Later, in ROTJ, that commitment will be tested, but right now, there’s no question of going down that shaft.

Favorite Line

You know, up until very recently, this line confused the hell out of me. What does it even mean? I’ve come to realize that what Yoda was getting at is how you go about doing something–if you go into it “trying” then you’re letting in doubt about succeeding. Perhaps you don’t fully believe in yourself, and believe that you may fail. Once doubt sets in, I think Yoda is saying, then you’re doomed to fail. If Luke doesn’t believe in himself, then he doesn’t believe the Force will help him, and the Force won’t believe in him–it won’t work with him to move that darn X-Wing. A Jedi needs confidence and faith, in himself and the Force. Anyway, that’s how I’ve come to see it. A lot of philosophy in those few words, lol.

Funniest Moment

More classic Han Solo:

He’s got a point.

Most Impactful Character

Yoda. Yoda is the mysterious center of the film–force ghost Obi-Wan exhorts dying Luke to find Yoda and train to be a Jedi with him. Once on Dagobah, Luke finds not a “great warrior,” but a little wizened green guy with big ears, who makes a mess of his camp and plays tug-of-war with Artoo. But everything Yoda does is a lesson: he wants to gauge Luke’s response to him before he reveals himself. And of course, he finds that Luke takes things at face value, as most of us do sometimes. The lessons begin immediately, and he shows Luke that he has a lot to learn. He has misgivings, but trains Luke anyway–brave, considering he did the same thing with Anakin. Or perhaps he senses something in Luke, the strength of the Light in him. Either way, he has a lot to do with the Jedi Luke becomes. Wars not make one great, but Yoda is definitely a great Jedi Master.

What are your favorite things about The Empire Strikes Back? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Rebels: Season Two Review

Rebels Season Two Spoilers Ahead!!!

I’ve been rewatching the animated series Rebels, and I’ve just finished Season Two. Not only is it longer (22 episodes rather than 15), but it was so much more emotionally satisfying. Several familiar characters make an appearance (or reappearance), and the finale was amazing. But we’ll get to that.

So much more happens in this season, and this post could be unbearably long if I mention everything, so I’ll try to point out the most important events and highlights.

Hera

So now the Ghost crew are a part of Phoenix Squadron, led by Commander Sato, along with Ahsoka. Hera and the rest of the crew are all gung-ho about it, but Kanan isn’t so sure–he’s reluctant to join the nascent Rebellion, remembering the Clone Wars and what happened to the Jedi because of it.

They receive a transmission from Minister Tua on Lothal–she wants to defect and she needs their help. She’ll give them important intel in exchange. But before they can retrieve her, she’s killed, engineered by Vader in a plot to draw the Rebels out. Kanan and Ezra end up fighting Vader, and it’s clear to them they are way out of their league–he’s more powerful than anyone they’d ever encountered. They hightail it out of there, but they’re stuck on Lothal. Lando makes another appearance here, as he owes them a favor, and he gets them off the planet.

Minister Tua and Agent Kallus

They escape, but Vader tracks them to the fleet. Ahsoka, on board the Ghost, feels his presence, and he feels hers; he murmurs, “The apprentice lives,” in apparent surprise. Ahsoka is shocked and passes out; later she tells Kanan and Ezra that she doesn’t know who he is, but I don’t particularly believe her. She suspects Anakin, I think, but says nothing to the others.

The Imperials burn Tarkintown on Lothal in retaliation, and the Rebels decide not to go back there; they don’t want to endanger anyone else. Ahsoka asks the Ghost crew to find an old friend of hers, believing that he can help them find a new base. The friend turns out to be none other than Captain Rex, along with two other clones: Gregor and Wolf. They’re in “retirement” on some desert planet, clomping around on some old Republic walker that has seen better days.

Captain Rex, Gregor, and Wolf

Kanan absolutely does not trust them, and understandably so. He’d seen clones turn on the Jedi and kill his own master, Depa Billaba. Rex states that he didn’t betray his Jedi, and explains that he and the others removed the chips in their heads that commanded the clones to kill their former generals, but Kanan’s prejudice runs deep. The others seem to like the clones, though. They need to fight some Imperials off, and the clones go back with them to the fleet. The reunion between Rex and Ahsoka is wonderful to see; and although it takes Kanan a while to come around, I love that Rex becomes an honorary member of the Ghost crew.

