The Resistance Report: The Recruit

Today is a very exciting day, friends, because this marks the first of my new post series, The Resistance Report! Like I’ve done in ages past with Rebels, The Lost Missions, and The Freemaker Adventures, I’ll be digging into each of Resistance’s episodes and all I find intriguing, exciting, and wonderful! And so far, there is no shortage of things to write about 🙂

I again apologize that I didn’t get to talk about all of this a lot sooner. But you understand, I’m sure, that life can be busy and blogging doesn’t always happen. Also wrist problems don’t help. But hopefully, I’ll be able to find the best fit for Padawanline in my weekly schedule as we go. Now, onto Resistance!

If you’re like me, you’ve been hyped since the first trailer. It basically took every expectation that I had and blasted it into microcomponents.
Never had I seen Star Wars quite like this. The first word that came to mind was “zippy”! And then “youthful”, “spirited”, and “fresh and funny” followed it. It’s not that Star Wars has never been those things, but all together it’s a package that made me utterly giddy and gleeful! Though it was not traditionally-animated like I assumed originally, this dynamic style of CG is gorgeous and simply demands attention! Just from that first little glimpse back in August, I could tell I was looking at a winning combination. And now it is here and, like say, there’s quite a lot I need to gush — I mean, write — about!

Contains spoilers from Episode VII and Resistance episode The Recruit.

No matter how many Star Wars stories I watch, read, or play, the thrill of a galactic dogfight never gets old. These battles immerse you quickly into something that’s familiar and beyond your wildest dreams at the same time, inspiring a sense of wonder like nothing else. And when the heroes’ ships are this pretty, well… it really brings out your inner child. Least that’s how it is for me. These sleek, blue T-85s may be my favorite SW vehicle of all time now! Except for the fact this episode introduces all kinds of beautiful vehicles and I can’t play favorites to save my life. But anyway, yes, it’s an amazing opening, and for more reasons than just my obsession with blue x-wings.

As I was watching this the first time, lost in Star Wars-y wonderment, it took me a minute to remember what era we were in. It’s not that I didn’t know that going in, but as I just mentioned, I was lost in the moment, and forgot to turn on my analytical SW side. I think it took Poe Dameron’s entrance to remind me that, though this is familiar, it’s something truly new. Later I was able to take in the fine details, like the exact model of the x-wings and the New Republic crest. But you know, it’s not a bad thing to turn off my writer’s brain for a second and just enjoy the pure joy of Star Wars without feeling like I have to take notes on everything. If this blog comes off clumsily, now you know. But so worth it!

But yeah, I have to talk about those fine details I just mentioned. It’s that moment when I realized “we’re not Kansas anymore”.
Like I touched down on some when the show was first announced, the time in between VI and VII is almost a complete mystery to me. Yes, I’ve seen The Force and The Last, but that’s where my knowledge ends for the most part. I haven’t read any of the surrounding novels yet, and I only know the broad strokes of the state of the galaxy at this point on the timeline. But this is actually a good thing, because there’s just so much to learn! After all, there was once a time I knew very little about the SW galaxy and all its ins and outs. It was through the previous animated series (as well as the books) that I gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the first two-thirds of the Skywalker Saga, and that’s exactly what Resistance shall do for me now!

With that being said, I do definitely have to thank Poe (and the magnificent Oscar Isaac!) for coming along on this one. It’s great having a friendly, familiar face to help us get situated and comfortable in this formerly-unknown chapter of the saga! With Rebels it was different; I understood the surrounding films and prior series enough to not feel like I was constantly struggling to wrap my head around everything. For Resistance, having Poe not only guiding Kaz into this new world and story, but guiding us viewers along with him, really helped. But either way, hey, I don’t think anybody would complain over the presence of the Poe Dameron! Not to mention BB-8! They’re the Resistance golden boys! 😀

Now yes I need to dedicate most of the rest of this Report to the incredible new characters we got to meet today (or, technically for me, last week. But whatever)…

So first of all, my love for Kazuda Xiono knows no bounds. Seriously, where do I begin? He’s got this outrageously contagious enthusiasm, and a fierce (if slightly-naive) drive to do the right thing, even when things take a bad turn. He’s out of his element a lot this episode, and I can almost 100% relate to how he reacts in these situations. But like say, he’s never brought so down that he doesn’t ultimately find his way back up, and that absolutely inspires me, the way any great SW character should! He reminds me in some ways of Ezra Bridger at the beginning of Rebels’s second season; utterly on fire and more than ready to make a difference, even if he still has some obstacles to overcome first. There’s so much I could say, but it’s hard to capture the joy of my first impression of him in one paragraph without worrying I’m repeating myself. I can’t wait to follow him along on this journey, though… and hopefully write many more paragraphs on all that makes him such an instantly-lovable young hero!
Plus, I don’t know if I’ve ever related to another SW character more than when he said “Tell the General I said ‘hi’!” The few chances I’ve had to meet people I greatly admire pretty much went the same way XD

