Tag Archives: steve blum

The Resistance Report: The New Trooper

Whoa boy I’ve got a lot of stuff to write about on this one! I mean seriously I think I almost could write two blogs, ’cause The New Trooper delves into everything from galactic politics to space waffles! Let’s see if I can get all this organized right…

Contains spoilers from Resistance episode The New Trooper and elements from the first season thus far. Also some minor spoilers from Episode IV.

Star Wars has taught me a lot over the years; one of those things is that war is complicated. Resistance isn’t the first time we’ve encountered this reality — just watch The Clone Wars or Rogue One, or read James Luceno’s Tarkin. However, this series is the first time in my Star Wars experience that I’ve been able to sit down and really explore the average Joes’ and Janes’ thoughts on war, both the one of the past and the one to come. We’ve seen hints of Kaz’s on-fire Rebel heart and Tam’s respect for stormtroopers in past episodes, but in The New Trooper we watch these perspectives clash and emotions rise in a surprisingly volatile way I was not expecting.

I think it’s very easy for young people to get caught up in taking sides on an issue without actually knowing all the facts (I certainly have been there). The actual nuances of political matters can be super boring, while the energy of a heated debate can be an attractive force. But fierce passion without knowledge has a tendency to lead to shouting matches and hurt feelings. I know that’s not entirely the case with Kaz and Tam here; they both have strong reasons for believing what they do. Much of the problem is that there’s more arguing going on than there is listening or discussing. But I get it — it’s so much easier to stick to what you know and refuse to even think about there being multiple sides to an issue.

And this growing battle with Kaz and Tam has even more complications than stubbornness alone. Kaz knows things that would support his concerns with the First Order, like their interest in dedlanite and that powerful phase connector, but he can’t say much beyond references to his history lessons. Tam, on the other hand, has family who had a very different experience with the Empire, and her personal experience with the First Order so far has been positive. I can see, from her perspective, how it would seem dumb to accuse the local police of wrongdoing just because a similar set of troops did something wrong decades ago. Were I an ordinary galactic citizen (minus all my experience and knowledge as a Star Wars fan IRL), I might have agreed with Tam. At least, until I was faced with proof that said otherwise. Proof like Kel and Eila. I don’t know about you, but anyone being cruel to children would make me lose respect real fast! And since Tam is friends with these kids, I don’t think she can ignore this red flag so easily. It’ll be interesting to see what impact they may ultimately have on her perspective.

I think the biggest takeaway from this episode is that, no matter how complicated things get, we have to be wise and discerning with whatever we support and fight for. Even when some issues seem awash in a sea of gray, truth is still truth, and we shouldn’t stand quietly if darkness begins to outweigh the light. We have to dig for this truth so we can know when, where, and how to fight for what’s really right. And we need to constantly remind ourselves in every battle we approach, large or small, that the people we disagree with are still human under the helmets we mentally assign to them.

