My Entertainment Weekend Update

Happy weekend friends!

This week in books:

I’m still working through The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V. E. Schwab. It’s a big book, and I’m sinking my teeth into it and savoring every page. It’s a fascinating read about a woman who makes a bad deal for eternal life, but at the price of never being remembered. By anyone. Ever. How she makes it through life this way as she witnesses history is an amazing read.

Still working on The Outsiders, but it’s a small book and my daughter’s class is almost done. I won’t mention it again until I’ve actually finished it, lol.

I’m excited to report that I received the Star Wars book Ronin, by Emma Mieko Candon. It’s based on the Visions short The Duel, with the mysterious Ronin and his faithful straw-hatted droid by his side. I’ve only just finished the chapters that deal with what we see in the short, so from here on will be new material. I can’t wait to see what he’s all about.

This is a really cool cover.

I’ve also been reading The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry, a middle-grade Star Wars book about Luke Skywalker that takes place between A New Hope and Empire. This is also a short book, and I’m about halfway done. It deals with Luke on a mission for the Alliance, but he gets sidetracked into exploring a destroyed Jedi Temple on an Outer Rim planet. Fun. I don’t normally read middle-grade, but I wanted something short and sweet on the Kindle to read on break at work, lol (I hate dragging around big hardcovers).

In Marvel news: I’m saddened that there’s no more What If? episodes to watch. 😦 But, I did watch the movie Black Widow, which is now available to basic Disney+ subscribers like myself. It was good; I enjoyed it. I think it takes place between Avengers: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when Natasha is on the run and hiding from some government dude after the Sekovia Accords. I’ve only watched those movies once so far, so I’m a little fuzzy about the timeline and events, lol. I’ll have to do a rewatch.

It’s all about (dysfunctional) family.

Speaking of rewatches, every now and then I rewatch a favorite Marvel movie or show: this week it was Guardians of the Galaxy. Before my Marvel revelation and conversion, when I saw the previews for this movie when it came out I thought, “Boy, that looks so dumb.” Never in a million years did I think it would be one of my favorites! But it’s so fun, and the soundtrack helps a lot, too. I’m a sucker for 70s easy-listening, and my joy in it is validated in this movie, lol. But I love the characters (I never thought I’d love a gun-toting racoon so much), it’s hilarious, and ties in nicely with the upcoming Infinity War arc.

That’s really about it. The next big thing, I think, is the Hawkeye series premiering on November 24th, with two episodes. I’ve always been a Hawkeye fan, so I’m looking forward to this.

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

Star Wars Fan Art: Uzuri Art

I haven’t done a fan art post for awhile, and figured it was about time. I’m really digging Uzuri Art right now, what a fantastic artist! Check her out on uzuriart.com.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka. Luminous.
Obi-Wan (in the red Mandalorian armor, no less) and Satine. I adore this one!
Kanan Jarrus. Fantastic.
Omega. She has portraits of all the members of the Batch, based on the actor Temuera Morrison, as well as Rex.
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Master Skywalker.
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And since I’m so in love the show Loki, I couldn’t resist this one, lol.

What do you think of this artist’s work? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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!

A Star Wars Book Review Podcast: Heir to the Jedi

Here’s my latest podcast on Anchor:

Most Wanted, by Rae Carson The Star Wars Reader

I share my thoughts on the young adult novel Most Wanted, by Rae Carson. 
  1. Most Wanted, by Rae Carson
  2. Queen's Shadow, by E.K. Johnston
  3. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno
  4. Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne
  5. Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller

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?

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!

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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Star Wars Fan Art: Luke Skywalker

Here’s some more Star Wars fan art, this time centering around Luke Skywalker.

I tend to love pencil drawings and sketches, and this one of young Luke is great.

Sean Miller, artstation.com

This one reminds me of a Blade Runner Luke. So cool!

