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Updated: 27 min 41 sec ago

The End of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Comes Home

4 hours 4 min ago

Long have we waited…to complete our Skywalker saga collection. And soon you can bring Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe, Babu Frik, Jannah, Rose, and the rest of the gang home.

Last year, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams’ riveting conclusion to the Skywalker saga, electrified audiences around the globe, earning more than a billion dollars worldwide. Now, you can complete your collection and experience the saga anytime you want when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD and via Movies Anywhere on March 17, two weeks before it lands physically in 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on March 31.

Bonus material includes a feature-length, making-of documentary, which goes behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and explores the legacy of the Skywalker saga. Plus, other extended features allow you to dig into the film’s Pasaana desert scenes, hear from Warwick Davis as he reprises his role as Wicket the Ewok, and learn about how the creature effects team created a record 584 creatures and droids for the film, including D-O! The digital release also includes a special, exclusive feature highlighting legendary composer John Williams, who has scored every episode in the Skywalker saga.

The full list includes*:

  • The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
  • Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
  • D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
  • Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
  • Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!

Digital Exclusive:

  • The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final episode in the Skywalker saga, welcomed the return of original characters Luke Skywalker, General Leia Organa, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Emperor Palpatine, and Lando Calrissian, along with the latest generation of heroes and villains, including Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, Maz, Rose, General Hux and Kylo Ren. Newcomers include Jannah, a new ally of the Resistance; Allegiant General Pryde of the First Order; and smuggler Zorii Bliss.

Target exclusive set

Best Buy exclusive steel book set

Walmart exclusive set

Choose from a variety of at-home viewing experiences. The Multiscreen Edition includes Blu-ray and a Digital copy, giving you the flexibility to watch the film on different devices. Those with 4K Ultra HD capability may opt for a 4K UHD Ultimate Collector’s Edition, including 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a Digital copy. 4K Ultra HD provides four times the resolution of HD paired with fully immersive picture and sound and Dolby Atmos audio, allowing viewers at home to practically feel the Force.

And on March 31, coinciding with the physical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, eight Star Wars films are being released on 4K UHD for the first time: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS:
FEATURE RUN TIME: Approximately 142 min.
RATING: PG-13 in U.S.; PG in CE; G in CF
ASPECT RATIO: 2.39:1
AUDIO:
4K UHD Blu-ray: English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus
Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
DVD: English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
UHD Digital: English Dolby Atmos (some platforms), English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
HD Digital: English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
SD Digital: English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
SUBTITLES:
4K UHD Blu-ray: English SDH, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and French
Blu-ray: English SDH, Spanish and French
DVD: English SDH, Spanish and French
Digital: English SDH, French, Spanish (some platforms)

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheRiseofSkywalker

Luke, Leia, and Lando Return to Cloud City in Star Wars #3 – Exclusive

5 hours 2 min ago

When you can’t use the Force, try the next best thing: Lando’s charm.

In StarWars.com’s exclusive preview of Star Wars #3, set after the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke, Leia, and Lando return to Cloud City in hopes of finding Skywalker’s lightsaber…but they don’t receive the warmest of welcomes. That’s when Lando does what he does best.

Look for Marvel’s Star Wars #3, from writer Charles Soule and artist Jesús Saiz, with a cover by R.B. Silva, in stores and on digital Wednesday, February 19.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

20 Memorable Quotes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 08:00

Since its debut in 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars has given us an unprecedented look inside the final years of the Jedi Order and the Republic. The captivating animated series is a snapshot of an era unlike any other, defined by the stories of the conflict between the Separatists and the Republic, the lives of Jedi Masters and their Padawans, and the unflinching clones standing on the front lines. 

As the story reaches its conclusion with the first all-new episode in the final season debuting on Disney+ February 21, let’s take a look at some of the most quotable lines from episodes past to remember where our heroes and villains have been and where their paths are taking them on the last leg of their journey.

1. “That’s your plan? Just fly there, land, hope they don’t spot us, and walk in the door?” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Destroy Malevolence,” Season One, Episode 4

It doesn’t take long for Anakin Skywalker’s plans (or lack thereof) to become a running gag in The Clone Wars. While Anakin might not think everything through down to the last detail (like his master tends to do), things have a funny way of almost always working out for the young Jedi. 

2. “Today we fight for more than the Republic. Today we fight for all our brothers back home.” – Captain Rex

Rookies,” Season One, Episode 5

Exploring the Clone Wars from the point of view of the clones leads to some of the most compelling stories in the animated series. They may be clones, but their personalities come through and set each trooper apart. Captain Rex, Fives, Echo, Tups, and more are each distinctive and remarkable. In only the fifth episode of the series, Captain Rex shows us exactly who he is in this quote. He never flinches from his duty and is always willing to defend what’s most important to him: his brothers. 

3. “To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.” – Yoda

Lair of Grievous,” Season One, Episode 10

Yoda voices the risks of the Jedi expanding their role beyond peacekeepers in the galaxy-spanning conflict. He would prove to be unfortunately prescient. 

4. “I would kill you both right now if I did not have to drag your bodies.” – Count Dooku

The Gungan General,” Season One, Episode 12

Dooku, Anakin, and Obi-Wan must work as unlikely allies to escape the clutches of Hondo Ohnaka and his pirates. But as you can probably guess by the quote, they can’t put aside their differences. The Jedi and Sith Lord trade barbs and insults as they grudgingly team up. This is a rare opportunity to see the three together without lightsaber blades flashing, and it only happens in The Clone Wars.

5. “A great leap forward often requires first taking two steps back.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Mystery of a Thousand Moons,” Season One, Episode 18

Obi-Wan, sounding a lot like his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, urges an agitated Anakin to slow down and think things through before rushing off to save Padmé. 

6. “Senators, I presume you are acquainted with the collection of half-truths and hyperbole known as Obi-Wan Kenobi?” – Duchess Satine Kryze

Voyage of Temptation,” Season Two, Episode 13

Satine expresses her anger with Obi-Wan in one savage sentence…and can you say she’s wrong? This line also reveals that the pair share a deep personal history that those in the room — and those watching — aren’t quite privy to.

7. “You thinking what I’m thinking?” – Anakin Skywalker

Bounty Hunters,” Season Two, Episode 17

Name a more iconic Jedi Master and Padawan. We’ll wait. 

8. “You don’t have to look tough to be tough.” – Ahsoka Tano

Bounty Hunters,” Season Two, Episode 17

Ahsoka reassures a diminutive pilot that looks can be deceiving. (She’s pretty tough herself.)

9. “A failed apprentice makes for a foolish master!” – Count Dooku

Witches of the Mist,” Season Three, Episode 14

As Asajj Ventress sees her plan for revenge begin to crumble along with Savage Opress’s emotional state, Dooku can’t help throwing a taunt her way. The targeted insult probably stings more than any strike with a lightsaber would. 

10. “We are the ones who guard the power. We are the middle, the beginning, and the end.” – Daughter

Overlords,” Season Three, Episode 15

The Daughter explains the role her powerful Force-wielding family serves to a bewildered Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka in the quote above. The Mortis arc of The Clone Wars is simultaneously one of the most well-defined and enigmatic pieces of Force mythology we’ve ever been treated to. The prophecy of the Chosen One is explored like never before in these can’t-miss episodes.

11. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from you, master, it’s that following direct orders isn’t always the best way to solve a problem.” – Ahsoka Tano

The Citadel,” Season Three, Episode 18

Ahsoka turns the tables on her master by doing exactly what he would do: breaking the rules to do the right thing. While she often jokes that all she learns from Anakin is defying the Jedi Council and crashing ships, Ahsoka does take away valuable lessons from him in staying true to herself and following her own path. 

12. “The whispering of his name can rekindle hope. And hope is something we cannot allow our enemy to possess.” – Count Dooku

Gungan Attack,” Season Four, Episode 2

Dooku understands his enemies well. Hope is the lifeblood for those fighting for what they believe in and pushes them to keep going, battle after battle, until they win the war — as Dooku’s master would later discover.

13. “It’s Captain, sir.” – Captain Rex

Carnage of Krell,” Season Four, Episode 10

Krell shows us that not everyone in the Republic values the life of a clone. Rex finally stands up to the Jedi general, whose cruel plan cost the lives of his brothers. We’re reminded in this shocking episode that the clones are not mindless automatons, but people with emotions who are fully capable of making their own decisions. 

14. “You cannot imagine the depths I would go to to stay alive, fueled by my singular hatred for you.” – Maul

Revenge,” Season Four, Episode 22

Maul reveals himself to Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time since their fateful clash on Naboo in the landmark episode “Revenge.” The former Sith apprentice declares an absolute desire for vengeance that would drive him for the rest of his life. His cruel thirst for revenge continues throughout The Clone Wars and into Star Wars Rebels to their final, heart-wrenching confrontation.

15. “Kenobi, don’t tell me someone’s finally knocked the fight out of you. Wake up.” – Asajj Ventress

Revenge,” Season Four, Episode 22

When Maul and Savage Opress gain the upper hand and capture Obi-Wan, help comes in the unlikely form of Asajj Ventress…and a good ol’ fashioned slap across the face. The “hairless harpie” and the Jedi team up to escape the brothers in an unforgettable fight that shows Obi-Wan wielding a red-bladed lightsaber for the first and only time. 

16. “You are not the first laser-sword wielding maniac I’ve had to deal with. And Hondo Ohnaka survives every time!” – Hondo Ohnaka

Revival,” Season Five, Episode 1

Oh, Hondo. When Maul and Opress begin hiring mercenaries and pirates for their crime enterprise, Hondo is not impressed by the “tattooed crazies.” This episode marks a true team-up between Hondo and the Jedi, a partnership that would continue well into the years of the Rebellion. 

17. “It takes strength to resist the dark side. Only the weak embrace it.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Lawless,” Season 5, Episode 16

If there were just one single episode of the series that truly tested Obi-Wan Kenobi, it would be “The Lawless.” Maul slays one of the people closest to Obi-Wan, who can only watch helplessly, and taunts him into turning to the dark side in his grief and anger. Obi-Wan, to his credit, resists. 

18. “Remember the first and only reality of the Sith: There can only be two. And you are no longer my apprentice.” – Darth Sidious

The Lawless,” Season Five, Episode 16

It’s the epic showdown you never knew you wanted until The Clone Wars made it happen: Maul vs. his former master! Darth Sidious wields two lightsabers, one blazing in each hand, in this incredible fight. Maul is no match for his power. 

19. “…I have to sort this out on my own, without the Council and without you.” – Ahsoka Tano

The Wrong Jedi,” Season Five, Episode 20

This is the most shocking quote in this list, if not the entire series. Ahsoka decides to walk away from Anakin Skywalker and the Jedi Order to forge her own path in life.

20. “No longer certain that one ever does win a war, I am.” – Yoda

Sacrifice,” Season 6, Episode 13

The great Jedi Master’s melancholy about the toll the war has taken on both the Jedi and the galaxy is felt in this quote.

Find your favorite stories from a galaxy far, far away on Disney+Start Streaming Now

Watch the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars beginning February 21 on Disney+.

Learn more about Star Wars on Disney+.

Kelly Knox is a Seattle-based freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheCloneWars

We’re Rewatching Star Wars: The Clone Wars!

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 11:00

Whether you’re patiently looking forward to all-new episodes in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series revival starting February 21, 2020, or perhaps find yourself one of the remaining Star Wars fans who has always meant to dive into the award-winning animated series, now that the series is streaming on Disney+ it’s the perfect time to watch (or rewatch) Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

StarWars.com kicked off its rewatch in 2018 in celebration of the series’ 10th anniversary and you can join in every Thursday as we chronicle our chronological rewatch of the entire series and film! Watch along with us, share your thoughts on your favorite moments, characters, and story arcs, and read our recaps breaking down each episode and its ties to the saga and beyond.

For the uninitiated, the animated series takes place between the films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, documenting the period of civil war between the Republic and the Separatist Alliance, a rebellious group of independent systems led by a fallen Jedi and his mysterious, shadowy master. At this point in the timeline, the Galactic Republic has led the galaxy in democracy for over a thousand years, with the help of a small group of Jedi Knights to help maintain order. Now, with an army of clone troopers at their disposal and the growing necessity to fight back against the invaders, the peacekeepers of the galaxy become the generals of the new war.

As Master Yoda says just before the massive Republic army is revealed in Attack of the Clones, “The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has…”

When it debuted in 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars sought to explore the rich world of characters and conflicts, deeply personal sacrifices, alliances and betrayals at play during the galaxy-shifting war. Through it all, we were introduced to new favorite characters like Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan Ahsoka Tano and got a deeper appreciation for the people and planets caught in the middle of the war, including the regular citizens, the Jedi Knights, and the clones themselves.

Here are the episodes we’ve rewatched so far:

1: “Cat and Mouse” (Season Two, Episode 16)

2: “The Hidden Enemy” (Season One, Episode 16)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars theatrical release (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

3: “Clone Cadets” (Season Three, Episode 1)

4: “Supply Lines” (Season Three, Episode 3)

5: “Ambush” (Season One, Episode 1)

6: “Rising Malevolence” (Season One, Episode 2)

7: “Shadow of Malevolence” (Season One, Episode 3)

8: “Destroy Malevolence” (Season One, Episode 4)

9: “Rookies” (Season One, Episode 5)

10: “Downfall of a Droid” (Season One, Episode 6)

11: “Duel of the Droids(Season One, Episode 7)

12: “Bombad Jedi” (Season One, Episode 8)

13: “Cloak of Darkness” (Season One, Episode 9)

14: “Lair of Grievous” (Season One, Episode 10)

15: “Dooku Captured” (Season One, Episode 11)

16: “The Gungan General” (Season One, Episode 12)

17: “Jedi Crash” (Season One, Episode 13)

18: “Defenders of Peace”(Season One, Episode 14)

19: “Trespass” (Season One, Episode 15)

20: “Blue Shadow Virus” (Season One, Episode 17)

21: “Mystery of a Thousand Moons” (Season One, Episode 18)

22: “Storm Over Ryloth” (Season One, Episode 19)

23“Innocents of Ryloth” (Season One, Episode 20)

24: “Liberty on Ryloth” (Season One, Episode 21)

25: “Holocron Heist” (Season Two, Episode 1)

26: “Cargo of Doom” (Season Two, Episode 2)

27: “Children of the Force” (Season Two, Episode 3)

28: “Bounty Hunters” (Season Two, Episode 17)

29: “The Zillo Beast” (Season Two, Episode 18)

30: “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back” (Season Two, Episode 19)

31: “Senate Spy” (Season Two, Episode 4)

32: “Landing at Point Rain” (Season Two, Episode 5)

33: “Weapons Factory” (Season Two, Episode 6)

34: “Legacy of Terror” (Season Two, Episode 7)

35: “Brain Invaders” (Season Two, Episode 8)

36: “Grievous Intrigue” (Season Two, Episode 9)

37: “The Deserter” (Season Two, Episode 10)

38: “Lightsaber Lost” (Season Two, Episode 11)

39: “The Mandalore Plot” (Season Two, Episode 12)

40: “Voyage of Temptation” (Season Two, Episode 13)

41: “Duchess of Mandalore” (Season Two, Episode 14)

42: “Death Trap” (Season Two, Episode 20)

43: “R2 Come Home” (Season Two, Episode 21)

44: “Lethal Trackdown” (Season Two, Episode 22)

45: “Corruption” (Season Three, Episode 5)

46: “The Academy” (Season Three, Episode 6)

47: “Assassin” (Season Three, Episode 7)

48: “ARC Troopers” (Season Three, Episode 2)

49: “Sphere of Influence” (Season Three, Episode 4)

50: “Evil Plans” (Season Three, Episode 8)

51: “Hostage Crisis” (Season One, Episode 22)

52: “Hunt for Ziro” (Season Three, Episode 9)

53: “Heroes on Both Sides” (Season Three, Episode 10)

54: “Pursuit of Peace” (Season Three, Episode 11)

55: “Senate Murders” (Season Two, Episode 15)

56: “Nightsisters” (Season Three, Episode 12)

57: “Monster” (Season Three, Episode 13)

58: “Witches of the Mist” (Season Three, Episode 14)

59: “Overlords” (Season Three, Episode 15)

60: “Altar of Mortis” (Season Three, Episode 16)

61: “Ghosts of Mortis” (Season Three, Episode 17)

62: “The Citadel” (Season Three, Episode 18)

63: “Counterattack” (Season Three, Episode 19)

64: “Citadel Rescue” (Season Three, Episode 20)

65:“Padawan Lost” (Season Three, Episode 21)

66: “Wookiee Hunt” (Season Three, Episode 22)

67: “Water War” (Season Four, Episode 1)

68: “Gungan Attack” (Season Four, Episode 2)

69: “Prisoners” (Season Four, Episode 3)

70: “Shadow Warrior” (Season Four, Episode 4)

71: “Mercy Mission” (Season Four, Episode 5)

72: “Nomad Droids” (Season Four, Episode 6)

73: “Darkness on Umbara” (Season Four, Episode 7)

74: “The General” (Season Four, Episode 8)

75: “Plan of Dissent” (Season Four, Episode 9)

76: “Carnage of Krell” (Season Four, Episode 19)

77: “Kidnapped” (Season Four, Episode 11)

78: “Slaves of the Republic” (Season Four, Episode 12)

79: “Escape from Kadavo” (Season Four, Episode 13)

80: “A Friend in Need” (Season Four, Episode 14)

81: “Deception” (Season Four, Episode 15)

82: “Friends and Enemies” (Season Four, Episode 16)

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Kylo Ren Rampages on Mustafar in the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Novelization – Exclusive Excerpt

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 08:00

You’ve experienced the opening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But not like this.

The novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives March 17, but it is no mere adaptation. Written by Rae Carson and available for pre-order now, the book features expanded scenes and content not seen in theaters, as well as a few surprises — all culled from deleted scenes, never-before-seen material, and input from the filmmakers. In StarWars.com’s exclusive excerpt, Kylo Ren tears through Mustafar hunting for a Sith artifact that could lead to Emperor Palpatine; but in a new sequence, he ultimately encounters a strange being protecting the desired device…

General Armitage Hux watched—from a safe distance—as Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and a squad of stormtroopers cut a swath of blood and destruction through the pathetic Mustafarian colonists. They battled through the gloomy woods of Corvax Fen, one of the few patches on this hellscape of a lava planet that was cool enough to support native growth, if you could call this “growth.” Barren trees grew out of a noxious marsh, and the air was hazy with mist. The barbarian colonists were failing to put up a decent fight; their ar­chaic halberds and broadswords were no match for the technical superiority of a good blaster, or even, Hux had to admit, a light­saber.

Ren was a blunt instrument, a mindless dog, whose current ob­session was putting all the First Order’s plans behind schedule. The general was half tempted to wade into the fight himself to hurry things along—just so they could leave this awful planet. Or at least he would be half tempted if his skills were not better used else­where. Best if Ren did all the dirty work; Hux was too valuable to risk.

“He’s almost beautiful to watch,” mused Allegiant General Pryde, standing tall beside him. The older man had arrogant blue eyes and a high hairline that seemed immune to perspiration, even in a hell-climate like this. “Don’t you think?”

Hux refused to gratify that with a response, because true beauty came from discipline, from order. So it was almost against his will that he found himself mesmerized as Ren met a barbarian’s charge head-on, cloak flowing, mist swirling around him. The glow of his lightsaber occasionally snagged on his cheek scar, making it appear as though a crack of glowing lava slashed his face. It was like some­thing out of a dream, or maybe a nightmare, as the Supreme Leader plunged his fiery crossguard into his attacker’s abdomen, lifted him from the ground, and sent him toppling onto his back. Kylo Ren did not spare his fallen foe a single glance, simply rushed forward into the woods seeking his next kill.

