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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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REB UP: Thoughts On The Newly-Revealed Rebels Crew

I know I know… what kind of title is “Reb Up”? Well… I thought it sounded kind of cool, cheesy as it is…

Anyway, there’s been quite a sudden flurry of SW news coming out as of late. Aside from the obvious, all-too-exciting news of the new TCW episodes on Netflix(!), they’ve introduced us all to some new Rebels characters that we’re going to come to love this year! Because of these great videos, we’ve seen the sketches and unfinished animation, been introduced to and heard their voices, and gotten an opportunity to get to know the crew of the Ghost a little better. It’s hard to say whether this has made it easier for me to wait or harder for me to wait… all I can say is, I pretty much loved all these guys instantaneously and I’m definitely extremely excited for this show. So, if you have a moment, why don’t we talk a bit about what makes this fantastic mishmash of a team awesome? And we’ll start by talking about each member of the “family” in order of revealing. Which would mean we would start off with the Grumpy Cat of droid-dom, Chopper!

NOTE: This blog contains spoilers from Episode I, Episode III, and The Clone Wars Season 5.
(Screencap credits: the official Star Wars Youtube)

Rebels Promo Art 01

So the first good guy they introduced us to wasn’t human, wasn’t alien… he was a machine; an astromech they call Chopper. If you follow me on tumblr, you likely know my first thoughts on him were “OH MY GOSH I LOVE HIM ALREADY!” And who wouldn’t? First of all, he’s an astromech droid, and for the longest time, the only astromech we loved with all our hearts was Artoo. but at this juncture in time, Artoo was probably getting “in trouble again” alongside Threepio (c’mon, don’t tell me you don’t know the words to the Droids theme song!). Artoo’s always been a crucial part of any cockpit of heroes, always riding alongside the Skywalkers! So the fact they wanted to give us a new good-hearted astromech droid is a big deal, but not only that, they gave us a good-hearted astromech droid with attitude. He looks very much like what could’ve been Artoo, based on legit McQuarrie concept art, so he automatically looks adorable, but it’s his attitude that cinches it. Artoo’s a bit of a prankster, impulsive, and smart-alecky, but no matter what, he’s there for you, even if it means he has to stand exposed on a Naboo ship and restore power while all his droid comrades are getting blown to pieces. But it seems for Chopper that he’s more, well… “Whoops, I just broke the hyperdrive. Eh… nobody’ll notice it. I’ll fix it later.” and then the Ghost crew’s all “WHAT THE HECK, CHOPPER?!” and then he’s like “OK, OK, sheesh, I’ll deal with it, bro!”. He does have a good heart, but it’s a little harder to find for him. But I’m sure when it comes down to it, he’ll get out on that Naboo ship and do what he must… well, so to speak. Also, it’s worth mentioning that I love his funny little “voice”; my first thought was that he sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher synthesized XD Maybe not really, but it was close enough for me to love the similarity. Between his attitude, his endearing, junky-ish look, and his equally grumpy voice, there’s really no debate that Chopper will be a fan favorite for us. Now all we need is for the R2 Builders group to make a life-size one! But one awesome step at a time…

Now, if we’re going to have an “Artoo” on our “Falcon“, we need a “Han” of sorts, and it seems likely that that role will be given to this dude named Kanan. It’s a super-cool feeling getting to meet our first human character, and it helps that this guy’s as cool as they come! My basic prediction for the Ghost crew included a guy like this… someone a bit overconfident who has swagger come naturally to him, someone who’s daring and a smidge reckless, someone who has a good head on his shoulders, but most importantly, has a good heart despite his past. Kanan 100% fits the bill, but I never expect that that “someone” would be an ex-Jedi! One thing I’ve always enjoyed about this between-the-trilogies timespan is the stories of the Jedi who escaped Order 66, and the fact we’re about to really get to know a character of that sort of kin is so exciting for me. It’ll be epic uncovering his past and seeing his character grow. Oh, what a day it’ll be when we see Kanan pick up his lightsaber and actually bring back a bit of the Jedi part of him he can’t deny! I’m completely entirely excited to get to meet Kanan for real and see what happens when he sits in the cockpit of the Ghost, onto another Empire-fighting adventure! And perhaps, what will happen when he locks ‘sabers with Quizzy here…

Rebels Concept Art 01

Then there’s Ezra: who I consider, from my first impression of him, to be a crazy mix of young Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, EU charrie Prince Ken, a smidge of young Anakin Skywalker, and Jaebo from TCW’s Mystery Of A Thousand Moons. What do all these guys have in common with him? They’re all kids who start out on a much bigger adventure in the SW Galaxy, and most of them come from pretty humble beginnings. Ezra here is a thieving street kid who steals “only what he can’t afford… and that’s everything,” (#DisneyReferences); not too far from growing up on the lawless planet of Tatooine as a farm kid or a slave. He’s got himself a set of quick moves, clean getaways, and sticky fingers, and is no fan of the Empire. He’s clearly got attitude as he rocks the occasionally-swiped Stormtrooper helmet, and *spoiler alert* may or may not be Force-sensitive ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems to be that Ezra is going to end up accidentally being the unofficial Padawan of Kanan, and that can only lead to really great, heartfelt stories! There’s truly so much surrounding this awesome kid hero that I can’t help but be excited to meet him and learn more about him as his own brand of awesome to the Alliance! Plus, his hair is so cool… ^w^

Rebels Concept Art 02

Next up is Zeb, who has a lot of coolness going for him. First of all, he’s a new alien species (Anybody remember the last time we had a new canon species introduced? I sure can’t…) and that’s kind of a big deal, and it helps that he’s a totally cool-looking alien with a design that fits perfectly into the SW Galaxy! (I WANTZ TO SEE SOMEONE LIKE ZEB IN EPISODE VII ALL DONE UP IN CG/LIVE ACTION! ๐Ÿ˜€ ) And then they give him this great, gnarly Australian-accented voice that, again, suits Star Wars to a T! (Thank you, Steve Blum!) But most importantly, they made him a great character to start with! Tough, intelligent, quick-thinking, and an overall fun guy to hang around. And who doesn’t love a guy who enjoys smacking Stormtrooper heads together? And all with his own burly classiness… if that’s a thing. If Kanan’s our “Han”, Ezra’s our “Luke”, and Chopper’s our “Artoo”, then Zeb is most definitely our “Chewbacca”. Honestly, I think Zeb could be one of the few who could arm-wrestle Chewie and come out alive; whether he would actuallyย win or not remains to be seen… I must ask that if I ever get to be part of a Q&A with Mr. Filoni and the crew ๐Ÿ™‚ All in all, I’m pretty much psyched to get to see Zeb take down those ‘Troopers before long!

Rebels Promo Art 03

And it’s a fact that SW isn’t complete without its heroines; without our Leias and Padmes and Ahsokas, where would we be? So I did myself a happy dance when I found out that the Rebels crew is getting two girls as part of the crew! The first revealed of the two is Sabine, who perhaps, at first glance, with her fashion sense and rebellious spirit, isn’t too far being a normal teenager/young adult. But surprise! She’s a Mandalorian! With an awesomely designed (pink!) helmet and armor! I pretty much loved her immediately; she’s a truly colorful, creative individual who’s using her mad skillz to give the Empire a piece of her mind. Plus, she’s fashionable, smart, and blows stuff up. It’s nay to impossible to obtain that level of coolness! And being a Mandalorian and all, she’s already naturally cool. From the get-go, I was predicting a really great new girl character would be a part of Rebels, and I was thrilled that she surpassed the coolness levels I predicted! Also, I’ve always wondered what on earth became of Mandalore after all the nuttiness that conspired in the past season of TCW, when in this time, the only armored supercommando we’re concerned about is Boba Fett. So with the introduction of Sabine, we’ll hopefully dig up some further dirt on one of the most intriguing of SW planets. So yeah, I could go on and on about this awesome girl, and I’m sure I will even more once I get to see her story unfold!

Rebels Promo Art 04

Finally, there’s Hera, whose role in Rebels I couldn’tve imagined to be as awesome as it is… she’s the pilot of the Ghost! That’s a pretty sweet role for anyone, and it’s given to our resident twi’lek! Twi’leks have always been awesome, but aside from say, Aayla Secura, there haven’t been a surplus of true hero twi’leks in the SW Galaxy. So seeing Hera at the controls is pretty epic! I absolutely adore her personality, being strong, wise, practical, and quite the leader amongst her fellow rebels. And as if that isn’t enough, she’s got a super-cool steampunk sort of fashion sense! Hera is truly an awesomely unique member, playing a different role than one might expect of her and keeping this mismatched “family” of Rebels together. I look forward greatly to learning more about her as this era in the SW Universe comes to life!

So that’s my two cents on the crew as individuals, now, as a group, let’s start off by saying that they’re awesome as they come! Obviously, we love the Falcon‘s crew, and for good reason, perhaps mostly for the fact that they’re mismatched and quite a varied little gang. They all come from different backgrounds and places and situations and they don’t really hit it off instantaneously. Ultimately, Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, Threepio, and Artoo became amazing friends with each other and sorta, you know, saved the universe and stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ They’re not the only heroes, but they’re the originals, shall we say, of the Millenium Falcon crew. And that’s what we’re going to get with the Ghost‘s crew; we’ve got an ex-Jedi, a Jedi Padawan-in-the-making street kid, a rusty little droid desperately in need of an attitude adjustment (though we hope he never gets one all the same), a muscly, intelligent ex-warrior, a sharpshooting graffiti artist, and a strong (may I mentionย girl)ย pilot. Don’t let this fabulous group pic of them make you assume that they always get along perfectly; like any family, they have their scuffles and disagreements (so far, that seems the most prevalent between Zeb and Chopper), but aside from their differences, they came together first because they had a desire to fight the Empire, but I’m sure that in the end, they’re together because they want to be… because they unexpectedly become family ๐Ÿ™‚

RebelsSketch03

Anyone else unable to wait for this show? Everybody? I’m not surprised. ONLY A LITTLE BIT LONGER…!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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