Padawans, Super Soldiers, And A Russian Princess

Happy weekend, my Star Wars friends!

I thought I’d change the title of these weekend updates and make them more tuned to what each post is about.

So I’ve gotten a few chapters into Out of the Shadows, by Justina Ireland, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this book. I’ve heard a few complaints about it, that it’s more talky and slow than previous books, but that’s okay by me. Between Star Wars and Marvel, I think I’ve had enough explosions and battles to last me several lifetimes, lol. This one focuses on the Padawans and younger Jedi, like Vernestra Rwoh, Reath Silas, and Imri Cantaros. I’m a big fan of Reath ever since Into the Dark by Claudia Gray. He’s a bookish type, more into research and scholarship than the whole Jedi adventuring thing, and I can relate to that, lol.

On Kindle, I’m still working on Freefall, about a young Poe Dameron, but it’s recently taken a back seat to a non-Star Wars book called I Was Anastasia, by Ariel Lawhon. For the past few years, my sister and niece and I have done a little book club together, on and off throughout the year, and after some time off, we just started up again. The book we chose was this one about Anna Anderson, the woman who had claimed to be Anastasia Romanov, the supposed only survivor of the slaughter of the Romanov family during the Russian Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the subject, and probably saw a movie or two back in the day about it, but I don’t quite remember all the details. I think it was fairly recently established that she was NOT Anastasia, but again, I’m not sure. Even if that’s true, people still want to believe, I think. It’s a tragic, sensational story, and people respond to that. It’s in novel form, so it’s “fiction,” but I’m sure the author has done her research. Really intriguing.

The Bad Batch penultimate Season One episode, “Return to Kaminoa,” is what I’ve been waiting for this show to do for a while now: go back to compelling story-telling. I won’t go into spoilers in case you haven’t seen it yet, but this Season Finale Part 1 is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what happens in Part 2.

On the Marvel front, I’m a few episodes into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Admittedly, I’m not as invested in this one, although I think the character of Bucky Barnes is interesting. And the return of Zemo is great. But after the quirkiness of Wandavison, and the sheer enjoyability of Loki, this one’s a bit dull, lol. But I’ll soldier through, and then rewatch Loki, of course. And then I’m done with the Marvel universe (unless I look around for Hulk and/or Spiderman movies, which I may or may not do). I may catch Black Widow in the theater next week. There’s a few Marvel movies coming out later this year, like The Eternals, but I have no idea what it’s about, lol, or if it’s connected at all with what I’ve been watching. Oh, and the Shang-Chi guy. I can’t keep track, lol. What I’m waiting for are the next Dr. Strange and Thor movies, and I think another Wakanda movie is coming out next year. So I’ll stay tuned.

That’s about it for entertainment. My family and I still haven’t done half the summer stuff we wanted to do this year yet, but next week is our 23rd wedding anniversary and I took the week off from work, so maybe we’ll get some fun stuff in. We’ve been talking about ziplining, so maybe we’ll actually get to that! I’ll let you know next week. See you then!

So You Wanna Be A Jedi?

If you’ve followed my blog, you know I’m a huge Jedi fan. I love anything Jedi-related: Jedi Knights, lightsabers, the Jedi Order, their philosophies and beliefs. I’m fascinated by them, and admire them to a certain degree.

If I lived in the Star Wars universe, I’d want to be a Jedi Knight. I bet a lot of fans would agree.

Well, what if I told you that you could be a Jedi in this world? It’s true! At least, when it comes to following the philosophies of the Jedi, and perhaps some lightsaber training. The Force? Good luck on that!

You may not be able to move objects with your mind (unless you’re supernaturally gifted), but you can become a part of Jedi activities here on earth:

School of Sabrefighting

Want to impress your friends and properly use that lightsaber replica you’ve been clumsily swinging around? Look no further than the School of Saberfighting. I’ve watched some of their Youtube videos of their performances, and they’re amazing! Not only do they perform choreographed duels inspired by Star Wars, they also give lessons to those who want to learn. (If I was at least 25 years younger, I’d consider it! It looks like hard work, but fun).

Here’s what they say on their About Page:

School of Saberfighting is one of the first teams in the world that specialises in public performance of duels inspired by Star Wars, and also provides training for those who wish to learn this form of stage fencing. Many of our trainees have won the highest stage fencing athletic titles in various Russian championships, and acted in fencing combat scenes in theatre and films. They also collaborated with a Combat Choreographer from Hollywood, and performed during the World Fencing Championship 2015.

Check this out:

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Temple of the Jedi Order

Is Jediism a real religion? Perhaps not legally, but there is a group called the Temple of the Jedi Order, and it’s recognized as a nonprofit entity. On their homepage at templeofthejediorder.org they describe themselves thus:

The Jedi here are real people that live or lived their lives according to the principles of Jediism, the real Jedi religion or philosophy. Jedi followers, ministers, and leaders embrace Jediism as a real living, breathing religion and sincerely believe in its teachings. Jediism does not base its focus on myth and fiction but on the real life issues and philosophies that are at the source of myth. Whether you want to become a Jedi, are a real Jedi looking for additional training or just interested in learning about and discussing The Force, we’re here for you.

Additionally, they list what the Jedi believe:

Jedi Believe

In the Force, and in the inherent worth of all life within it.

In the sanctity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

In a society governed by laws grounded in reason and compassion, not in fear or prejudice.

In a society that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or circumstances of birth such as gender, ethnicity and national origin.

In the ethic of reciprocity, and how moral concepts are not absolute but vary by culture, religion, and over time.

In the positive influence of spiritual growth and awareness on society.

In the importance of freedom of conscience and self-determination within religious, political and other structures.

In the separation of religion and government and the freedoms of speech, association, and expression.


– Temple of the Jedi Order –

They also have other doctrines, including the Jedi Code, which many of us are familiar with, as well as The Three Tenets (Focus, Knowledge, Wisdom), The Creed (adopted from the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi), The 16 Teachings, and the 21 Maxims. They insist that “real” Jedi do not worship George Lucas or Star Wars; but apply the tenets of Jediism to everyday life.

So there you have it–if you want to be a Jedi, it’s totally possible–if you’re willing to put in the hard work and discipline. The life of a Jedi is not an easy one and requires great sacrifice. Maybe that’s why I admire the Jedi in Star Wars so much–it’s a difficult path (just ask Obi-Wan).

So on second thought, maybe I’ll just continue to admire them from afar and remain at my desk typing away with my tea nearby. That’s my path, but there’s still opportunity to pursue it with discipline, integrity, and responsibility. A Jedi writing warrior–my pen is my lightsaber, my words are my Force abilities, lol.

What do you think of these organizations? Would you be a Jedi if given the chance? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Legends Lore: Jedi Guardians, Consulars, and Sentinels

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

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

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

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

Guardians

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

Subtypes of Guardians include:

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

Consulars

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

Subtypes of Consulars include:

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

Sentinels

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

Subtypes of Sentinels include:

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

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

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

Thanks goes to Wookiepedia for all this cool information!

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Like to read Star Wars? Check out my sister blog The Star Wars Reader. I regularly review Star Wars books, both Canon and Legends.

My Five Favorite Jedi

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

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

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

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

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

Liked this post? Hit the Like button, comment below, or Follow Star Wars: My Point of View.

Like to read Star Wars? Check out my sister blog The Star Wars Reader. I regularly review Star Wars books, both Legends and Canon.