But there was no one left. Corpses littered the ground, barely more than lumps of shadow in the gloom. The air smelled of ozone and scorched vegetation. All was eerily silent as Ren looked around, catching his breath. Even from a distance, Hux could sense his dis­appointment that the killing was over, that no outlet for his rage remained.

Kylo Ren gathered himself and strode away into the woods, shoulders set with determination, lightsaber still ablaze. The myste­rious object he had come for—dragged all of them across the galaxy for—was nearly within his grasp.

“He’s gone mad,” General Hux said, and the contempt in his voice was obvious even to his own ears. “Flames of rebellion burn across the galaxy, and Ren chases a ghost.

“No,” Allegiant General Pryde responded, softly but firmly. “Someone was behind that transmission. And Leader Ren will answer to no one.”

Hux narrowed his eyes. Ren would definitely answer to some­one, someday. He just didn’t realize it yet.

Kylo Ren showed mercy to nothing and no one, but he had a grudg­ing appreciation for things that struggled to survive. Even though the nearest lava flow was many klicks away, it seemed as though the air ought to be too hot, too chemical, for life to truly thrive here. As they’d landed, Hux had proclaimed the planet a “desolate hellscape,” and Kylo hadn’t bothered to correct him. The truth was, Mustafar was teeming with life—all connected through the Force. Like those hapless cultists he’d just killed, who’d been obsessed with protecting Vader’s legacy. Or this forest of twisted irontrees they endeavored to cultivate. Or even the extremophile organisms that swarmed the lava flows. All fragile but determined, mutilated but indomitable.

It was no wonder his grandfather has chosen this place for a home.

Kylo strode through the trees, lightsaber still ignited. Malevo­lence lay ahead, along with a darkness that had nothing to do with the planet’s day–night cycle. But that’s not why he kept his weapon ready. He refused to put it away because for the briefest moment, as he was hacking away at Mustafarians, he had sensed her. Watching him. Now his guard was up, and it would stay up until he got what he came for.

By silent mutual agreement, the stormtroopers who’d accompa­nied him had declined to follow him through the woods, which suited him fine. He preferred to be alone for this.

A few more steps and the ground became soggy. The mist thick­ened. A small splash indicated that his presence had been noticed. Finally, the trees broke open onto a small lake with brackish water, bordered on all sides by forest and large black lumps like boulders, jutting out of the ground at odd angles. No, not boulders, he noted upon closer look, but rather fallen remnants of Darth Vader’s cas­tle.

An oily film slicked across the lake’s still surface. But as Kylo ap­proached, the water bubbled up in the center, sending tiny waves to lap at his boots.

A giant emerged, a hairless creature sheening with wetness, bits of lake detritus clinging to its pasty skin. Its eyes were squeezed shut, but it could still see after a fashion, because draped over its massive bald head and across one shoulder was a second creature with long spidery tentacles. The two were locked in symbiosis. Kylo sensed the giant’s pain, as though it were a slave to the spidery being that clung to it. Yet neither could it survive alone.

The spider creature spoke. “I am the Eye of Webbish Bog. I know what you seek.”

“You will give it to me,” Kylo said.

The Eye cocked its head, making an eerie squealing noise. It took a moment for Kylo to realize the creature was laughing at him. “No need for that,” the Eye said. “Do you really think my lord would have left it in the guardianship of one who could be swayed by a trick of the Force?”

No, he supposed not.

“You’ve been seeking it for a while, yes? I must warn you, our fiery planet burns away deception. If you proceed down this path, you will encounter your true self.”

Kylo was growing impatient. He glared in silence.

“Fine,” the creature said, as though disappointed that Kylo would not indulge him in ceremony. “In accordance with Lord Vader’s wishes, you have defeated my protectors and earned it. His way­finder.”

The blind giant beneath the Eye raised its enormous hand from the water and pointed toward a small island in the lake. On it was a stone structure, like an altar.

Kylo turned off his lightsaber and hooked it to his belt. He waded into the shallow lake, soaking his boots and cloak. The water was warm, and the ground beneath the water a sludge that sucked at his feet. He ignored it all, reaching for a pyramidal object. It fit satisfy­ingly in his hand, heavy and hot, and he stared at it a moment, lost in its red glow. The sides were etched glass framed in deep-gray resin. The crimson light within seemed to pulse faintly. Ren had come a long way for this, and yet he hesitated, eyeing the pyramid with distrust.

“It will guide you through the Unknown Regions,” the Eye said. “To the hidden world of Exegol. To him.

Whoever he was. The transmission purporting to be from Palpa­tine had reached the far corners of the galaxy. Kylo had it memo­rized:

At last the work of generations is complete. The great error is corrected. They day of victory is at hand. The day of revenge. The day of the Sith.

He wasn’t sure what to believe about it, but it was a fair guess that Kylo wasn’t the only one seeking answers. Others would follow the same path and come to Mustafar sooner or later, looking for this exact object.

So surely his grandfather would have made it harder than this? Those cultists were too easy to kill. This creature too easy to con­vince. Then again, he was Vader’s heir. The object belonged to him.

Now that he had it up close, the etchings in the glass clarified into patterns. Star charts. Alignment markers. Something stirred deep within him, suggesting ancient knowledge and power, and he felt a rush of triumph. It had all been worth it—diverting ships, sending out spies, tracing old records, enduring the smug disap­proval of that idiot Hux—all to find this.

Kylo looked up, and was startled to discover that the Eye of Web­bish Bog was gone, slipped back beneath the surface of a lake so still it was as though nothing lived within it at all.

How long had he been staring at the pyramid?

Kylo Ren wasted no more time. Dried blood made the skin of his face itch, and his boots and cloak were soggy with lake water, but instead of returning to his command ship, the Steadfast, he dis­missed everyone back to their regular duties and jumped into his modified TIE whisper to make the next part of the journey alone.

No one protested.

He connected the pyramid to his navicomputer, attaching ports where indicated by the glass etchings. The nav interface lit up with new information, but it also blared a warning.

For these coordinates would take him beyond the Western Reaches into the Unknown Regions. Kylo overrode the warning and jumped his TIE to lightspeed. The stars turned to streams of matter.

The Unknown Regions remained uncharted because a chaotic web of anomalies had created a near-impenetrable barrier to explo­ration; only the most foolhardy or desperate ventured there—criminals, refugees, and, if the reports were true, remnants of the old Imperial fleet who had refused to accept New Republic rule.

A few planets had been discovered, but their populations re­mained small, and their trade with the rest of the galaxy had been throttled by the navigational risk. The Sith and the Jedi had found paths through to even more dangerous, more hidden worlds—or so legends said—and the specific, carefully stepped coordinate jumps required to safely navigate the anomalies were among their most closely guarded secrets.

The trip would be worth the risk. Someone was out there, claim­ing to be the Emperor himself, and Kylo could already sense ripples of doubt in the First Order. After all he’d done, after all he’d sacri­ficed to become Supreme Leader . . . who would dare to challenge him now?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Expanded Edition novelization arrives March 17 and is available for pre-order now.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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20 Outstanding Characters Introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 08:00

Star Wars: The Clone Wars expanded the galaxy with strange, unexplored planets and a rich extension of the framework established in the prequel trilogy. The stories spanned from Coruscant to the Outer Rim and beyond. As the conflict ballooned, The Clone Wars brought in characters we’d never met before: notably the Togruta Padawan Ahsoka Tano, dozens of clone troopers (distinct and individual despite sharing the same DNA), crafty politicians, and beings trying to continue their day-to-day existence in the midst of a far-reaching war.

Ahead of The Clone Wars‘ final season coming to Disney+ on February 21, we’re looking back at 20 of the many memorable characters introduced in the first six seasons of the series. (And please know we only left Asajj Ventress out because she was introduced prior to The Clone Wars. But rest assured that we love her, too.)

Spoiler warning: This article discusses details and plot points of Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes.

1. Ahsoka Tano

Anakin Skywalker wasn’t thrilled to take on a Padawan learner, and Ahsoka Tano came to him unpolished but excited to learn. Taught to be a Jedi in a time of war, Ahsoka learned hard lessons both on the battlefield and within the Jedi Temple; she modeled her strategy and actions after her master and commanded clone troopers in battle. After being wrongfully accused of treason and murder, Ahsoka decided to walk away from the Jedi Order. But that was not the end of her story…

Recommended viewing: Watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the movie), “Brain Invaders,” “Lightsaber Lost,” “Padawan Lost,” “Wookiee Hunt,” “Sabotage,” “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much,” “To Catch a Jedi,” and “The Wrong Jedi” now on Disney+.

2. Rex

Anakin Skywalker wouldn’t have been the Jedi general he was without Captain Rex by his side. Designated CT-7567, Rex set himself apart from the thousands of other clones with his heart, leadership, and dedication to his brothers. He led the 501st Legion and cared for all the men under his command, putting emphasis on the life of every clone. Evading Order 66, Rex would continue to serve as a member of the Rebel Alliance.

Recommended viewing: Watch “The Hidden Enemy,” “Landing at Point Rain,” “The Deserter,” “ARC Troopers,” and “The Citadel” now on Disney+.

3. 99

The cloning process was not without flaws. And though we connected with many remarkable clones throughout the series, 99 is especially unforgettable. Malformed and unable to train as a trooper, 99 cheered on his brothers and dispensed advice. He defended his home as a soldier when the Separatists invaded, all while continuing to wear his kind heart on his sleeve.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Clone Cadets” and “ARC Troopers” now on Disney+.

4. Satine Kryze

When Duchess Satine Kryze ruled Mandalore she did so as a pacifist. She tried to steer her people towards peace and maintain neutrality in the war, but the hostilities’ continuing spread through the galaxy made her work a challenge. Her lofty ambitions and poise as a ruler were matched only by her sophisticated fashions. 