Star Wars reimagined - 9GAG
Cyberpunk Luke from Wallpaper Engine, wallpaperenginefree.com

Liam Brazier is a favorite of mine, I love how he uses color in a mosaic-kind of style.

Liam Brazier, inprnt.com

If you haven’t seen Jake Bartok’s Medieval Star Wars series, you’re missing out. They’re fantastic! I love how there’s a mysterious blue smoke around his hand, suggesting the Force.

Jake Bartok, twitter.com

Black-clad Luke is the simply the best. I absolutely love this image.

Alan Brooks, alangbrooks.com

Another wonderful sketch, capturing every line and emotion on older Luke’s face.

Akao Mayo, akaomayo.com

This one’s a bit freaky, but I like it. I remember his mechanical hand as being black, not silver, but who cares? It works here.

John Burns, artstation.com

Do you have any favorite images of Luke? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

Featured image at top from tatooineknights.tumblr.com.

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My Five Favorite Things About A New Hope

I’ve covered my five favorite things of each of the films of the prequel trilogy. Now it’s time to delve into the Original Trilogy, with A New Hope. Enjoy!

Favorite Scene

Luke with Obi-Wan. There are so many great scenes in this movie, but I really like this scene with Luke and Obi-Wan. It’s probably the moment Obi-Wan has been waiting 20 years for–the moment he can give Luke Anakin’s lightsaber and finally bring him into the larger story of the galaxy. They watch R2’s holo of Princess Leia (and I’m sure he recognizes her as Luke’s twin; possibly he feels that the old, ripped threads are starting to come together), tells him about Anakin’s “death”, and tries to recruit him to go to Alderaan with him. All of Obi-Wan’s patient exile hinges on this moment. But Luke still resists, worrying about his Uncle Owen yelling at him, his chores, the late hour…it’s only when Luke finds out his aunt and uncle are dead that he decides to go with Obi-Wan. In this particular scene, when Obi-Wan is telling Luke about Anakin, Sir Alec Guinness’ performance is uncanny, as if he knows the true story of Anakin Skywalker and how disturbing it is; of course, he doesn’t at this point, but it’s a testament to his superb and subtle acting skills that we imagine he does know. It’s such a great scene.

Favorite Duel

Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader. Unless you want to count Luke’s exercise with the remote, this is the only lightsaber battle in this movie. And though it’s considered a bit clunky by our standards, it’s the first time audiences actually saw a lightsaber battle, and it was pretty darn cool. What’s really compelling about this duel is how Obi-Wan uses it to distract the Imperials to allow Luke and his friends to escape from the Death Star; and the fact that he chooses to sacrifice himself in order to become more powerful than Vader can possibly imagine. We don’t really understand what he means by that; and we can also see that Vader himself is a bit uneasy about the whole thing, toeing Obi-Wan’s robes that had fluttered to the floor when he struck him. And where the heck did he go? The whole sequence is confounding and impressive and full of a strange pathos. Something amazing just happened, and we’re left reeling, confused and sad but also triumphant. Vader didn’t win the duel, even though he’s the one still alive. So much going on in that one moment. Fantastic.

Favorite Line

There’s so many great zingers in this movie, but I love this one:

Funniest Moment

Classic Han Solo:

Most Impactful Character

Luke Skywalker. This is Luke’s movie, from beginning to end, and rightly so. He’s the young hero, starting out on his adventure, the hero’s journey in which he will be challenged, meet friends and foes alike, and find out what he’s truly made of. He’s the wide-eyed farmboy who yearns and burns for something more, and we, the audience, can identify with that and instantly like and root for him. We see him realize he has a bigger destiny. He bonds with his mentor, learns about the Force (taking his “first steps into a larger world”), meets a smuggler and a Princess, and saves the day when he blows up the Death Star. It’s a classic coming of age story, one that resonates with all of us. The story of Luke Skywalker catapulted us into the amazing galaxy of Star Wars, and thank the Maker for it.

What are your favorite moments from A New Hope? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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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.