Maybe this song will explain this better than I can alone…

TWILIGHT’S HIGHLIGHTS
– Hey look! Normal, non-zappy fishing (slinging?) poles exist! It makes sense, but still fascinating to learn.
– Look how happy the Tehar kiddos are! They deserve to be happy for a change of pace! So YOU BUCKETHEADS BETTER LEAVE THE POOR CHILDRENZ ALONE!
– Ah the old weaponizing-the-food trick! Well played, Padawan Kell. And yes I’m still on the train of thought that these kids are Force-sensitive…
– OK I can’t get past the blue jerky right there. It looks more like Fruit By The Foot than meat! Does it turn your tongue and lips blue, too? (Author’s note: I later found out this is puffer pig bacon, so I guess it probably would have the consistency of Fruit By The Foot!)
– You know what guys? I just realized I’m sitting here watching a Star Wars family breakfast! Kind of like I drew for Rebels four years ago! Ah that’s kinda cool!! 😀
– And safe from what exactly, Tam? You’ve never struck me the type to appreciate someone’s protection. Perhaps some connection to her past and family here? I mean, yes, there was a pirate problem earlier, but… how much damage did they really do long-term?
– But forget the deep political discussions WE’VE GOT SPACE WAFFLES AGAIN!!!! YAYYYY!!!
– Also I love that the possibility of helping his big sis is the best thing ever to Neeku :3
– Is Yeager eating ration sticks? Do they still make those these days? I guess they’re like granola bars — fast and nutritious. Whether they taste as good as most granola bars, though, I’m not sure. Apologies for all the food talk, but this is fun stuff for me!
– Some days I wonder how Yeager’s Repairs ever gets anything done! I guess it’s just that the boring workdays don’t make it onto the show.
– Wow those helmets really are useless. Perhaps, like i imagine Palpatine did before him, Snoke is devoting more of the FO finances to his yacht and fancy sweater than strong armor XP
– OHMYGOSH. ARE WE ALLOWED TO TAKE STORMTROOPER HELMETS OFF AND SEE THEIR FACES BEFORE FINN’S CAME OFF?! I THOUGHT THAT WAS A BIG RULE IN CANON STAR WARS! I guess they figured we’re used to the idea by now? It’s not a huge-huge deal, I guess, but I’ve been so used to that element in storytelling we’ve seen in Rebels (you know, where they’d casually angle the camera so you didn’t see the trooper’s face as Ezra punched the bucket off him) that it came as a bit of a shock to me. Perhaps there’s more to this decision than I know, though…
– That was a beautiful acting job, Kaz! Just as splendidly awkward as Han’s “How are you?” thirty-odd years back! I give it two thumbs way, way up! And hey, the other trooper fell for it, so he’s not doing a bad job, even without the Ezra-style use of accents.
– We’ve seen a lot of great stormtrooper switcharoos, but I think Kaz is the awkwardest fake ‘trooper we’ve ever had don the armor. I’m kind of amazed the other CSs haven’t noticed the totally non-rigid, noodle-y way he moves!
– OK dumb costume-related question: Kaz is apparently wearing the full bodysuit under his confiscated armor. But the original CS-515 still has a full bodysuit. Do storms wear double layers? Unless this is a continuity error of some sort, it seems to be the case. If so, that answers a lot of questions I had back on Rebels when they were stealing white armor left and right and I was a little grossed out at the thought they were leaving the soldiers, well… not wearing much, let’s just say. So *phew* that’s reassuring!
– Still having a tough time getting used to a face attached to that voice (as in, the “stormtrooper” voice in general, not Steve Blum!). I mean, yes, I’ve always known there are people under those buckets. But it’s still so easy to forget that they’re human (or more apropos to this galaxy, sentient beings… although stormtroopers are all human far as I know), especially with our (or at least my) limited knowledge of the First Order troops. They’re bred to be perfect, unfeeling soldiers who shoot when commanded to and keep their helmets on. But yet, they do have some personality and opinions on things, like the other CS complaining about his workload from earlier, and of course our good friend TR-8R who was plumb mad at Finn. It gets you thinking, right? I wonder what these guys will do with their lives should Rey and the Res defeat the First Order for good.
– Also there’s something profoundly sweet about the way Kel and Eila try to calm 515. Perhaps they now see the sad soul that was buried in that inhuman armor, and aren’t so scared of him anymore.
– Trust him, Neeku’s a doctor! XD
– My literal response when Kaz successfully beheaded the ball-droid was “OH MY GOSH!” Partly because I was really expecting Kaz to be the one to suffer a debilitating injury, but also ’cause I felt bad for the little angry dude. But it’s OK it looks like their heads are detachable anyway. They kind of need to be so they can keep rollin’ I guess.
– I don’t know what in the world Kaz was thinking waving at Torra while undercover, but it cracks me up nonetheless XD
– Doza should’ve said “Well then, you can just take your troops out to the snack bar!” Then all the storms would want to go to the snack bar and Pyre would lose all order XD

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 🙂 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! 😀 ) 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 actually 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 mention girl) 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 🙂

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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