Recommended viewing: Watch “The Mandalore Plot,” “Voyage of Temptation,” “Duchess of Mandalore,” “Shades of Reason,” and “The Lawless” now on Disney+.

5. Force Priestesses

The Clone Wars expanded our knowledge of the Force and even what happens to some Force users after death. With guidance from Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda went on a quest to learn how to become a Force spirit — to transcend death of the mortal body. Yoda encountered five Force Priestesses on that journey; they administered a test to the Jedi Master to begin his training. Embodiments of the connection between the living Force and the cosmic Force, the priestesses manifested as Serenity, Sadness, Anger, Confusion, and Joy.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Destiny” and “Sacrifice” now on Disney+.

6. Cham Syndulla

The Separatists directed their sprawling, mechanical armies to multiple planets that preferred not to be involved, including Ryloth. Some of the Twi’lek citizens defended their home — perhaps none more bravely than Cham Syndulla. He commanded resistance fighters against the droid army with an unwavering dedication to save his people and his homeworld.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Liberty on Ryloth” and “Supply Lines” now on Disney+.

7. Mother Talzin

The introduction of the Nightsisters of Dathomir gave an unexpected, fascinating layer to the Force and the magicks in the Star Wars galaxy. Mother Talzin served as Nightsisters’ Clan Mother: Intimidating, powerful, and almost always wicked, Talzin put herself and the Nightsisters above all else (spoilers: she usually put herself first). She possessed unabashed ambition and didn’t back down from confronting Sith Lords.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Nightsisters,” “Monster,” “Witches of the Mist,” “Brothers,” and “Revenge” now on Disney+.

8. Cad Bane

The coolest hat-wearing bounty hunter around, Cad Bane didn’t say no to any job that paid well. He was unbothered by danger and risks. Bane was skilled and aware of how effective he was; he had a reputation for getting jobs done. Dangerous and always prepared with a disguise, gadgets, weaponry — whatever it took to achieve success. 

Recommended viewing: Watch “Hostage Crisis,” “Holocron Heist,” “Friends and Enemies,” “The Box,” and “Crisis on Naboo” now on Disney+.

9. Meebur Gascon

The measure of a being isn’t their size, as demonstrated by Meebur Gascon. A leader in the Grand Army of the Republic, Gascon commanded D-Squad, a group of droids (including R2-D2!) tasked with acquiring an important encryption module from the Separatists. The mission came with obstacle after obstacle, but Gascon and his mechanical crew found success…and Gascon found a new respect for droids.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Secret Weapons,” “A Sunny Day in the Void,” “Missing in Action,” and “Point of No Return” now on Disney+.

10. Savage Opress

First of all, the Nightbrother Savage Opress has the coolest name. Torn out of relative anonymity by Mother Talzin and her magicks, Opress became a preternaturally strong warrior. He apprenticed under Dooku for a brief time before searching for his brother, Maul, supporting his quest for revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Monster,” “Witches of the Mist,” “Brothers,” “Revenge,” and “Revival” now on Disney+.

11. Steela Gerrera

The Onderon rebels found a solid leader in Steela Gerrera. She led by example on the battlefield, making persistent efforts to remove the Separatist puppet on the throne of Onderon.

Recommended viewing: Watch “A War on Two Fronts,” “Front Runners,” “The Soft War,” and “Tipping Points” now on Disney+.

12. Saw Gerrera

Steela’s brother, Saw, was a skilled fighter, if a bit unpolished and brash. The battles on Onderon were the beginning of Saw’s lifelong dedication to freeing the oppressed; indeed, he continued to fight when the Clone Wars ended, turning his focus to standing against the Galactic Empire by whatever means necessary.

Recommended viewing: Watch “A War on Two Fronts,” “Front Runners,” “The Soft War,” and “Tipping Points” now on Disney+.

13. Pong Krell

Villains can be quality characters, too, and that very much applies to General Pong Krell. A Jedi Master who held zero regard for the clone troopers beyond their use as blaster fodder, Krell leaned into the dark side of the Force. He betrayed the Jedi and worked against the Republic.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Darkness on Umbara,” “The General,” “Plan of Dissent,” and “Carnage of Krell” now on Disney+.

14. Huyang

Who wouldn’t want to be instructed by a wise droid with a soothing voice? Huyang helped generations of Jedi younglings design and assemble their first lightsabers after they acquired their kyber crystals from Ilum’s caves. Since Huyang taught Jedi for over a thousand years, his memory banks held a lengthy history of all the lightsabers he’s seen built. 

Recommended viewing: Watch “A Test of Strength,” “Bound for Rescue,” and “A Necessary Bond” now on Disney+.

15. Numa

The things we witness when we are young can influence who we become. This happened with the Twi’lek Numa. A young girl on Ryloth when the Separatists invaded, Numa lost her parents in the chaos. Two clone troopers, Waxer and Boil, befriended the curious child, and she helped them navigate their surroundings. She would later go on to fight the Empire with Cham Syndulla’s resistance fighters. 

Recommended viewing: Watch “Innocents of Ryloth” now on Disney+.

16. Ziro the Hutt

Ziro the Hutt is a Hutt like none other we’ve seen. Uncle of the famed Jabba the Hutt, Ziro worked to push his nephew out of power, making questionable alliances to pave his path to success; he even hired Aurra Sing to assassinate Padmé as part of a revenge plot.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Assassins,” “Evil Plans,” “Hostage Crisis,” and “Hunt for Ziro” now on Disney+.

17. The Father, The Daughter, and The Son

No being on Mortis can exist without its balance — the Father keeps the Daughter and the Son in harmony. As avatars of the light and dark side of the Force, the three god-like residents of Mortis presented a whole new way of looking at the Force. It changed everything, and Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka barely brushed against the planet’s mysteries. (Okay, so we cheated here a little bit with three characters.)

Recommended viewing: Watch “Overlords,” “Altar of Mortis,” “and “Ghosts of Mortis” now on Disney+.

18. Pre Vizsla

Remember what we said about villains? Yeah, that. Pre Vizsla, wielder of the Darksaber, led a terrorist group on Mandalore and advocated for a return to the planet’s warrior culture. He opposed Duchess Satine at every turn and tried to undermine her pacifist government — he even used his organization, Death Watch, to stage attacks against Mandalore’s people. 

Recommended viewing: Watch “The Mandalore Plot,” “A Friend in Need,” “Eminence,” and “Shades of Reason” now on Disney+.

19. Bo-Katan Kryze

The sister of Satine, Bo-Katan served as a lieutenant in Death Watch, and her convictions were closer to Pre Vizsla’s than her sister’s. But that changed when Vizsla accepted Maul’s assistance and overthrew Satine.

Recommended viewing: Watch “A Friend in Need,” “Eminence,” “Shades of Reason,” and “The Lawless” now on Disney+.

20. Hondo Ohnaka

What is there to say about Hondo Ohnaka, the best pirate in the galaxy? The clever Weequay had a gang of pirates based on Florrum during the Clone Wars, and he crossed paths with Jedi heroes again and again. Whether he was entangled in misguided plots (which was almost always) or reluctantly offering his outpost as a safe haven to his ex, Hondo always had one being at the top of his mind: himself. He was in it, whatever it may have been, for the credits.

Recommended viewing: Watch “Dooku Captured,” “Bounty Hunters,” “Lethal Trackdown,” “A Test of Strength,” and “Bound for Rescue” now on Disney+.

Amy Ratcliffe is passionate about Star Wars and coffee. She always has her nose stuck in a book. She’s the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy and a co-host of the podcast Lattes with Leia. Nerd out with her on Twitter at @amy_geek.

Find your favorite stories from a galaxy far, far away on Disney+Start Streaming Now

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheCloneWars

The World of Bounty Hunters Through the Eyes of Ethan Sacks

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:55

Some of the most notorious bounty hunters, the scum of the galactic underworld, are now the stars of a new Marvel comic book series featuring the likes of Boba Fett and Bossk.

In Star Wars: Bounty Hunterswriter Ethan Sacks and artist Paolo Villanelli will take us on a journey through the seedy underbelly of the galaxy far, far away as seen through the cybernetic lens of one Beilert Valance. Recently, Sacks sat down with StarWars.com to talk about how the hunters featured in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back captured his imagination and why he’s so excited to translate that childhood enthusiasm into modern-day storytelling. Plus, StarWars.com is thrilled to share a sneak peek at a few pages from the debut issue below!

Bounty Hunters #1, cover by Lee Bermejo

StarWars.com: Your new series gets to play in the sandbox of Star Wars storytelling in a time period just after the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (which is my favorite!). When you were a seven-year-old kid meeting the bounty hunters on film for the first time, what was it about the motley crew that captured your imagination? 

Ethan Sacks: Maybe Admiral Piett didn’t have any use for bounty hunters’ kind of scum, but I sure did. I remember being fascinated by Bossk in particular in the way that scene was shot, looking up at the Trandoshan who was looking down at us. And that bug-eyed droid, whose name I would not know until I was gifted a 4-LOM action figure months later. These hunters didn’t even seem to be particularly intimidated by Darth Vader, as if being on that bridge was just another day at the office. I wanted to know more about their stories. (Even Dengar!) And now I get to tell some of them. It’s a wonder I didn’t spontaneously combust… especially after I saw some of the covers by Lee Bermejo.

StarWars.com: I’m also very excited to see Bossk made the cut! 

Ethan Sacks: There was no way Bossk wouldn’t make the cut!

StarWars.com: It’s a lucrative time to be a bounty hunter. Can you tell us a little bit about your goals for the series when you first started writing for the project? What was your initial elevator pitch for the story and how much did it change as you worked on it?

Ethan Sacks: My editors Mark Paniccia and Tom Groneman came to me with the genius idea (they being the geniuses, not me) of doing Bounty Hunters with us getting a glimpse of this underworld through the cybernetic eye of Valance. For the first arc, I thought a great way to wade into those glorious dark corners of the Star Wars universe was to chronicle a botched mission from the shared past of a number of major bounty hunters — a betrayal that has consequences years later. And not all of these great bounty hunters will end up on the same side, which of course will lead to a lot of blaster fire. That’s all I can say right now without my editors reversing their no disintegrations of writers policy.

StarWars.com: The creed of the Mandalore has been on a lot of fans’ minds lately with the new live-action series, The Mandalorian, featuring a different helmeted warrior. But in this issue, Boba Fett makes an appearance with a reference to his beskar armor. What was your approach to bringing in such an iconic character who is at such a pivotal moment, literally making a pit stop on his way to deliver Han Solo frozen in carbonite?

Ethan Sacks: Boba Fett is such a cypher, having grown up from a hot-headed kid to this just ice-cold killer. What I love visually is that you can’t really tell what he’s thinking and that makes him so much scarier both visually and from a storytelling perspective. In our first arc, he’s motivated enough to chase down a figure from his past that he literally pauses on his journey to deliver Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt to take this new bounty. Imagine the most fearsome bounty hunter in the galaxy being that ticked off at you. And I can’t wait until readers get to see how my amazing partner Paolo Villanelli draws him — all kinetic energy.

StarWars.com: You’re also including a more recent fan-favorite — Doctor Aphra! I was a little surprised to see her pop up. Why was it important to you to include her?

Ethan Sacks: I’m proud to say we got to answer the definitive question of, “Who would win in a fight, Doctor Aphra or Bossk?” Actually, Aphra is a guest-star in the arc, which gave us a chance to really show that Bounty Hunters is connected to a larger Star Wars tapestry. Fans are in for an amazing treat now that the great Alyssa Wong is writing the new Aphra series.

StarWars.com: Beilert Valance has a looong history as a bounty hunter in the Marvel comics, dating back to 1978 and more recently in Target Vader. What was your first introduction to the character? And what do you find most intriguing about the cybernetic hunter?

Ethan Sacks: I am old enough to remember him from the first time around, back when I was collecting the comics as a five-year-old eager to devour anything connected to Star Wars. But honestly, I didn’t gravitate to him as a misunderstood hero at the time, kind of disgusted by his anti-droid bigotry. By contrast, I really dug what Robbie Thompson and company did in Target Vader, really leaning into his struggle to find what’s left of his humanity. What I love about him is his whole worldview was blown apart when he was cast aside by the Empire and he is gradually trying to piece himself together — both literally and figuratively. Plus the dude is a badass. I couldn’t wait to pit him against Boba Fett. I’m not going to tell you who wins.

Check out the preview pages from Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 below!

Preorder your copy of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 now before it hits comic book shops March 11.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

The Mandalorian and the Child Coming to Disney Emoji Blitz

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 09:00

Disney Emoji Blitz players, get ready for the galaxy’s favorite new duo.

The Child and titular bounty hunter from The Mandalorian are coming to Disney Emoji Blitz by Jam City, StarWars.com is excited to announce. Play the Star Wars Challenge from February 15-18 and collect the popular characters, featuring power-ups that reflect the stories of the Disney+ series.

Get a first look at the Child and the Mandalorian in Disney Emoji Blitz below, with each sporting the game’s classic, super-cute look.

 

For more on Star Wars in Disney Emoji Blitz, check out StarWars.com’s interview with the game’s associate producer, as well as our chat with its executive producer and art director.

We have spoken.

Disney Emoji Blitz is available now.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Keep Your “Friends and Enemies” Close

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:00

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

82: “Friends and Enemies” (Season Four, Episode 16)

“Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.”

Synopsis:

Fleeing across the galaxy with criminal fugitives, a disguised Obi-Wan, Cad Bane and Moralo Eval are tenaciously pursued by Anakin and Ahsoka, who have no idea they’re chasing their friend.

Analysis:

As Master Yoda says, “Overdue the truth is.”

The Jedi Council’s plan to infiltrate the prison and unlock the details of the plot against Chancellor Palpatine was risky from the start. But sneering Palpatine plays every side, and by leaking intel to Anakin he’s set into motion a dangerous new game.

In going after Hardeen, Anakin may get killed trying to avenge what he believes to be his master’s death. But if he succeeds, he’ll also have brought to fruition the very thing that’s left him so enraged and agitated as he perceives the Jedi to be sitting back and doing nothing.

Only the truth can save master and apprentice, still indelibly connected in the Force in a way that no funeral procession or face-altering procedure can sever.

But there are still some who would manipulate the truth for their own gain before the day can be won, including the very person the Jedi are contorting themselves to protect.

Intel:

  • Chess ko, Sebulba. Inside the saloon, keep an eye out for a poster advertising an autograph signing by the famed podracer.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when the disguised Obi-Wan must survive one more test in “The Box.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #CloneWarsRewatch

Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy Themes Coming to PlayStation 4

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 08:00

Soon, you’ll be able to transform your PlayStation 4 into your own personal Jedi temple.

Aspyr will be releasing free themes inspired by the Star Wars classics Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and the upcoming Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, launching early 2020. Starting today, you can sign up exclusively at aspyr.com/starwars to receive a free key via email that you can redeem on PS4, no Jedi mind tricks required.

Check out a sneak peek of the themes below!

If you’re among the Kyle Katarn faithful, these are the Force-powered digital decorations you’re looking for.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is now available digitally from the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 4, in addition to the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy will launch early 2020 and include exciting online multiplayer from the original game.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

What is the Darksaber?

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:26

Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for the first season of The Mandalorian, as well as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.

Few weapons have as long and storied a history as the Darksaber of Mandalore. Star Wars fans first set eyes on the extraordinary black-bladed lightsaber in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and it has since played a vital role in Star Wars Rebels — and made a surprise return in The Mandalorian.

Why was the reappearance of the legendary weapon such a huge moment in the Disney+ series? Let’s take a look at the history of the Darksaber, from the warriors who wielded it during the long history of Mandalore to what it means to see it again in the galaxy after the events of the Galactic Civil War.

Behind the Scenes

The Darksaber was created for The Clone Wars with the guidance of George Lucas, Dave Filoni has revealed, who conceptualized a weapon that would be effective against a lightsaber. “George wrote that little speech [about the Darksaber] for Pre Vizsla,” Filoni recalled in a Star Wars Rebels behind-the-scenes featurette. “What I added to that was this idea that the Darksaber was Mandalorian-made. That it was something that the Mandalorians felt was part of their heritage would make it way more valuable.”

Before the Dark Times

The Darksaber goes back to the time of Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi Knight. He created a one-of-a-kind lightsaber with a flat blade of dark, swirling energy. In the Star Wars Rebels episode “Trials of the Darksaber,” Fenn Rau shared more of the Mandalorian folklore surrounding the weapon.

“Legend tells that it was created over 1,000 years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order,” Rau told Kanan Jarrus. “After his passing, the Jedi kept the saber in their temple. That was, until members of House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it.”

While not much is known about Tarre Vizsla, we do know he is a revered figure on Mandalore who later became one of its rulers. His legacy was so well-respected that the Darksaber became a symbol of power the Mandalorians rallied behind as they supported the leader wielding it.

“[House Vizsla] used the saber to unify the people and strike down those that would oppose them. At one time, they ruled all of Mandalore wielding this blade,” said Rau.

The Clone Wars

The blade remained with House Vizsla until the tumultuous days of the Clone Wars. Pre Vizsla, who rebelled against Duchess Satine’s  pacifist rule of Mandalore, brandished the blade against both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Maul in his efforts to return the planet to its warrior roots.

“This lightsaber was stolen from your Jedi temple by my ancestors during the fall of the Old Republic,” he told Obi-Wan with a sneer. “Since then many Jedi have died upon its blade.”

In the Clone Wars episode “Shades of Reason,” Pre Vizsla met his end with the blade in the hands of Maul. “I claim this sword and my rightful place as leader,” Maul declared.

The former Sith used the Darksaber for his own dark  purposes, including killing one of the people who meant the most to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Maul also wielded it against his former master when Darth Sidious traveled to Mandalore to quash him as a potential rival to his power, and later crossed blades with General Grievous and Mace Windu in the comic series Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir.

The Rebellion Begins

Maul eventually crossed paths with the crew of the Ghost in Star Wars Rebels years later on the planet Malachor. Ezra Bridger found himself linked to Maul after the two discovered they each held secrets the other desired. When Maul took Ezra to Dathomir to retrieve those buried memories, Ezra discovered the Darksaber among Maul’s possessions.

Ezra picked up the blade to defend himself, Kanan Jarrus, and Sabine Wren from vengeful spirits of the Nightsisters. Before leaving Dathomir, Sabine paused to pick it up, and later gave it to Kanan for safekeeping.

Kanan showed it to the Mandalorian warrior Fenn Rau in “Trials of the Darksaber,” who shared the artifact’s history. “This saber is an important symbol to [House Vizsla] and respected by the other clans,” said Rau. “If Sabine can wield this saber, she can reunite one of the most powerful houses in all of Mandalore.”

Sabine was a member of Clan Wren, part of House Vizsla, granting her a claim to the Darksaber. Although she was initially reluctant to take on the responsibility, Sabine accepted training from Kanan and Ezra, and the truths she learned about herself gave her the confidence to fully accept the weight of carrying the Darksaber.

“That sword is old, heavy, but powerful,” Kanan told Sabine. “Respect its strength.”

Sabine returned to her family’s home to mend her relationship with her mother, but Imperial governor Gar Saxon had other plans for her and took the Darksaber. Sabine bested him in combat, fully earning the right to bear the blade as well as the respect of her family and clan. Sabine, her family, and Fenn Rau began their own mission to reclaim Mandalore from the Empire.

As the civil war on Mandalore ultimately drew to a close, Sabine offered the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze, an important figure in the liberation of Mandalore — and Duchess Satine’s sister. Bo-Katan accepted the symbol of her people and became the next leader of Mandalore, bracing for an uncertain future and retaliation by the Empire.

Fall of the Empire

The Mandalorian hasn’t offered many details on the fate of Mandalore in the Galactic Civil War. The cost of rebellion was a high one for the proud planet, turning the sight of Mandalorian armor into a rarity in the years following the fall of the Empire.

In the first-season finale, Moff Gideon, former officer of the Empire, emerges from the wreckage of his fallen TIE fighter. And he wields the Darksaber…

Find your favorite stories from a galaxy far, far away on Disney+Start Streaming Now

Watch The Mandalorian, streaming now on Disney+.

Kelly Knox is a Seattle-based freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #TheCloneWars

From a Certain Point of View: What’s Your Favorite Episode of The Mandalorian Season One?

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 08:00

One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, StarWars.com’s editors choose their favorite episode from the first season of The Mandalorian on Disney+.

My favorite episode is Chapter 7: “The Reckoning,” says Kristin.

As the penultimate episode of the first season, “The Reckoning” exquisitely sets up the grand finale. The explosive final chapter knots together the various narrative threads from the entire first season with big surprises and reveals, but it’s the careful set up of “The Reckoning” that strategically inches some final pieces into place to give the ending its proper punch.

Taken on its own, this episode is also exactly the kind of story Star Wars was created to tell. A ragtag crew of misfits comes together for one last job, driven by their own various goals in accepting the assignment but united by a common cause and a single enemy. Even as the trio — Cara Dune, Kuiil, and IG-11 in a surprising twist — agree to join forces to help the Mandalorian and the Child, there’s plenty of tension and drama to go around.

Cara’s seething hatred for the Empire extends to a distrust of Kuiil, who served what she considers to be the wrong side in the Galactic War, although he soon explains he was an indentured servant who has since won his freedom through hard labor. Gruff and rough round the edges, Kuiil also proves to be unfailingly kind and patient, whether reprogramming and teaching a droid, building a more comfortable pram for the Child, or simply encouraging everyone to be patient and hear people out for once. The Mandalorian still can’t quite get past the whole idea that IG-11, a hunter once so intent on killing the Child that Mando was forced to gun it down, is now reprogrammed to protect and serve tea. And even the Child, so adorable and seemingly helpless, proves to be both capable of great harm and great compassion.

The Mandalorian shines through these richly drawn, multifaceted characters, and we haven’t even talked about the titular warrior himself. Like IG-11, he was once a hunter who now protects the Child, risking it all in this episode to ensure the safety of himself and his charge. A lone wolf for so long, now he finds he must trust in his team if he wants to get the job done.

And that ending! Oh, that ending. As soon as Kuiil and the Child go their own way, leaving Cara, Greef, and Mando in binders walking in the opposite direction, you know there’s going to be trouble and heartache ahead. The intensity director Deborah Chow captures in Kuiil’s desperate blurrg ride is delicately balanced with the stillness of the final moment, an eerily quiet scene that unfolds bit by bit, the viewer’s creeping dread growing into a painful realization.

My favorite episode is Chapter 6: “The Prisoner,” says Dan.

I’ll concede that “The Reckoning” is a standout episode, and one that really surprises for all the risks it takes. But when I started to think about what was my actual favorite episode of Season One, I focused on which installment I believed exemplified all of the series’ strengths, felt original and fresh, and stood out as the most memorable. And then there was no contest. It’s “The Prisoner.”

What I love most about The Mandalorian is how its stories are told on a smaller scale and are often self-contained. It’s clearly rooted in Westerns, but the series feels like classic ‘70s and ‘80s TV to me, where you can pop on an episode for a one-and-done adventure. (I can very easily picture myself watching The Mandalorian with my action-TV-loving grandfather, who otherwise didn’t care much about Star Wars.) And this format has allowed the show to focus on character and grounded action, which, to my mind, is why The Mandalorian has struck such a cultural chord. (Yes, the Child’s mega-cuteness helps, but still.)

And that’s nowhere more prevalent than in “The Prisoner.” The episode, written by Rick Famuyiwa and Christopher Yost, and directed by Famuyiwa, finds Mando taking on a job for Ran, an old “friend” — note the quotes — with a motley crew of mercenaries: the frosty leader Mayfeld, the grumpy and towering Devaronian Burg, the deadly-and-loves-it old Twi’lek flame Xi’an, and the arrogant droid pilot Zero. They’re all very different in personality and skillset, but have one thing in common: they don’t seem to care for the Mandalorian that much. Their mission is to infiltrate a New Republic prison ship, rescue a prisoner, and get out. That’s it — that’s the whole episode. It’s a refreshingly simple plot and, within that, “The Prisoner” is filled with rich character moments and twists and turns.

Bill Burr delivers a great performance as Mayfeld, infusing him with an unpredictable schoolyard-bully air of “Am I just messing with you, or am I really going to hurt you?” that keeps you, if not Mando, on edge. This plays to great effect in one scene where, on the way to the New Republic ship, Mayfeld insists that Mando take off his helmet, and he doesn’t let up; moments later, Mayfeld discovers the Child, picks him up, and makes like he’s going to drop him. While Burg and Xi’an cackle like the bully’s best friends, Mando remains stoic. But as a viewer, you’re very tense. The entire exchange tells you a lot about who these people are, and it makes you worried about what they might do later on. It’s fantastic.

Once the crew gets to the New Republic ship, it’s one obstacle after another: security droids (in which we get to see some great Mando action), a nervous New Republic soldier who triggers an SOS beacon (adding a ticking-time-bomb element to the episode), and then the actual rescue. Except the rescue is of Qin, another seedy type, and once he’s freed they all double cross the Mandalorian, locking him in the former prisoner’s cell. You knew something bad was coming, but not that. I might’ve let out an audible “Oh no.”

Now the Mandalorian has to figure out a way to escape, and once he does (in a very cool and clever way), “The Prisoner” flips the story on its head. The episode becomes about the hunted becoming the hunter, as the Mandalorian takes out every member of the crew one by one. What’s best about this last half of “The Prisoner” is how the creators took care to have each battle make sense in relation to the characters involved. First up is Burg; pay attention and you’ll notice that he never wields, let alone seems to carry, a blaster. (He’s “the muscle,” after all.) As such, it’s a brutal, knock-down drag-out fight, in which Mando has to play dirty and get creative. Next is Xi’an, who prefers a good knife toss, forcing the Mandalorian to get in close and take away her advantage. Finally, Mayfeld, an ex-Imperial sharpshooter, can’t do much harm if he can’t see his target. These sequences show how good the Mandalorian is, and are much more rewarding than just another shootout.

Befitting his reputation, the Mandalorian still finishes the job, backstabbing and all, and delivers Qin. And in a final surprise, we see Mayfeld, Burg, and Xi’an, alive and well, crammed together in a cell on the New Republic prison ship. Zero, who was ready to kill the Child, didn’t fare as well. Ran and Qin get theirs, too. The Mandalorian isn’t about revenge or murder, but he will dole out justice according to his code of honor, and it’s nice to see the episode remain true to who he is.

“The Prisoner” tells a complete and fun tale, and one in which there’s a lot to like. I like the Mandalorian here. I like Mayfeld, Burg, Xi’an, Qin, Zero, and Ran, and I hope we see them again. I like the fact that there are just a handful of locations. I like the character-driven action and dialogue. It’s a smaller, more intimate episode that shows how you can tell a different kind of story with Star Wars, while still rooted in the galaxy we know and moving the overall series forward. And I think it’s one I’ll be rewatching for years to come.

What do you think? Do you agree with Kristin or Dan? Or did you have a different favorite episode? Let us know on social using #FromACertainPOV!

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Find your favorite stories from a galaxy far, far away on Disney+Start Streaming Now

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian

Quiz: Which Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Are You?

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:00

The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars premieres later this month, and we’ve been rewatching the full series to get ready for the all-new episodes. That has us wondering: if you were one of the characters embroiled in the conflict, who would you be? Somedays we relate most to Ahsoka Tano’s courage or Anakin Skywalker’s determination. But today, let’s let this official StarWars.com quiz act as our guide.

Watch the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars beginning February 21 on Disney+.

Learn more about Star Wars on Disney+.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheCloneWars,

Show Your Love for The Clone Wars with This DIY Valentine Box

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 10:00

Feel like the coolest kid in class when you upcycle a shoebox into a valentine box inspired by the new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars! One part clone trooper helmet, one part inspiration from Ahsoka Tano’s distinctive markings, and one part hearts, this valentine box is all Star Wars.

What You’ll Need

  • Valentine box template
  • Shoebox
  • Orange, black, white, and gray construction paper
  • Small heart paper hole punch
  • 1 ½ inch paper hole punch (optional)
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue

Get Started!

Step 1: Begin by printing the valentine box template. Cut out the pieces for the visor and Ahsoka’s markings.

Step 2: Remove the shoebox lid from the box. Place it in the center of a sheet of orange construction paper and trace the edges.

Step 3: Place the visor template in the center of the traced lid shape. Trace the visor shape.

Step 4: Next, place the visor template in the center of the lid itself, and trace the shape. Make sure it is approximately in the same location as the shape you traced on the construction paper so that they line up when the paper is placed on top.

Step 5: Cut out the visor shapes on the orange paper and the lid with the craft knife.

Step 6: Cut out the corners of the orange paper; this will help when wrapping the shoebox lid in a moment.

Step 7: Spread glue on the lid. Carefully place the orange paper on top of the shoebox lid, lining up the visor shapes you cut out previously. Smooth the paper gently.

Step 8: Spread glue on the sides of the lid and fold down the edges of the orange paper to complete wrapping the box lid. 

Step 9: Once all glue is dry, use the craft knife and scissors to clean up the cut-out visor as needed.

Step 10: Cut two strips of the orange paper, one thin and one wide. Glue the thin strip across the top of the visor and the thick strip perpendicular to the visor at the top of the lid.

Step 11: Glue the zigzag shapes on either side of the wide orange strip.

Step 12: Cut two hearts from the white construction paper. Glue them next to the two zigzag shapes.

Step 13: Cut out a piece of gray paper about ¼ the size of the box lid. Glue it on the bottom edge of the lid.

Step 14: Cut out two circles from the black paper with the 1 ½ hole punch (or simply cut circles approximately that size). Glue them on top of the gray paper on the bottom edge of the lid.

Step 15: Cut two small circles from the white construction paper and glue them to the center of the black circles.

Step 16: Cut out eight small heart shapes from the gray paper with the small heart paper punch. Glue them around the white circle. Repeat on the other black and white circle.

Step 17: Cut thin strips from the black paper and glue them along the bottom edges of the shoebox lid for a cleaner look.

Step 18: Cut grey construction paper to fit the entire bottom half of the shoebox. Glue it to cover the bottom half of the box.

Step 19: Let all glue dry.

Your Clone Wars valentine box is complete! Store your valentines, love letters from Sy Snootles, and whatever else you adore in this one-of-a-kind container.

Watch the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars beginning February 21 on Disney+.

Kelly Knox is a Seattle-based freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheCloneWars

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Obi-Wan’s “Deception”

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 08:00

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

81: “Deception” (Season Four, Episode 15)

“All warfare is based on deception.”

Synopsis:

When the Jedi learn of a Separatist plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine, one of them must go deep undercover as a hardened criminal to extract information from the conspirators.

Analysis:

Galavanting with the galaxy’s most wretched scum and villainy is hardly in a day’s work for a Jedi, especially one as refined as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The man who convinced Elan Sleazebaggano to quit selling death sticks and instead go home and rethink his life with a wave of his hand is now imprisoned with some of the Republic’s most vile enemies.

It’s a staggering sacrifice in so many ways. To participate in this plan, only key members of the Jedi Council can know the truth. Obi-Wan must lie to his former apprentice and close friend, Anakin Skywalker, feign death so convincingly there is no question of his demise, and then undergo a painful surgical procedure to become Rako Hardeen, at least in appearance, swallowing a frightful looking device to complete the transformation with a vocal change.

All this to save the life of Chancellor Palpatine. It’s most impressive how seriously Kenobi takes his duties to the Jedi Order. Perhaps not a surprise for a man who would dedicate years of his life to ensuring Luke Skywalker was safe on Tatooine.

But this mission is an incredible personal sacrifice in ways that his other duties, both during the Clone Wars and beyond, are not. His playful personality would have us believe that he almost enjoys playing the part of scoundrel for a change. However, consider everything he’s risking for this intel. Anakin could have killed him instead of turning him into the authorities, and he would have if he didn’t have such esteem for his late master and his own wishes. Already there are so many ways this plan could go wrong.

One thing is for certain: Kenobi’s dedication to the cause, to his beliefs as a Jedi, and his pursuit of upholding the Republic’s values is unparalleled.

Intel:

  • Look closely at the posters in the bar’s back room and you’ll see an ad for Sy Snootles and a travel poster for Pantora.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Rako, Cad Bane, and Moralo Eval flee in “Friends and Enemies.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #CloneWarsRewatch

Vote for Vader Immortal in the Game Developers Choice Awards

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 11:57

Fate has chosen you…to vote for Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series.

StarWars.com is thrilled that Vader Immortal, ILMxLAB’s innovative VR experience, is eligible for this year’s Audience Award at the 20th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Fans have the opportunity to vote for their favorite title — and that’s where you can make a difference: Vote for Vader Immortal before February 10, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. PST, and show the world the power of the dark side!

In Vader Immortal, also nominated for Best VR/AR Game, you stepped into the role of a Force-sensitive smuggler, explored the ruins beneath Darth Vader’s castle, mastered your skills in the Lightsaber Dojo, and dueled the Sith Lord himself. Now with our combined strength, we can bring order to the galaxy…and win the Audience Award for Vader Immortal.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #ILMxLAB, #VaderImmortal

5 Ways The Clone Wars Changed Star Wars

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 10:00

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is back. (Feels good to say that, doesn’t it?) Our favorite series about Jedi and clones and battle droids and Zillo Beasts returns for its long-awaited final season February 21 on Disney+, giving us the end to a story we thought we’d never see. Yet as much as we’ve missed The Clone Wars, one thing that has never gone away is its impact on a galaxy far, far away. In celebration of the series’ revival, here are five ways The Clone Wars changed Star Wars.

1. It gave us the most Star Wars stories from George Lucas — and brought Dave Filoni to a galaxy far, far away.

Most people know that George Lucas created The Clone Wars and is credited as executive producer. But not everyone realizes that many, many stories from the series’ original run either come straight from The Maker himself or feature his input. With 121 episodes, that’s over 40 hours of Star Wars tales whose genesis involve the guy who started it all — the most, by far, in any medium.

Maybe more importantly, however, is that Lucas picked Dave Filoni to shepherd the series as supervising director. Throughout the series’ run, Lucas was a mentor to Filoni and, in many ways, passed the Star Wars torch to him, leading to Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance, and the Pittsburg Penguins superfan’s first foray into live-action with The Mandalorian. Star Wars is in good hands with Filoni, and it all started with The Clone Wars.

2. It introduced Ahsoka Tano.

One of The Clone Wars’ biggest surprises was that Anakin Skywalker had a Padawan — Ahsoka Tano — and their relationship would form the heart of the series. Much like her master, Ahsoka started out brash and fallible, at one point even losing her lightsaber; but over the course of the series she matured, becoming a truly great leader and Jedi. In a masterstroke of storytelling on the part of Lucas and Filoni, young viewers grew with Ahsoka and, by extension, identified with and learned from her. Today, “Snips” (voiced by Ashley Eckstein), the first leading on-screen female Jedi, stands with Star Wars’ most beloved characters. And rightly so.

3. It explored Mandalorian culture.

The Clone Wars delves hard into Mandalorian culture, which is something fans had longed to see. And without The Clone Wars’ worldbuilding, we might not have The Mandalorian series as it exists today, from the intricacies of Mandalorian traditions to the varied armor design; indeed, even Jon Favreau, executive producer and writer of The Mandalorian, took his first steps into a galaxy far, far away as the voice of Pre Vizsla, a militant Mandalorian who fell in league with — and then battled — Maul. (Plus, the series gave us the Darksaber, which later showed up in The Mandalorian and is pretty much the coolest thing ever.) Best of all, The Clone Wars Season Seven is making a return trip to Mandalore. Helmets and jetpacks on, everyone.

4. It deepened our understanding of Anakin Skywalker.

The prequels showed us Anakin Skywalker at different stages of his life and journey, but with The Clone Wars, Lucas and Filoni went deeper, illustrating how the young and impatient Padawan from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones becomes the confident warrior in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. We see how becoming a mentor helped him grow; how he and Obi-Wan were an amazing team; and just how good, creative, and caring a person he was. If you love Anakin in the prequels, watching The Clone Wars will only make you love him more.

5. It revealed new aspects of Force lore.

Mortis. Moraband. Force priestesses. George Lucas and Dave Filoni revealed more about the mysteries of the Force in The Clone Wars than ever before, while still leaving much to the imagination. The central episodes, popularly known as “The Mortis Trilogy” from Season Three and “The Yoda Arc” from The Lost Missions, are thrilling, frightening, and magical all at once, and will change the way you look at that ol’ mystical energy field — and the saga at large.

Find your favorite stories from a galaxy far, far away on Disney+Start Streaming Now

Watch the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars beginning February 21 on Disney+.

Learn more about Star Wars on Disney+.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #DisneyPlus, #TheCloneWars

Ben Solo Seeks Out the Knights of Ren in The Rise of Kylo Ren #3 – Exclusive

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 08:00

Ben Solo has taken his first step into a larger world…of the dark side.

In StarWars.com’s exclusive first look at Marvel’s The Rise of Kylo Ren #3, the penultimate issue of Marvel’s hit miniseries, the troubled Force-wielder finally finds the Knights of Ren. But joining up with the villainous group won’t be so easy.

Check out the preview below, and look for The Rise of Kylo Ren #3, from writer Charles Soule and artist Will Sliney, with a cover by Clayton Crain, on Wednesday, February 12.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Inside Poster Posse’s Amazing Artwork Inspired by The Mandalorian

Tue, 02/04/2020 - 08:00

If you’ve been paying attention to Star Wars social media for the last few months, you’ve no doubt seen some breathtaking artwork inspired by The Mandalorian. Even before the series debuted on Disney+, the images seemed to bring to life its dusty, gritty, kill-or-be-killed world. They were made in different styles, featured different characters, and told unique stories, but all were powerful and made us feel like we knew what this series would be. And they all came from one design studio: Poster Posse, whose illustrators created the artwork based solely on trailers and stills. StarWars.com loved the art so much that we wanted to shine a light on the talents behind them — the best in the parsec, one might say — and recently asked each for insights into their work; you can check out every stunning image below, along with the artist’s own commentary.

“I was inspired to create something the second I saw the trailer. I loved the clear Western style/influence (which is what i loved about the original movie trilogy, as well). I set about creating a piece that was a spiritual homage to Sergio Leone Western and [Akira] Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, but also conveyed the sparse space desert landscape and showcased a few of the main characters in a way that didn’t spoil any plot points or focus to closely on a major scene. I cant wait till this hits the UK so i can watch it all.” – Matt Needle

“Because my artistic style is heavily rooted in comic art, I wanted to create something that wouldn’t look out of place on a double-page spread of a comic book. A single image that tells a story while also setting the scene of what is about to come. I used a heavy perspective, strong composition, dramatic lighting from the sun and put the threat of the troopers at the front and the Mandalorian in the background to add to the drama of the scene. Overall, I just wanted to create a piece of art that makes people say, ‘Whoa, that’s cool,’ in the same way Star Wars has done for me my whole life.” – 17th & Oak

“Inspired by the metallic Mandalorian helmet and the earthy pigments from our galaxy, I created my Mandalorian artwork using traditional paint methods: a pinch of rust red, a hint of metallic silver with a helping of sandy iron-oxide, and yellow ocher pigments dug-up from our Earth itself. I poured my newly-mixed paint onto the canvas using a few acrylic mediums to help swirl the paint together carefully — yet carelessly — to create an organic multi-color background. I then hand-painted the iconic Mandalorian helmet on top, using acrylic paint, with a careful splattering of white paint for the stars within the helmet. A raw artwork for a bold new chapter — a portrait of the lone gunfighter making his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, the Mandalorian.” – Nicky Barkla

“My favorite posters tend to be character studies, as I place the highest value in any story on character development. Attempting to encapsulate a figure by a single expression and pose, working through their costume piece-by-piece, figuring out a backdrop that is supportive but non-competitive, has always been a deeply satisfying way to begin to know who they are — and who doesn’t want to know more about the newest addition to the badass women of Star Wars?” – Tracie Ching

“Ambush. That’s the theme of my piece. Those poor stormtroopers, looking all confused. They know something’s not right, they heard something coming from the stone pillars, wish the light was better, half of the team [is] missing. It was just supposed to be a routine dusk-run. Another noise — this one sounds familiar, though. That a blaster being loaded…?” – Chris Malbon

“As a huge Star Wars fan, I was thrilled with the news that Poster Posse will be creating illustrations to promote The Mandalorian. This series is a space western, a tale of a lone warrior. The starting point for creating this illustration was to present the central characters of the series. For the mood and colors, I was inspired by the movie poster for The Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood.” – Rafal Rola

“The Star Wars [galaxy] is iconic, so it was clear to me that I wanted to create something minimalistic yet striking, something that doesn’t tell too much about the story but reaches you immediately. And when I watched the trailer I saw that one shot of the Mandalorian walking through the desert in that beautiful light, and that was it. Those colors and that feeling, that I tried to capture. The birth of another icon.” – Eileen Steinbach

“Being asked to create art in the run up to The Mandalorian being released on Disney+ was a huge honor! After watching the trailers numerous times there was one scene that I kept coming back to, and it was the Mandalorian walking past carbonite [slabs], which I just thought was really cool. I created some mockups that were action-based or set in a different location, but the one that stood out was the Mandalorian looking down at his stored bounty. Having numerous carbonite [slabs] emphasized his efficiency in his trade. The art was created using a mixture of techniques and software. Once an idea is fully formed in my head, I will then start blocking elements out using digital 3D sculpting and modeling. Once I have a few elements in place, I will get the camera and perspective in place and try various lighting set ups. Once I have the basic setup, I render out an image and then take it into a digital painting app, where the bulk of the work is done to add detail and life into the art.” – Chris Skinner

Visit Poster Posse at PosterPosse.com.

Find your favorite stories from a galaxy far, far away on Disney+Start Streaming Now

Find out more about Disney+ on StarWars.com and watch The Mandalorian now.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

How Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Echoes Themes of the Entire Skywalker Saga

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 08:00

Spoiler warning: This article delves into story details and plot points from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The circle is now complete; with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the Skywalker story has wrapped up, completing the narrative thread that began with the release of the original Star Wars in 1977. The new film does a wonderful job of reinforcing the themes that had us fall in love with Star Wars in the first place. While it may not be the Jedi way to crave adventure and excitement (which The Rise of Skywalker is full of), fans do love a narrative with themes that remind us of what it means to be human, how to stand up to bullies, the power of choice, and the importance of belonging. Here are a few of the themes that are prominent in The Rise of Skywalker, which echo back to the thematic elements found throughout the legacy of the cinematic Star Wars saga.

Family is not just about biology

The power of family, both biological and surrogate, is perhaps one of the most steadily recurring themes in the entire saga. Whether it is a princess, a scoundrel, and a farmboy teaming up against the overwhelming odds of the Empire, or a former spice runner, reformed stormtrooper, and retired scavenger attempting to subvert the First Order, Star Wars is full of characters from different backgrounds uniting for the greater good. While the initial goal is to help rid the galaxy of oppression, it ultimately becomes more about building a new family with one another.

In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey finally gets the answer to the question she thinks she has needed to know: who are her biological parents? The shocking revelation that her lineage means she is descendant of Palpatine is devastating, to say the least, but it also reminds Rey that, as Maz Kanata told her in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the belonging she seeks is not behind her, but ahead. Her journey to Ahch-To and eventual confrontation with Palpatine are evidence that the family she has with Luke, Leia, Finn, and Poe is the one that matters. These are the people she has been able to depend on for guidance and security, and who have helped her to grow as a person. Her proclamation at the end of the film is a poignant metaphor that Rey knows who her true family is. Much like her mentors Luke and Leia had to overcome their ancestry, Rey similarly chooses to forge a new path and create her own family.

Fear is the path to the dark side

When Yoda said in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering,” it cemented our understanding of what motivated Darth Vader in the first place: fear. His fear that he would lose Padmé drove him to betray the Jedi and abandon his core values. The results are legendary and catastrophic. Fear led Anakin to the dark side of the Force, and into deadly collaboration with Palpatine.

It was also fear that drove Luke Skywalker to Ahch-To, and arguably allowed for the First Order to grow at a more rapid pace. Luke says as much in The Rise of Skywalker when he tells Rey that fear is what kept him in isolation on the planet for as long as it did. However, he tells Rey, “Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi,” which is another way of saying that once you face your fears, acknowledge them, and overcome them, you are more likely to be able to resist the temptation of fear that leads to the dark side.

Ironically, Rey’s fear of what she might become manifests itself into an antithetical vision of her atop Palpatine’s throne (complete with fangs!). Her choice to run to Ahch-To to get away from what she is afraid of mirrors her master, Luke Skywalker. But once she learns you can’t run from trouble, either real or imagined, she starts to understand the wisdom of facing the inner demons that plague her. Like so many others in the Star Wars galaxy, the dark side, with fear as its ally, clouds everything. Fortunately, Rey has some excellent teachers, as well as more strength than she realizes.

Anger negatively impacts our choices and takes us down the wrong path

One of the reasons fear is so dangerous is because it leads to anger. This anger tends to lend itself to choices that are difficult, if not impossible, to undo. Luke gives into anger on Dagobah and faces Darth Vader in the cave. Anakin gives in to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader, and Poe Dameron gives in to rage and almost causes the destruction of the Resistance in The Last Jedi. It happens to the best the galaxy has to offer. 

It varies in degree but never ends well. For instance, at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker during her Jedi training with Master Leia, Rey gets angry on Ajan Kloss, tosses her lightsaber in frustration, and inadvertently topples a tree onto BB-8. Later in the film, during a pivotal dual on Kef Bir, Rey stabs Kylo Ren with Luke’s lightsaber, mortally wounding her enemy. This is not the path of the Jedi, and neither is the anger she taped into to find herself in this predicament. Once she calms down, gets rid of her anger, and finds peace, she is able to heal Kylo Ren’s wound. 

Anger negatively impacts our choices and takes us down the wrong path

One of the reasons fear is so dangerous is because it leads to anger. This anger tends to lend itself to choices that are difficult, if not impossible, to undo. Luke gives into anger on when Darth Vader threatens to turn Leia in his place. Anakin gives in to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren’s blind anger upon seeing Luke Skywalker allows the Resistance to escape and survive. It happens to the best the galaxy has to offer.

It varies in degree but never ends well. For instance, at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker during her Jedi training with Leia, Rey becomes angry, tosses her lightsaber in frustration, and inadvertently topples a tree onto BB-8. Later in the film, during a pivotal dual on Kef Bir, Rey stabs Kylo Ren with his own lightsaber, mortally wounding her enemy. This is not the path of the Jedi; in fact, she instigated the fight, angered by his destruction of the wayfinder. Once she calms down, gets rid of her anger, and finds peace, she is able to heal Kylo Ren’s wound. 

When you stand up to a bully, it inspires others to do the same

It takes a lot to stand up to a bully. They don’t fight fair, never take anyone’s feelings into consideration, and are not kind. Queue the biggest bully in the galaxy, Emperor Palpatine. His constant obsession with galactic domination takes on a whole new meaning in The Rise of Skywalker. He has manipulated both the First Order and the Resistance (similar to his machinations in the prequel trilogy) and now seeks to cement his place as the personification of the Sith from the planet Exegol. He is absolutely overwhelming, but so is Rey. While she is certainly aware of the inherent danger, she does not back down from his persistent menace.

But Rey isn’t the only one to face tyranny. As the Final Order fleet emerges from planet’s crust, heroes need to rise up, too. In a similar vein to the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil War, the Resistance must take on the oppressive Final Order if freedom is to be restored across the galaxy. The First Order has superior weaponry, the advantage in numbers, and malicious intent, but the Resistance has guts, tenacity, and a refusal to acquiesce to any bully, no matter how deadly. Once Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca show up with immeasurable reinforcements, we are reminded, alongside a temporarily defeated Poe Dameron, that once you stand up to a bully, others are inspired to do so as well.

Redemption and choice

In Darth Vader, we have a powerful example of the power of redemption. It is never easy and often comes at great cost, but it can be done. We just have to choose the right path. And the more difficult the path, the more poignant the redemption turns out to be. It certainly took Vader a long time to get out of his own way and choose light over darkness, but when he did, the tide of the war changed, and the Empire was soon defeated.

It is ironic then, that Kylo Ren finds a similar path for himself, especially when he has spent his time with the Knights of Ren trying to live up to the legacy of his grandfather. He wanted to live up to the reputation of Darth Vader, but instead, chooses the path of Anakin Skywalker. Once he faces his inner demons, he helps to subvert the wishes of Palpatine and saves Rey from certain death. Ultimately, it is our choices that define who we are and who we want to be remembered as. Ben Solo, much like Anakin Skywalker, makes his choice at the end, continuing the Skywalker legacy of turning from darkness and heading to the light.

Dan Zehr is the host of Coffee With Kenobi, a podcast that examines Star Wars mythology from a place of intelligence and humor. He is also a high school English teacher with an MS in Teaching and Learning.

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