Unfortunately, Vader has sent out more Inquisitors, and they encounter two of them–Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother–on an old Republic medical frigate they’ve gone to in order to get medical supplies. They escape, but encounter them again when they discover they’re after Force-sensitive babies. They manage to rescue the kids, and we get to see a fabulous display of Ahsoka’s skills as she duels them both before escaping.

Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister

Ezra starts to feel a bit overwhelmed with his Jedi training with Kanan, on top of soldier training with Rex (and the chores Hera gives him on the Ghost), and while trying to escape his responsibilities he encounters Hondo Ohnaka. Since the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire, Hondo has come down a few notches in life–no longer the leader of a formidable pirate gang; he scrapes by in whatever way he can, smuggling and making deals with other pirates. He’s as funny and selfish as he was in Clone Wars, and he’s so fun to watch. He takes a shine to Ezra, who he considers to be his young protege in the art of the con.

Meanwhile, Hera brings an experimental B-Wing into the fleet, to be perfected and mass produced, and she becomes Phoenix Squadron Leader. Kanan and Rex go on a mission together to save Ezra and Commander Sato from the Imperials, and start to bond a little bit; Kanan even calls Rex his “friend.” Sabine has an adventure with an old friend, who’s now an enemy, and then becomes her friend again. I can’t remember her name, but she has gorgeous lavender eyes.

Ezra has Force visions about his parents, and is convinced they need to go back to Lothal. They encounter Ryder Azadi, the former Governor of Lothal, imprisoned by the Imperials–along with Ezra’s parents. He tells Ezra his parents heard the message of hope he sent out in Season One, and was inspired to help the other prisoners escape. But they themselves didn’t make it. It’s assumed they are dead, and Ezra deals with his grief.

Kanan comforting Ezra, as Ryder Azati looks on

Princess Leia shows up on Lothal as an ambassador from Alderaan, bringing three ships full of medical supplies and relief aid. Of course, she expects the Rebels to “steal” her ships, and in this way she helps the Rebellion in the best way she can. She’s about Ezra’s age here, and they have an adventure in getting the ships off Lothal for the Rebellion, without making Leia look guilty. She’s pretty good at making the Imperials look like fools.

In trying to find new, safer hyperspace routes, they encounter a group of Mandalorians on Concordia Dawn called The Protectors that work for the Empire. They take its leader, Fen Rau, prisoner, and get use of the hyperspace route. Zeb finds out he’s not the last of his people, and they help two survivors find a safe haven beyond the Outer Rim. They go on a mission with Hera’s father, the famed Twi’lek freedom fighter Cham Syndulla. Father and daughter have a strained relationship, but they resolve their differences and get a new ship for the fleet to boot. On a mission to get fuel for the Ghost, they encounter space whales called Pergil, and Ezra makes a Force connection with them (they’ll become an important plot point in a future season). Imperial Agent Kallus and Zeb are stranded on a frozen moon, and have to work together to escape with their lives (the experience leaves an impression on Kallus that bears fruit later).

Zeb and Kallus

Those pesky Inquisitors keep finding them, so Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka go to the Jedi Temple on Lothal to find answers on how to deal with them. Kanan ends up fighting a Jedi Temple Guard, who turns out to be the Grand Inquisitor from Season One. Turns out, he’d been a Guard before Order 66, but became an Inquisitor afterward. He symbolically “knights” Kanan after Kanan admits to his fear that he can’t protect Ezra forever; he can only do his best. Ezra finds himself with Master Yoda, and talks with him about the war; only after Ezra insists that they must fight the Empire does Yoda tell him to go to Malachor. Ahsoka hears Anakin’s voice: “Why did you leave me? Do you know what I’ve become?” Her suspicions and fears about who Vader is, and her guilt over her potential part in it, hits home.

Chopper finds a new friend in AP5, and old Republic droid who now does inventory work for the Empire. They help each other on an adventure, and AP5 suggests a new planet for the Rebel base. It seems perfect at first, but then they discover it’s inhabited by–what else?–giant spiders. But they find a way to keep them away from the base itself.

The last two episodes of the season, “Twilight of the Apprentice” Parts 1 & 2, are the best episodes of the season, and possibly one of the best arcs in the entire show. Following Yoda’s advice, Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka go to Malachor, a “forbidden” planet to the Jedi. It contains a Sith Temple, and here they end up meeting Maul, who’s been slinking around there for years, apparently. They encounter three Inquisitors as well–Seventh Sister and Fifth brother, and one other–and they’ve gone there to find “the Shadow,” or Maul.

Ezra and Maul

Basically, Ezra gets separated from Kanan and Ahsoka, and meets Maul, who wants to use Ezra to get to the Sith holocron inside (as well as turn him to the dark side and have him become his apprentice). Ezra, innocent child, believes that Maul wants to help them, and once they get the holocron, he uses it to activate the Temple–he thinks he’ll get the knowledge they seek, but it really turns into a battle station. Ezra realizes this too late, and in the meantime, Maul has blinded Kanan in battle. They’ve managed to kill the Inquisitors and fend off Maul, but Vader shows up for the holocron, and they’re in real trouble. Kanan and Ezra together retrieve the holocron while Ahsoka battles Vader, and it’s this riveting and heartbreaking encounter that makes this episode epic.

Ahsoka battles Darth Vader

During the course of the duel, Ahsoka realizes that Vader is, in fact, Anakin. As the Temple starts to crumble around them, she tells him, “I won’t leave you. Not this time.” Ezra calls her name, but she closes the temple door on him, and they have no choice but to escape without her. We see an enigmatic scene of Vader leaving the Temple, and Ahsoka going into it. It’s a bit vague as to what actually happened, but it becomes more clear in a future season.

So I’ve already written WAY too much, but suffice it to say this was a great season, with an amazing season-ender.

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Star Wars Fan Art

There’s so much incredible Star Wars fan out there, I thought I’d show a few of my favorites, with credit to the artists, of course. There’s so much gorgeous art, this may become a weekly thing for me. Enjoy!

This first one got me in the feels–it shows Kylo Ren remembering his childhood friendship with Chewbacca. Ouch–literally and figuratively.

Kylo Ren remembering Chewie. Or trying not to. Just as he calls his father "Han Solo" to avoid any emotional ties to him, I imagine he avoids thinking of Chewie as anything than in terms of "that h...
Jenny Dolfen, goldseven.wordpress.com

I like Reylo a lot, but my first Star Wars love story was Han and Leia. This piece is fantastic.

Han SOLO and Leia ORGANA | STAR WARS: Fan Art - Star Wars Canvas - Latest and trending Star Wars Canvas. #starwars #canvas #starwarscanvas - #StarCitizenHammerhead
Star Citizen France

I’ve always loved Art Nouveau, and this piece of Leia just sums up her character perfectly.

MeganLara, redbubble.com

Threepio always did remind me of a Victorian gentleman. Priceless.

C3PO, must have missed some time travel scene somewhere in the series. :)
Terry Fan Illustration

Darth Vader drinking tea in a meadow full of flowers just makes me happy.

Kyle Hagey, kylesgallery.com

This is another great piece that juxtaposes images of evil with beauty. Love it.

Bennett Slater, bennettslater.com

Psychedelic Chewie is just awesome.

Alessandro Pautasso, Curioos.com

Check out these awesome artists for more of their gorgeous work!

Do you have any favorite Star Wars art? Comment below and we’ll talk about it.

My Top 5 Fave Lightsaber Duels

Like any Star Wars fan, I love a good lightsaber duel, and there’s plenty to choose from over the course of nine films. The ones I like the best have the most emotional heft where the stakes are high, rather than flash and dazzle (though that’s fun, too). Here are my top five faves:

5. Kylo and Rey on the Death Star Wreckage (TROS)

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey battle it out with lightsabers in a stormy confrontation. Their Force-connection—what Driver calls their “maybe-bond”—will turn out to run even deeper than previously revealed.

This duel is visually stunning, with the waves of water pouring down on them as they battle it out. I like how the water may be seen to symbolize a sort of baptism for Kylo/Ben, as at the end of the battle, Kylo is washed away so Ben can emerge. The lack of score through a lot of this fight also intensifies the battle, as if any kind of music would be too distracting to the physical and psychic battle going on.

