Looking Back On The Original SWR Shorts

As the last Rebels episodes come closer and closer, I find myself looking back a lot, going back to those early days on Lothal, when we were just getting to know the Ghost crew. Back when we were all taking our first steps together into a time previously unexplored in the canon. Back before we knew of wonderful things like space waffles and purrgil! I find one of the best ways to venture back into this time and space is by watching the delightful character-centric shorts that were released in preparation for the series. Join me as I rewatch each one and then discuss what made them so great! Get ready for some serious reminiscing πŸ™‚

Contains spoilers from many elements in Star Wars Rebels. Don’t recommend reading if you aren’t caught up.

THE MACHINE IN THE GHOST: THREE’S COMPANY

So in case you haven’t heard the story, this was the only of the shorts I saw before the series debuted. I thought originally they were clips instead of original shorts, and being the really-likes-to-keep-things-a-surprise fan that I am, I waited. I don’t remember what convinced me to watch Machine, maybe it was on the socials or something and made it clear it was a short. But either way… this one gave me one of the best tastes of what was to come in Rebels. And also the utter preciousness that is Kanera ❀ ❀

The threat of oncoming TIEs is real, and it gets you on the edge of your seat. But it's clear quickly that this crew can handle it, so the battle takes a backseat while the characters take the stage. And what a performance we get! Most of us wouldn't consider an argument like poetry, but every retort and reply is perfect, with the most harmonious bits of sarcasm weaved in. And even though they argue, you get a sense of warm familiarity in it that says there's infinitely more to their relationship, even before they exchange compliments at the end. And then you have Chopper in the middle of it all, greatly irritated, but seemingly used to this sort of thing as he puts up with their oft-opposing commands. But ultimately he steps up and gets the job done, proving to the audience he can do more than just fix shields and comms. It's all so classically Star Wars and it all comes together smooth as kaadu butter!

“As I recall, raiding an Imperial supply convoy was your plan, love…”
“Well, it made sense at the time.”
If you’ve read my posts on Rebels for any amount of time, you know I refer back to the novel A New Dawn a lot. I won’t spoil anything on it here, but it sheds so much light on who Kanan once was, and makes watching his character growth these last four years even more amazing. I’m highlighting that lovely bit of banter here for more than just that it makes me chuckle, but for the fact that this whole incident began with Kanan taking charge. Because once upon a time, Kanan didn’t have any interest in fighting the Empire. I might be stating the obvious, but it’s such a great story element that I have to state it again and again. He wasn’t always Spectre One; he earned that rank. And he deserved it… even if sometimes things like this happen.
And also on the topic of the novel, though Machine takes place much closer to the events of the series than New Dawn, the short still is a nice glimpse into what life with just the original three crewmembers might’ve been like.

Anyway, Machine is such a fantastic little treasure, flawlessly introducing the Ghost crew’s founding members by giving each character just the right amount of time in the spotlight… and giving us more reasons to laugh and smile than we could count πŸ™‚

ART ATTACK: A SABINE WREN ORIGINAL

Though this was not the first time I’d met Sabine, Art Attack is a great way to introduce her to the audience. We catch her at her best and most Mando-masterful, nimbly and swiftly leading the stormtroopers on an impossible chase. She doesn’t even pull out a weapon until the end; for most of the short, she simply relies on her smarts and agility to pull off the perfect Rebel distraction. It brings a lightly comedic tone as she darts around, always one step ahead of the bucketheads, delivering stellar jabs as she goes. But even more so, it makes very clear that Sabine is a different kind of warrior than we’ve seen before; she is a true artist. Not just in the lovely purple starbird she adorns a TIE’s panel with, but in the way she carefully crafts her plan. Like a brush on a canvas, every move has purpose, and the end result is a dazzling piece that surely inspired all the innocent Lothalites who witnessed it. And you can tell it was a piece the artist was proud of as she remarked “…look at the color!“, which remains one of my favorite Sabine lines to this day. The notion of an artist Rebel was something so new and different at the time, but being an artist myself (or at least an aspiring one), it was the coolest thing to see someone in Star Wars who shared that interest with me and used it to make a difference. Like say, by the time I first watched this short, I already knew Sabine and how awesome at Rebelling she was, but it never hurts to be re-reminded of the facts, especially when you’re waiting for the season two to arrive.

“Always by the book. I read your book… it’s a short one.”
It’s another great Sabine line, but it’s also a really neat little clue to her past that’s amazing to find looking back. Though she may not have specifically read “their book”, she had trained under Imperials and knew plenty of their rules and protocol. I’d always loved that quote but hadn’t remembered it was spoken so early-on. They’re clever, those writers at Lucasfilm πŸ™‚ It’s almost hard to remember what things were like before Sabine’s backstory was fully told, but this short definitely takes me back, and of course, makes me so very proud knowing how far she’s come since.

It’s astounding what Art Attack was able to accomplish in three minutes’ time — lots of action, some solid laughs, but still every moment has meaning in the grand story surrounding it. That is definitely what I’d call art!

ENTANGLEMENT: YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD HONOR GUARD

OK so rewatching this one has me smiling so hard right now. It fills me with so much joy I hardly know where to begin.
But that’s the beauty of this one: where it begins.
It’s a blast watching Zeb take down buckethead after buckethead, but it all started because he couldn’t stand quietly in the face of injustice. That endlessly noble spirit has always been one of my favorite things about him, and watching him put everything on hold for one poor shopkeeper makes that part of him plain as day, whether you’re meeting him for the first time or you’ve been following him for four seasons. And with that all-important trait in mind, the most wonderfully explosive story unfolds in spectacular fashion. The speed at which all the action happens is the best kind of dizzying. And every twist and turn of the fight showcases both Zeb’s incredible strength as well as his finesse and ability to plan on the fly. It’s an unexpectedly beautiful sight, and for those new to the series, it’s not quite like anything we’d seen in Star Wars before. I mean, when Zeb grabs that one ‘trooper and flings him into the other?? That’s just WHOA on so many levels.

“Well that’s great! You get lost in the middle of a mission and decide to start your own battle — again!”
“I didn’t decide, it just… happened. This time.”

But like with the last two shorts, the action ultimately takes a backseat to the characters, and the end result is priceless. Zeb is enjoying every minute of this battle, you can tell. And Kanan is more than a little frustrated that his friend and fellow Rebel has strayed away from the original plan. This hilarious back-and-forth carries through almost the entire short and is nothing short of fantastic writing and a fantastic performance. The fact that this has obviously happened more than once makes it all the funnier, but also continues to say so much about who Zeb is. You know he’s not just bashing bucketheads for sport; it’s because of his burning desire to protect the innocent. Just like he did once as an Honor Guard, he continues to do for the people of Lothal, and that is nothing short of admirable… even when it miiiiiiight cause a few delays πŸ™‚

Whoops now I went from being all giddy to being all feelsy. But that’s just what happens with shorts this great!

PROPERTY OF EZRA BRIDGER (or: NOT WHAT YOU THINK):
NO SIR, THANK YOU

It was impossible not to rewatch this short and proclaim “OH, HOW EZRA HAS GROWN!!”. A lot of it for me was just remarking over how young he was back then (even his voice sounds younger somehow!), but it’s Ezra’s character growth that truly astounds me. We watch here Ez playing the role of a “helpful, concerned citizen” as a cover for a good steal. But over time, we’ve seen him transform into a truly selfless, generous, driven young man who has no ulterior motive for doing the right thing. It was almost as though this jaded young thief is a totally different person — except maybe for the fact his sense of humor and irony hasn’t changed much πŸ™‚