Oh, and guys, wow Castellon is beautiful, isn’t it? The sky and sea just takes my breath away! And just the idea of racing starships around that wide open expanse… man, who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend here? I mean… yeah, the threat of getting tossed over is real, but… I think were I living in this galaxy, I would be willing to take the risk. Well, maybe… considering Kaz and I share a similar lack of coordination and street smarts, I don’t know how I’d do out here in this slightly-less-wretched hive of scum and villainy. But for now let’s just imagine that ocean breeze and the sound of roaring engines and how epic that would be! *Starts singing “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana*
And if I needed any other reasons to vacation here, there appears to be an arcade game at Aunt Z’s and that makes me grin so hard 😀

Back onto the characters, we obviously have to talk about Neeku Vozo! OMG he is just the most precious bean, I truly can’t even! How rare it is to find a character in Star Wars so pure-hearted and sunshiny! It’s not that other such characters don’t exist, but never really has the word “blissfully optimistic” been able to describe them. Understandably because this is Star Wars, and it’s no small feat finding joy in the midst of war. Neeku’s delightfully-quirky personality is such a breath of fresh air, something the Saga could really use! Not to say he’ll always be this sunshiny, because no one is capable of that, but his chipper disposition still makes him a unique, stand-out new character. And one thing I think is really fun and neat about Neeku, is the very fact he’s a nikto. When I think of niktos, I think of tough, possibly dangerous types like Ima-Gun Di, skiff guards, and underworld scoundrels. Those hardened, spined visages certainly give you that impression. But Neeku utterly flips that script! Honestly, with his smooth face and wide eyes, I really didn’t realize he was a nikto until the featurettes pointed that out for me. But I love that concept, taking what we might’ve assumed and instead giving us someone so much more dynamic and interesting that merely another “tough guy” nikto would have been. I can’t wait to see more of this sweet boy! I hope he achieves his fondest dream and gets that room with a view! :3

And on that note, I am so into all the diversely-designed characters we have here on Castellon! Just as they flipped the script on our idea of niktos, I love seeing so many different takes on familiar species in the crowd. Seeing a female of Unkar Plutt’s kind with Aunt Z, a totally unique take on the chadra-fan in Orka (that goatee tho), a big-boned rodian… it’s so fun, and when you start thinking on the diversity within each species, it expands the galaxy in almost infinite ways! Not to mention the sheer variety in the crowds in general, where you have aleen and gotals and whatever Grummgar’s species is. It’s a beautiful (if slightly rough-and-tumble) blend of all kinds of peoples from all the eras, from Episode I to the Sequels, and it delights the living daylights out of my SW-nerdy self! Props to all the supremely-talented, creative artists making this happen!

Right, again, back onto the subject primarily of the new characters. There’s simply too much for me to write about to stick to just logical organization! But yeah we have ourselves a fantastic new squad, no doubt. I have a deep love for characters and character development, whether Star Wars or otherwise, and these guys are prime examples of what great characters look like. I’ve taken to thinking of them as the “Sunshinies” and the “Grumpies”. Already discussed my first impressions with two of the Sunshinies, so next we will talk Torra!

I love the sort-of dichotomy of a character so bubbly and friendly, who genuinely wishes her opponents the best, even though she knows they will crash and burn. She seems to have what I’ve referred to in other characters as a “noble confidence”; the ability to be able to speak highly of yourself humbly. Impossible for most, but apparently not for the immensely talented Torra Doza! Admittedly, watching this again I realize she could just as easily be a little less than noble in the confidence area, but whatever the case, she seems to just really be in it for the love of the game first and foremost, and she’s definitely nowhere near mean-spirited. Anyway, I’m happy to say that the starwars.com personality quiz has deemed her my Resistance twin, and I can for sure kind of see that so far. At least, I know we share a common sense of enthusiasm and a slightly-competitive drive if nothing else. And also red hair. That’s important, too.

And then there are the wonderful Grumpies!
When Tam snapped at Kaz and called him “kid”, I knew I’d found my kin. Partially yes, because we are both a bit on the small side, and I would love to have the confidence that allows her to speak her mind no matter how tall the offender is. But mostly because she is literally me when I’m in a bad mood. I just kept nodding my head saying “yep that’s pretty much what I would say to that”. Actually, now that I think about it, each of these guys is me in some way or another. Torra is me when I’m happy and supportive (and sometimes competitive), Neeku is me when I’m really happy (definitely when I’m in a Star Wars state of mind), Tam is me for reasons we’ve already explained, Kaz is me when I realize I realize I’m in deep trouble, and Yeager is me when I’m just done with everybody XD

And can’t forget Bucket! Bucket’s awesome! I think he may just have beaten Chopper for grouchiest droid, though. Never have I seen a more easily-irked machine in my life. Maybe he just needs a hug? Well, hopefully the R2 Builders will put one together IRL so I may see if this theory works, or if it just ends in me getting smacked in the face. Either way, it’d be worth it!

Now, Yeager has probably taken the longest for me to put together a paragraph on, but that doesn’t mean he’s anything short of a great, fascinating character. Maybe it’s because he’s kind of mysterious in a way. Perhaps because he’s not as much of an open book as the youths, perhaps because we don’t know his history with Poe and why he’s so hesitant to get involved. But if there’s one thing that’s plain to see about Jarek Yeager thus far, is that Team Fireball would probably fall apart without him. He’s a strong and steady voice of reason, and when you’ve got a crew that’s two-parts hot-tempered and one-third overly-literal, that’s an indispensable quality. I don’t know much about Tam and Neeku’s bond right now, but I could see it possible that Yeager probably had to keep Tam from killing the blissfully-naive nikto a few times. The other thing I’m pretty sure of with Yeager is that he does care, somewhere deep down. Something’s keeping him going, despite everything that seems to keep him from wanting to. And it speaks volumes just in the way he smiles at his crotchety old clanker. Otherwise, we’ll just have to watch on and see what more we can learn about him from here. Not too worried about the wait, though. Like say, I love watching characters grow and digging into their complex personalities and stories! I feel we’re going to have a good time figuring out this tough Team-Dad 🙂

Also currently I have this really silly headcanon that Zander Freemaker created the Fireball. Just… seems kind of like his thing, y’know? Sleek, speedy, but explosion-prone! I’ll let you debate this among yourselves, but I’m pretty sold on it.

Anyway, I could go on and on about so much more, but I think I’ll have to save further conversations for another day. Except for this last very important thought: we know Kaz is on the lookout for a First Order spy, but it only hit me in the last few minutes of the episode as we gaze upon the terrible might of Starkiller Base… the traitor could very well be someone we know. From a writer’s perspective, I wouldn’t want my perpetrator to be too obscure nor would I want him/her too obvious. And when you want to throw a good solid wrench into your characters’ lives and a curveball to your audience… a total surprise traitor is a good way to do it. I had to wonder for a moment if the red-helmeted ace was someone we knew. I was wrong on that account, but it did open up the possibility to me… who knows who Kaz might find plotting against the Republic? I’ll let you in on my theory later. I just want to make sure I know my characters better before I jump to conclusions. But… something to chew on before tonight’s airing, right?

It’s been awesome both writing and — honestly and truly — gushing on this thrilling opener. I know it’s got me wanting more something fierce! Hopefully sometime in the next week I’ll have another post waiting for you all.

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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SW Reads: Heir To The Jedi

All right, time to dig into another great Star Wars novel! I’m excited about this one, can you tell? 🙂

Now, in case you didn’t know, Jason Fry’s The Weapon Of A Jedi might be my favorite SW novel of all time. So coming into another Luke Skywalker story with Kevin Hearne’s Heir To The Jedi, I had very very high expectations. And since I’ve never read anything else by Mr. Hearne, I really didn’t know what to expect.
But good news: my expectations were beyond met!

Heir pretty much encapsulates everything I love about Star Wars. It has all manner of thrills and chills, it’s character-driven in the most masterful way, and there is no shortage of laughter and heart. What surprised me most, perhaps, was how easy it was to read. I expected a more dramatic tone somehow, perhaps since the last canon novel I read was Tarkin. But this book is definitely the most easygoing and fun full-length SW novel I’ve read so far! Not to say it doesn’t have its share of drama, because it absolutely does. But reading it was such a pleasurable experience! I like to think Heir is to modern SW novels as Solo is to the films. Because both stories put full focus on these amazing characters, and find just the right balance of feels and fun! And Heir‘s also an easy read because it doesn’t overwhelm us with too much new information or technical terms. Don’t get me wrong, digging into the fine details is one of my favorite things about SW books. But there’s a welcome, comfortable feel from Mr. Hearne’s descriptions that makes everything tangible and completely understandable. One of my favorite examples was with the food, which for the most part, was often just a slightly-spacey version of what we eat on earth. The relatability of the SW galaxy shines brightly in this book, and makes me feel right at home, even as we follow Luke through all manner of unique, unusual, and sometimes-terrifying worlds.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough. If you’re new to SW books and don’t want to go the read-them-all-by-release-date route I’m going, this would make a great first novel! Weapon isn’t my only fave Luke story now 🙂

And now, here’s my fangirly musings commentary!
Contains spoilers from Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, and Heir To The Jedi

