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Updated: 2 hours 19 min ago

The Grand Admiral Crosses Paths with the Emperor in Thrawn: Treason – Exclusive Excerpt

8 hours 54 min ago

Not even a master strategist like Thrawn could see this coming.

Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn arrives July 23, and finds the Grand Admiral facing the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire. In Treason, Thrawn’s TIE Defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, and he must work to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy. Meanwhile, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld, and Thrawn’s effortless command of strategy and manipulation must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire.

In this exclusive excerpt from Treason, Thrawn is summoned to a gathering of the Empire’s greatest leaders, with the future of the Empire — and his place within it — hanging in the balance. (Following the print excerpt, enjoy a clip from the audiobook edition, narrated by Marc Thompson.)

Three men are seated around the table in the Star Destroyer Firedrake’s command conference room. The room itself is a duplicate of the Chimaera’s conference room, though the Firedrake’s table and chairs are newer and somewhat more elaborate.

“Ah—Grand Admiral Thrawn,” Tarkin said in greeting. His expression holds anticipation, perhaps an underlying calculation. His voice holds calmness, perhaps with the mental preparation of one going into combat. “Allow me to introduce Grand Admiral Savit, commander of the Firedrake and the Third Fleet. I don’t believe you two have met before.”

“No, Governor, we haven’t,” Savit said. His voice holds guarded welcome. His expression holds wariness and evaluation. His body stance holds a mixture of confidence and pride. “Welcome aboard, Admiral.”

“You may have heard of Admiral Savit through his family’s music programs on Imperial Center,” Tarkin said. The calculation in his voice increases. The tone holds warning, perhaps a heightened political awareness of the strong cultural position of Savit’s family.

“So I have. I would very much like to attend one of your performances someday.”

“You’d certainly be welcome,” Savit said. His voice holds pride and a hint of smugness, reflecting his own awareness of his family’s status.

“And this—” The stiffness in Tarkin’s voice increases, perhaps accompanied by heightened combat awareness. His expression holds reserve, perhaps antagonism. “—is Director Orson Krennic.”

“Admiral.” Krennic’s voice holds perhaps caution. His expression holds perhaps unfriendliness. His body stance holds perhaps anger, perhaps defiance. “I understand you wish to take funding away from my Stardust project.”

“Not at all. I wish only to preserve the funding I was already promised.”

“By the Emperor himself, I might add,” Tarkin said. He looks at Krennic for half a second, his eyes unblinking, then touches a switch on the console before him. There is a stiffness to his touch, perhaps holding combat readiness. “Now that we’re all assembled, I shall alert him that we’re ready to proceed.”

There is a pause of eleven seconds. No one speaks. Tarkin’s eyes remain fixed on Krennic. Krennic’s eyes shift between Thrawn and Tarkin. Savit’s eyes remain on the table’s holopad, his expression holding watchful calm.

The holopad lights up, and an image of the Emperor appears above it. “Good day, Governor Tarkin,” he said. His voice holds anticipation and interest. The shaky image renders his expression, currently in profile, unreadable. “Director Krennic; Grand Admiral Savit; Grand Admiral Thrawn.”

“Good day, Your Majesty,” Tarkin said. He inclines his head in greeting and perhaps respect. The others do the same. Krennic’s expression includes a small smile, perhaps holding confidence. “As you know, Project Stardust has run into a small problem, which I thought should be presented to you.”

“Indeed.” The Emperor’s face turns to Krennic. The corners of his mouth turn downward. “I was under the impression that Stardust was proceeding at a satisfactory pace.”

“The project itself is, Your Majesty,” Krennic said. His voice continues to hold confidence. “The problem is merely in the supply chain, and I assure you it’s under control.”

“Is it?” the Emperor countered. “Governor Tarkin seems to believe differently.”

“Indeed, Your Majesty,” Tarkin said. His expression does not change, but there is a loosening of facial muscles that perhaps indicates a hidden desire to smile. “And as Director Krennic seems unwilling or unable to face the problem, I have invited Grand Admiral Thrawn here for consultation.”

“So I see,” the Emperor said. The image turns, a small smile touching his lips. “And what, pray tell, does Grand Admiral Mitth’raw’nuruodo think of this situation?”

“Actually, Your Majesty, I’ve not had an opportunity to bring the admiral up to speed,” Tarkin said. “With the extreme security surrounding Stardust, I deemed it prudent to keep any such details off the HoloNet.”

“Very wise, Governor Tarkin,” the Emperor said. “Perhaps, Director Krennic, you would be kind enough to explain your reading of the situation.” The corners of his mouth again turn down. “For both our benefits.”

The muscles in Krennic’s throat tighten briefly. “As I said, Your Majesty, the situation is under control. We’re merely having a few problems with mynocks at the equipment transfer point.”

“Grallocs,” Tarkin murmured.

“Grallocs are simply a cousin species to mynocks,” Krennic countered. His expression hardens, the skin flushing slightly. Possibly annoyance; possibly anger; possibly embarrassment. “They live in vacuum, they attack power cables and couplers—”

“They’re also considerably larger and tougher than typical mynocks,” Savit put in. His expression holds hidden amusement. “Governor Haveland and her people have had a great deal of trouble with them in the Esaga sector.”

“The point is that they’re a nuisance and nothing more,” Krennic said. The skin reddening fades. His voice holds renewed control. His eyes are steady on Tarkin, perhaps holding challenge.

“A nuisance?” Tarkin asked. His expression holds triumph. “Your own reports show the equipment and point-defense turbolaser transshipments are already three weeks behind schedule. I don’t see how this qualifies as merely a nuisance.”

“So you are saying Stardust is being held hostage by a group of vermin?” The Emperor’s voice holds controlled anger. His eyes focus on Krennic.

“I assure Your Majesty that the problem is under control.” Krennic’s voice holds fresh caution. But the confidence remains intact.

“Admiral Mitth’raw’nuruodo?” the Emperor invited. “Do you share Director Krennic’s assessment?”

“A delay of three weeks seems more than simply a nuisance. But I have duties to attend to on Lothal.”

“We all have duties, Admiral,” Tarkin said. “But Governor Pryce has the bulk of your force available to maintain order. Surely you can spare some time to deal with this problem.”

“It appears that Admiral Savit has more information and experience with these creatures than I do. He would be better able to find a solution.”

“Admiral Savit also has other duties,” Tarkin said. “Furthermore, he lacks your tactical and problem-solving capabilities. Capabilities of which, I dare say, Director Krennic should already have been cognizant.”

“I tire of this bickering,” the Emperor said. “You, Governor, were the one who arranged this meeting. What precisely was your intent?”

Tarkin’s eyes are steady, his face again holding triumph. “Director Krennic has suggested to Your Majesty that the funds earmarked for the TIE Defender program be transferred to Stardust. I propose that this delay in Stardust equipment shipments not only threatens the project’s timetable, but also squanders funds that could and should be utilized elsewhere.”

“So you propose a trade?” the Emperor asked. His voice holds anticipation.

“I do, Your Majesty,” Tarkin said. “I propose that if Admiral Thrawn is able to solve this problem and destroy the grallocs, the necessary funds be restored to his Defender program.”

“Director Krennic?” the Emperor invited.

Krennic is silent a full second. “I would be willing,” he said at last. His face is under careful control. His eyes are wary, as if watching a stalking animal. “If Admiral Thrawn can destroy them within the next week.”

“That’s hardly fair,” Savit objected. His expression and voice hold contempt. “As I said, Governor Haveland has been dealing with these things for years.”

If Admiral Thrawn can’t solve it in that time, he’s of no use to us,” Krennic countered. “It would also, I daresay, bring his so-called problem-solving capabilities into serious question.”

“Admiral Mitth’raw’nuruodo?” the Emperor asked. “I give you the decision.”

“I accept Governor Tarkin’s proposal. I further accept Director Krennic’s conditions.”

“Very well,” the Emperor said. The corners of his mouth turn up in a satisfied smile.

https://starwarsblog.starwars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Thrawn-Treason-_Ch1-excerpt.mp3

See the reveal of this excerpt and more on this week’s episode of The Star Wars Show!

Thrawn: Treason is available for pre-order now.