“Now remember, sir, no ‘thank-you’s. You didn’t need my help. And besides… I didn’t come to help!”
It’s easy to see though that Property really does make a good introduction for Ezra. It’s hard not to be won over by his clever wit and smooth moves as he rather puts this incredibly belligerent Imperial in his place. He doesn’t immediately strike the audience as a “hero” type, but soon as we watch him dodge the TIE’s guns with what could only be help from the Force… we know there might be a chance of heroism in his future. And it has a lot to do with that cargo ship he caught a fleeting glimpse of that day… or more so, the people on that cargo ship. Rewatching it really is a wonderful feeling, because seeing him cross paths with the Ghost for just the smallest, tiniest moment is a reminder of how beautifully things have come together since then. So much wow, you guys.
Plus, is there anything more satisfactory than watching the pilot’s overconfident smile disappear once Ez sends that energy blast his way? That might be my favorite part XD

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these little three-minute gems are amazing. All of them thrilling and laugh-out-loud funny, but with so much more beneath the surface that gives it so much more meaning, especially the longer you follow this precious family’s story. Together, these four shorts make the perfect mini-prequel to Spark Of Rebellion, and the perfect quick nostalgia trip. Also again, I just love this show so so much ❀ Though the end is near, I'm still beyond excited to see where the story goes next, and that's likely when I'll post again in a couple weeks. Though keep an eye out, 'cause post inspiration may strike again even before that…

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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Following The Freemakers: Flight Of The Arrowhead

OK so this episode was a ton of fun and there’s a few things I’m going to need to write on about, so feel free to join in on my Freemaker follow-up on Flight Of The Arrowhead!

Contains spoilers from Episode VI, Episode VII, and Freemakers episodes The Pit And The Pinnacle and Flight Of The Arrowhead, along with some minor stuff from the episodes prior.

OK so this is just a nerdy realization on my part I should’ve remembered last episode, but that whole thing about kyber crystals being highly volatile finally clicked with me. Watching them go off like firecrackers I was all β€œWell I guess that makes sense…” and only later did I remember that the Death Star was powered by them. Le duh. If you’re new to Star Wars, you should never feel dumb because even those of us who’ve been in the fandom for a decade don’t always know what’s going on! Just something on my brain the last few days. Also β€œkabloomey” might be the best descriptive word ever XD

So when Quarrie was talking about an ideal pilot for the Arrowhead‘s maiden voyage, I’d really sorta thought it might be Hera he was thinking of. But then I did notice that I haven’t seen her around Home One lately, not even at the medal ceremony at the end. Wonder what she’s up to? I’m quietly hoping that she’s getting some family time in with her crew (and that nobody’s died in the last few years), but who knows? Makes you curious though doesn’t it? Anyway, I certainly wasn’t disappointed though to see Lieutenant Valeria again! I’d actually been missing her a bit, even as a supportive character she’s just so fun and full of energy I was hoping she might get involved in a Freemaker misadventure again. And they decided today to grant my wish! Granted, I’m sure she would’ve rathered come back this episode flying something a little more put-together, but it made for some great burns and banter! Quarrie we love you but you gotta start giving us the important info the first time around.

So I love not only that we got to visit Jakku this episode, but that they integrated it in a really neat way. I would’ve loved to have seen Nima Outpost and all that craziness there, but by just portraying it as a ludicrously barren wasteland as far as most of the galaxy knows, it really sinks in just how truly awful and desolate the place is, and how it’ll likely feel for Rey thirty years from now. Also they gave me another one of my favorite SW creatures and brought in some happabores! Yay for slow slobbery space pigs! πŸ˜€

But who’dve guessed the guys riding the slow slobbery space pigs would be Ensign Plumestriker and Sub-Ensign Durpin! I really don’t know how they keep failing and still manage to avoid Force-chokings, but thank goodness ’cause they’re fun to foil. And yeah now go-getter Plumestriker’s in charge! He tha bossman! I also do wonder why they keep getting stuck together on missions when clearly their differences in work ethic clash to an often dangerous level. I think maybe some higher-up graycoats just don’t like either of ’em and want them out from under their command. Yikes Imperial politics can be mean. But either way, I’m impressed Plumestriker got as far as he did (and his acting chops are pretty on-point, too. I really thought he was buying that Vader disguise). Just… maybe they need to go into Imperial janitorial services for a change. Hehe that would be a fun confrontation! Roger could clean ’em up with his mop skills! XD