– A few pages in and I’m already loving reading directly from Luke’s perspective. Like with Weapon Of A Jedi, (my favorite Luke story ATM) I love getting to know Luke at this early time after the battle of Yavin, when he was young, idealistic, and trying to figure out the Force.
– Someone get me a model of the Desert Jewel stat! Or at least a Lego kit!
– So Luke doesn’t speak astromech? Huh. I would not have guessed. Maybe he picks up some by Empire? Crud I need to watch the OT again…
– Cool seeing a new side of Rodia. But glad I can’t smell it. Points for Mr. Hearne’s descriptions, though!
– I don’t know what a needle gun does, but it sounds pretty cool, in a scary way.
– There’s nothing quite as stirring as a Clone Wars tale of Jedi heroics! I love that Luke got another glimpse into the life of his father.
OOOOOOH A PURPLE LIGHTSABER!!
– Datapads take holo stills like smartphones take photos. A longtime SW question of mine has been answered!
– The more I read this novel, the more I fall in love with its author’s cleverness and choice of words. Not to mention how wonderfully he takes on Luke’s voice.
– My fave line so far: “I hadn’t read the histories of those ‘seduced’ by the dark side, but I doubted any of them had been corrupted by a vegetable of questionable nutritional value.” XD
– The Promise and the Redemption are utterly gorgeous ship names.
YIKES the skullborers might be the scariest SW creatures in a while. I think I’d rather hug a rathtar before stepping foot on a world with possibly-sentient brain-eaters!
– Pffft Luke and Nakari’s mutual cooking fails cracked me up 😛
– I am so so glad to know ice cream exists in SW. Knowing our differing worlds share something so sweet makes me smile :3
– I never considered until now that a galaxy with so many many diverse peoples would call for a lot of different medical supplies, techniques, and knowledge. Wonder how long it’d take the average med student to graduate?
– I just realized the chapter openings all have some scientific-looking math formulas around the wording. It must have connections later in the story… wish I was more adept at math so I could see if there’s some kind of special code to crack.
– Is rancor sauce really made of rancors, or is it just something super super spicy? Also knowing what Corellia looks like, I get the feeling I wouldn’t want to eat noodles grown there… THIS BOOK IS SO FUN THO.
– Communicating with higher math? That’s a totally neat concept, but I’m with Luke… I doubt I could speak it fluently. As you might’ve noticed, I’m a writer, not a mathematician.
– They say the average galactic citizen doesn’t know of Vader. Wonder how anyone would know to even write a parody song? Hmm. An interesting exception to the rule.
– I like Nakari a lot; she’s a fun, interesting character and a great match for Luke. But I can’t help but be slightly suspicious about her for some reason…
– Something tells me TIE pilots probably don’t get very long lunch breaks. If they get lunch breaks at all. Who wants a tasty ration stick??
– Epic!! A seismic charge! Y’know, that’s one of my favorite sounds in all of Star Wars.
– Once again, Artoo saves the day, and proves once more that the SW saga would never have happened without him!
– A droid with a fake mustache is always a good thing XD
– AHHHH LUKE AND NAKARI ARE SO CUTE!! I WISH I STILL DIDN’T HAVE DOUBTS.
Oh no… I’m so sorry I spent so much of this book suspicious about her. Looking back, I realize there was little to incriminate her. Previous SW stories and Leia’s suspicions were the only things I was really going on, besides the fact the relationship was never referred to or evidenced in later stories. I figured the reason why Luke and Nakari didn’t end up with fifteen grandkids by Episode VIII was because she had ill intent. Never once did I consider that she could simply have died. I guess I loved her character enough that I didn’t want to go that route. It was safer to assume she was a scoundrel, because scoundrels could still be redeemed. But through this tragic turn, we see Luke facing the very thing that turned his father down a dark path, and coming out stronger. We know, of course, that Luke will still be prone to react rashly when his friends are in trouble, but it speaks volumes that he was able to resist the darkness and find peace in this moment. And he comes through this loss in a way decidedly the Jedi Order would not have done, but what was undoubtedly the right way to do it: through tears and through joyful memories. So much wow. What a book!

Thanks for reading along with me today. ‘Til next week!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

SW Reads: Jedi Quest #3 & #4

Hello, Star Wars fan-family! I had nearly a month’s worth of wireless issues keeping me from posting, but I have plenty to write about! Including, of course, some more Star Wars Reads! (No longer really Summer Reads, but oh well) Today we’re exploring not one, but two of Jude Watson’s incredible Jedi Quest series. If you like, you can read my posts on the previous books The Path To Truth, The Way Of The Apprentice, and The Trail Of The Jedi in the respective links. (Though I will warn you, they are old
and not the same quality posts I write now.)

But yes, what more can I say on these lovely books? They are among my top top favorites! They’re so richly detailed and so masterfully written. Though I’ve never read a bad SW youth novel, these are so amazingly done that it’s hard to tell them apart from the full-length novels. Each chapter is full of deep intrigue, great character moments, and fascinating, totally-believable ideas of the state of the galaxy before the Clone Wars. Ms. Watson digs in deep on the Force, the Jedi, and Obi-Wan and Anakin’s long, sometimes-difficult road to true brotherhood. I have yet to read the recently-released Anakin And Obi-Wan comics to know what these years look like from a modern, canon perspective, but Ms. Watson’s works seem to line up with the canon stories almost flawlessly. And either way, they are amazing reads. I highly, highly recommend, especially if you enjoy the Prequels and TCW as much as I do, or if you want a better idea of what was going on between I and II.

Now, let’s dive into the fine details of these chapters. First, The Dangerous Games, an epic with both podracing and political scandal!
Contains spoilers from the aforementioned book, and some of the books prior. And if you haven’t seen Episode I you will be a a disadvantage.

– Traffic does happen in the SW universe, and not just in The Yoda Chronicles! That’s why there are spacelane officers.
– “I know, I know, feel my anger and let it go. But do I have to be a Jedi all the time, even in space traffic?” #Relatable
– Y’know I remembered a while back on one of my Rebels posts wondering if there’s a certain age you can start driving/flying in the SW universe. There’s apparently nothing out-of-the-ordinary about 14-year-old Anakin at the controls, so maybe there isn’t? Of course, I know this isn’t the final canon word, but it’s reasonable. Or maybe it’s different, depending on where in the galaxy you are.
– Ms. Watson paints the most vivid picture of this world and where the games are held. It’s fascinating and gripping! I feel like I’m there. I can feel the electricity of the busy crowds of the city, and imagining being there for a galaxywide sporting event is a thrill! Anyone else smelling hot dogs and pretzels? But at the same time, through Obi-Wan’s explanations and Anakin’s observations, we see that Eusebus isn’t as perfect and glossy as it makes itself out to be, giving me a sense of realistic caution, and a better understanding of why the Jedi’s mission is so important today.
– I just love Obi-Wan and Siri’s bond! Their conversations are so fun to read, and feel so natural and easygoing!
– I’m just now imagining Ferus Olin to have an Irish accent. Because Irish accents are cool, and it adds a little something more to his character than just the serious, unaccented voice I was giving him before.
– I also love Obi-Wan’s solid friendship with Didi and Astri. It’s one of those things that reminds me “oh yeah, Jude Watson wrote another SW series before this one and I really need to read it already”.
– Though Bog’s a bit of a blowhard, I still find him an highly entertaining character.
– I get it too, Ani. YAS PODRACINGGG!!
– Heheh ok so maybe “solid” isn’t a good description for Obi-Wan and Didi’s friendship, but it says much of Master Kenobi’s character that he’s still willing to help out the poor hapless charlatan.
– And Tru Veld is still one of my faves of her characters. His species is so cool, and he’s the most laid-back ball of sunshine in the Jedi Order! I hope he’ll come along the ride for more stories in the future 😀
– It’s so easy to agree with Anakin’s decision to help the Tyerell kids. Even though he disobeyed Obi-Wan to do it, I could see myself doing the same thing if I had the ability to do so. And of course, we all have to remember the Jedi are not right about everything. But then, at the same time, we know Anakin is doing this not just out of compassion, but also from a slight desire for vengeance. Not to mention his love of the game itself. There’s so many gray areas here, it leaves us readers with a lot to chew on.
– I absolutely can hear an Italian accent for Didi and a thick New York accent for Fligh. BTW if you didn’t read my last Reads post, you missed the part when I mentioned that I love reading Star Wars books out loud so I can do the voices.
– Seriously? Still no lap restraints in these things? Of course, maybe these air taxis are more like those little shuttles or golf carts they have in sports stadium parking lots and you’re just expected to hold on to something ’til you get there…
– Jedi have a seriously epic eye for detail and an amazing memory! This is why they’re so good at the peacekeeping game!
– I know there’s a lot of difference between them in reality, but this multi-leveled swoop bike obstacle course calls to mind the landspeeder race tunnels in the Droids series. Coincidence…?
– Aww! There was once a little yellow-tailed summerbird living in the Senate Building! Things you can learn from a good SW novel! 🙂
– Pretty sure Scorch Zanales has the coolest name of any podracer driver in the SW universe.
– And WHOAAAAA WHAT AN UNEXPECTED ENDING. Such good stuff!

Now for the next chapter, and possibly my new favorite in the series: the chilling mystery that is The Master Of Disguise!
Again, contains spoilers from the aforementioned book and some of the books prior.

– LOL the cover art totally threw me off. I kept thinking Anakin was dueling a changeling or something… I didn’t quite recognize Ferus from the back…
– Yeah when you put it that way, with such masterful, tangible descriptions, I can see why one might think sand is bleh.
– Wow! Darra and I are twins! She looked blonde to me on an earlier book’s cover art, but they’re describing it as copper-and-gold, which is exactly my color!
– I must try out her bright-ribboned padawan braid. If anyone knows of a good padawan-braiding tutorial I’d be forever grateful, because those tiny things are so strangely difficult to make… hehe sorry for all the hair talk.
– It’s amazing how these books can be both beautiful and heartbreaking in parts. Between the clear devastation of war and the regrets Anakin left behind on Tatooine, my reactions are definitely what you might refer to as “all the feels”.
– Oooh so many branches of science to study! It would be fun to be a scientist in the SW galaxy, ’cause with so many worlds, there are nearly infinite amounts of things to discover and study! Yes I am a science nerd. Did I forget to mention that?
– I really appreciate the moments with Madame Jocasta in this book and the last. I like the way Ms. Watson writes her, making her a tough old bird with a solid sense of humor!
– OK Yoda’s appearance in here was the highlight of my day. He may be my favorite voice to read out loud now.
– Whoa Tru’s lightsaber is orange? That is so cool. Could be orange ‘sabers are just for training here, but still. I think it’d be a good lightsaber color!
– Chapter Eight is so fun. Obi-Wan and Jocasta, Jedi mystery-solvers! Also glad to know that Obi-Wan likes tea, because so do I 🙂
– I’m actually starting to want Soara Antana to teach me lightsaber techniques, too. I might be a glutton for punishment, but I do love a challenge.
– OMG NOW I KNOW WHY THE BOOK IS TITLED WHAT IT IS. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.
– I am both wildly fascinated and horribly shook over these concepts. Granta Omega just got scarier. And non-Force-sensitive Sith cults? It just felt colder in here.
– I hope someday I learn to write plots this intricate and in-depth!
– YADDLE SPEAKS! That was really neat, because I’m 99% sure I’ll never read a SW novel giving her a spoken line again.
– Just when you think it can’t get any more intense, IT GETS SO MUCH MORE INTENSE! But that’s something I adore about this series. And this book I think may be the most intense yet!

Ahh, aren’t those just fantastic? Well, *does Yoda impression again* much to blog on, I still have. Look for one last Reads post next week, and then there’s this upcoming new series I must discuss, and also I received an amazing visual encyclopedia for my birthday, so… yep. Lots of Star Wars equals lots to write!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

SW Summer Reads: The Rebels Novelizations, Part 1

It’s time again for some Star Wars Summer Reads! Or I guess Summer-ish Reads for some of you guys. Anyway, the first Star Wars novel I ever read was a Clone Wars novelization compilation called Grievous Attacks. It was a really fun experience and a great introduction to SW books, so I decided it’d be fun to revisit some classic Rebels season one episodes in junior novel form! Let’s talk about Michael Kogge’s takes on Machine In The Ghost, Art Attack, Entanglement, Property Of Ezra Bridger, Spark Of Rebellion, Droids In Distress, and Rise Of The Old Masters!

I honestly forgot until I read these how fun novelizations can be. You get to dive further into the story you’ve seen on-screen, learning more little things about the SW galaxy, as well as the chance to delve into what’s going on inside the characters’ heads. Mr. Kogge did an excellent job at this, especially inside of Rise Of The Rebels, the shorts compilation. He writes a lot of depth into these already-deep little stories as we explore different perspectives (like those of Chopper or a stormtrooper), and even adds some nice new lines and moments that compliment the source material rather than overcrowding it.

Droids In Distress was a very well done compilation as well, though Spark Of Rebellion suffered a little. But I’m not really complaining; it can’t be easy trying to fit a richly-written 44-minute episode in less than fifty pages! So due to the format, Mr. Kogge was forced to skip over some of the best lines and rush much of the story. But the following novelizations were near-perfection!

Both compilations have hiccups in story compared to the actual episode, but most likely that’s because these were written before the episodes were completed. Doesn’t take away from how much I enjoyed them, though! Of course, half the fun for me was just revisiting these great early episodes! The other half, well… I’ll let you in on a secret: ever since Grievous Attacks, I read all SW books out loud to myself. I just can’t pass up an opportunity to practice my character impressions! I found out reading these that I do a pretty mean Grand Inquisitor 😀

Anyway, if you love SWR and want to explore these stories from a new angle, I totally recommend. And they’re definitely great if you’re new to Star Wars books and need a light, easy introduction. Plus, the Sabine-like graffiti artwork dispersed throughout the books is an epic bonus 🙂

Now, for the fangirl-musings commentary portion of the post.

Contains spoilers from the original Rebels shorts and episodes Spark Of Rebellion, Droids In Distress, and some important elements from the seasons beyond.

– Apparently “understatement” is a distinctly twi’lek sort of humor? I must be part twi’lek then.
– I really appreciate also that they simplify some of the technical terms a little bit. Definitely the difference between a potential first-timer’s SW story and something intensely detailed for the long-timer like Tarkin. But it’s still not oversimplified, it’s just right and makes for a pretty easy read.
– Kanan, master of a thousand one-liners. True dat.
– Considering how much they argue in this short, I might not’ve guessed that Hera was actually worried about her copilot for a moment. Awwz #feels.
– We actually get a chance to get inside Chopper’s dome in this book! Some seriously funny stuff here. Now give this hard-working little droid an oil bath already!
– This book seems to imply that Chopper’s exact “words” couldn’t be understood by organics. Always Two There Are confirmed for me that “droid” is a language you can learn. I originally thought that this fact was just something I missed in the other films and shows, but this seems to mean I wasn’t the only one who was unclear on the do-people-actually-understand-astromechs-or-are-they-just-assuming-what-they’re-saying-like-when-people-talk-to-their-pets situation. Or maybe Chopper’s comment is true, and though you can learn basic astromech, a sentient being will never understand the fine details. Knowing Chop’s ‘tude, perhaps this is a good thing…
– Apparently Ryloth is known for their firework shows. I could see that.
– Chopper has good relations with the Phantom, while the Ghost tends to be pretty rude with him. Things only ‘mechs know!
– “A thousand thousand worlds sparkled in the night sky above the capital city of Lothal.” I absolutely love how Mr. Kogge writes for Sabine. He captures so well her fiercely artistic mindset with heavily poetic descriptions. I can’t help but be a little bummed they didn’t make more of these novelizations.
– Sabine has heard the tales of Boba Fett! I still almost can’t believe we never got to see them in a face-off, but I suppose the writers knew that would be far too easy and more of a what-the-fans-want than a what-the-series-needs. But I suppose there’s nothing to say it still couldn’t happen…
– I really hope TK-626’s number was a Lilo And Stitch reference.
– The idea of the Empire specifically recruiting known bullies as Imperial Cadets at first sounded a little too obvious, but then again, remember Oleg? Frankly, I can imagine a lot of storms might’ve been ne’er-do-wells in grade school. Perhaps it’s not what the Empire is looking for alone, but it doesn’t hurt…
– “Artists were almost as bad as rebels. They could draw, paint, and create things he couldn’t. And for that, they deserved to be crushed.” Oh you guys, I think I figured out why TK-626 was a bully. THIS POOR STORMTROOPER CHILD!! I actually feel really bad for him! Thank you Mr. Kogge for helping me consider the human inside the inhuman white armor.
– I think it’s neat that Mr. Kogge paints (so to speak) Sabine as an artist first and a warrior second. Sometimes it’s easy for me to think vice versa, considering her warrior Mandalorian heritage, but when you think about her close relationship with her artistic dad, and consider the life she maybe knew before the Imperial Academy and then the mini-Alliance, it makes sense that art is her first love, and what she wants to do for a living once the war is over. Maybe once she gets Ezra back home, she’ll finally get her chance 🙂
– Apparently, Zeb isn’t all that fond of his nickname. There’s a certain way his people roll their Rs in the lasat language that most just can’t match. I like this angle. I wonder if this is a fact decided upon by the Story Group or an early assumption Mr. Kogge made. It certainly is a fascinating idea! I didn’t know they spoke anything beside Basic! Well aside from the ancient chants, but maybe that should’ve clued me in.
– Imperials don’t know many languages beyond Basic. Didn’t know that, but makes sense in retrospect.
Whoa I didn’t remember the stormtroopers being that mean to the salesnaught. All the more reason Zeb is one noble dude.
– We learn reading this that Zeb isn’t fond of ugnaughts or astromechs, but all the same, he can’t turn a blind eye to their troubles. It makes this already-amazing little story even more meaningful. AHHH SO SO NOBLE :3
– The Empire made slaves of the lasat? My first reaction was “THAT’S NOT ACCURATE! THEY WERE KILLED OFF!“, buuuuuut what if slavery was where it started? Something to consider, anyway. But I gotta say, it’s hard to imagine lasat being good slaves. The wookiees don’t work well under Kessel heat, making them less of a threat, but I imagine that wasn’t as much of a problem for the less-fuzzy-but-still-deadly lasat…
– “My old gran’s a better fighter, and she’s only two meters tall!” Pfft that’s a good one, Zeb. Wonder if this was purely Mr. Kogge’s clever writing or an unused line they recorded. But they actually elaborate further on Granny Orrelios, saying she’d lived for “three hundred dust seasons” (I’m assuming that’s 75 earth years, depending how long a dust season lasts and how many seasons they have). This is the first time we’ve ever heard of any family Zeb had, and it makes me super happy to know an inkling of his personal life before the Empire.
– I love the idea Ezra’s already had a few moments where the Force came into play before he finds himself avoiding TIE fighter fire. It makes sense, and kind of makes you wonder what adventures (and misadventures) he might’ve had on the streets of Lothal.
– Interesting that Ezra’s pretty willing to take any sort of reward, even an Imperial rescue! But hey creds are creds. Perhaps it’s this pilot’s snobbiness that drives Ez to decide to just rescue the helmet instead…
– Considering not long from now Ezra’s back to stealing food, I guess those parts didn’t get him as much cash as he hoped. Or they were stolen. Or maybe food on Lothal these days just costs a lot.
– “A sitting hawk-bat“… could that also be comparable to a lothbat?
– The second book has cool alternate episode titles: “Ezra’s Story”, “Disrupted”, and “Old Masters”.
– Sabine was drinking blue milk?? Obviously I haven’t been paying attention. Or that maybe that’s because her cup wasn’t a clear glass. Question: if blue milk is from banthas (which I’ve been led to believe), since banthas don’t live on Lothal (that we’ve seen), does that mean the Rebs are getting their food supplies from offworld? That makes sense enough. Guess I didn’t need to waste a whole paragraph on it…
– You know, unless my memory fails me, I thought the Rebels merely rescued the wookiees on Lothal before their were transferred to Kessel. I was pretty sure after seeing the hopeless world in Solo that my assumptions were for sure right. This novelization says they actually went to Kessel. I’m starting to think these books were written before the shorts and episodes were completed. That must’ve been confusing to do.
– I’ve never heard of a silverback wookiee before, but that’s a neat concept!
– I’ve always wondered what a nerf sounded like. Apparently they’re a lot like Amda Wabo…
– “Chopper recognized the astromech’s response as typical of the new R2 series. Compassion was the biggest flaw in their programming.” Suuuuure Chop, it’s a thing about their programming! ‘Cause we know you certainly don’t have a soft side!
– Also if he considers him a new R2, then how old does that makes Chopper? Well, I’m not saying he’s old, but I think I once saw a droid that looked like him in a trailer for KotOR. *Chopper soundly zaps me for the bad joke*
– In Chopper’s words, he’s only “a few decades past his expiry date”. But he knows there are far older droids than him.
– It’s rather unusual seeing Threepio and Artoo’s roles in this story flipped, with Threeps a little more confident and Artooie a little less than happy. But an interesting twist for a story I already know well.
– Knowing that Zeb had been having horrific nightmares when he shut Ezra out of their room… even though I’ve watched this episode seven times, and though I know his story doesn’t end here, I can feel his pain as strongly as ever.
– I love the creepy last line Kallus gets in as he’s about to strike down Zeb…
– But more so, I love the way Mr. Kogge describes the Force throughout these novelizations. He makes it feel very tactical, very real, this undeniable spark!

I don’t know about you, but I had a ball reading these. I’ll be taking next week off for my birthday, but after that, you should expect some more Star Wars Reads posts to arrive!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

The Future Of The Freemakers

This post contains some spoilers from Episode VII, Episode VIII, and The Freemaker Adventures.

Not gonna lie, I’ve been missing The Freemaker Adventures a lot lately. I know that might sound ridiculous when there’s no shortage of Star Wars stories around, and for sure I’m thankful for all that, but spending these last two summers with the Freemaker family has been very special to me. I think because it’s been the most deep, meaningful storytelling we’ve ever seen in Lego Star Wars, and when you combine that with the usual Lego Star Wars hilarity and cleverness, amazing things happen! It is truly on-equals with the rest of the canon galaxy for me, and I’m sure for many of you reading this.

At the beginning of the summer, I told myself I wouldn’t let myself be disappointed if there was no new season this year. But throughout the last couple months, I’ve had dream after dream where I’m seeing ads for new episodes! Even one night, I dreamed they made Lieutenant Valeria a playable character in Battlefront II! (Frankly, that would make a ton of sense and needs to be done) So I’ve realized yes, I am a little disappointed.

I guess the toughest thing has been the fact they never said it was over. If Return Of The Return Of The Jedi was the series finale, it was a fantastic, perfect finale. But the Disney XD socials only said it was the season finale. And it made sense to me that they would continue it! Lego’s made other animated series that have lasted far more seasons, and with TFA’s stellar reviews, surely they could go on for a season or two more! I had to remind myself, though, that Lego Star Wars will always be there, regardless of whether it has any animated programming to go with it. So there’s nothing to say they have to keep making Freemaker Adventures. Those are the facts, hard as they may be.

The other hard thing is, the season two finale was so fantastic and so perfect, it made me want more! Of course, that’s just a staple of Star Wars… no matter how happy or satisfying the ending is, it’s impossible to not want to know what happens next. And there are so many things I’ve pondered on over the months on what a third season might hold. I want to see the battle of Jakku and the rise of the new Republic, and where the kids were in all of it! We know where Luke’s path ultimately goes, and I want to see how Rowan fits into it. How does that first Master-Apprentice bond look? What is Luke like as a young, optimistic teacher? Do Rowan’s Forcebuilder talents make things more challenging? Does Rowan even need a real master, considering how well he’s done on his own? Meanwhile, what are Zander, Kordi, and Roger doing with their lives? I’m assuming they’re out there doing what they intended, fixing up the newly-freed galaxy, but how exactly are they doing it? How are they using their talents? And are my theories on Becky Smoochenbacher true?? Not to mention the biggest question of mine: what happened to the Freemakers’ mom and dad? And what about any other extended family — aunts, uncles, grandparents? I know they don’t want to go the same route Rebels went with that kind of storyarc, but just some confirmation of what happened, whether it was just an unfortunate accident or something intentional, would be satisfactory. Whether these questions would be answered or not, there are just too many amazing story opportunities! And that means, far as I’m concerned, there are too many amazing reasons to make at least one more season.

Though I’m certainly feeling the show’s absence right now, I’m not without hope for the Freemakers.
First of all, it truly may not have been the series finale. Perhaps with Solo‘s summer release, Lego wasn’t able to release two different series of Star Wars sets at the same time, and so Disney’s pushing it back a year. And you know, Disney XD has pushed back series before. Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero’s first season ran in 2015, and didn’t get a second final season until 2017. I don’t know what caused the delay, but it speaks volumes that Disney did let them finish what they started. So who knows? Maybe The Freemaker Adventures will be back next summer!
And a couple weeks ago, Star Wars announced a new book… a droid encyclopedia with in-universe narration by Roger.
Look how amazing he looks on the cover!!

No one’s said for certain, but to me, this means that Roger is a 100% canon character in the Star Wars universe. I always thought so, but to see it confirmed in a canon reference book? It’s beyond anything I could’ve hoped to see!
It’s a reminder that Lucasfilm knew we loved these characters. They knew we wanted more Freemakers in our lives.
So who’s to say what’s next for this show?

And hey, The Clone Wars came back after a four-year-absence (three if you count the storyreels). I think literally anything is possible 😀

So whether the Freemakers have said goodbye, or if they’re just getting started, I’m happy. Either way, I’ll keep rewatching the reruns and imagining up new adventures of my own! And I definitely look forward to finally reading Roger’s first published book this fall… and for all the new Star Wars stories to come 🙂

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight