Five Star Wars Moments That Give Me Joy

My last two list-type posts–about sacrifice in Star Wars and Order 66-were definitely on the sad side, so I thought I’d write a post listing the moments in Star Wars that give me joy. Star Wars can hurt sometimes (okay, a lot), but let’s face it, we also love it because it’s fun, hopeful, humorous, or just heart-warming in general.

The big victories of the good guys (Triump of Good over Evil) are certainly joyous–the destruction of the two Death Stars and Starkiller Base, the defeat (twice) of Palpatine, etc. are all excellent examples of this. But I wanted to look deeper and point out the smaller, maybe quieter moments and themes that make me stop and think, yeah, this is why I watch. Again, no books or comics, just movies, shows, and animation to simplify it. There’s actually a lot, so I limited myself to five joyous moments or situations in Star Wars (in no particular order):

Not a dry eye in the house with this scene.

The relationship between Din and Grogu (Found family). These two are just a sweet pair. Grogu is initially just a job for Din, but after he delivers the “asset” he changes his mind and goes back to save him. That moment is so satisfying, when he gets on his ship and fingers the little round silver ball the child likes to play with. Nope, he thinks, and goes back with guns blazing. Din knows what it’s like to be an orphan in a dangerous galaxy; he had the Children of the Watch to adopt him and become his found family. He decides he will be the one to look after this child.

I love this scene so much.

Rey/Finn/Poe friendship (Found Family, Friendship). I love that these three are all just good friends; there’s no need for romance between any of them. Sure, there’s plenty of shipping that goes on (Rey and Finn, Rey and Poe, Finn and Poe, etc), and I do have my own opinion on that, but for now they’re all just friends and I like that. All three trilogies had their two men and one woman formula, with a romance thrown in there somewhere. And while I like a good romance, sometimes it’s just not needed.

Yee-haw! Let’s blow this thing and go home.

Anytime Han does something selfless (Being A Better Person). Han worked hard from the very beginning to convince everyone around him (and us) that he was a scoundrel. But we knew better. There’s a heart in there, whether he likes it or not. When he and Chewie come back to help Luke destroy the Death Star, we cheer. We know he’s that kind of guy. When he falls for Leia, when he joins the Rebellion, when he confronts his deeply troubled son to try to connect with him again (and dies for it)–this is why we love him. Even in Solo: A Star Wars Story, when a young Han is desperately trying to build his scoundrelly image, he gives the coaxium to Enfys Nest for her cause. He doesn’t join her, but he gives up a lot of valuable assets, because he knows it’s the right thing to do. We need more scoundrels like him in our lives.

Ezra and a Lothwolf. Kanan also communed with the lothwolf, and those scary spiders!

Anytime Ezra (or any Jedi) communes with an animal through the Force (Compassion). The Jedi are a big part of what I love about Star Wars (the Jedi at their best, that is). Their compassion for all life forms, especially animals, just grabs my heart. We see examples of this with several Jedi, but Ezra in particular seems to have an affinity with them. Lothcats, lothwolves, purgill, an assortment of scary beasts–he connects with them with the Force and can communicate with them at a certain level, getting him and his friends out of some sticky situations. Ezra and other Jedi view the animals as living beings in the galaxy who deserve respect and compassion.

Senator Chuchi, Howser, and Echo. I love how Senator Chuchi is trying to give the clones a voice in the Senate, and just generally help them.

Rex and Echo helping their Clone brothers (Family, Loyalty). The Bad Batch has been focusing on the Clones after Order 66 and what their fate will ultimately be. Clone Force 99 themselves have had to reassess what their purpose is, but clones like Rex, and lately Echo, have felt the call to help their brothers in this new, cruel Empire. Many clones come to realize the wrongness of Order 66 and go AWOL, many are facing decommission in the face of the stormtrooper program, and others are being arrested for “insurrection” and brought to Mt. Tantiss for Dr. Hemlock’s nefarious experiments. When Hunter asks Echo what the point of fighting the Empire is when they can’t win, Echo replies, “It’s not about winning. It’s about helping our brothers.” Well said, Echo.

These are more like situations and themes than single moments, but you get the idea. These are the things that warm my heart, give me joy, and keep me invested in Star Wars. Along with a lot of other things, like awesome lightsaber duels, thrilling space battles, aliens, larger-than-life heroes and villains, and everything else that defines Star Wars.

What do you love about Star Wars? What part of it gives you joy? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Ranking the Order 66 Scenes in Star Wars

I was thinking the other day how, naturally, the Star Wars stories we get overlap quite a bit, and we see certain events from different perspectives. One big one is Order 66, and we have to relive the pain of the end of the Jedi Order over and over again, lol. What hurts the most is how the younglings and Padawans suffered, and in the instances below I’ve focused on how Order 66 affected them.

Again, I haven’t included any instances in books or comics, just live-action and animation. I’ve ranked them according to how sad it made me feel, or how much the youngling or Padawan suffered (and they all do). It was hard, but this is what I came up with, with the saddest at the top.

The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars ended on Order 66, viewed through the eyes of Ahsoka and Rex. They’re on their way back from Mandalore with Maul in tow when the Order is given. Rex manages to resist it just long enough to give Ahsoka a chance, but then succumbs to the programming. Ahsoka manages to get her hands on Rex and remove the chip, and they both fight their way off the ship as it crash lands. This last haunting scene of Ahsoka shows her grief and her love and respect for the clones who served at her side for so long. It shows how the clones were victims of Palpatine as well; and Ahsoka’s refusal to kill them, Rex’s tears, and the clone graves makes it one of the hardest, saddest scenes in all of Star Wars. The entire episode is amazing.

Obi-Wan Kenobi. This series kicks off with Order 66, showing a group of younglings running for their lives in the Temple. It’s revisited later in the show, as we find out that one of the younglings was Reva. This one was so hard because it actually shows Anakin killing a child, thrusting his lightsaber into her middle, something Revenge of the Sith didn’t do years earlier. It’s shocking and horrible. And then later, to see that youngling floating in the tank in the Fortress Inquisitorious–wow.

Revenge of the Sith. This movie is, of course, our first experience with Order 66, and seeing the clones turn on the adult Jedi is awful, but when we see Anakin turning on his lightsaber with these poor babies, it’s sickening. We don’t even see them die; we don’t have to. Just knowing Anakin kills children is sobering and shocking. Despite this particular scene becoming a meme for (uncomfortable) laughs over the years doesn’t take away from its horror. I still get a little tear in my eye when that sweet boy asks Anakin what they should do, and he answers with death.

The Mandalorian. We get part of Grogu’s memory of Order 66 in The Book of Boba Fett, as well, and we’re left wondering who saved him. We get that answer in The Mandalorian with Jedi Master Kelleran Beq. I don’t think this story is over yet, and it may get even sadder as we find out Kelleran’s ultimate fate; but seeing our sweet baby (even babier here) so scared and helpless rips my heart out.

Jedi: Fallen Order. I’m not a gamer, as I’ve stated many times before, but I’m familiar with Cal Kestis and his story. I got to know him even better in the novel Battle Scars, so his experience of Order 66 is still moving for me. Watching your master be attacked and killed by the clones you served with, and were probably friends with, is terrible for anyone, never mind a kid. He survives and goes on to fight the Empire, but Order 66 will always haunt him.

The Bad Batch. In the Season 1 opener of The Bad Batch, we start right off with Order 66. Jedi Master Depa Billaba is fighting Separatist battle droids when her young Padawan Caleb Dume brings in the Batch for reinforcements. Order 66 occurs during the battle, and Caleb witnesses his Master killed by the clones. The Batch, mostly immune to Order 66, don’t know what’s going on and try to help Caleb, but he only sees clones and runs. Crosshair doesn’t help the situation, as he is the only one of the Batch that reacts to the Order and tries to kill Caleb. Hunter allows him to run away and lies to Crosshair and the other clones about it. We know Caleb eventually grows up to be Kanan Jarrus and fights the Empire with his Ghost crew.

I think that’s it with live-action and animation, but please let me know if I’m missing an obvious one. Between this post and my last one about sacrifice, I seem to be on a theme of “How Star Wars makes me sad,” lol. And it does, but there are uplifting and funny moments, too, of course. Maybe I’ll try to cover that next time!

Which Order 66 scene affected you the most? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Sacrifice in Star Wars

One of the main themes played out in Star Wars is sacrifice, which is often tied to redemption, but not always. Saw Gerrera pays a lot of lip service to “sacrificing for the greater good,” but we rarely see him put that idea into practice himself. But there are other, far more noble characters who do (Can you tell he’s not my favorite person right now? Lol.) With the recent sacrifices made by characters in both The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch, I thought I’d explore characters in Star Wars who truly sacrificed themselves for the greater good.

For the purposes of this post, “sacrifice” denotes a character making a clear decision to give their lives for a higher purpose, as opposed to those “making the ultimate sacrifice” in war, like the clones, for example, or just regular soldiers dying in war (and I’m sure there are examples of soldiers making a clear decision to die to save their comrades, as well). I’m also not including any from books or comics, just to make it simpler.

Anyway, these are the main characters off the top of my head, though I’m sure there are more:

Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope

The sacrifice: Obi-Wan allows Darth Vader to cut him down in a lightsaber battle on the first Death Star.

Obi-Wan clearly stops fighting, raises his lightsaber and steps back, giving Vader the opening to strike him down. This was mostly to allow Luke and his friends to escape. From a story standpoint, Obi-Wan was the wise mentor that had to be removed from the equation to allow Luke to overcome obstacles on his own. And perhaps Obi-Wan felt it appropriate for his “failure” with Anakin, though he had long accepted and let go of Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Plus, he knew he would become a cool Force ghost, and perhaps help Luke better that way.

Pain scale: 5 out of 10. When I first entered the Star Wars universe, I saw The Empire Strikes Back first, so Obi-Wan was already a ghost. When I went back and watched ANH, the death scene was expected. If I had watched SW in chronological order, with prequels first, and the Clone Wars series, I would have been much more attached to him by the time I got to his death, and the score would be higher. He’s now one of my favorite characters, but his death was there from the very beginning.

Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi

The sacrifice: Vader picks up Palpatine, who was electrocuting Luke at the time, and throws him down an air shaft, thereby saving Luke but destroying the life support system of his helmet and chest plate.

Vader sacrificed himself for the life of his son. After years of being a slave to the dark at the Emperor’s side, he finally had enough. It took his son’s compassion for him to be reached, and Luke nearly died himself to save his father. This is one of the examples that involves redemption with the sacrifice. Is it complete redemption? I don’t know–after all the atrocities that Vader committed, what’s enough? Did he truly repent, or was he just focused on saving his son? Whatever the case, it was a very satisfying scene, and truly moving to see.

Pain scale: 5 out of 10. At the time I saw it, it was very shocking, and sad, but it didn’t pain me like some of the others here. Vader was a monster, after all. He was the villain (although a puppet of Palpatine, too, who was the real big bad) and was defeated, though in a very unexpected way. All I can say is that I hope Anakin has found peace in the Force.

Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi

The sacrifice: Luke Force-projects himself onto Crait from his location on Ach-To in order to distract the First Order so the Resistance can escape. The effort drains all of his Force energy, and he dies, disappearing into the Force.

Say what you will about Luke’s character in The Last Jedi, you gotta admit he made a very Jedi-like sacrifice in the film to save the ragged remnants of the Resistance–and his sister, of course. It was quite a clever ruse, and no one was hurt by his actions, proving it was a very Jedi move. Was there an element of redemption in there? Perhaps a little bit. Luke thought he was doing the right thing by staying out of it all, AND he was very grumpy doing it, lol. But he was wrong, by his own admission as a Force ghost in TROS. This sacrifice made up for it and more.

Pain scale: 7 out of 10. It was hard to see Luke, the main character of the originals, fade into the Force. But he went out on his own terms, and that’s satisfying.

Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi

The sacrifice: Holdo pilots an empty Rebel ship into a First Order Super-Star Destroyer by going into hyperspace, thereby destroying it by going through it at light speed.

Some people were frustrated with the character of Holdo, mostly because she wouldn’t tell Poe and the rest of her crew her plan to evacuate the Resistance to the planet Crait. While I do wonder why she couldn’t simply tell them the plan, I do think Poe was out of line to disobey her and mutiny. But that’s a debate for another post. She redeemed herself at least in Poe’s eyes by sacrificing herself so the Resistance could get away. A really cool way to go out, all told, and I bet she didn’t feel a thing, lol.

Pain scale: 4 out of 10. We’d just met Holdo in this film so it wasn’t a great wrench to lose her, though it’s always sad when the good guys die. I usually tear up a little bit when Leia says, “I can’t take anymore,” but that’s Leia’s pain I’m feeling, not mine.

Ben Solo in The Rise of Skywalker

The sacrifice: Ben Force-heals a near-dead Rey, draining what’s left of his own Force energy, and dies.

Ben Solo giving up his Kylo Ren persona and rushing to Exegol to help Rey was a very satisfying part of his character arc. We only got about ten minutes of Ben Solo, which saddens me. The fact that he had no dialogue (except “Ouch,” I guess) is telling–Kylo liked to shoot his mouth off a lot, but Ben’s actions spoke louder than words. Giving all his Force energy to Rey so she could live is a pretty big act of redemption. Almost makes up for him killing his father. Not really, but the scene of his memory of Han Solo goes a long way in helping us forgive him.

Pain scale: 8 out of 10. Even though I swore when I saw The Force Awakens that I’d never forgive him for killing Han, by the time of TROS it really hurt to see him die. Mostly because we had just met Ben Solo, and then he was gone within minutes. I would have liked to get to know him better.

Kanan Jarrus in Rebels

The sacrifice: Kanan uses the Force to keep the flames of an explosion from killing those he loves, and when he uses the Force to push them back out of the way, the flames overtake him.

I was a little late to the party with Rebels, so I already knew through various social media channels that Kanan was going to die. Did that make it any easier? Not by a long shot. In fact, because I knew it was coming, there was a horrible dread clinging to me as Season 4 got nearer. And the fact that he already made a sacrifice, though not willingly–his sight–made it all seem so unfair, even though the blindness endowed him with a deeper wisdom. I do like that he knew his death was coming (thanks to the Lothwolf), so he could prepare for it and say his goodbyes.

Pain scale: 9 out of 10, because I really, really liked this guy. The way the Force gave him back his sight at the last moment so he could see his family was a nice touch, and cranked up the tear factor.

Tech from The Bad Batch

The sacrifice: Hanging over a precipice from a malfunctioning rail car, Tech decides to sever the connection and fall to his death rather than bring the whole squad–his family–with him.

So this is one of the most recent losses, and it is still an open wound for me. It totally blindsided me and I’m still coming to terms with it. I cried about Tech’s death in this post here, if you want more of my grief. It hurts so much more because it didn’t have to happen at all, if it wasn’t for a CERTAIN SOMEONE insisting on blowing up the place with no discernable results at all. There’s a lot of debate about whether Tech is still alive or not, and I’m about 50/50 on it. But until Season 3 comes along and we learn otherwise, I’m in total mourning.

Pain scale: 10 out of 10. Probably because it’s so fresh, so unexpected, and he’s a sweet nerd boy who shouldn’t have died. But he’s a hero in my book.

The Rogue One Crew in Rogue One

The sacrifice: Virtually all the members of the Rogue One crew are killed on Scarif in their attempt to steal the Death Star plans.

So even though I said I didn’t want to include military sacrifices, this one is a bit different, in that the Rogue One crew were, well, rogue. They all made a clear decision to disobey orders, go to Scarif on their own to do what they could, without any expectation of back up. They didn’t necessarily choose to die in the moment–their lives were just taken from them–but they had a pretty good idea that they probably wouldn’t be coming back from this mission, or at least, that chances were low of coming out alive. But they chose to go anyway, and that’s why I’ve included it here.

Pain scale: 8 out of 10. I figured several of them wouldn’t make it out alive, but ALL of them??? I loved them all, but to see even Cassian and Jyn waiting for the blast of the Death Star to consume them….it hurt. Knowing they accomplished their mission and that cursed space station was doomed helped a little bit.

Honorable mentions:

Leia in The Rise of Skywalker

Let’s not forget that Leia, still recovering from her unscheduled space-walk in TLJ, gave up the last of her life force to reach her son across the galaxy. I think it was more a personal need to try to reach her son one last time, rather than sacrifice her life to save anybody, but it turned out she did save Rey from Kylo Ren.

Pain scale: 6 out of 10.

Val from Solo: A Star Wars Story

Okay, so this one isn’t in service for a greater good. They were stealing coaxium from the Empire for Dryden Vos. But I was impressed how Val didn’t hesitate to press that button when her crew was in trouble. Unfortunately, the mission didn’t end well and she died for nothing.

Pain scale: 2 out of 10.

Paz Viszla in The Mandalorian

In the latest installment of The Mandalorian, Paz Viszla, a member of the Children of the Watch, sacrifices himself to try to save his people from Moff Gideon and the Imperials. It takes a whole squad of beskar-plated stormtroopers and three Praetorian Guards to kill him, the guy’s such a big brute. And perhaps there’s a bit of redemption in his sacrifice for the Viszla family, as Pre Viszla (from the Clone Wars, and maybe his father?) was the leader of Death Watch. I appreciate his sacrifice and am saddened, but his disposition didn’t go far to endear him to me, lol.

Pain scale: 3 out of 10.

Did I miss any obvious ones? I couldn’t think of any from the Prequels, what do you think? Whose sacrifice hurt you the most? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Favorite Star Wars Character From Each Major Project

Hello friends!

I was casting around for an idea for my next post, and decided to slack off and go to Facebook instead. The first thing I saw was a post on one of my favorite Star Wars Facebook groups (Star Wars Fans Who Actually Like Star Wars). The poster posited this question: who is your favorite character from each Star Wars project? Ah, perfect!

So without further ado, here’s my list:

Prequel trilogy – Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“Oh, I’m not brave enough for politics.”

Clone wars – Ashoka Tano.

“You’ll find I have many qualities for you to dislike.”

Tales of the Jedi – Yaddle.

“Already so many have suffered, for what you call peace.”

The Bad Batch – Tech.

“Just because I process things differently doesn’t mean I don’t feel them the same way.”

Jedi Fallen Order – N/A, although I’m reading Battle Scars and so far I have to say Merrin.

I don’t have a quote for Merrin, lol.

Rebels – Kanan Jarrus.

“Battles leave scars. Some you can’t see.”

Solo – Young Han.

“I have a really good feeling about this.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi – Young Leia.

“The Senate’s boring. It’s people in itchy clothes arguing.”

Andor – Mon Mothma.

“As long as everyone thinks I’m an irritation, there’s a good chance they won’t see what I’m really doing.”

Rogue One – Cassian Andor.

“I’ve been in this fight since I was six years old.”

Original trilogy – Han Solo.

“I think you just can’t bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.”

Battlefront 2 – N/A

The Mandolorian – Grogu.

*Adorable coos and gurgles*

The Book of Boba Fett – Fennic Shand.

“In difficult times, fear is a surer path.”

Resistance – Neeku.

“Hello friend!”; “I like food.”

Star Wars Squadrons -N/A

Sequel trilogy – Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.

“Join with me. Please.”

Star Wars Visions – Master Tajin from The Elder.

“No matter how powerful you become, know that it will not last forever.”

The High Republic-Elzar Mann.

I don’t have a quote for Elzar, either, lol.

The categories are from the original poster, but I added The High Republic on at the end since it’s such a big project and I love it.

There are so many wonderful characters from Star Wars and it’s so hard to choose! There are other characters I love that didn’t make it onto the list, like Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron, Rey, Chewie, and a slew of awesome droids. But breaking it into categories helps narrow it down.

So who are your favorite characters from these projects? List them all, or just pick a few of your favorite projects, and we’ll talk about it!

Star Wars Kisses

In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I’d get all romantic and revisit the best Star Wars kisses from the films and rank them. Why not? From least favorite to favorite, here we go! (I’m not including cheek, forehead, or hand kisses, just full on lip-locks, lol):

Lesbian kiss at the end of TROS. I don’t have a problem with two women kissing, in Star Wars or anywhere else, but this split second scene seemed weird and arbitrary. These two are secondary characters, which is fine, but at least give us a bit of history for them. One or two quick scenes establishing their relationship, so by the end of the movie their reunion is more satisfying. But I’m glad Star Wars is at least trying to get a bit more representative, especially in live action.

Rose and Finn in TLJ. This kiss wasn’t particularly surprising, considering all the time these two spent together on their mission. But then, boom, next movie, nah, they’re just friends. I kind of liked the idea of these two together, but Rose’s character (and Finn’s, as well) was brushed aside in TROS.

Anakin and Padme on Naboo in AOTC. “I don’t like sand.” Awkward first kiss, lol. Kind of sweet, though.

Padme and Anakin at their wedding on Naboo in AOTC. Okay, it’s official. Nothing will stop our love!

Leia and Luke on Hoth in front of Han in ESB. Most cringe kiss, at least after learning they’re siblings. But she was making a point, dammit! And the faces of both the men afterward are priceless.

Padme and Anakin on Geonosis in AOTC. Truly, deeply. Their first admission of love–before being brought out to slaughter, lol. A bit over the top, but if you think you’re going to die, why not?

Leia and Han in the Ewok Village in ROTJ. A brief embrace and smooch after Luke and Han escape being dinner for the Ewoks. First time seeing Leia with her long hair down, so who can blame him?

Han and Q’ira in Solo. Admit, these two are adorable. Not meant to be, but I like his taste in strong women.

Padme and Anakin on Coruscant in ROTS. These two haven’t seen each other in months, and their reunion is truly touching. And when she tells him she’s pregnant, after a moment of worried surprise, Anakin seems genuinely happy. You really want them to hold on to this forever. 😦

Rey and Ben at end of TROS. So this kiss was kind of weird, but I did like it. The Reylos went nuts, and though I could go either way with Reylo, I thought this was sweet. I was just really happy to see Ben Solo genuinely smile for the first time in probably years. Rey gave him that gift, and I won’t begrudge him that.

Leia and Han in Jabba’s Palace in ROTJ. “Someone who loves you.” After years of waiting for this reunion when I was a kid, this was so satisfying.

Leia and Han on Endor in ROTS. Han’s face when Leia tells him Luke is her brother is priceless, and now he’s free to get the girl. I love happy endings.

Leia and Han on the Falcon in ESB. “You need more scoundrels in your life.” This one’s a contender for #1, because it’s their first kiss, and is the culmination of all their sexual tension bickering. The top spot has more emotional weight, but this one is an iconic Star Wars kiss.

Leia and Han on Cloud City in ESB. “I love you.” “I know.” Their admission of love, and who knows if they’ll ever see each other again???? Best kiss in Star Wars, hands down.

Honorable Mention:

Deleted scene of Han and Leia on Cloud City. When I was a kid, I read a picture book of The Empire Strikes Back, and this scene was in it. I could have sworn it was in the original theatrical release as well when I saw it in the theater in 1980, but on subsequent viewings, it wasn’t there. As an adult, I thought maybe I’d imagined it. But here it is, and it never should have been dropped. You can’t have too many scenes of Han and Leia kissing, lol.

Most of them are Leia and Han or Padme and Anakin, the two power couples, and clearly I’m more a fan of the former. Did I miss any? What’s your favorite Star Wars kiss scene? Let me know in the comments and we’ll gossip about it!

For more galactic romance, check out my post on the best Star Wars love stories here.

A Jedi’s connection with animals

I thought I’d return to my list-like format for a bit with a few post ideas I’ve been thinking about. This one’s been in my draft pile for awhile now, and it seemed as good a time as any to actually write it out and share with you.

I’m a big animal lover, and I’ve always loved how some Jedi are particularly connected to animals, either through the Force or just because they’re compassionate people. Here’s five examples that came to my mind:

  • Obi-Wan and Boga. We all remember how Obi-Wan made use of a veractyl, a lizard-like creature on Utupau, while he pursued General Grievous. We don’t learn too much about it in the movie, but in the novelization of Revenge of the Sith (by Mathew Stover, it’s fantastic, please please please read it!), we learn that Obi-Wan connected with the animal through the Force, and that her name was Boga. We learn of Obi-Wan’s preference for riding animals rather than starships in the book Master and Apprentice, by Claudia Gray. In the book, he rides another veractyl and enjoys the experience, while having a rather harrowing experience on a ship that causes him to hate flying. We also see in the series Obi-Wan Kenobi that he is simply kind to animals when he takes some meat from his butcher job to bring to his eopie.
  • Ezra and lothcats, lothwolves, purgil, and most other animals. While Obi-Wan (and probably most Jedi) can connect with animals through the Force, Ezra Bridger seems to have a natural talent for connecting with them. In Rebels he connects with lothcats, lothwolves, and the purgil, and probably some other ones I’m not remembering. While his companions, and even Kanan sometimes, dismiss the importance of animals in a given situation, Ezra seems to zero in on them and connect with them on a whole other level. Kanan is forced by Bendu to connect with the spider creatures on the Rebel base, and the lothwolf Dume is connected to him by relaying his special purpose on Lothal, but it’s Ezra that seems to understand them best. It’s one of the reasons I love that kid so much, lol.
Art by bel on Twitter.
  • Bell and Ember. In the High Republic books, a Padawan named Bell Zettifar has a pet charhound named Ember. The fact that a Jedi is allowed to have a pet shows how different this era of Jedi is. It’s not encouraged, but neither is it frowned upon, at least in Bell and Ember’s case. The two share a bond that is special, and while I’m not sure if it’s a Force connection, the two are very important to each other. Ember has also been a great help in several sticky situations that Bell found himself in, and without her he might have failed or died. They’re devoted to each other and it’s really very sweet. It makes sense, too, as Bell sees the Force as fire, and Ember can breathe flames. They’re meant for each other!
  • Rey and the vexis. In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey and her friends encounter a (very large and angry) serpent in some underground tunnels. Poe wants to blast it, but Rey intuits that there’s something wrong, and indeed, the beast has been wounded and is hissing aggressively. She bravely steps toward it and Force heals it. Once healed, it uncoils and slithers away. I don’t think Rey has a particular connection to animals like Ezra, but I like how, like a true Jedi, she doesn’t immediately want to destroy something that scares her (except maybe Palpatine, but that’s a different story, lol).
  • Ahsoka and Morai. Ahsoka is often seen trailed by a convor called Morai. We see the owl-like bird in Rebels, and also in The Mandalorian (and possibly The Clone Wars, I can’t remember). The bird is a guardian and protector of Ahsoka, and is linked with The Daughter from the Mortis arc in the Clone Wars. In that arc, Ahsoka dies and the Daughter resurrects her. The Daughter also dies in the arc, and Morai seems to be the spirit of the Daughter guiding and protecting Ahsoka. It’s a Force connection, but also a spiritual one that makes it a little more mysterious. Morai isn’t a pet or even a constant companion; she comes and goes depending on what’s happening.
  • Grogu and the rancor. In The Book of Boba Fett, Boba’s rancor is running rampant in Mos Espa, wreaking havoc and destroying everything in its path. He’s angry and lost without his master, but Boba is otherwise occupied at the moment with Cad Bane. Din Djarin tries to control him, but is thrown from his back. Grogu sees the beast’s distress, and toddles away from Peli to confront him. Not to hurt him, but to calm him. He reaches out his little hand and connects with the rancor, putting him to sleep. Drained, he then walks up to the creature and falls in a heap next to him to sleep as well. It’s the cutest thing, but then again, Grogu is cute all the time. But it shows how much he’s learned from his time with Luke; instead of lashing out fearfully at what scares him, he’s learned to connect with others and control his power.

That’s all I could think of. Did I miss anything? What’s your favorite Jedi/animal connection? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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?

Five of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Best Moments

It seems like an impossible task to pick out only five, since I feel that every single moment Obi-Wan takes breath deserves to be on the list, lol. But I forced myself to pick out five of his best moments in the Star Wars universe, in my opinion:

  • Defeating Maul Part I (TPM).
Kill my master? That tears it!

When Qui Gon and Obi-Wan face Darth Maul on Naboo in The Phantom Menace, it’s a really cool lightsaber duel (and John Williams’ soundtrack for it is fantastic). But when Maul cuts down Qui Gon, it gets real personal real fast. When Obi-Wan slices Maul in half, it was the first time a Jedi had defeated a Sith in a thousand years. And a Padawan, at that. Because of this, Obi-Wan earned his Jedi Knighthood and did not have to go through the Jedi Trials (whatever that is, lol). At any rate, this moment illustrates Obi-Wan’s excellent lightsaber skills and the kind of Jedi Knight he will become.

  • Satine’s Death (Clone Wars).
“Remember my dear Obi-Wan, I have loved you always. And I always will.”

This scene from Clone Wars (The Lawless, Season 5 , Episode 16 ), simply gutted me. Maul gets his revenge on Obi-Wan by killing the only woman he’s ever loved. In the episode, you can see the despair, and then the anger, that rises in Obi-Wan, but only for a moment. It’s in this moment that he fights one of the hardest battles of his life: resisting the urge to kill everyone in the room in his rage; to give in to the dark side. We get a glimpse into his emotions and thoughts in this moment in Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, in the short story Kenobi’s Shadow by Greg Van Eekhout:

“…if Obi-Wan gave in to his desires, he’d be giving Maul exactly what he wanted.

He’d become the thing he’d dedicated his life to oppose.

He’d no longer be himself.

None of that was what Satine would have wanted. Not on her world. Not anywhere…

As Obi-Wan allowed the commandos to drag him away, only he knew of the painful victory he’d just won–and how he could not have done it without drawing strength from Satine Kryze, duchess of Mandalore.”

Maul had struck a blow to Obi-Wan–but he didn’t win. Obi-Wan’s “weakness”, according to Maul (his love and respect for Satine) is what saved him.

  • Defeating Anakin/Vader (ROTS).
“You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you.”

This is another tragic moment for Obi-Wan: his Padawan, his brother, his friend, Anakin, turns to the dark side and threatens everything Obi-Wan holds dear. It hurts him, but he will do what he must. Anakin’s arrogance causes him to make a mistake, and Obi-Wan maims him, leaving him to burn in the ashes of Mustafar. Some might wonder why Obi-Wan didn’t finish him off and put him out of his misery. He could have prevented a LOT of pain and suffering in the future if he’d killed Anakin. But he didn’t–he just walked away, leaving Anakin’s fate–and the fate of the galaxy–to the Force. Obi-Wan is a Jedi, and he will not kill an unarmed (pardon the pun) man. And perhaps he can’t bring himself to destroy Anakin at this moment–perhaps, somewhere in his heart, he still feels there’s hope. And of course, Obi-Wan is right. It takes a few decades, but the Force, in its way, brings Anakin face to face with his son, Luke, who brings about his redemption. By the time of A New Hope, though, Obi-Wan feels there’s nothing left of Anakin and there’s no hope of his ever coming back; maybe we’ll learn more about why in the upcoming Kenobi series.

  • Defeating Maul Part 2 (Rebels).
“Look what I have risen above.”

Like a bad penny, Maul just keeps turning up. He uses Ezra Bridger to find Obi-Wan, intent on finishing his revenge against his long-time nemesis. For years, Maul chewed on his hatred of Obi-Wan; meanwhile, Obi-Wan has let all of that go to focus on the most important mission of his life: to watch over and protect Anakin’s son, Luke. In this scene, you can see how Maul has stagnated in his hate; while the desert of Tatooine and his focus on his mission has burned everything else away for Obi-Wan. He is a sea of calm, focus, and wisdom. Maul doesn’t understand this Obi-Wan, and ferrets out that he’s protecting someone here. Obi-Wan narrows his concentration, not willing to let Maul endanger Luke, going into a readiness stance with his lightsaber. This, the prelude to violence, Maul understands. But he underestimates Obi-Wan, and the Jedi cuts him down ridiculously fast. Obi-Wan catches him as he falls and holds him as he dies, showing a compassion for Maul that is astounding considering the pain Maul brought him in the past. But as Obi-Wan told him, he’s risen above all that. He kind of reminds me of Gandalf the White here–he’s passed through fire and ruin, and is no longer the man he was. He’s burned down to his essence: a Jedi in the truest sense. Ironically, he reached this pinnacle in the act of letting go of being a Jedi Knight and becoming simply Ben Kenobi.

  • Sacrifice to Vader on the first Death Star (ANH).
“I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

I didn’t recognize the significance of this scene when I first saw it in my youth. I probably didn’t even really understand it. But I didn’t know Obi-Wan all that well back then (none of us did before the prequels) and just figured he sacrificed himself so Luke and his friends could get away. And he did, but there’s more to it than that. At this point in his life, Obi-Wan believes he’s fulfilled his destiny: he protected Luke and brought him into the fray at a critical point. Now he must do what all Jedi must master–to let go. Of everything. That look he gives Luke before he allows Vader to cut him down–that knowing smile–he trusts in Luke, and in the Force, and that everything will work out the way it should. Or not. He simply trusts, and like the time he walked away from a burning Anakin, he leaves it all to the Force. And as he tells his former apprentice, Vader, he’ll be more powerful in death than in life. He’ll be one with the Force. And we find out later that as a Force ghost he can more easily guide and advise Luke. He’ll always be there (though not at Luke’s beck and call, lol). I love that Obi-Wan chose his moment of death, that he was in complete control, and was at peace with it. It’s a fitting death for one of the greatest Jedi who ever lived.

So these moments are all probably obvious, but nonetheless, they really do define the kind of Jedi Obi-Wan was.

Obi-Wan doing the Thing

What do you think are Obi-Wan’s best moments? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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

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

Favorite Scene

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

Favorite Duel/Battle

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

Favorite Line

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

Funniest Moment

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

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

Most Impactful Character

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

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

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

My Five Favorite Things About Solo: A Star Wars Story

I forgot to put Solo and Rogue One into the timeline as I went along with my “Five Favorite Things” series. So here’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, a seriously underrated Star Wars movie, in my opinion.

Favorite Scene

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

The Train Heist Scene. This whole sequence is just exhilarating. Han and Chewie have wormed their way into the employ of Tobias Beckett and his crew (Val and Rio) to steal raw coaxium from the Empire. It’s being transported on a mag-train winding around a snowy mountaintop. Han, Chewie and Tobias jump onto the moving train to secure the coaxium as Rio pilots their stolen freighter above. Everything is going according to plan until Enfys Nest shows up–a gang of masked thieves that always seem to know the group’s next move. Things go down from there, Rio and Val are killed, Beckett is furious, and they lose the coaxium, putting them into the debt of Dryden Vos. Big pickle. But a really fun, exciting scene.

Favorite Battle/Duel

The Maw. There are no lightsaber duels in Solo, but there are plenty of battles and action scenes that I could choose from. All of them are terrific, but when the crew flee from Kessel with the hot coaxiam, they need to get it refined, like yesterday, before it blows them up. When the Imperials show up to make things worse, Han decides to go off the beaten path and find a shortcut through the Kessel Run. Not good, as they encounter a giant space monster (a summa-verminoth) and an enormous gravitational-sucking maw that wants to pull them into oblivion. They manage to survive, Han finishes the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs (yes, distance, not time–finally figured that out), and they get the coaxium to the refinery in time. The Falcon is pretty banged up in the process, though, which leads to…

Favorite Line

Lando: “I hate you.” Han: “I know.” This is a great twist on the famous “I love you, I know” lines from Han and Leia in Empire. I also love when Han says, “I have a really good feeling about this,” on the Falcon during the Maw crisis, another twist on a famous line. It’s nice to have good feelings for a change, rather than bad ones, lol.

Funniest Moment

There are SO many funny moments and lines in this movie, it’s almost impossible to pick just one. From nearly everything that comes out of L3-37’s mouth, to the way Lando deliberately mispronounces Han’s name, the chuckles are frequent and delightful.

Most Impactful Character

Han Solo - A Star Wars Story

Han Solo. The movie is called “Solo,” so of course it’s all about Han Solo. The movie is about what made Han into the man we meet in A New Hope, an older, cynical man who nevertheless has a heart in there somewhere. Q’ira sees this in him when she tells Han he’s “the good guy,” while he blusters about being an outlaw. Q’ira is also the one who breaks his heart and sours him on love (until he meets a certain princess). The movie is filled with the people who influenced Han in his youth: not just Q’ira, but Tobias, who turns into a mentor and cautions him to not trust anyone; Lando, who loses the Falcon to Han and becomes a kind of frenemy until the events of the OT solidify their friendship; and of course Chewbacca, a lifelong and dedicated friend, and the only one Han trusts (despite what Tobias says). So yes, the movie centers on Han, but all the supporting players impact him in so many important ways.

There are so many things I love about this movie. The cast is excellent–Paul Bettany as the Crimson Dawn villain Dryden Vos is particularly wonderful, and Donald Glover as Lando is just a joy to watch. The movie is fast-paced and fun, and I think Alden Ehrenreich did a great job as young Han, capturing his youthful zeal, ambition, and devil-may-care attitude. For a Star Wars movie with no Jedi or lightsabers (the closest thing is Maul’s brief appearance at the end) I just love this movie.

What did you like about Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!