4. Throne Room battle with Kylo and Rey (TLJ)

Top 10 Lightsaber Battles in Star Wars¨C Geek Culture Countdown Podcast #Affiliate #Battles, #AFFILIATE, #Star, #Lightsaber, #Top

This battle is emotionally satisfying because we see Kylo and Rey working together against a common enemy–Snoke’s personal guards. It’s a spectacularly choreographed fight scene (it took six months to train for and shoot), and has a bit of flash and dazzle that awes the viewer. We see in this battle what Kylo and Rey could be together and are left wanting more–which makes his refusal to help the Resistance Fleet and her refusal to join him all the more painful.

3. Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar (ROTS)

The Duel of Mustafar | Fact | FactRepubli.com

The prequel series has a lot of great lightsaber duels–the Jedi at the height of their powers is a sight to see. They look like dancers flitting across the battlefield, graceful and nimble and fleet. But watching them fight the bad guys isn’t particularly interesting to me on an emotional level.

The exception to this prequel prejudice is the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar. This is the battle we’ve been waiting for– Anakin’s final fall into his transformation into Darth Vader. The anguish in the two men is palpable: Anakin’s rage, and Obi-Wan’s sorrow at losing his friend to the Dark Side. To see the particulars of Anakin’s physical and emotional pain is disturbing.

2. Vader and Luke on the second Death Star (ROTJ)

'Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel' will focus on the weapon's roots onscreen and off.

Luke’s confrontation with his father, in the presence of the Emperor, is harrowing. The stakes, of course, are extremely high here; not only in the fate of the Rebellion, but Luke’s life and his very soul. There is a point where he gives in to his rage and hacks away at Vader, a glint of dark in his eyes. Looking down at his beaten father, he realizes the path he is treading, and throws down his lightsaber while standing up to the Emperor. This is where the strength of Luke’s character shines through. And of course this battle leads to Vader redeeming himself by saving his son from the Emperor. It’s satisfying in every way.

1. Luke and Vader on Cloud City (TESB)

Design for wall. Lightsabers mounted.

I chose this battle as #1 for a few reasons. First, it leads to the greatest revelation in all of moviedom: Vader tells Luke he is his father. BAM what!?

Second, it’s the first time the untested Luke confronts Vader, wanting to take revenge on the man who he believes killed his father. But Luke, though capable with a lightsaber, is nowhere near ready for this battle. His innocence and naivete is quite literally chipped away until there’s nowhere left to turn: here we first get a glimpse of Luke’s commitment to the Light, as he chooses to fall to his death rather than join his father in the Dark Side. This is a critical turning point for Luke, leading to the sober, black-clad Jedi we see in Return of the Jedi. Here, Luke grows up.

Third, from a physical standpoint, this duel is a bit of cat and mouse, with Luke escaping and being found again, escaping and being found. It’s ominous, we’re on the edge of our seats on first viewing because we don’t know when the bad guy is gonna jump out at us. This is a great litmus test for battles and duels: what can surprise and startle us.

Honorable Mentions:

Kylo and Rey on Starkiller Base (TFA)

Rey Vs Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base Duel

This is the first time the two have met in battle, and Rey is just beginning to understand what she is capable of. The moment Anakin’s lightsaber flies to her instead of to Kylo is an important moment. Kylo is injured and an emotional wreck, as he just killed his father and is dealing with the reality of that, and so Rey is able to best him here.

Ben Solo against the Knights of Ren on Exegol (TROS)

Just Another Reylo Fanatic — frozenmusings: One thing I am both grateful for...

This is a fantastic short battle, with the newly emerged Ben Solo fighting off the Knights of Ren after Rey force-hands him Anakin’s lightsaber. It’s fascinating in that he fights in a completely different manner than Kylo Ren, who used brute strength and intimidation in his duels. Ben Solo seems to be lifted of a heavy burden here, and infused with Light; he fights more like a prequel Jedi Knight, with speed and agility. After demanding Anakin’s lightsaber throughout the series, here he finally earns it.

Luke and Kylo Ren on Crait (TLJ).

Will Luke Skywalker Return for Star Wars Episode IX

Though technically not a proper battle, as Luke isn’t even really there, this is an emotionally relevant confrontation between a master and his former fallen student. Luke is using it as a ruse to buy time for the Resistance to escape, but it also gives him some sort of closure on his failure of Ben Solo. It only enrages Kylo, but Luke can now fade into the Force knowing he did what he could and giving these last words of wisdom to Kylo: “See you around, kid.”

So what do you think? Do agree with my list? Or did I miss an obviously important and/or awesome duel? Post your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll talk about it!