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

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

See a Galaxy of Star Wars Exclusives Coming to San Diego Comic-Con 2019

11 hours 6 min ago

Heading to San Diego Comic-Con — coming July 18-21 to the San Diego Convention Center — and looking for some galactic treasures? Let StarWars.com be your guide: See below for a first look at Star Wars exclusives coming to the mega pop-culture convention, with everything from new tees to a special Funko Pop! to a variety of posters.

Acme Archives
“Shiny Return” Color Variant ($65) and Echo Base Root Beer Color Variant ($55) by Steve Thomas
Booth #5629

At SDCC, Acme Archives will offer two variants of posters from artist Steve Thomas, including a shimmering version of his powerful Return of the Jedi illustration, and his hilarious (fake) ad for Echo Base Root Beer.

Diamond Select
Star Wars Concept Sandtrooper 1/6 Scale Mini-Bust ($120)
Booth #2607

Inspired by the concept art of the legendary Ralph McQuarrie, Diamond Select’s gorgeous mini-bust brings an early version of the sandtrooper to life.

Fifth Sun
Dat Boba Tee and Divided Forces Tee ($28 each)
Booth #2913-J

These two exclusive tees from the masters at Fifth Sun are stunners, one with a striking image of the famed bounty hunter, and the other celebrating the entire saga.

Funko
Yoda (Green Chrome) Pop! (shared exclusive with Amazon) ($15)
Boba Fett (Green Chrome) Pop! (shared exclusive with FYE) ($15)
Booth #5841

These chrome variant takes on the Emperor’s “little green friend” and the galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunter will be Force-powered — and visually arresting — additions to Funko Pop! collections.

Hallmark
“A Wild Ride on Endor” Keepsake Ornament ($40)
Chewbacca Bandolier itty bittys Carrier ($18; $8 with purchase of three itty bittys)
Booth #2913-T

Hallmark comes to SDCC with a charming new addition to its fan-favorite Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments line and a walking-carpet-approved accessory for itty bittys collectors.

Hasbro
Luke Skywalker Jedi Destiny 3-Pack ($54)
Kenner-Inspired 6-inch Boba Fett ($27)
Booth #3329 and online
Special Edition Prototype Darth Vader (Entertainment Earth exclusive, Booth #2343) ($12.99)

Hasbro is honoring Star Wars icons and action-figure history at SDCC with incredible retro-inspired exclusives: the Luke Skywalker Jedi Destiny 3-Pack (featuring 3.75-inch figures based on Luke’s appearance in each film of the original trilogy, in vintage packaging), a redeco of the 6-inch Black Series Boba Fett in the color scheme of the classic Kenner toy, and a Kenner-style Darth Vader in bright, prototype colors. For Star Wars action-figure collectors, these look like must-haves.

Lladró
“Born to Rebel” Queen Amidala Pre-Order
Booth #2913

The makers of gorgeous porcelain creations are launching “Born to Rebel,” a new line of handmade Star Wars sculptures. Fans can pre-order the first sculpture of the series — Queen Amidala, in celebration of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace‘s 20th anniversary — at SDCC.

Mattel
Mouse Droid Character Car ($10)
Booth #2945

The adorable mouse droid joins Mattel’s Hot Wheels Character Car line — essential for fans of the Empire and the iconic toy car series.

Monogram
Character Bag Clips ($25)
Booth #3645

Strap on your jetpacks and zoom over to Monogram’s booth, for this cool set honoring the Fett family.

Nixon
Skywalker Sentry Chrono ($350)
Skywalker Cinch bag ($25)
Booth #2913-I

Limited to only 150 units, the Skywalker Sentry Chrono watch is filled with clever details and an altogether beautiful design. In super stealth matte black stainless steel, it features custom dials with the insignias and weapons of Luke, Darth Vader, and the Death Star; flip it over and you’ll see a custom caseback with father/son portraits etched in.

The Skywalker Cinch Bag, limited to 500 units, features custom blue and red straps representing Luke and Darth Vader’s lightsabers and other subtle details, making this a perfect partner to the Skywalker Sentry Chrono watch.

PerfectShaker
Boba Fett PerfectShaker ($14.99)
Booth #1122

Beat the Tatooine heat with this exclusive Star Wars PerfectShaker featuring a bold, stylized take on Boba Fett.

Regal Robot
Jabba’s Dais Gargoyle Magnet ($20; $29 at RegalRobot.com during SDCC)
Booth #2913-E

Here’s an exclusive His High Exaltedness would love. Regal Robot brings Jabba’s Dais Gargoyle Magnet, limited to 250 units and inspired by one of the crime lord’s more unique decorative accents, to SDCC. Each is hand painted in the USA in a realistic bronze and patina style.

SalesOne
Medal of Yavin ($75) and Han Solo in Carbonite Pin Set ($15)
Booth #4437 & #815

Both TOYNK retailer exclusives, SalesOne’s Medal of Yavin replica (24K carat gold) and Han Solo-themed pin set are beautifully designed and sure to appeal to rebels everywhere.

Seven20
Skywalker and Mos Eisley Pint Glass 2-Pack ($10)
Booth #3749

These handsome and clever pint glasses come courtesy of Seven20, and feature the logos of two what-if Tatooine businesses: Mos Eisley Trading Co. and Skywalker and Son Landspeeder Service and Repair.

Stance
Rebels 2-Pack ($40)
Empire 2-Pack ($40)
Blueprint 4-Pack ($100)
Booth #2913-G

Stance celebrates the saga with three different exclusives. The Blueprint 4-pack comes with all socks included in the Rebels and Empire sets (featuring the Millennium Falcon, X-wing, TIE fighter, and the Lambda Class T-4A shuttle), as well as two exclusive blueprints printed on vellum paper, showcasing the Millennium Falcon and TIE fighter, and limited to 50 pieces.

Trends International
Star Wars Decals and Posters (prices vary)
Booth #2314-D

If you need to add some Star Wars decor to your life, these are the exclusives you’re looking for. Trends International will offer posters (ranging from the Battle of Hoth to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace), vinyl decals, and more.

First-to-Market Items

There will be plenty more Star Wars goodies at SDCC. Attendees can be among the first to pick up more new pieces from Aquarius Beeline (Booth #2913-M), Her Universe and Our Universe (Booth #2913-O), the Heroes & Villains apparel and accessories line from BioWorld (Booth #2913-K), FanWraps (Booth #2913-A), Fifth Sun (Booth #2913-J), Loungefly (Booth #5248), RockLove (Booth #2913-N), Tee Turtle (Booth #2913-S), Toms (Booth #2913-R), SalesOne (at the TOYNK and Transworld booths), and Seven20 (Booth #3749).

More to Come…

And additional new product will debut at SDCC — to be revealed soon!

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

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

StarWars.com Fan Spotlight: Destinee and Matthew

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 08:00

StarWars.com is shining a light on those who truly give the saga its power: the fans. In the StarWars.com Fan Spotlight, we’re honored to tell their stories.

About five years ago, Destinee Nagtalon and Matthew Dong were just friends. For “a really long time,” the Northern Californians practiced judo together. But in 2014, they found another shared interest: Star Wars Rebels. According to Destinee, Star Wars brought them closer together.

When StarWars.com runs into the couple at their first Star Wars Celebration in Chicago this past April, Destinee’s decked out in her best Ahsoka Tano cosplay; Matthew’s out of costume, taking a break and snapping pictures. On any other day, they might have been dressed up as their favorite duo: Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger.

“We’ve always wanted to come to Star Wars Celebration,” says Matthew. “It’s always been one of the bigger things in our lives together, and it’s very exciting to actually be here and take everything in.”

Star Wars was definitely something that we both connected with, and we stuck with it,” Destinee adds. “It’s been a fun time.”

The StarWars.com Fan Spotlight Q&A

What’s your favorite Star Wars memory?

Matthew: Let’s see. The first Star Wars movie I saw in theaters was actually Star Wars: Episode III. Although I’ve seen all the others, the only one I can actually remember is Episode III. And I went with my dad, my uncle, and my cousin. We all sat together. It was amazing — and I was a kid at the time. I was just mesmerized by it.

Destinee: I would have to say when Rebels ended. That was really emotional. I’m an Ahsoka fan, but I’m also a Sabine fan. I was [dressed as] Sabine yesterday, and the last couple days, and she’s kind of been my person. I connected to her on many, many levels. And I actually met Tiya [Sircar, voice of Sabine], and she’s amazing.

Would you join the Resistance or the First Order?

Matthew: I would most likely join the Resistance.

Destinee: I’m also part of the Resistance.

If you could fly or drive any Star Wars vehicle, what would it be?

Matthew: I would like to be in command of a Viscount-class Star Defender.

Destinee: We’ve played a lot of the Star Wars: X-Wing board game, and I play a lot of the Imperials, because he wants to take over the Rebellion and the Resistance and all that. So I think, based on that information, I would want to fly a TIE interceptor.

Which Star Wars character would you want as a roommate?

Destinee: Sabine. One hundred percent. Sabine Wren.

Matthew: I would probably take Rebellion Kallus. I wouldn’t take Imperial Kallus — he seems a little too uptight. But I’d probably go with what everyone calls “Hot Kallus.” Because he definitely let loose a bit. He seems like a cool guy.

If you could have any job in the Star Wars galaxy — Jedi, Sith, Death Star janitor, rancor keeper, whatever you want — what would it be?

Matthew: I would probably be a bounty hunter. I would most likely work more for the light side than the dark, but I would like to be a bounty hunter. Or a mercenary. Either one of those.

Destinee: I think I’d like to be one of the Aces from Star Wars Resistance.

Get your tickets for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 now!

Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Fangoria, Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #FanInterviews

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 Tickets On Sale Now!

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:58

We have a good feeling about this.

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 tickets are finally on sale — so punch it and visit StarWarsCelebration.com, where you can choose between multiple ticket packages and options for the world’s biggest Star Wars party.

A can’t-miss event perfect for fans new and diehard, families, friends, and everyone in between, Star Wars Celebration is an official production from Lucasfilm and ReedPOP, honoring the past of a galaxy far, far away while looking ahead at what’s to come.

You can start planning for the four-day extravaganza, coming to the Anaheim Convention Center from August 27-30, 2020, by applying to participate in art shows, fan panels, and other fun events, submitting your own props and sets for display or volunteering to join the event crew.

The Celebration Stage will host the main events, including intimate conversations with a star-studded list of soon-to-be-announced special guests, live events, and panels.

Over on the Galaxy and Behind-the-Scenes stages, enjoy conversations with the masters behind the epic stories we know and love, celebrity guest appearances, and other legends and creators behind the movies, television shows, toys, books, comics and more.

Get inspired with a trip to the Fan Stage, or present your own game show, cosplay panel, or discussion on a topic you love. This stage is by the fans, for the fans, and all about having fun. There are also special stages devoted to collectors, podcasters, writers and other masters of their craft.

Check back here and on Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020’s official site for more news and updates!

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

­Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Quiz: What Star Wars Activity Should You Do This Summer Vacation?

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 07:55

When we were kids, summer vacation meant extra hours to spend in the backyard pretending to fight with lightsabers and befriend Ewoks. But just because we’re older now doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little Star Wars fun this summer.

If you could travel to the galaxy far, far away, would you go see an exciting podrace spectacle or plan a staycation inside your humble hut? Find out what activity suits you best when you take our new quiz below!

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

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

The Force Awakens Again at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 07:55

The last time fans gathered for Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in 2015, the lights went down for the debut of the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the crowd went wild.

Audience members burst into joyful tears; the unabashed excitement was unlike anything Este Meza, Lucasfilm’s senior manager of events, had seen before (and he’s been to music festivals, the world’s largest tomato fight, and the running of the bulls). “The energy and anticipation in that room and how the audience completely erupted when everyone heard ‘Chewie, we’re home!’ was unlike anything I have ever experienced,” Meza says.

“That was day one of Celebration Anaheim, the very first thing that happened,” adds Brian Stephenson, ReedPOP’s creative director and head of global brand marketing. “Obviously just the power of that trailer and the unbridled excitement of the fans carried through the rest of the experience.”

Fresh off the heels of Star Wars Celebration Chicago, the most recent and joyful Celebration to date according to organizers, fans can reunite in California once against next August when Star Wars Celebration Anaheim returns August 27-30, 2020, at the Anaheim Convention Center. Tomorrow, June 21, tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. PT followed by the official hotel block, which will go on sale at 10 a.m. PT.

Fans will gather to celebrate the completed Skywalker saga and mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. And organizers promise the event will continue to grow to offer the same hospitable community atmosphere that was present just a few months ago in Chicago.

‘Bigger and better’

The show in Chicago last April was “bigger and better than any other Celebration we’ve had to date,” says Gary Burns, ReedPOP’s branded event manager, with a production that saw the impressive StarWars.com stage, hosting The Star Wars Show LIVE! and simulcasting all the biggest panels, grow to become the centerpiece in the exhibition hall. “For the first time ever, that stage was truly the anchor on the show floor as kind of the must-see thing everyone should experience.”

“We had parts of the convention center, we had parts of the hotels nearby, we had a basketball arena as our stage, which is a first for us,” adds Lance Fensterman, the global president of ReedPOP.

And the community was full of positivity. “When we walked into the show, we just felt this immediate outpouring of love and passion,” says Meza.

“It really felt like the city of Chicago embraced Celebration,” adds Stephenson. “Everywhere you went people were talking about Star Wars,” including a fan-led gathering and lightsaber battle at the Bean, the Cloud Gate sculpture, that weekend. “That was definitely one of the coolest things I saw.” Stephenson was also proud to see the fan reaction to Kelly Marie Tran and the standing ovation that greeted Ahmed Best. “I remember getting choked up during that panel.”

Celebrate with friends

When Star Wars Celebration returns to Anaheim next year, organizers plan to bring the same energy, excitement, and immersive experiences back to California with even more panels and activities for long-time fans, new fans, families, and others to enjoy.

“People go there for so many different reasons and it’s not just panels, it’s not just fan content, it’s not just the fan groups themselves,” says Daniel Kennedy, Lucasfilm’s event coordinator. “It’s as simple as just seeing your friends.”

“We want to have something there for everybody,” Stephenson says. And from an improved mobile app experience to the chance to plan a trip to visit Batuu, inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort nearby, Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 promises to be an event you won’t want to miss.

For tickets and more information, visit StarWarsCelebration.com.

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 Clone Wars Rewatch: A “Hostage Crisis” at the Senate

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 05:55

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.

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

“A secret shared is a trust formed.”

Synopsis:

In an attempt to force the release of Ziro the Hutt from prison, bounty hunters seize control of the Senate building and hold politicians hostage. With the help of bounty hunter Aurra Sing, Cad Bane issues his demands to Chancellor Palpatine.

Analysis:

A Jedi’s weapon is his life and although Anakin’s gesture here — giving his lightsaber to Padmé as a symbol of his devotion — is romantic and sweet, ultimately it’s a terrible idea.

For one thing, when Padmé has to finally come clean about having the lightsaber it opens up a multitude of questions, casting a spotlight on their secret union in a way that invites far too much scrutiny.

And when Anakin needs his weapon the most, with the Senate building under siege and communications jammed, it’s a pretty bad time to find himself without it. By laying down his guard to prove his attachment, he leaves himself nearly defenseless.

Luckily, inside the Jedi is still that young boy who could build his mother a droid, fix pretty much anything, and had the reflexes to enter the Boonta Eve Classic. Anakin’s ingenuity shines as he essentially hotwires a communicator to reach Chancellor Palpatine. But even his sharp Jedi reflexes are no match for three highly trained bounty hunters.

Padmé, to her credit, is also a quick thinker, severing Anakin’s binders with his own blade before handing back the lightsaber. He trusts her with his life, and when he’s shackled and unconscious, it’s lucky he has her there to protect him.

Their secret remains safe, and Anakin springs into action just in time to hatch the kind of crazy Anakin plan that is just bonkers enough to work — cutting a hole through the floor just as an explosion is touched off right in the spot where the politicians and the Jedi were standing seconds before.

As public servants, Padmé and Anakin have both sworn their lives to protect the powerless and serve the Republic. But in this case, it’s really their devotion to each other that allows them to work together and make it out of this hostage crisis alive.

Intel:

  • The bounty hunter and expert slicer Robonino almost had a more honorable calling. The character is based off an unused Iain McCaig concept design for an alien Jedi.

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 Ziro must make another daring escape, this time with help from Sy Snootles, in “Hunt for Ziro.”

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

Snoke, Kylo Ren, Rey, and Rose to Star in Marvel’s Age of Resistance – First Look

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:04

Marvel’s Age of Resistance miniseries — following the popular Age of Republic and Age of Rebellion — kicks off next month, with each issue shining a light on icons of the Resistance and First Order. StarWars.com is excited to reveal four stunning covers by Phil Noto for some of the series’ most eagerly anticipated installments, coming in September: Age of Resistance – Rose Tico #1, Age of Resistance – Supreme Leader Snoke #1, Age of Resistance – Rey #1, and Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren #1. Get a first look below, along with official descriptions of the stories within — which promise new revelations on everything from Kylo Ren’s first days as a dark side apprentice to Rey’s time with Leia.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Rose Tico #1 (on sale September 4)
“My Hero”
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Cover: Phil Noto

Sisters. Friends. Co-pilots. Growing up, Rose and Paige Tico were everything to each other. Until the First Order tore their world apart. See the bond between Rose and Paige before it was forever broken.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Supreme Leader Snoke #1 (on sale September 11)
“The Devil’s Apprentice!”
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Cover: Phil Noto

Supreme Leader Snoke’s brutal training of Kylo Ren begins. Will the sadistic Snoke break his tormented protégé? Or has he underestimated the son of Han and Leia?

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Rey #1 (on sale September 18)
“Search for Skywalker”
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Cover: Phil Noto

After Han Solo’s fall, Rey searched for Luke Skywalker. But before Luke, there was Leia. Witness never-before-seen moments between Rey and General Organa. What will Rey, Chewbacca and R2-D2 encounter on the way to find Leia’s missing brother?

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren #1 (on sale September 25)
“A Dynasty of Doom!”
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Cover: Phil Noto

Anakin Skywalker casts a long shadow. Can Kylo Ren ever escape his infamous grandfather’s reputation? Or will he succeed where Darth Vader failed?

See this comic book news and more on this week’s installment of The Star Wars Show!

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

Bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Life

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 07:55

Lucasfilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo got his first glimpse of Batuu, the planet inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, now open at Disneyland® Resort and opening August 29 at Walt Disney World® Resort, through a concept art painting by longtime ILM artist Erik Tiemens. “I remember when it became real,” he says.

Concept art painting by Erik Tiemens.

Tiemens had captured the delicate spires of Batuu along with recognizable faces of Star Wars aliens, like a Mon Calamari, and even some droids that hinted at Ralph McQuarrie’s original production paintings. The galaxy had long ago leaped from the page to the screen and now it was being transformed from imagination into something more tangible. Something real.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an immersive new experience where fans can live out their own Star Wars story with a visit to the planet of Batuu on the Outer Rim. Through modern technology, characters only previously known through animation have been brought to life, and a regular mobile smartphone can transform into an in-universe datapad that can be used to hack some droids or consort with known rebel scum. “At the core of what we’re trying to accomplish is this theme that I think permeates all of Star Wars, which is that anyone can rise up and become the hero of the galaxy,” says Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive from Walt Disney Imagineering. “Whether you’re a poor moisture farmer on some remote planet or you’re some scavenger girl living in obscurity…you can rise up to become a hero.”

Concept art painting by Erik Tiemens.

‘Ground it in reality’

Building Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was a feat of conceptual continuity and real-world engineering and artistry, a labor of love involving a team that expanded to about 4,000 artisans, engineers, designers, architects, and more working together to bring the land to life. But it all started with an artistic vision grounded in the world we know and Star Wars lore.

Greg Ashton, a concept architect with Walt Disney Imagineering, joined the project in 2014. “The Force Awakens hadn’t come out yet so we had a lot of questions about where the new trilogy was going to be headed and what our take on the Star Wars galaxy was going to be,” he says. “So it was very much a blank sheet of paper….We wanted to come up with something that we hadn’t seen before. We wanted something that was a new location that really told a different story.”

“It was really critical that we ground it in reality,” says Doug Chiang, Lucasfilm’s creative director. “So we did a lot of research….what is it that really informs the viewer that there’s layers and layers of history?”

Concept art painting by Brett Northcutt and Erik Tiemens.

Changing the scale of petrified Earth forests gave the towering spires a distinctly Star Wars feel without being unbelievably alien. Ironically, landing the life-sized Millennium Falcon — “In all its cinematic glory but in real life,” as Chiang puts it — as the land’s centerpiece was also an important step in ensuring Batuu felt like it existed in the galaxy far, far away. Seeing the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, a deeply important character throughout Star Wars, was a bit of childhood fulfilment for Chiang himself. “I could even smell it and it smelled great. Like oil and metal.”

More than just looking the part, designers were adamant that the land had to be a new Star Wars story that would star each visitor at the center of their own journey. “We all know Luke’s story and we know that we’re not in it,” says Trowbridge. “So we wanted to create a set of stories that allow you to become a character in it, not just a passive spectator.”

“It not only had to be a new world but it had to be a world where interesting things happened,” adds Hidalgo. “It couldn’t be so interesting that a visit would be fraught with danger and insurrection and rebellion and battles and all that kind of stuff. It had to be interesting in a sense of visiting an exotic world where you know enough about it, but you don’t know necessarily what’s around the corner.”

Designers took characters and creatures that had only been conceived in animation, like Hondo Ohnaka, and turned them into something more. “We’ve made real someone that’s only existed as artwork,” Hidalgo says, using cutting-edge Audio-Animatronics figure technology to replicate the smooth, life-like movements of the leathery Weequay pirate. “For those of us that live and breathe Star Wars, I think it’s really rewarding that we took that extra step to make Hondo [appear to be] a real person….I never would have expected seeing a living, breathing, furry pettable Loth-cat. And there it is. We have one.”

It was also important to fold in nods to earlier Disney/Star Wars collaborations, like the first Star Tours piloted by an unlucky droid. Now R-3X is back with a second career as a DJ in Oga’s Cantina. “He was never destined to become the galaxy’s best pilot. He might not ever be destined to be the galaxy’s best anything, but he does his best,” Hidalgo says.

Concept art painting by Ric Lim.

Art imitates life

A team of artists hand-carved the namesake spires of Black Spire Outpost, evoking a sense of an ancient and enormous petrified forest to truly transport those stepping inside the themed-land, applying layers of paint to complete the aging and forced perspective effects. “We really dig into the subject matter and look for references whether it’s based on a story, a movie, you know, or a real place on Earth,” says Zsolt Hormay, creative executive of rockwork and themed finishes for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We really do a very thorough job to make sure that what we deliver to the guests are as believable and as correct as possible….Our job is to make sure that our guests really feel where they’re supposed to be.” And even once a design is set and construction begins, the process of sculpting the final layer and applying washes of paint is a proving ground for experimentation and study to achieve the right finish. “We’re trying to push the materials to the limit,” Hormay says. “We never really stop searching for new inspiration.”

To create the right surface and texture for an aged patina, painters layered sometimes a dozen different colors to give walls and other surfaces an authentically aged effect. “Instead of painting it one or two colors, sometimes we have 10 or 12 different layers on top of each other just to really feel that aged look, that weathered look,” he says.

“They think so deeply about how those rocks translate not only up close but as they start to recede,” Art Director Kirstin Makela adds. And the land has its own faux flora — a special kind of fake lichen that you can spot in corners and even some recipes. “The citizens of Batuu harvest it to use for dyes,” she says, so the color appears in fabric dyes and some local cuisine. To create the effect, creators researched Earth lichen, “so it feels like it’s aging and it feels like it’s natural but it doesn’t feel necessarily like something you would just see growing in your backyard.”

Exotic Earth

To build a new themed land that captured the feeling of a long-settled planet, the creative team studied real-life cities in Turkey and Morocco to draw inspiration and help them understand how the formerly walled cities would have grown, changed, and aged over the years. “Things in Star Wars tend to be a synthesis,” says Hidalgo. “There’s a lot of real-world inspiration when you look at the Star Wars saga.” But designers also visited the streets of Jedha, taking a trip to Pinewood Studios outside London to get a closer look at the set of Rogue One, an equally important source of inspiration.

Concept art painting by Ric Lim.

Modern-day locals in real-life markets helped to influence the look of the Black Spire marketplace, while closer looks at the details of erosion on buildings made of stone and mud brick gave the art department a deeper understanding of the ways they might show similar wear and tear, plus burn marks from blaster fire, on Batuu.

“We knew that the architecture of Black Spire and the landscape of Batuu were completely intertwined,” says Ashton. “They developed in parallel and you see that. If you look at some of those old cities, those ancient cities like Istanbul and Marrakesh, they’ve developed over time. They’ve got these amazing markets and districts, but they have a unique sense of where they sit in geography.” A small garden cemetery beneath a gated archway in the middle of the city of Istanbul inspired the look of the outdoor seating area by Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. They also found inspiration for the restaurant, the cantina, and other shops and experiences from an oil bath station to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities from location scouts and existing Star Wars designs and shape language. “They all had to fit into districts that were distinct.”

The team was essentially reverse-engineering the galactic past, inventing an entire planet and ecosystem that could be made from Earth materials but feel authentically like fans had just walked not onto a movie set but into the Star Wars films themselves. “It was organic,” says Ashton. “As an environment designer, our job is to create an environment that tells a story. And all of the details you see need to make sense and tell that story.”

After all, on a film set, it’s all about the visual illusion, but it only has to stand up to suspension of disbelief and the magic of moviemaking, not to a tactile experience and millions of guests. “[On film] we can cheat things by making things out of plywood and foam,” Chiang says. “For a theme park, we can’t. It has to be absolutely real because the guest – when they walk through it they’ll be touching it, they’ll be smelling it, maybe they’ll be tasting food. And so everything about that experience can’t break that illusion. Designing for a theme park requires a higher level of fidelity than anything else I’ve ever experienced.”

A scale production model of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Ancient history

The goal was to make sure newcomers felt the weight of Batuu’s history without being told. “The land does tell a story but it isn’t a spoken story,” Ashton says. “It needs to make sense if you’ve been a fan since 1977 or you’ve never experienced Star Wars at all.”

The scope of the project was ambitious. Conceptually, designers were adding a whole new planet to the Star Wars galaxy, from scratch. In reality, construction experts were toiling to erect the paired outposts on two separate plots of 14 acres each. “It’s kind of like building two small cities simultaneously,” Ashton says. “On both coasts.”

“We’re engaging all your senses at once,” Hidalgo says. The soundscape and hints of music had to work together with the special effects and landscape. For the first time ever, fans would be able to smell a Star Wars planet and taste its local cuisine, and every detail large and small — from the seating and interior design of the eateries to the food itself – had to feel authentic.

“Everything in Galaxy’s Edge is meant to be lingered upon,” Hidalgo says, so each detail “has that sense of history and backstory to it.”

Now that guests are taking their first steps into this larger Star Wars world. “I want them to be inspired to really just live their own adventures not only in our land but also in their real lives,” Makela says.

“Some of my favorite things are just the surprises, the little details,” adds Hidalgo. “I’m just a big fan of detail.” Hidalgo fell in love with the Star Wars saga as a kid hitting pause on his Betamax cassette and scouring every scene for hidden details. “We were able to pause, rewind, pause, rewind and soak in every detail on a given frame.

“Now, you are your own pause and rewind. Wherever you turn your head…you can really stop and pick apart every element and detail.”

Whether you’ve already visited or are planning your own adventure in the future, you can learn more about how Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm brought Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life this week on The Star Wars Show!

Additional images by Kyle Kao. Featured concept art by Nick Gindraux, Greg Pro and Erik Tiemens.

Get details to plan your visit and more with StarWars.com’s full coverage here.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland® Resort is now open. Reservations and valid theme park admission required to visit the land between May 31 and June 23, 2019. Beginning June 24, No Reservations required. Subject to Capacity.

Guests staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel between May 31 and June 23, 2019 will receive a designated reservation to access Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during their stay. One reservation per registered Guest. Each Guest is required to have valid theme park admission. If the hotel reservation is cancelled, the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge reservation will be cancelled. Additional restrictions apply.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida on August 29.

Capacity for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences is limited. 

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

Inside Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order with Respawn’s Aaron Contreras

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:00

If there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen OrderEA and Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming video game from a galaxy far, far away — it’s this: As Padawan Cal Kestis, you’ll be able to slow blaster bolts in mid-air before positioning the stormtroopers that fired the deadly projectiles in their path.

While this ability alone should see fans eagerly diving into this new story-driven action-adventure, it barely scratches the surface of what players can expect from the final game when it lands November 15. From awesome Force abilities and an original Star Wars story, to cool character cameos and an adorable new companion droid, you could fill a TIE fighter hangar with all the game’s fan-pleasing features.

StarWars.com dug into all this and much more with Aaron Contreras, Respawn’s narrative lead on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

StarWars.com: Can you set up the story and where Jedi: Fallen Order unfolds in the Star Wars timeline?

Aaron Contreras: You play as a Jedi named Cal Kestis, who is on a quest to restore the Jedi Order and survive as he’s being hunted by the Imperial Inquisition. It’s set between Episodes III and IV. So it’s during what we call the Dark Times, when the Empire is totally dominant over the galaxy and there is no hope. It’s an authentic Star Wars story.

StarWars.com: Given the authenticity of the story, is Lucasfilm heavily involved in the project?

Aaron Contreras: We work very closely with Lucasfilm on the production. They are our production partners and they’re with us every step of the way throughout concept and development. They are on set during all of our performance capture. They are playing builds of the game, so they are right there with us to give their opinion and make sure that it’s an authentic Star Wars product.

StarWars.com: Can you talk a bit about the balance between introducing new characters and locations versus Cal’s encounters with existing faces and places from the Star Wars universe?

Aaron Contreras: Roughly half our locations already exist in the Star Wars universe. In our E3 demo, you deal with the Wookiees over on Kashyyyk, you meet Saw Gerrera and the Wookiee Chieftain, and General Tarfful, who is a character in Revenge of the Sith, is mentioned. So we’re adding a whole lot of new stuff to Star Wars, but everywhere along the line we want this to feel like something pulled right out of the cinematic experience. We spend a lot of time trying to get the details right.

StarWars.com: What can players expect from the lightsaber combat — is it more button-mashy or strategic?

Aaron Contreras: Our game director characterizes it as “thoughtful combat,” and that’s how we approach it. If you just go in and blindly start swinging, you’ll be successful in some situations against some opponents, but we try to create a combat design where the player thinks about stuff, analyzes the situation, and is aware of what their tool-set is at that given point in time. You need to really look at the situation…the environment, the terrain. Do you have the high ground, for example? What enemies are you facing? What are their capabilities? And then sort of do the right movement at the right time for the best results.

In terms of depth versus accessibility, we are really trying to check off both boxes. Obviously we’re making this game for a very broad audience. Star Wars is for everyone in every way. We really believe that on the team, and we want to push that. So if you’re a Star Wars fan, you can have a really good experience with Fallen Order. At the same time, if you’re passionate about gaming, and if you’re especially passionate about melee combat games, you’ll have a lot of depth that you can get out of Fallen Order.

StarWars.com: How will the Force powers complement this nuanced lightsaber combat?

Aaron Contreras: I’d say your primary tool and the primary weapon of the Jedi is the lightsaber, but you have an array of Force powers that you can deploy in combat. And you have to use the right power at the right time.

Against some of the opponents, you can sort of knock them around with any ability. But if you’re watching closely, you’ll see in the purge trooper fight [demo], the player attempts to use Force pull, and the trooper plants his staff into the ground to block it; he then goes with the momentum and flies at the hero, and actually gets a hit on him because of that.