Another kind of random query but… when Zander and Roger got captured, it was daytime, but by the time β€œDarth” Kordi showed up, night had fallen. Did it take that long to craft the dumb thing?? OK suddenly I just remembered they were probably planning on using the darkness to their advantage I don’t know why I even wrote this paragraph. Can’t believe the Imps argued that long tho. Really, have neither of them gone to HR about this? Oh right this is the Empire. I don’t get the feeling they care much about creating a friendly workspace…

OK so as a whole, I’m not the kind of fangirl who ships on sight. There needs to be something obvious there and it has to be reasonable before I can mash up a certain guy’s name with a certain girl’s name and start squeeing over ’em. Sometimes I wonder on things, but I don’t make a habit of writing the wonderings here… usually. BUT THE WAY ZANDER LOOKED AT VALERIA WHEN SHE RAN OUT TO FACE THAT AT-ST…
I’d sort of tossed the concept around back when she debuted in the shorts, but clearly they saw each other as friendly coworkers and that was it. So it seemed, anyway. Now, I’m aware I could be way way off, like, the-distance-between-the-inner-rim-and-wild-space kind of way off. And I’m OK with that. But there’s something about the look on his face and his quiet β€œwow…” that comes off as more than just impressed… I suppose we’ll just wait and see where this goes :3

But moving on, how about that Arrowhead?! Might be one of the prettiest ships ever to grace the Star Wars saga! Its shape, its speed, its sound, its firepower, its blue kyber-y glow… it. is. magnificent. I definitely am eyeballing that Lego kit now. I have some questions on what will come next for the vessel, though… because we all know that it’s not going to be what ultimately saves the Rebellion. If it had been, well, the battle of Endor would’ve been over a lot sooner. But at the same time, Rowan’s vision was not for nothing, it was part of his destiny to build the Arrowhead. But for what reason, ultimately? Some deep thoughts there. Either way, watching it cut through that star destroyer was a bea-utiful sight to see! β€œLike a lightsaber through kaadu butter!” indeed.

And we finally got ourselves a medal ceremony! And our three young heroes got some fantastic new promotions! I could not have felt prouder! It’ll be neat to see how the Freemakers embrace their new roles as shipbuilder, quartermaster, and cadet. And it’ll also be quite interesting since we know that this isn’t the end of the season… and again, that the Arrowhead is not the final answer. Strange how such a victorious ceremony can also leave you with a bad feeling about this, huh?
But don’t worry Roger, we’ll get you one of those reward stickers from The Yoda Chronicles πŸ™‚

Wow I had a lot more to talk about this post than I thought I would! But that’s great. I hope I was able to deliver some fun stuff and some StarWarsian food for thought today. Until next week!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Following The Freemakers: The Lost Crystals Of Qalydon

All righty it’s time to talk Freemakers! I still wish I was better with coming up with opening paragraphs, but that’s certainly not going to keep me from writing my little heart out on this wonderful family :3 Read on as we dig into The Lost Crystals Of Qalydon!

Contains spoilers from TCW episodes Jedi Crash and Defenders Of Peace, and Freemakers episodes A New Home and The Lost Crystals Of Qalydon

So I’m glad this episode finally answered some questions for me on Rowan’s crystal-sensing. They hadn’t brought it up in so long I really wasn’t sure whether it was more to do with the Kyber Saber itself than crystals in general. Turns out my assumptions have been right the whole time; Rowan has a particularly strong connection to all kyber crystals, and this ability is far stronger than he believed it to be. It’s an amazing power that has the potential to aid them greatly in their mission to complete the Arrowhead, but I still shudder to think what could happen if the Empire gets to him first. Wow you guys this is such solid writing I’m blown away every time I hit β€œplay”!
Anyway, now that this question is out of the way, I need answers on some other subjects, such as how Kordi so successfully avoids helmet hair, and what actually goes into an ugnaught bean casserole. Well, technically maybe it’s better I don’t know that last one. Or do I? IDK man a part of me’s really liked the idea of attempting to cook earth versions of Star Wars dishes so… yeah I still wanna know. But that’s another story for another day.

OK so I’m gonna be honest with you all right now: this post is going to probably be 90% me going on and on about lurmen. When I first heard this episode would involve these magnificent lemur-people I about exploded. What can I say? I have a serious soft spot for fuzzy floofy SW species! And plus, these guys are complete Clone Wars nostalgia! I was super super excited to see new lurmen in a new time and place, and how they’d work with our heroes. Let’s see… where do I begin…?

For one thing, I definitely appreciated that their views on peace and war aren’t quite as black-and-white as the last colony we met. It’s a refreshing difference and allows the story to flow very well and for our heroes to bond with them. Also we get the joy of watching Grandma Ymojin smack Zander in the head with space coconuts XD It’s great getting to learn more about their culture and their angle on the Force, too. And it’s interesting to know that their species seems to favor similar architecture in their homes. The Qalydon colony’s little huts are clearly put-together parts, but they closely resemble the shapes of the other colony’s giant seedpod homes. Seriously revisiting the lurmen was so fun and has me wanting more stories of ’em! While I know it’s probably not fair to call them adorable… they really really are. And the fact they raise kaadu takes the adorableness up a notch. I’m pretty sure my exact words were β€œOMG THIS MUCH CUTENESS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!!” 😍 I don’t know how this show does it, but they know what I want before I even think it. Every. single. time.

And oh my stars wasn’t Maynar a delight? She seriously added so much to this episode. This is the first time we’ve seen Rowan interacting with someone his age, and that someone happens to be a clever, confident, but jaded lurman girl who doesn’t believe in the Force. Maynar’s realist perspective makes for a rather complimentary contrast to Rowan’s optimistic disposition. But all the same, her jadedness doesn’t make her off-putting in any way; you understand where she’s coming from and why it’s hard for her to believe. Ultimately though, their common spunk and determination bonds them in the best way and their sweet friendship gives me many feels :3 Oh, and her fashion sense is great too! That dress is utterly too cute and I might have to steal her lavender hair streak! But anyway I’m rambling and I can only hope I got my point across all right. Whatever the case, I just adore this furry child and she and Rowan make the best team πŸ™‚

Also Roger and Ymojin are totally perfect for each other, right? XD OK maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s sure darn funny to watch anyway. You’d think she’dve remembered the Clone Wars and the damage the battle droids did across the galaxy and wouldn’tve been so fond of him, but clearly that’s all water under the bridge. They don’t come much taller, darker, or handsome-er than R0-GR! And he’s just so utterly confused it cracks me up. β€œ…it’ll cost ya a kiss!” β€œUH… I DON’T HAVE LIPS.” β€œI can work with that!” 🀣

It’s always fun seeing Durpin and Plumestriker, of course. Well… mostly. Some days I’m still amazed they still have their jobs at all. And that they aren’t dead yet. Like I noted on the short Beware The Gamorrean Flu, it’s fascinating to me to see a motivated, ready-to-get-the-job-done Durpin. But if there’s any chance the Commander can finally get his dream desk job, he’s gonna do whatever it takes — even attacking a peaceful village for a few spare kyber crystals. I gotta say, even though the graycoats’ goals and personalities haven’t changed, it feels like they’ve upped their ante a bit with how they lead this rather brutal pillaging. For the first time I think ever Durpin and Plumestriker genuinely had me concerned. Scared a little even. The first couple times we met them, they were just keeping an eye on stuff and not doing much of anything. Now they’re out here, commanding stormtroopers and raiding these gentle people of something that holds a great deal of meaning to them. And on top of that, they go after Rowan and Maynar, who are just children! Yeesh what nerfherding scumweasels! Sorry that was uncalled for. I am a bit impressed though still. It’s nice to know they actually are quite capable Imperials and they can be an actually serious threat.
OK mostly. Mostly. They’re still kinda dorks XP

So with its high-stakes climax and inspiring heartfelt ending, this episode was just too special and too awesome. Thank you for taking the time to read all my fangirly (and often lurmen-y) musings today!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight