It’s Pilot Appreciation Day!

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

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

Anakin Skywalker

He destroyed the first Death Star. Without his computer.

Luke Skywalker

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

Wedge Antilles

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

Han Solo

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

Poe Dameron

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

Kylo Ren

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

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Star Wars Fan Art: If only…

There’s so much tragedy in Star Wars, it’s understandable that some fans visualize our favorite characters in better circumstances. What if things hadn’t gone so horribly wrong? Here’s a few scenarios (I own none of the following, all rights belong to the original artists):

The Skywalker family on the beach. I love the idea of Uncle Obi-Wan.

I found this on twitter and thought id share this here. - PrequelMemes
Baby Talk, reddit.com

I think most of us would love to see Ahsoka meet Luke, Leia, and still-innocent little Ben Solo, with a vision of Anakin at his best. You can still see the reluctance on Leia’s face to admire her father.

ArtStation - The Legend of Anakin Skywalker, by Daniel de Almeida e Silva. "After watch the final episode of Star Wars Rebels, I couldn't stop thinking that a encounter like that could happen sometime. So, as a fan, I had decide to draw that moment when Ahsoka Tano finally meet the children of her beloved friend. Luke and Leia (with young Ben Solo in her arms), in the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, listening the countless stories from the Clone Wars and finally learning about the legend of Ana
Skywalker, by Daniel de Almeida

This sweet scene is well within the realm of possibility; one just wishes it could have presaged better times for the Solo family.

Han and Ben before it all went wrong...
littlestarfighter.tumblr.com

The Ben Solo that Should Have Been. Sigh. I love that he’s wearing his father’s dice, and has a good blaster by his side.

Amelia Lola罗 -SW spoilers- on Twitter: "Ben Solo my babey!! Just like his dad and proud of it. I love drawing him like this :'))… "
Amelia Lola, twitter.com

If only he could have held her…one last time. I love the busted eye lens, so he can look on her with his own vision. More manga emotion.

Star Wars anime artwork by 01091006 (Subaru) - Album on Imgur
Subaru, imgur.com

This might actually come to pass, if the Mandalorian Season Two rumors are true. What could be more wonderful than Ahsoka and The Child? The light and depth perception in this painting is incredible.

35 Cool Pics and Memes to Entertain Your Brain.
S. Menyhei, ebaumsworld.com

The amazing talent of Star Wars fans continues to amaze me. If you like what you see here, go to the artists’ websites and show them some love!

Check out more of my posts on Star Wars: My Point of View.

Like to read Star Wars? Take a look at my sister blog, The Star Wars Reader. I regularly post reviews of Star Wars books, both canon and EU/Legends.

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Lightsaber Fighting Forms

Even though I’ve been a Star Wars fan for many years, I’ve only recently discovered that there are different fighting styles that Jedi Knights use. Not only that, but there are seven different forms, and each Jedi ultimately chooses which style they most identify with, though they will use whichever one serves their purpose at the time.

The loremasters out there are probably thinking: Well, duh. What Outer Rim asteroid have you been hiding on? But I honestly had no idea, and to tell you the truth, I think it’s awesome. The more I dig around and learn about the Star Wars universe, the richer it becomes.

Anyway, this overview of the seven fighting styles is a fairly simple explanation, and is mostly for me to keep it straight and remember the basics. If you’re new to it, here’s a basic introduction:

The Way of the Saber: 7 Forms of Lightsaber Combat

  • Form I: Shii-Cho. The basic moves all younglings learn.
  • Form II: Makashi. Also called Contention Form. Count Dooku is a practitioner.
  • Form III: Soresu. Also called Resilience Form. Obi-Wan is a practitioner.
  • Form IV: Ataru. Also called Aggresion Form. Yoda is a practitioner.
  • Form V: Shien & Djem So. Anakin Skywalker is a practitioner.
  • Form VI: Niman. Darth Maul is a practitioner.
  • Form VII: Juyo & Vaapad. Mace Windu created and uses the Juyo variation Vaapad.

The next time I watch any of the films, I’m going to look very closely at the lightsaber duels and see if I can recognize the forms.

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Star Wars Fan Art: Obi-Wan

Hello there!

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.

Injured qui-gon and young obi-Wan
Injured Qui Gon and Obi-Wan. i.imgur.com

Obi-Wan in his prime during the Clone Wars. I love the pensiveness here.

My blog for Obi-Wan with a side of Qui-Gon and Anakin.
A More Civilized Age. chibiobiwan.tumblr.com

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.”

Asphodelus  by Ashlee Casey  #StarWars #Art #Obi_Wan #Kenobi #Love
Obi-Wan and Satine, by Ashlee Casey. artstation.com

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.

Hermit Obi Wan Kenobi by AvdeevIgor | Fan Art | 2D | CGSociety
Hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi. avdeevigor.cgsociety.org

That compassion is shown here after he kills Maul, the creature that killed his Master and the woman he loved.

"Old Wounds" by Daniel De Almeida. : StarWars
Old Wounds, by Daniel De Almeida. danieldealmeida.artstation.com

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!

Catching Up on Clone Wars

Once upon a time, I didn’t hold the Star Wars prequels in very high regard. When they came out around twenty years ago, I was disappointed and not impressed. I grew up with the Original Trilogy, you see, and I didn’t get a Round Two of the OT. Why I expected this is beyond me, but I quickly dismissed them and didn’t give them another thought, really.

When the sequel trilogy came out, I absolutely LOVED them, and they plunged me back into a Star Wars obsession I haven’t experienced since I was a kid. This caused me to explore all manner of Star Wars media, and have since realized we’re living in a golden age of SW, in my opinion. I caught up on Rogue One (amazing!) and Solo (fun!), watched The Mandalorian (cool!), and have since read several canon books (see my sister blog, The Star Wars Reader, for my book reviews). I’ve even rewatched the prequels and found a new appreciation for them. It’s all great, it’s all fun, and I’m loving every minute of it.

However, I hadn’t watched The Clone Wars, which I was hearing all about in my social media feeds, especially the last upcoming Season 7. Up until then I hadn’t seriously considered watching it, as it dealt with prequel-era stuff, and, well, it was a cartoon, right? “I ain’t watching no cartoon!” I told myself.

Get some Star Wars The Clone Wars wallpaper HD images of Ahsoka Tano Darth Maul Star Wars season 7 animated TV show art Cover Screenshots to use as iPhone android wallpaper phone backgrounds  #CloneWars #StarWarsCloneWars #StarWars #TVshow #android #phone #wallpaper #backgrounds #download #AndroidWallpaper
Ahsoka

But the hype leading up to Season 7 was compelling and caught my attention. What’s the big deal? I wondered. People my age (the other side of 40) were watching this “cartoon” and loving it. I got the sneaking suspicion I was missing out on something important.

So I watched the first few episodes on Disney+. And while the animation was impressive (not cartoonish at all, but more like CGI video game kind of stuff), as far as the storylines went, I thought, “Meh.” What I wanted was the good stuff I was hearing about in Season 7. So I started there: I watched Season 7 first.

Star_Wars on Instagram: “Clone Wars:season 7 Anakin Skywalker . . . . . . #clonewars #starwars #disneyplus #disneyworld #anakinskywalker #season7 #disney #lightside”
Anakin

And was blown away by what I saw. I was familiar enough with the Star Wars universe and the characters not to be totally lost, and it was pretty damn amazing. This was movie-quality stuff, and the last few episodes were gripping and tragic, the other side of Order 66 that we don’t see in Revenge of the Sith. I liked the character of Ahsoka, and absolutely loved Captain Rex and the Clones, who up until then were just faceless drones to me. I needed to know more about them all, and so I decided to watch Season 6. And then Season 5. And 4, and so on.

I was watching it backwards, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this great Star Wars material. I’m obsessed. I love the Mandalorian arcs–I now know more about the Dark Saber, which showed up at the end of The Mandalorian (I had no idea what it was, and was like, huh? Wat dat?). I love that Obi-Wan had a love interest (who knew?). I’m fairly in love with Obi-Wan myself now; I love his quips, his courage, his kindness, and his strength in adhering to the Jedi Code.

The dark side is doing selfies,why not us?
Obi-Wan

And I definitely like Anakin much more in Clone Wars than in the movies. No disrespect to Hayden Christensen, who is a fine actor, but the character of Anakin just never clicked with me. He’s much more likable in Clone Wars, which only makes his fall to the Dark Side more tragic to me. The clues are there, but for the most part, he’s a great character here.

I admit, I skipped a few episodes, namely the droid adventures, and a few with Ahsoka and the younglings. Some arcs are more interesting than others. I especially love the ones about the Clones, Rex and Echo and Fives, and so many others. My heart broke with 99, and the Bad Batch were a scream.

Clone Wars First Look: "Old Friends Not Forgotten" | StarWars.com
Captain Rex

Basically, Clone Wars caused me to fall in love with prequel-era Star Wars, which is a great gift. I’m looking forward to watching Rebels, as well, and gaining even more appreciation for Rebellion-era Star Wars. It’s all great, it’s all fun, and I’m so lucky to have this galaxy far, far away in my life.

MaulFrk — spockvarietyhour:   Maul showing off his legs
Darth Maul

Star Wars Story #1

Every fan has their Star Wars stories. I’ve got a few, and I’d like to share them with you. Here’s one:

It was December 2016, and I wasn’t talking to my husband. I can’t remember exactly what I was so upset about; I just remember being so ANGRY that my lips remained zipped for several days. I don’t scream when I’m angry. I shut up. This is primarily to keep myself from utterring terribly cruel things that I don’t mean and would ultimately regret, but there’s also an element of punishment to it. I’ll admit it.

Anyway, after several days, my husband couldn’t take it anymore. The Force Awakens happened to be premiering that weekend, and he knew I wanted to go see it very badly. He’s not as much of a dedicated fan as I am, but he enjoys the films as the popcorn movies they can be. So on this particular day, when my silence was pushing him to the limit, he very quietly asked, “I was wondering if you wanted to go see the new Star Wars movie with me.”

Hmm, well played, husband, well played. Of course I wanted to see it. But I almost said no, clinging to my anger and vowing I’d go see it by myself. To hell with him! But I recognized that he was holding out the olive branch, so after a minute, I said, “Sure.” We dropped our daughter off with my mom, and off we went.

I sat in the theater, totally absorbed in the joy of a new Star Wars movie. I was catapulted outside of myself, riveted by the story, the characters old and new, the action, the roller coaster ride of my emotions. It was such a relief to be feeling something other than anger. I even let my husband drape his arm on the back of my chair.

When Kylo Ren killed Han Solo, I was shocked, outraged, and…angry. But this was a different anger than my domestic ire. It was a place I could channel my own anger, and diffuse it. I thought, man, I thought I had problems. I don’t. This guy’s got problems.

We were silent on the way home, but it was more of an exhausted absorption of the movie, rather than any chill between ourselves. I didn’t feel that anymore. I was still sore from our disagreement, but I let the anger go. Isn’t that what a good Jedi does? You know, fear, anger, hate…darkside suffering. And it’s true. Fighting with my husband makes me feel awful and unhappy and basically like a bucket of turds. Once the spell of anger had been broken, I could speak rationally about what was bugging me.

My husband and I would have eventually cleared the air and made up even without the movie, of course. But it just happened sooner. Star Wars makes me happy. And it even mends relationships!

Don’t be like Kylo. Let that shit go.

Adam Driver (Kylo Ren TFA)
He’s angry and sad and just feels yucky.

The Star Wars Reader

I’ve recently started reading the new canon Star Wars books, and I’ve been loving them. I’ve posted a few reviews on this blog: Bloodline, Rebel Rising, and Kenobi. I’ve loved doing them so much, and have gotten so intrigued by the world of Star Wars books, that I decided to create a new blog just for them.

Introducing The Star Wars Reader. My aim is to read one Star Wars book a week and review it on this new blog. My intention is to possibly help Star Wars fans who want to start reading and exploring the books, but maybe don’t know where to start or what they might like.

As a newbie myself, I know the world of Star Wars books can be a bit confusing. Canon? Expanded Universe? Legends? What does it all mean? Hopefully, as I read more books and review them, I can shed a little light on these questions and make it a little less confusing.

I’m really excited to start this new adventure, and I’d love it if you’d join me at The Star Wars Reader. Click the link and hit the follow button or sign up with your email for every new book review.

Upcoming books include Heir to the Jedi, Catalyst, and Phasma, to name just a few.

Hope to see you there!

Book Review: Kenobi

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.

Book Review: Rebel Rising

If you’re a fan of Rogue One, and of Jyn Erso in particular, you might want to get your hands on Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis.

This book chronicles the events of Jyn’s life from the time Krennic came for her father at eight years old, until the Alliance breaks her out of the Wobani prison camp. The narrative flashes back and forth between Jyn’s time with Saw (and other events after he abandoned her) and her time at the prison.

The first third of the book tells of her time with Saw, and we get a better picture of their relationship. When he rescues her from the cave, he tells her “I don’t know what to do with you, kid.” What he ends up doing is training her to fight, which is all to the good. But, although he becomes a sort of father-figure to Jyn, he’s not particularly good at it. He doesn’t coddle her. But it’s clear he cares for her.

Jyn’s time with Saw Gerrera paints a clearer picture of the man. He seems cold and unfeeling, but we learn that he once had a sister. She died years ago fighting against the Empire, but Saw was the one who had inadvertently caused her death. Since then, he’s closed himself off to any emotion except rage and a laser-focus commitment on destroying the Empire no matter what the cost. Instead of joining with others in a concerted effort to defeat the Empire, he’s become a terrorist.

Jyn is loyal to Saw (he came for her, after all), but even she internally questions his tactics. Still, he’s all she’s got, and his abandonment of her during a mission gone wrong is a traumatic blow. Saw knew that Jyn’s real identity as Galen Erso’s daughter would forever follow them, and put their various missions in danger. Turns out, even though Saw cared for her, he cared more for his crusade against the Empire.

After Saw’s abandonment, Jyn finds herself on a planet called Skuhl, where she comes to live with a woman named Akshaya and her son, Hadder. She comes to know a brief year of peace and happiness, and even has a little romance with Hadder, before both the Empire and her past shows up to ruin things once again.

After that, she becomes a wanderer, taking on jobs where she can as a codebreaker, not caring whether she works for the Imperials or for anyone who works against them. This proves to be her undoing, however, as she often gets caught between the two. She tries to remain neutral, while still following her conscience, which is a tricky thing in the galaxy just then.

Eventually, she gets double-crossed by the Imperials she’s working for, and gets sent to Wobani. The Wobani prison scenes gives us more insight into the conditions she lived under there, which is to say, soul-crushing. At one point, Jyn loses all hope, but it’s the memories of her mother (of whom she’s reminded of by the kyber crystal around her neck) that gets her through.

“Trust in the Force,” her mother had told her before she died, and Jyn interprets that as meaning, don’t give up hope. When the Alliance breaks her out of the prison, and presents their ultimatum (help us find your father or we’ll send you back to prison), she agrees. Obviously she doesn’t want to go back to Wobani, but it’s not necessarily to find her father at that point, either, or to help the Alliance. Her mother didn’t want her to give up hope. The last few paragraphs of the book sums up her decision:

“The last thing Papa had said was to trust him.

The last thing Mama had said was to trust the Force.

She wasn’t sure she could do either of those things, but for the first time since she was eight years old, she was willing to try.

…She looked out at the faces of the people around her. Expectant. She recognized something in their expressions that she had never expected to see again.

Hope.

She had thought her hope had died on Wobani. Snuffed out like a flame deprived of oxygen…But seeing these people, the way they still believed they had a chance–a chance hinged on her–rekindled that spark inside her she had thought died long ago.

She wouldn’t go down again for doing nothing.

They were giving her a chance. It wouldn’t change what had happened in the past. But maybe it would help change the future.” (Pgs 409-410).

Rebel Rising is a good story of Jyn Erso’s formative years, creating the person we see at the beginning of Rogue One. I think it may have been marketed as a YA novel, so the story is fairly straightforward, but still interesting enough to hold an adult fan’s interest. I will admit it’s a bit depressing; this girl just doesn’t get any breaks. Her life is hard, short, and ultimately tragic; but also triumphant. Recommended.