So there are some abilities that will counter certain Force moves. It’s all about using the right ability at the right time. And then of course, as our hero goes through the game and his connection to the Force deepens, he’ll develop more powers and have more of an arsenal of abilities to play.

StarWars.com: Will those abilities grow and progress through an upgrade system of some sort?

Aaron Contreras: We don’t want to talk too much about progression or the skill system at this point, other than saying we do have one. I will say we have some Force powers that you can make better, and that’s driven by the experiences Cal has throughout the game. And then you’ll learn whole new Force powers at various points throughout the game.

StarWars.com: When not engaged in combat, it looks like Cal does a lot of traversal and exploration — will platforming be a significant part of the adventure?

Aaron Contreras: Platforming and exploration are a huge part of Jedi: Fallen Order. It will be a lot of navigation in the environment, like swinging on ropes, climbing up walls, making leaps across chasms, as you make your way through the game. It’s that sort of action/adventure DNA that we’re putting into the game. He’s very much an agile, developing Jedi hero, and he’s going to be navigating through the world in very kind of unconventional ways, including the wall-run, of course.

StarWars.com: Cal’s companion droid, BD-1, is completely new to the Star Wars universe — can you offers some details on its history and role in the game?

Aaron Contreras: You’ll meet BD-1 relatively early in the game. He quickly becomes Cal’s closest companion because, for a good percentage of the time, he’s riding around on his back. He’s your best pal, and he’s kind of going to experience the entire story with you, every step of the way.

He’s an explorer’s companion droid, so the depiction of BD-1 is a relatively uncommon droid. Designed as the perfect companion to somebody who is an explorer or an archaeologist or adventurer who is out in the wild. So if you are a researcher or a scientist, who is off on some crazy backwoods planet, you have a BD unit with you and it’s sort of there to give you first aid, help you in your research.

It’s a very intentional design of the sort of stuff he’ll do in the game. He’ll shoot out little stim-packs for you, which is how you heal yourself. He can scan things in the environment, so if there’s some kind of interesting piece of technology or a weird alien life form that you encounter, BD-1 is super excited to run over and scan that sort of thing. That also adds it to your databank, kind of our in-game codex, and also a source of player progression.

You’ll also tweak him and he’ll evolve over the course of the game. He obtains an ability called “overcharge,” which causes him to overcharge certain technological things. And he can hack doors and do stuff like that. So he’s kind of your solution for all things technological going on in the game.

StarWars.com: Anything else you can tease for fans anxiously awaiting the game’s arrival?

Aaron Contreras: I can just say that we’ve introduced this hero who’s kind of on this crazy quest to restore the Jedi Order during the darkest time in galactic history. There’s so much more in both the story and the environments and the gameplay, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrives November 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and is available for pre-order now.

A full-time freelance writer born in Lizzie Borden’s hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat or find him in the basement of an abandoned building hoarding all the canned goods, med-kits, and shotgun shells.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Lessons from the Star Wars Saga: Anyone Can Be A Hero

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 07:55

Lessons from the Star Wars Saga is a series exploring powerful themes in Star Wars. For more than 40 years, the epic adventures in a galaxy far, far away have also been significant explorations of the human experience in our own universe.

The Resistance lay in ruins.

Its forces decimated, its heroes little more than myth and mist, and in the end quite mortal after all.

The evacuation of D’Qar followed swiftly by the siege of Crait may be the rebels’ most desperate of hours. And this time there’s no foolhardy dynastic warriors ready to rush to their aid, no Jedi Knights chartering a ship to answer the call. The hero they have sought appears as a mere vision, a distraction to buy time for a hasty escape of the last survivors of the cause beaten back by the might of the First Order.

If there are no heroes of old to save the day, perhaps no one even willing to respond to the distress beacon, no Jedi Order left to keep the peace, then it is up to the average galactic citizen — the children of junkers, the turncoat soldiers, the mechanics, the slaves forced to muck out the fathier pens — to rise to the challenge. These heroes, born of necessity and forged in war, will have to save themselves.

This final act in Star Wars: The Last Jedi highlights an important truth woven throughout the Skywalker saga — greatness can come from anywhere and anyone can be a hero.

All they have is hope, the legends that inspire them, and the knowledge that there can be a better life, a better galaxy, not just for themselves, but for everyone.

They choose to become heroes and they rise to the challenge proving that where you come from, and whatever you’re born into, does not dictate your worth.

Rey – The mystery

Beyond the strength of her raw connection to the Force, Rey bears little resemblance to the Jedi Knights anointed by the Order. Before the Clone Wars, she may have been plucked from a life of despair and trained in the Jedi Temple to become a knight of the Republic. But that Jedi Order ceased to exist long before she was born and there were no masters at the ready to help her complete her training.

For most of her life, Rey’s connection to the power of the Force seems to have been dormant, a second sight with abilities far beyond the scrappiness and strength that allowed her to survive in the bleak desert of Jakku, scavenging through garbage to barter for food. But even her precocious talent for wielding a lightsaber is no gift of the Force; her survival instincts and abilities with a staff have been carefully honed as she fought to live another day.

As the daughter of junk dealers, Rey is following the family business in a way, but her resemblance to her parents ends there. Surrounded by the destruction inside Snoke’s throne room, “They were nobody,” she admits. They took their daughter and tossed her aside, sold her off for drinking money, left her alone with a thug who made her scrounge to survive, failed her when she needed protecting, guidance, and love the most. Rey comes from nothing, as Kylo Ren says.

Rey could have easily continued the cycle. She could have allowed her circumstances to dictate her future, and snuff out any hope she had of getting off that rock. But Rey is inherently good, compassionate, and with the Force as her ally she can accomplish great things. So when she saw the chance to do better, to return BB-8 to people who cared for the small astromech, Rey took her shot. She found her place in the galaxy as part of the Resistance, fighting for the greater good. If she had instead seen BB-8 as a payday, and was content to remain on Jakku and live out her days scavenging, worrying only about her own survival and never giving a second thought to what was happening beyond the Graveyard of Giants, it’s possible she would have never even realized her connection to the Force.

Like Luke Skywalker before her, a simple farm boy hungering for a larger life beyond his dismal desert existence who leaped into the cause when his family was killed, Rey found a place in the Resistance.

And like Anakin Skywalker, a human being enslaved with hidden talents more powerful than he could possibly imagine, Rey harnessed her own power by learning about the Force.

But you don’t need to use the Force to save the galaxy. Rey is no one, and that is far more empowering and awe inspiring than any preordained hero.

Finn – The renegade

Trained from an early age to serve the First Order, not unlike the clone troopers of the Republic, in his first real battle outside of a combat simulator, FN-2187 froze. He didn’t want to slaughter innocents on Jakku, and although he stood with his brothers in arms, his blaster remained unfired in the skirmish.

Rather than face Captain Phasma, who considered him a bug in the system in need of an attitude adjustment through reconditioning, he did the only thing he could think of — he ran. At the outset, the soon-to-be-christened Finn wasn’t a freedom fighter with lofty plans to free the galaxy from the tyranny of the First Order; he was inspired into an act of defiance but ultimately was just trying to save his own skin. Piece by piece, he shed his stormtrooper armor, and was left without an identity.

He lied his way into the Resistance. He had no noble goals about fighting for the cause; he was still just trying to save himself and his new friend. But over time, something in Finn changed. Maybe it was his friendship with Rey, who shared her infectious wide-eyed excitement for the legends of the Rebel Alliance. Maybe it was his encounter with DJ and Rose, two opposing forces of selfish neutrality and selfless righteousness, and a feeling in his gut that by fighting for something greater than himself his life was worth more than the feeble existence of mere survival alone.

Whatever it was, he made the choice to rise up and join the cause. When he joined the fight on Crait, he was ready to sacrifice himself to give the Resistance a fighting chance.

Like the rogue Han Solo before him, who claimed to only be in it for himself but couldn’t stand to leave his friends in the lurch, Finn found his path to the cause through his loyalty to an individual who had shown him kindness.

And like Wedge Antilles, who was excited to join the Empire but ultimately defected, disillusioned with Imperial methods and rising in the ranks of the Rebellion to become one of the Empire’s most formidable opponents in battle, Finn turned away from the First Order and forged a new path that led to something greater than himself.

