I’m continuing with my “Five favorite things” theme on all the films with Episode 2, Attack of theClones. You can check out my five favorites of The Phantom Menace here.
The Battle of Geonosis. This is the climax of the movie, when all the s**t hits the fan. For me, it really starts with Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme battling the beasties, and then the Jedi arrive led by Mace Windu. AND THEN Yoda arrives with the clones to mop things up. It’s really a great sequence of events, a lot of action, battles, and things blowing up. AND THEN, it all leads to…
Yoda vs. Dooku. Obi-Wan and Anakin get to duel Dooku first, but they fail spectacularly and quite quickly, with Anakin losing an arm and Obi-Wan getting a boo-boo on his leg. (I have this sneaky feeling that Dooku has a soft spot for Obi-Wan, as he’s his Padawan’s Padawn. Kind of like a grandson). But then Yoda arrives to fight HIS Padawan, and the battle really begins. This is the first time we’ve seen Yoda fight with a lightsaber, and it’s fantastic. He limps in with his walking stick, and then proceeds to jump and whirl and fight circles around Dooku. I think I laughed and clapped with delight the first time I saw this duel, it made me so happy. Dooku knew he was in trouble and had to distract Yoda by threatening Obi-Wan and Anakin, and then he made his escape. So cool.
“The day we stop believing democracy works is the day we lose it.” –Queen Jamilla of Naboo
Most Impactful Character
Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan simply rocks in this movie. He does some Jedi-CSI investigating to find Kamino and discovers the clone army, finds Jango, fights him, and follows him to Geonosis. Without all this, the Jedi never would have rooted out Dooku and his Separatist cronies. And the only way any of this occurred is because Obi-Wan “we’re not getting into an investigation” Kenobi dived out Padme’s window to follow the assassin droid.
In a lot of ways, I think Attack of the Clones, out of all the movies, is the most fun.
What are your favorite AOTC moments? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
I thought I’d go through all the Star Wars films and list a few of my favorite things about them, because why not? One a week, starting with Episode 1 all the way through 9, as well as Rogue One and Solo. Let’s start, shall we?
This isn’t a specific scene, but I loved how Padme Amidala disguised herself as one of her own handmaidens, and Sabe often was dressed as the Queen. It was smart, clever, and fooled almost everyone–I’m still up in the air as to whether the Jedi were fooled or not. They looked fairly surprised when Padme came forward and admitted to being the Queen when she spoke with Boss Nass, but I’ve seen others claim that they knew. What do you think?
This one’s pretty easy, because there’s only one duel of note in this film: Duel of the Fates, between Qui Gon, Obi-Wan, and Maul. It’s the first major lightsaber duel of the prequels, and it’s graceful, frenetic, and deadly in a way that the duels from the OT weren’t, like a dance. Maul’s double-bladed red lightsaber is awesome, and his moves are equally impressive. Qui Gon’s death at his hand is heartbreaking, as is the tender way Obi-Wan cradles him and promises to train Anakin right before he dies. Obi-Wan, by the way, proves he’s a master lightsaber duelist when he kills Maul, the first Sith the Jedi have encountered in a thousand years. Well, we thought he killed him, and so did Obi-Wan.
It’s also interesting to note that Dave Filoni himself pointed out that it’s called the Duel of the Fates because it’s Anakin’s fate that hangs in the balance with this duel. If Qui Gon had not been killed, would Anakin have eventually turned the Dark side? Perhaps not, as Qui Gon might have been the strong father figure that Anakin needed, whereas Obi-Wan was more of a brother or friend and inevitably failed in that role. And I’m not saying it’s all Obi-Wan’s fault Anakin turned; I think it’s obvious several factors were at work.
So it’s an important duel for that reason; not to mention the fact that Maul actually survives, and his injuries at the hand of Obi-Wan fuels his rage and his vendetta against him throughout much of Clone Wars and Rebels.
Jar Jar Binks is definitely the comedy relief in this movie, and I have to say that although I thought he was pretty silly when I first saw this back in the day, I’ve come to love the goofy guy. There’s an innocence to him that’s touching, and he does help the cause in many ways. I’d have to say the funniest moments are the ones during the Battle of Naboo, where he clumsily swings weapons around and actually does some damage. It’s not laugh-out-loud, certainly, but gets a little chuckle out of me.
