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

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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

The One Where Twilight Fangirls Over Solo, Part 3

Let’s see… I’ve poured out my fangirly thoughts on HanXQi’ra and a handful of the new characters… what shall I talk about next? Yeah I really wish I’d gotten the chance to watch Solo again so I could stir up more discussion topics, but time has not been my friend lately. That’s why I’ve decided this will be the last post in this particular series. It won’t be the last time I talk about Solo for sure, but I think it’ll be time to shift gears from here. Anyway, how about I just fill the post with some assorted fangirl musings? Sounds good? Then let’s go!

Contains spoilers from Solo and some important elements from The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Also, please remember I have only seen the film once at this point, so there is a chance I may have misremembered some elements.

As I’ve discussed heavily in the last two posts, Solo was absolutely loaded with surprises. It’s one of my favorite things about the film! And among my favorite surprises were the Easter eggs and the nods to other Star Wars stories. I’m sure I missed a few, but the ones I picked up on had me smilin’! Glee Anselm, Scarif, Bossk, Aurra Sing! I knew those names! It made my Star Wars-nerdy self explode with glee! Especially with things that nodded back to the Prequels and animated series. I’m not clear if The Pikes they mentioned had any relation to the ones in TCW, but either way, it’s something special seeing elements from all ends of the SW galaxy come together like this. I mean, actually getting to see Glee Anselm for the first time was a treat for me. And though I feel bad for whatever went down with Beckett vs. Aurra, it sounds like there’s a good story there, anyway. Oh, and funny story: you know that set of ancient Mandalorian armor in Dryden Vos’s office? I spent like five minutes staring at it thinking there was someone in the suit, asking myself “Boba Fett? Is that you…?” XD It’s all these little things that just fill me with joy and remind me of the supreme storytelling skills going on at Lucasfilm!

And speaking of surprises, I feel bad I didn’t end up writing on Enfys Nest last post. Once again, these new characters go so far beyond their appearances and first impressions! Of course, that’s true for the majority of SW characters, old and new alike. But I certainly did not expect the nefarious-looking Enfys Nest to be a young girl Rebel! There’s a lot we still don’t know about her, but she’s obviously an epic heroine and I think there could be some epic novels and comics about her to follow. And hopefully I’ll have much more to write on her then 🙂

And you know how I wrote on my Last Jedi post about how every Star Wars something has that one moment that you never forget your reaction to? With Solo, that scene is the one near the end where we meet Qi’ra’s real boss. The exact sound I made was a loud, choking gasp with a slight squee mixed in. True, in part, this was because I briefly forgot where in the SW timeline the film takes place, and my first reaction was “BUT MAUL IS DEAD!!“. But then I remembered this all took place some years before Rebels, and I then geeked out over his appearance for the rest of the day. I can only imagine how confusing and fascinating it must be for those who haven’t been keeping up with the animated series. If you happen to be one of those people, go right now to Netflix and watch some Clone Wars! I recommend maybe some early season one and two episodes first, just to get acquainted, and then go over to season four and start with Nightsisters and then keep going from there. And once you’ve finished that, grab a few early episodes of Rebels on DisneyNow or iTunes or something and then come back to the Maul story with Twilight Of The Apprentice. If this all sounds complicated to you, just watch all the episodes of both shows, period. You won’t be sorry, I don’t think! 😀 Then you’ll have at least a little idea of what’s going on here.
Anyway, back on the subject. It was too amazing to hear Sam Witwer’s voice and see Ray Park’s face again in Star Wars. Maul just looks truly magnificent and as terrifying as ever! And with this small scene, they opened up an entire new angle to the former Darth’s story that I absolutely need to know more about! And like with the smaller Easter eggs, seeing this amazing story that was fleshed out in the animated series having a pretty huge connection to the events in this film… wow. There are no words. And it wasn’t just a this-would-be-really-cool cameo! This seems to be a major part of Qi’ra’s next chapter! And Maul’s too, as he continues on his tireless quest for power and purpose. You guys, this is one of the reasons I love Star Wars so much. It’s a big, big galaxy, but nothing is there without real thought and consideration.

So with that being said, there are still so many reasons to love Solo and Star Wars in general! What the next post will be about, I don’t yet know, but I look forward to sharing something with you sometime next week!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

The One Where Twilight Fangirls Over Solo, Part 2

Yay the blog is back! Today, I’m continuing my series of posts of all the things I loved about Solo: A Star Wars Story, today I’ll be writing on the amazing new crew of characters we meet, and how they all exceeded every expectation I had! You can read the first part all about Han and Qi’ra here. Now where do I possibly begin…?