Finn was raised to kill, but no one could force him to fulfill that training and his choice to save himself started him on the journey to becoming a hero.

Rose – The mechanic

When the First Order brought devastation to their home world, an impoverished mining colony, Rose Tico and her sister Paige joined the Resistance to fight back. While her sister served as a gunner before she was killed during the evacuation of D’Qar, Rose preferred a quieter yet no less important role keeping the Resistance fleet running. Using her mechanical know-how to create new machines and keep even the ricketiest fleet of vehicles operational, Rose was an essential cog in the machine of the Resistance at a time when their resources were depleted and their future looked bleak.

Beyond her talents with machinery and technology, Rose’s gumption to fight for what she love, and face down even the heroes of the Resistance when they appeared to be mere cowards made her heroic. Standing up to someone you admire takes far more bravery than someone you consider an enemy, and Rose proved that when she caught Finn about to jettison an escape pod and unflinchingly performed her duty, stunning him with the jolt of her electro-shock prod, loading him unceremoniously onto a cart, and taking him to the brig as an apparent traitor and deserter. Sure, at first she was dazzled by meeting one of the storied heroes in the flesh. But she believed in the cause above all else and took her duty seriously.

Her selfless actions, however, are all the more noble and evocative of her heroism on the front lines because she was in mourning for her sister. It would be understandable if in her grief the rest of the world faded away, and she was left weeping and focused on her singular pain. Even when she’d lost the most important person she had left, through the tears, Rose proved she would do what was right. That’s a hero, no Force sensitivity required.

Like Hera Syndulla before her, who formed a small rebel cell and eventually went on to become a leader for the Rebel Alliance, fighting even in the face of great personal loss, Rose never lost sight of what was right and the importance of every single person in the cause banding together to play their part.

And like Jyn Erso, a reluctant rogue born of tragedy, Rose was willing to sacrifice herself without the promise of glory or having her name recalled with those considered heroes of the Resistance.

Rose’s work may not be glamorous, but it is essential. Without Rose and people like her behind the scenes, regular people willing to stand up for what they believe is right, the Resistance would surely crumble.

There is another…

Across the galaxy, there are many heroes of countless origins. Wicket and the Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor surmounted great odds, using primitive tools to fight off their attackers. Jar Jar and the Gungans defended their home on Naboo from a swarm of battle droids, sometimes unwittingly emerging victorious. L3-37 built herself up to crusade to free her fellow droids on Kessel and beyond.

They are seemingly unremarkable, like Temiri, who helped Rose and Finn with their daring fathier escape from Canto Bight. But you can already see the spark of rebellion igniting in this gifted boy.

He may be downtrodden, living a life where he’s treated no better than the animal he shares a stable with, and given little chance of escaping his fate. A chance meeting with the Resistance — likely sacrificing his own safety to ensure the escape of the rebels and the abused race fathiers — is not enough to turn him into a hero himself. But he carries the symbol of the Resistance on his finger, an alliance with the Force in his bones, and he is inspired by the legend of Luke Skywalker, a larger-than-life hero who was once just a lonely farm boy on a dusty desert planet as far from the bright center of the universe as you can get.

The Resistance lay in ruins. But like the Rebel Alliance before it, as long as there is hope in the galaxy, it will never truly die. It can be rebuilt, rising from the ashes, with the strength of the ordinary and average fighting to achieve the extraordinary, working together to accomplish something greater than any one hero, with or without the Force, can achieve alone.

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

Marvel’s Star Wars Begins a New Era with Issue 68 – First Look

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 16:46

“The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space…”

Star Wars #68, coming July 10, will see the creative team of writer Greg Pak (Planet Hulk) and artist Phil Noto (Poe Dameron, StarWars.com’s Solo: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray cover art) take the reins, kicking off a new era for the series.

And its story takes place just before the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Beginning with issue 68, which opens the “Rebels and Rogues!” arc, we’ll find out what happens prior to Vader launching his hunt for Luke Skywalker. The story finds Luke and his friends launching a desperate mission to keep the Empire from finding the new rebel base, and sees our heroes off on a three-pronged attack: Han and Leia go undercover in a noir world of romance and danger, Luke and Artoo face off against the Executor in a single X-wing, and Chewie and Threepio (as unlikely a Star Wars duo as can be) team up for their own adventure. “Dream come true,” Pak said at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. “I’m trying to write the Star Wars movie that I’d want to see.”

StarWars.com is excited to present a first look at pages from Star Wars #68 below!

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

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From a Certain Point of View: Which Side is More Powerful — the Empire or the Rebels?

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 11:13

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, two StarWars.com writers discuss which side is really more powerful, the Empire or the Rebel Alliance.

Without a doubt, the Empire is the most powerful side, says Justin.

It depends on your definition of strength, doesn’t it?

From my point view, strength in this case means the ability to protect the over 3.2 million habitable star systems found throughout the galaxy far, far away. It means having the ability to make hard decisions quickly that are in the best interests of the people living on the planets in those star systems. And it means providing a mechanism by which those people can contribute their individual talents to this noble and shared goal. Where they can step up to lend a helping hand to their galactic neighbors.

The Rebel Alliance is not that mechanism.

Do I believe they have the best interests of the people at heart? I do. But in a galaxy filled with fearsome creatures, crime syndicates, and religious fanatics constantly engaged in shadow wars with each other, the Rebel Alliance’s ideals come at a very high price. And its leaders don’t pay… the galaxy’s citizens do.

Take, for example the New Republic’s (the Rebel Alliance by any other name still stinks) demilitarization after the Galactic Civil War. The admirable goal of peace took precedence over the safety of the galaxy, allowing the hyper-militarized First Order to conquer the galaxy almost overnight in The Force Awakens. Easily broken? That’s the literal definition of weakness.

Or, let’s look at the mess the Rebel Alliance made of the decision to attack Scarif to steal the Death Star plans in Rogue One. Jedha City destroyed, confirmed by their own agents, and their fear and aversion to fighting paralyzed them. The Empire’s iron grip on the galaxy was nearly unbroken because the Rebel Alliance lacked the will to do make the hard, yet necessary decision. Ineffectualness… yet another literal definition of weakness.

The leaders of the Rebel Alliance consistently place their idealized version of a galaxy at peace above the real needs of its people. Their selfishness informs decisions that are repeatedly shown to weaken their organization and the galaxy they claim to care about.

While there are certainly moon-sized problems with the Galactic Empire, strength isn’t one of them. In fact, you could say that the Empire’s central issue is that it was too strong, and that its power was misappropriated by a small group of individuals acting on their own agenda. These individuals may have weakened the Empire, but the organization retained its inherent strength.

Unfortunately, sometimes strength isn’t enough.

“Even fools can get lucky.” -Darth Sidious, Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul

The Rebel Alliance is more powerful than you could possibly imagine, says Kristin.

What Justin’s describing is, frankly, dictatorship. Strength wielded to keep the masses in check while those in seats of power exploit resources for their own personal gain is corrupt power and I refuse to accept that any group or government who would wield such a thing is stronger than the will of its collective people.

The first duty of an equal society is justice, and the Empire flouts that at every turn.

They’re not protecting those 3.2 million habitable star systems when they’re wielding a planet-destroying weapon of mass destruction. And besides, brute strength is only one type of power.

The Rebel Alliance is quantitatively poor by comparison to the Empire, with fleets of clunky, second-hand ships patched together again and again, but it is rich in optimism. Those who join the Imperials ranks are drones or corrupt politicians, power hungry and eager to please like Palpatine and his cronies.

Being part of the Rebel Alliance requires an iron will, a steadfast belief in the goals of freedom not just for oneself but the entire galaxy, and an idealistic future where democracy will rule once more. It often requires those who enter its ranks to give up personal security and act in secret to divert resources to the cause and avoid detection.

What is more powerful than the underdog rising up out of sheer will not because they believe they will triumph but because failing, and even sacrificing their own lives, is preferable to living in fear in the Empire’s shadow?

And what is more powerful than the example each of those individuals and tiny rebel cells set before they band together to become even more powerful and battle ready?