Most Impactful Character
Qui Gon Jinn wins this category. He’s pretty much the dramatic center of the story, and he’s always been one of my favorite Jedi. But I’ve decided to make this category the most impactful character, and not necessarily my favorite. Qui Gon is impactful here because it’s he who discovers Anakin (for better or for worse), frees him from slavery, and brings him back to Coruscant. It’s Qui Gon who pleads for Obi-Wan to train Anakin as a Jedi. It’s Qui Gon who steadfastly believes that Anakin is the Chosen One. Basically, if it wasn’t for Qui Gon, there would be no Skywalker saga; there would be no Star Wars. That’s quite impactful.
So, if I was forced to rank the Star Wars movies (and I see a lot of people ranking them on fan sites), this one would probably be last, as it often is with a lot of fans. Poor Phantom Menace. But I hate ranking the films, as I do love all of them in their own way. It’s like ranking your children, or picking a favorite child. I find something to love in all the Star Wars movies, and TPM has a lot to love.
What are some of your favorites in The Phantom Menace? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
So a week ago, Disney announced its lineup of new Star Wars content coming out in the next few years, and I have to say that I was surprised, overwhelmed, and giddy with all the great stuff coming our way. I’ve chewed on all the information we got, and thought I’d post my reactions to the shows they announced.
Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is the one I’m most looking forward to, and honestly, if they dispensed with everything else and just gave us this one, I’d be happy (but I’m glad they’re not). And who wouldn’t be excited to learn that Hayden freaking Christensen is coming back to Star Wars for this show? Fireworks, stars exploding, and nuclear explosions–all at once–can’t describe how exciting that is. 2022 is SO far away, wah!
Andor. I loved Rogue One, and especially loved Diego Luna’s character of Cassian Andor. I’m sad that he died at the end of that movie (as they all did, of course) but at least we can see him again in this “spy-thriller” type of show. I liked how Rogue One showed the darker aspects of the Rebellion and the tough choices agents like Cassian had to make. I’m sure this show will feature more of that moral ambiguity.
Ahsoka. I’m very excited for this one, as I loved Ahsoka’s guest appearance in The Mandalorian. Naturally, we want more of her. And since she’s looking for Thrawn, it stands to reason we’ll see him, too. And maybe Ezra Bridger? Fingers crossed.
Rangers of the New Republic. I’m not as invested in this one, as pilots and X-wings and whatnot don’t necessarily hold my interest. I can see how some people would love it, though. And I’m presuming Cara Dune will feature in this show (maybe?), in which case I’ll be tuning in. And I’ve heard this one, Ahoska, and The Mandalorian will be crossing over at some point to culminate in one awesome finale. Sounds excellent.
The Acolyte. I’m very excited for the High Republic books that will be coming out next year, and as this show takes place towards the end of that era, I’m looking forward to this show. I believe it will be about some Dark Side powers that will be rising at this time (the Sith, I presume, working under the radar to rise once again). So while the books won’t have Sith in them, this show will show us what they’re up to, I’m guessing.
Lando. I loved both Landos–Billy Dee Williams in the OT and ROS, and Donald Glover in Solo. I’m guessing Glover will continue his role as Lando; and while I don’t necessarily NEED this show, I’ll probably tune in.
The Bad Batch. I thought the Bad Batch introduced in the last season of Clone Wars were interesting and different, a unique take on the clones that we never thought of. But that was about it; my interest ended there. So when I heard about a possible animated series starring the Bad Batch, I thought, meh. But now that I’ve seen the previews, and thought about what might be explored in the show, I’m all aboard for this one. I want to see how Order 66 affected them (if they have chips at all), and how they get on after the end of the Clone Wars and during the rise of the Empire. I’d love to see other clones, too, and what happens to them after Order 66. There’s a lot to explore here, and it could be really awesome.
Rogue Squadron. As I said above, I don’t get too excited about pilots and X-wings and all, so when they announced that the next movie coming out in 2023 would be about Rogue Squadron, I was a bit disappointed. I am, however, thrilled that a woman (Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman) is FINALLY directing a Star Wars movie. I’ll definitely go see it, and who knows? I’ll probably love it.
Visions. This seems to be a series of Star Wars anime shorts. If you love anime and Star Wars, it’s a match made in heaven. I’m more “meh,” about it, but again, who knows? I’m willing to be surprised, and am predisposed to love Star Wars in any form.
A Droid Story. This seems to be an animated series geared toward younger viewers, and concerns a new droid that is guided by C3PO and R2D2. Not at the top of my list, but it could be fun.
And of course, there will be the third season of The Mandalorian around Christmas of next year. I’m wondering how many seasons we’ll actually get, and what direction it will go in, but I’ve loved everything about it so far, so I really don’t care, to be honest! I just want more Mando and Baby, together forever, maybe taking back Mandalore with Bo-Katan. I can’t wait to see where it’s going to go.
I can’t believe we’ve got all this Star Wars content coming out, it’s just so surreal and amazing at the same time. I never would have guessed, back in 1983 when I was 12 years old, that I’d be swooning over so much Star Wars 35 years later. Life is definitely a strange and wondrous thing!
What shows are you looking forward to? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’ve profiled several prominent women in the world of Star Wars films, including Leia Organa, Padme Amidala, Jyn Erso, Rey, and Q’ira. It’s been awhile since the last post on this subject, but I was busy watching Clone Wars and Rebels; now I have several more inspiring women to write about, including Satine Kryze, from Clone Wars.
Satine Kryze is the Duchess of Mandalore during the Clone Wars time period. She is the leader of a group of star systems that don’t wish to get involved in the Clone Wars, on either the Republic or Separatist sides. Satine is a staunch pacifist, which is a bit bewildering as it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mandalorians. (Think of Djar Dinn in The Mandalorian: “I’m a Mandalorian. Weapons are my religion.”)
The Mandalorians are traditionally a warring culture, filled with warriors obsessed with weapons and combat. It’s this obsession with war that caused Satine to do a complete about-face and try to change the Mandalorian way into nonviolence.
I don’t claim to know or understand all of Mandalorian history, but what I do know is that during a particularly violent time in their history, a young Satine had to be protected by Jedi Knights: Qui Gon Jinn and his young apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. They spent a year protecting the young Duchess, and it was during this time that Satine and Obi-Wan fell in love.
When the violence was over, Satine’s world had been decimated, and her experience caused her to become a pacifist, determined to turn Mandalore into a nonviolent world. Despite their feelings for each other, Obi-Wan and Satine parted ways, he to continue his Jedi training and she to rebuild her shattered world. This is all backstory, only told through dialogue between Obi-Wan and Anakin in “Voyage of Temptation”, Season 2. (And I would dearly love a novel or comic concerning this story. Why hasn’t anyone written one yet????).
It’s also during this episode that Obi-Wan and Satine bicker constantly and argue about the merits of pacifism. I truly believe Obi-Wan understands Satine’s decisions and admires her for it, but his feelings for her causes him to worry about her safety. He thinks Mandalore should join the Republic and defend itself against the Separatists. Satine will have none of it. She knows herself and her mind, and stands firm in her ideals. It’s clear to me that she thinks Obi-Wan, and the Jedi in general, betrayed their own ideals by getting involved in the Clone Wars to the extent they have. “I remember a time when the Jedi were not generals, but peace-keepers,” she says to them.
Their bickering is also a symptom of their unresolved feelings for one another. In that same episode, when Satine believes she’ll never see Obi-Wan again, she confesses her love for him. When pressed (and one must press Obi-Wan when it comes to his feelings), he admits that, “If you had said the word, I would have left the Jedi Order.” In typical Obi-Wan fashion, he tells her he loves her too, without, you know, actually saying “I love you too.” But it’s enough. In the third episode of the arc, she appeals to the Galactic Senate not to intervene in her world in the name of the war, and with Obi-Wan’s help, she succeeds.
In Season 3, Padme helps Satine uncover corruption on Mandalore, but Obi-Wan doesn’t see her again until Season 5. In “The Lawless”, Satine has been imprisoned by Maul, who has taken over Mandalore with the help of Death Watch. Obi-Wan, without the Council’s blessing, returns to Mandalore to help her.
He frees her, but they’re caught by Maul. Maul uses Satine as a tool for revenge, impaling her on the Dark Saber simply to cause Obi-Wan pain. Before she dies, she tells Obi-Wan “I have loved you always. And I always will.”
I love the character of Satine, not only because she’s the love interest of Obi-Wan, but because she’s a three-dimensional character in her own right. She’s a ruler who managed to change a violent world into a peaceful one–for a time, anyway. She stood by her ideals, some might say stubbornly, when it seemed foolish to do so; even when the man she loved urged her to do differently. She was a ruler who tried to stay above the fray of politics and follow her ideals. Perhaps it was naive, but I admire that.
As Anakin tells Obi-Wan in Season 2, “She’s an extraordinary woman.”
I’m in the middle of an Obi-Wan Kenobi obsession right now, so here’s a fan art tribute (I don’t own any of it; all rights belong to the individual artists):
I love how this one focuses on the love of the master, and the grief of the apprentice.
Obi-Wan in his prime during the Clone Wars. I love the pensiveness here.
Satine looking at Obi-Wan with joy and love; Obi-Wan looking weary, of being a General and of war, and perhaps regretting what could have been. “Had you said the word, I would have left the Jedi Order.”
Obi-Wan alone in the desert fills me with deep sadness. I can’t imagine his loneliness and grief. But Tatooine’s desert was a crucible that burned away everything extraneous, and left wisdom and compassion.
That compassion is shown here after he kills Maul, the creature that killed his Master and the woman he loved.
I love this character in all his phases; to me, he’s a great Jedi, and a wise human being.
These artists are amazing! If you like what you see, go to their sites to see more and show your love!
Maybe it’s because I’m excited about the upcoming Kenobi series on Disney+ (although we have to wait until 2022); or maybe it’s because, after 20 years, I’m starting to warm to the prequels. Whatever the reason, I’m really starting to love the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
So in my Star Wars book perusal, I knew I had to read this one. It takes place right after Revenge of the Sith, when Obi-Wan delivers baby Luke to the Lars’ on Tattoine, with the intention of starting his long watch over the boy.
Beyond that, there isn’t much of Luke or Owen and Beru Lars; instead, we get Obi-Wan getting involved in some local drama between moisture farmers and Tusken Raiders. It sounds a bit dull, and it did take a while to get going. But Miller was laying the groundwork for a superb story, in my opinion.
The novel isn’t told from Obi-Wan’s point of view. Rather, we see him as the strange newcomer in the eyes of the locals. After all, we already know who he is and why he’s there, but they don’t. Like any isolated, small community, they’re all over “Ben,” peppering him with questions that he expertly evades, which only makes him more mysterious.
One of the point of view characters is Annileen Calwell, a widow with two teenage children. She runs her late husband’s store, Danner’s Claim; she’s a feisty, capable woman who takes an interest in the new arrival. She runs the store in honor of her late husband, Danner, but once upon a time she dreamed of something more.
Another POV character is Orrin Gault, a moisture farmer and entrepreneur, and a family friend of the Calwells. Orrin has created a defense system called the Settler’s Call, a kind of alarm and rescue organization to help any settlers attacked by the Tusken Raiders. But Orrin has secrets, and he’s willing to do whatever he has to in order to protect them.
The third POV character is a leader of one of the Tusken clans (or “Sand People”, as the locals call them) named A’Yark. It was interesting to get into the mind of one of these beings who I never really thought about before. Through A’Yark, we get a sense of their culture, how they think, and why they do the things they do. A’Yark becomes a principal player in the story thread that is expertly woven by Miller, and I was drawn in completely.
We do get to hear Obi-Wan’s voice in the form of occasional “Meditations” at the end of chapters, where he “speaks” to Qui Gon Jinn, his former master. If you recall, at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda had told Obi-Wan that he would tell him how to contact the Force Ghost of Qui Gon. These meditations are Obi-Wan’s attempts at just that, but Qui Gon never answers. Obi-Wan speaks to him anyway, telling him what’s happened to him since his arrival, and his failure at trying to remain obscure.
Notably, he’s still upset about what happened with Anakin, and obsesses about how he might have prevented Anakin’s fall. But being Obi-Wan, he doesn’t allow himself to wallow too long. He finds himself in the center of a conflict between the settlers and the Tuskens, and applies his Jedi skills (discreetly, of course) to navigate the fallout.
“Kenobi” is labelled as “Legends” rather than the new canon, but no matter. I don’t think it changes or contradicts anything that has come before or may come in the future; it can simply be seen as one of Ben Kenobi’s adventures during his long tenure on Tattoine.
I loved this book; I loved its parallels to a Clint Eastwood kind of spaghetti western; I just love Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you do, too, I recommend this book highly.
Like any Star Wars fan, I love a good lightsaber duel, and there’s plenty to choose from over the course of nine films. The ones I like the best have the most emotional heft where the stakes are high, rather than flash and dazzle (though that’s fun, too). Here are my top five faves:
5. Kylo and Rey on the Death Star Wreckage (TROS)
This duel is visually stunning, with the waves of water pouring down on them as they battle it out. I like how the water may be seen to symbolize a sort of baptism for Kylo/Ben, as at the end of the battle, Kylo is washed away so Ben can emerge. The lack of score through a lot of this fight also intensifies the battle, as if any kind of music would be too distracting to the physical and psychic battle going on.
4. Throne Room battle with Kylo and Rey (TLJ)
This battle is emotionally satisfying because we see Kylo and Rey working together against a common enemy–Snoke’s personal guards. It’s a spectacularly choreographed fight scene (it took six months to train for and shoot), and has a bit of flash and dazzle that awes the viewer. We see in this battle what Kylo and Rey could be together and are left wanting more–which makes his refusal to help the Resistance Fleet and her refusal to join him all the more painful.
3. Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar (ROTS)
The prequel series has a lot of great lightsaber duels–the Jedi at the height of their powers is a sight to see. They look like dancers flitting across the battlefield, graceful and nimble and fleet. But watching them fight the bad guys isn’t particularly interesting to me on an emotional level.
The exception to this prequel prejudice is the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar. This is the battle we’ve been waiting for– Anakin’s final fall into his transformation into Darth Vader. The anguish in the two men is palpable: Anakin’s rage, and Obi-Wan’s sorrow at losing his friend to the Dark Side. To see the particulars of Anakin’s physical and emotional pain is disturbing.
2. Vader and Luke on the second Death Star (ROTJ)
Luke’s confrontation with his father, in the presence of the Emperor, is harrowing. The stakes, of course, are extremely high here; not only in the fate of the Rebellion, but Luke’s life and his very soul. There is a point where he gives in to his rage and hacks away at Vader, a glint of dark in his eyes. Looking down at his beaten father, he realizes the path he is treading, and throws down his lightsaber while standing up to the Emperor. This is where the strength of Luke’s character shines through. And of course this battle leads to Vader redeeming himself by saving his son from the Emperor. It’s satisfying in every way.
1. Luke and Vader on Cloud City (TESB)
I chose this battle as #1 for a few reasons. First, it leads to the greatest revelation in all of moviedom: Vader tells Luke he is his father. BAM what!?
Second, it’s the first time the untested Luke confronts Vader, wanting to take revenge on the man who he believes killed his father. But Luke, though capable with a lightsaber, is nowhere near ready for this battle. His innocence and naivete is quite literally chipped away until there’s nowhere left to turn: here we first get a glimpse of Luke’s commitment to the Light, as he chooses to fall to his death rather than join his father in the Dark Side. This is a critical turning point for Luke, leading to the sober, black-clad Jedi we see in Return of the Jedi. Here, Luke grows up.
Third, from a physical standpoint, this duel is a bit of cat and mouse, with Luke escaping and being found again, escaping and being found. It’s ominous, we’re on the edge of our seats on first viewing because we don’t know when the bad guy is gonna jump out at us. This is a great litmus test for battles and duels: what can surprise and startle us.
Kylo and Rey on Starkiller Base (TFA)
This is the first time the two have met in battle, and Rey is just beginning to understand what she is capable of. The moment Anakin’s lightsaber flies to her instead of to Kylo is an important moment. Kylo is injured and an emotional wreck, as he just killed his father and is dealing with the reality of that, and so Rey is able to best him here.
Ben Solo against the Knights of Ren on Exegol (TROS)
This is a fantastic short battle, with the newly emerged Ben Solo fighting off the Knights of Ren after Rey force-hands him Anakin’s lightsaber. It’s fascinating in that he fights in a completely different manner than Kylo Ren, who used brute strength and intimidation in his duels. Ben Solo seems to be lifted of a heavy burden here, and infused with Light; he fights more like a prequel Jedi Knight, with speed and agility. After demanding Anakin’s lightsaber throughout the series, here he finally earns it.
Luke and Kylo Ren on Crait (TLJ).
Though technically not a proper battle, as Luke isn’t even really there, this is an emotionally relevant confrontation between a master and his former fallen student. Luke is using it as a ruse to buy time for the Resistance to escape, but it also gives him some sort of closure on his failure of Ben Solo. It only enrages Kylo, but Luke can now fade into the Force knowing he did what he could and giving these last words of wisdom to Kylo: “See you around, kid.”
So what do you think? Do agree with my list? Or did I miss an obviously important and/or awesome duel? Post your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll talk about it!