Contains spoilers from Solo and a vague element from Episode VIII. Also, please remember I have only seen the film once at this point, so there is a chance I may have misremembered some elements.

There is much I could say on reuniting with Han, Chewbacca, and Lando, especially since I’ve known them quite a while. And I certainly will do some more writing on them in the future. But right now, I feel I need to give some of the newbies the spotlight! Because wow do they ever deserve it!

I don’t know why, but I really didn’t expect to love these new scoundrel-sorts as much as I did. It’s not that I thought I wouldn’t like them, of course. Star Wars has this great habit of making truly amazing characters, and I have yet to meet one I genuinely don’t like (or absolutely love). And I already did like them from what I saw in the trailers and spots, but I suppose the whole “criminal underworld” vibe of the film got me assuming everyone very well could be a traitor, and even if they weren’t all traitors, they could still be cold-blooded, out-for-themselves, and not looking for friends. Perhaps other darker areas of Star Wars lore have made me a suspicious Sally. So I was expecting these characters to be cool, but I didn’t expect to become attached to them so quickly. Or that they’d make me laugh so hard… and cry so hard. These seemingly-gritty, hardened criminals were about to each make my ever-expanding favorite character list in a way I never anticipated!

Perhaps the biggest way they shot down my assumptions has to do with Tobias Beckett and his crew. Because of Beckett’s “assume everyone will betray you” advice, I figured he wouldn’t be one with a lot of friends. I expected his crew to be a loosely-knit group of criminal business partners who would be quick to betray your trust if large amounts of creds were involved. Instead, what I saw was something more of a thicker-than-blood family, with a mom and a dad and a goofball grown son! Throw in Han as the little brother and Chewie as the uncle, and suddenly all these plans for a train heist felt more like plans for a family road trip. Beckett, Val, and Rio were all tough customers, that I wasn’t wrong about, but these tough customers also were genuinely looking out for each other. They’d shared good times and bad times, and somehow maintained a sense of loyalty and a sense of humor through it all. Though we don’t know Val long, the sweet old-married-couple relationship she and Beckett have spoke volumes about both individuals, and who they really were at heart, beyond their jaded, scoundrel-y exteriors. And Rio? Oh my gravy I loved that guy! He was so fun, and Jon Favreau was a delight in the role! The witty pilot was among the film’s best-kept secrets. Understandably, because we don’t know him long either, but he just lit up the room every scene he was in. We need him in some more Star Wars stories, OK? ‘Cause boy do I miss him. Together, Val and Rio brought out the best in Beckett, making him incredibly relatable, and revealing what a truly intriguing, complex individual he is. And the somewhat-fatherly role he takes on with Han was neat to watch as well. I honestly didn’t see it coming when he ended up being the traitor among the newbies. But that only served to make him an even more fascinating character to me. I’m seriously still reeling from how great all this writing is!

Of all the new characters, L3-37 was probably the one I was most excited to meet, but she still went far, far beyond what I expected. She was not just a wonderfully brash, mouthy, and witty sidekick, L3 was, like all the characters in this film, a truly complex person. And that’s what surprised me a little! Though I’ve always known the droids we know best in Star Wars as thinking, feeling beings, the sheer range of L3’s emotions and the naturalness of her thought processes blew my mind. We see her absolutely distressed over droidfights, overjoyed at finding purpose in starting a rebellion, and even contemplating the complexities of romance while chatting with Qi’ra about their boys! (I know I died laughing in that scene, how about you?) Droids with endless amounts of personality are nothing new, and I certainly wouldn’t say droids like Artoo, BB-8, and Chopper are lacking in any way, but there’s something outstandingly different with L3-37, and I adore it to absolute pieces! She’s certainly made me look at droids in a whole new light, especially as I’ve always been fascinated with droid psychology and what free will means to them. And also, her friendship with Lando was so delightful and so precious, I really need to see more of them. But either way, I’m glad she’s still around in the Falcon! I’m sure she’s got some opinions on all those porgs nesting in the wiring XP

Anyway, that’s the story of how a bunch of rough-and-tough scoundrel-y types I didn’t know what to think of at first became absolute favorites. I’ll share more of my Solo faves sometime in the next week or so!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight