My Five Favorite Things About The Last Jedi

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

Favorite Scene

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

Favorite Duel

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

Favorite Line

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

Funniest Moment

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

Most Impactful Character

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

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

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My Five Favorite Things About 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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The Mandalorian: Chapter 16–The Rescue

Mandalorian Spoilers Ahead!!!

We finally made it to the Mandalorian finale, and it’s taken me a few days to recover and get my thoughts together, lol. This is a long one, sorry, but it can’t be helped!

I was so nervous going into this episode: would Grogu be rescued? How is Din’s team going to do it? Will he battle Moff Gideon? Will anyone die? Will we see the Jedi? And if so, who would it be? I was squirming with questions and anxiety, but I took a deep breath, sipped my tea, and just took it all in.

I was happy to see Din pick up Bo-Katan and her sidekick, Koska; now the team is complete. All the players are assembled, each with their own agenda and goals: Din, of course, just wants Grogu; Bo-Katan wants Moff Gideon dead and her Dark Saber back; Cara Dune wants to help Din get Grogu, and possibly capture Gideon so the New Republic can get some Imperial intel. Boba and Fennec are just there to fulfill their obligation to Din.

Everyone has their own motives, and there’s not a lot of love lost between Bo-Katan and Boba Fett. There’s some initial squabbling between the Mandalorians and Boba at first: Bo-Katan recognizes his voice as belonging to a clone (she’s met plenty of them during the Clone Wars) and says he disgraces his armor. Boba bites back, calling her “Princess” and again defending his right to the armor; he and Koska even wrangle a bit until Bo-Katan tells them to knock it off.

SPOILERS: 'The Mandalorian' Chapter 16 Recap – Where Does The Show Go Now?  – THE RONIN
The meeting of the Mandalorians.

All of this just reinforces the idea to Din that there are more ways than one to be a Mandalorian; in fact, it’s kind of up in the air as to what, exactly, makes one a Mandalorian. Is it the armor? The creed? Being born on Mandalore? It’s a big Mandalorian mess. And we’re still left wondering: IS Boba Fett a Mandalorian? His father was a foundling, like Din; so Boba has a right to the armor through lineage, but he didn’t grow up in the culture. Like everything else with Mandalorians, it’s confusing and contentious.

Anyway, off they go and capture Dr. Pershing, who is on an Imperial shuttle traveling–well, who knows where, maybe just being escorted back to Gideons’ ship. There’s an interesting exchange between one of the Imperials flying the shuttle, who is using Pershing as a human shield, and Cara Dune, who has her weapon trained on him, along with Din. He taunts Cara; he recognizes her as from Alderaan, and tells her he was on the Death Star when they blew up the planet. He states that millions of people were killed on those space stations when they were blown up by the Rebellion, and that Alderaan was worth it to stop terrorists. We’re not used to looking at the Rebels or the Resistance as terrorists (although the idea is explored more in the books) and it makes us a little uncomfortable. We know they’re the “good guys”, and of course they were right to blow them up. But again, “from a certain point of view,” they’re the bad guys. And in real life, it’s not always so crystal clear as in the movies or TV shows.

Anyway, Cara’s having none of it and she shoots him in the head, leaving poor Pershing nearly deaf. They get information from him about the layout of Gideons’s ship and make a plan: the team will create a distraction and head for the bridge while Din goes to find Grogu in the brig, taking into account the dreaded Dark Troopers, who need time to power up.

Boba pretends to be firing at the shuttle and Bo-Katan flies them into the TIE fighter launching bay; once that’s done, Boba jumps into hyperspace and we don’t see him until later (after the credits, as it turns out). The ladies plow through the ship, killing every stormtrooper in their path (I just love these 40ish women kicking ass), while Din heads for Grogu. He doesn’t quite get there before the Dark Troopers power up and start to come out. He manages to close the door, but one gets out, and he nearly gets killed fighting this thing. He manages to rip one apart with the beskar spear, and then flushes the rest of them out into space.

The Mandalorian Season Two Finale Review: “Chapter 16 – The Rescue” –  Mynock Manor
Don’t trust this guy.

Meanwhile, the team have made it to the bridge and kill everyone there, but Gideon is not there. Turns out, he’s anticipated their moves and is in the brig with Grogu, holding the Dark Saber over Baby (in his little baby manacles). He looks tired, because Gideon has taken a lot of his blood. Gideon tells Din about the Dark Saber, that it’s what Bo-Katan wants, and Din says, “Keep it. I just want the kid.” Gideon pretty much replies that he can take him and go, since he got what he wanted out of him; I can’t believe Din believed him and turned his back on him. The man’s a treacherous jerk. And of course, he attacks Din with the Dark Saber and we get the confrontation I knew was coming.

Gideon’s not bad with the Dark Saber, but Din is still better, even with just a beskar spear. He knocks the saber out of Gideon’s hand and bests him, but he doesn’t kill him. He cuffs him and brings him to the bridge, holding Grogu–and the Dark Saber. This is where things get interesting, as Bo-Katan looks with bewilderment as they enter. She made it perfectly clear that Gideon was HERS to defeat; and here was Din herding him onto the bridge as his prisoner.

THE MANDALORIAN Season 2 Finale Recap - The Beat
I foresee problems.

Gideon takes advantage of this, goading them both with the fact that Din can’t just hand over the saber to Bo-Katan. Din owns it now, since he won it in battle. And if Bo-Katan wants it, she must win it from Din in battle, as well. Din tries to simply give it to her–he doesn’t have any interest in fighting her for it–but Bo-Katan hesitates and says that Gideon is right.

So time out here–I think many of us who watched Rebels were wondering WHY she couldn’t just take it. Because Sabine had simply handed it over to her, and Bo-Katan accepted it. So why can’t she do that now? Are they suddenly changing the rules? Well, I don’t think so. Obviously Dave Filoni and John Favreau are aware of what happened in Rebels, so they wouldn’t have arbitrarily changed the rules. They know what they’re doing. And so, trusting in that, I think that Bo-Katan probably feels that, since she lost the Dark Saber and Mandalore along with it, she CAN’T simply take it yet again. She MUST fight for it, she MUST earn it back, or she may be considered a pretender to the throne of Mandalore. She must earn the Mandalorians’ respect and loyalty. That’s my take on it anyway. So even though Din tries to give it back to her, he’s stuck with the stupid thing.

But before she can do anything, the Dark Troopers return. They fly now, remember? And they march toward the bridge, and start pounding on the blast doors. And they can’t do anything except watch and wait for them to crash through that door. Gideon is again annoyingly arrogant, telling them only he and the Child will survive. He also shoots Bo-Katan with a blaster he’d hidden under his cloak on the floor, but I believe she survived. The others point their weapons at him, and he decides to kill himself, but Cara Dune knocks the blaster out of his hands and knocks him out.

The Mandalorian Resorts to a Deus Ex Machina to Stick the Landing in 'The  Rescue'
Luke Skywalker!!!!!!!

This is when the lone X-Wing appears, and my heart skipped a beat. One X-Wing. I can’t imagine it’s Trapper Wolf or that other guy, what’s his name. Can it be? Can it really be? They watch on the monitors as a Jedi floats down the hallways, his robes swishing, and engages the Dark Troopers. A green lightsaber flares. A GREEN lightsaber. A black-gloved right hand. OH MY GOD, it is! It’s Luke freaking Skywalker! My fingers dug into my poor husband’s arm.

He makes quick work of the troopers, and Din lets him in. The hood comes off, and there’s young Luke. It’s a CGI Luke, and as such there’s something a little off about him, but who cares? Din asks kind of a silly question: “Are you a Jedi?” Since he’s seen Ahsoka in action, can there be any doubt? But Luke simply says yes. He reaches out for Grogu. Din says he doesn’t want to go with him, but Luke corrects him: He wants Din’s permission to go.

So there’s the whole goodbye scene with Din and Grogu, and Din takes his helmet off in front of everyone so Grogu can see his face and even touch it. It’s painful for Din, for Grogu, for everyone watching. I love it when R2D2 rolls in and has a little conversation with Grogu, and Baby’s ears perk up a little bit. Then Luke leaves with Grogu, and that’s it. He’s gone.

The Mandalorian S2E8 “Chapter 16: The Rescue” | 25YL
Din shows his child his face.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful season-ender. And now everyone’s up in arms about what’s going to happen to little Grogu, is Kylo going to kill him at Luke’s Jedi Academy in 25 years? I don’t think so, and here’s why: at first I thought Din would give Grogu his little silver ball as a goodbye token. But he didn’t. Maybe he forgot in the heat of emotion. But that just proves to me that he WILL see Grogu again, and give him his little ball. I’m guessing Grogu will stay with Luke as long as he needs, to learn how to control his abilities, and then he will return to Din. How long will this take? Who knows. Five years? Ten? Twenty? But I think he’ll be gone by the time hell breaks loose with Kylo. At least, I have to believe this, or my heart will utterly break into a thousand pieces.

There’s also questions about Season Three. I’m assuming Grogu will be gone, so where do they go from here? Well, there’s the whole Mandalore question. Will Din help Bo-Katan take it back? Will Bo-Katan fight Din for the Dark Saber? I think those are the questions next season will address, and perhaps lead up to the big crossover between it and the new shows, Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic. Thrawn? Lots of possibilities here.

Of course, on my first watch, I missed the Boba Fett scene at the end of the credits. We usually watch the concept art during the credits, and then shut it off when they’re done. This one had no concept art, so it got shut off sooner than usual. I had to find out about the scene on social media, naturally, and I watched on my second viewing. It was intriguing. Not sure I’m too excited about it yet. If it also crosses over with The Mandalorian, I’m sure I’ll tune in.

So if you’re still with me at this point, I’m impressed! I don’t usually ramble on this long, but there was so much to unpack and comment on. It’s the finale, after all. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought of the show in the comments below!

Grogu and Luke || The Mandalorian || Chapter 16: The Rescue - The  Mandalorian Fan Art (43696143) - Fanpop
Bye-Bye, Baby

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My Five Favorite Jedi

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

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

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

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

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

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It’s Pilot Appreciation Day!

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

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

Anakin Skywalker

He destroyed the first Death Star. Without his computer.

Luke Skywalker

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

Wedge Antilles

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

Han Solo

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

Poe Dameron

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

Kylo Ren

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

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Saturday Survey: Pilot Poll

3 Reasons why Anakin Skywalker is necessary to The Rise of Skywalker plot | Inverse
The best starfighter in the galaxy…
Rebel Pilot
He destroyed the First Death Star
J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII: Title TBD hits theaters during the Christmas season next year and, with more and more teases for the film being released on the Internet, fans of the original trilogy are hoping that the light side of the Force guides Abrams’ hand as he crafts the next chapter of the […]
He made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs
Like father like son
You got: Poe Dameron You’re probably a good, dependable person with a heroic spirit. I mean, look at this guy – he’s flying an X-Wing and has a great chin. That’s the chin of a hero, my friend.
Ace fighter pilot of the Resistance

I like Han Solo. Not only did he make that Kessel Run, but he got out of that asteroid field in Empire. But for someone who can barely drive a car, it’s hard to choose. They’re all great.

If there’s someone not on the list, put them in the comments below!