The Rebel Alliance draws its power from hope, from the ability to inspire the forgotten average inhabitants, and from the strength of those people rising up and refusing to accept a galactic dictatorship. They are willing to wage war against an opponent who outguns them because they know they can, eventually, overthrow them and create a free and equal society to benefit everyone.

The Rebel Alliance sounds a battle cry heard across the stars asking ordinary citizens of the galaxy far, far away to rise up and join them to fight their oppressors. That’s real power.

“For too long I have watched the heavy hand of the Empire strangle our liberties, stifling our freedoms in the name of ensuring our safety. No longer!” – Mon Mothma, Star Wars Rebels

What do you think? Do you agree with Kristin or Justin? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

Justin Bolger is ILMxLAB’s brand marketing manager and he doesn’t like the Empire…he loves it. Talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

How the Father-Son Dynamic Between Kanan and Ezra Speaks to the Complexities of Parenting

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 08:00

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the galaxy. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing; there’s no training in the world that can prepare you for it, and your duties change by the day. You spend so much time looking at this little human, who in so many ways is a mirror reflection of you, and because of that, you understand what they’re going through. And yet — you can somehow never convey your experiences and knowledge to them in a way that enables them to learn what you already know. It’s a maddening position to be in.

It’s also why I love the dynamic between Kanan and Ezra in Star Wars Rebels so very much.

Kanan’s relationship to Ezra is identical to any parent and their child: The fundamental job is to protect your children and teach them what you know. Which seems easy enough, only it’s not. It never is. On paper, Kanan seems like the ideal person to take Ezra under his wing. He’s a Jedi; Ezra has the potential to be a Jedi as well. All Kanan needs to do is teach Ezra what he knows — but he can’t. Not at first, at least. Kanan struggles time and time again to reach Ezra, he struggles to get him to learn — and master — what he needs to know. He struggles to get Ezra to become him. And that’s where he — and many parents, myself included — fail. And it’s in this failure where real parenting begins.

Our children are us, but they’re not us. The easiest way to get them to learn is by getting them to do what we do, exactly the way we do it. There would be nothing easier than to mold them to be copies of ourselves. Our children, though, are their own people, thoroughly, and it’s hard to meet them on their terms. But, it’s essential, and I’ve learned this from both my experience as a parent and through Star Wars. Kanan is only able to reach Ezra we he finally learns to surrender to what Ezra needs. Even though Ezra and Kanan share a deep bond through their connection to the Force, the path that led Kanan doesn’t work for Ezra; Ezra needs guidance that’s specific to who he is as a person. When Kanan recognizes this, Ezra’s able to learn and grow — and a funny thing happens along the way: Kanan learns and grows, too.

My kids have changed me in more ways than I can ever imagine. I’ve learned patience and selflessness, humility, and flexibility. Like so many parents, I want to pass along everything I know to my two sons, and I want them to have all that knowledge but not the mistakes and hardships that led to its acquisition. But, like Yoda himself said, “the greatest teacher, failure is.” Kanan had to fail Ezra in order to learn how to become the mentor — and father figure — that Ezra needed. I’ve failed my own children, and I’m certain I’ll fail them again. But, like Kanan, there’s lessons to be learned in every failure — lessons and opportunities to grow and to change. And we do so right alongside our children; they touch as us much as we teach them until, one day, “we are what they grow beyond.”

And I’m perfectly okay with that.

Michael Moreci is a comics writer and novelist best known for his sci-fi trilogy Roche Limit. His debut novel, Black Star Renegades, was released in January 2018. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelMoreci.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 Dates Announced

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 10:59

Star Wars fans, mark your calendars.

StarWars.com is excited to announce that Star Wars Celebration will return to Anaheim, California, on August 27-30, 2020, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The world’s biggest gathering of Star Wars fans, Celebration is an official production from Lucasfilm and ReedPOP, honoring the past of a galaxy far, far away while looking ahead at what’s to come — from new movies to upcoming shows, games, and comics. Tickets go on sale June 21 at 9 a.m. PT.

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 will be four fun-filled days of major announcements, immersive exhibits, an interactive show floor, screenings, exclusive merchandise, celebrity guests, panels, autograph sessions, fan-inspired activities, costumes, and other surprises. From young fans of Star Wars animated shows to die-hards fueled by the nostalgia for the original Star Wars trilogy to families that enjoy Star Wars together, there’s something for everyone at Star Wars Celebration. For Star Wars fans, there’s nothing else like it.

Stay tuned to StarWars.com and StarWarsCelebration.com for news on Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020, including panels, guests, and more.

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

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The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Blueprint for “Evil Plans”

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 05:55

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.

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

“A failure in planning is a plan for failure.”

Synopsis: 

On Coruscant, C-3PO is abducted by the bounty hunter Cad Bane, who is working for Jabba the Hutt and searching for information about the Senate building. Finding C-3PO devoid of useful information, Bane and his accomplices kidnap R2-D2 and extract the vital data, before memory-wiping the droids and sending them on their way.

Analysis:

It would seem that C-3PO has been made to suffer. It’s just his lot in life.

Artoo and Threepio may bicker like an old married couple, but this mismatched pair of counterparts clearly have real affection for each other.

Artoo seems to feel some sympathy in his circuits when he overhears the kidnappers plans to dismantle his golden friend, and he gives himself up to save C-3PO.

It’s the kind of selfless act of bravery we’ve come to expect from the hearty astromech, surrendering himself at great personal cost to save his friend. Unfortunately it’s an act that has greater consequences, which will endanger the safety of the Senate building and the politicians inside.

In the end, neither one of them have any memory of the altercation after an effective bit of memory wiping. All that’s left is a seemingly innocuous task — a trip to the market to buy some jogan fruit — that has incredibly important political implications to ensure Padmé’s dinner party with the Roonans is a success.

It’s a clever bit of storytelling to highlight how sometimes something that seems unimportant — the purchase of some fruit, a map saved in a memory bank — can have wide-reaching ramifications.

Intel:

  • A remark that C-3PO previously worked for the chief negotiator in the Manakron system supports George Lucas’s original notes that the golden droid was over 100 years old in A New Hope. That means Anakin did not build the droid from scratch, but rebuilt an older droid that had previous protocol assignments.
  • J0-N0, the torture droid, is based on 8D8, the smelting droid spotted in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi.

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 bounty hunters seize control of the Senate building in “Hostage Crisis.”

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

Have a Most Impressive Father’s Day with These Darth Vader Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 08:00

If you’re looking to make something special the dads in your life on Father’s Day, why not some cookies in the image of the most famous Star Wars Dad in the galaxy?

These classic “blossom” cookies have been given an update with a flavorful touch of cocoa and adding an homage to an iconic Sith Lord, and father of Luke and Leia.

Peanut Butter Vader Blossom Cookies

You’ll need:

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Step 1: Place the chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl and microwave at 15-20 second intervals until melted. Spoon evenly into the silicone mold, tapping to release excess air bubbles. Place in the freezer to set.

Step 2: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prep baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Step 3: In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Step 4: In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar.

Step 5: Add the egg, and vanilla.

Step 6: Add the dry ingredients until the dough just comes together.

Step 7: Shape the dough into 2-inch balls, then roll in sugar and place on the prepped baking sheets.

Step 8: Bake for 10 minutes.

Step 9: Remove the chocolate from the molds and press into the center of each cookie.

Step 10: Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

Now you’re ready to celebrate Dad and the power of the dark side.

Jenn Fujikawa is a lifestyle and food writer. Follow her on Twitter at @justjenn and check her Instagram @justjennrecipes and blog www.justjennrecipes.com for even more Star Wars food photos.

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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Dark Temple, a Prequel Comic to the Game, Is Coming This September

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 11:00

In a story set prior to the events of the upcoming video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, two Jedi will find themselves in a battle for their lives.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Dark Temple, a five-issue Marvel miniseries that will lead into the highly-anticipated game from Respawn Entertainment and Lucasfilm, was revealed today. Written by Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men and The Punisher) and illustrated by Paolo Villanelli (Vader: Dark Visions), the tale follows Jedi Master Eno Cordova and his impulsive Padawan Cere Junda — on a seemingly simple mission that becomes much more dangerous. The Jedi Council sends the pair to the remote planet Ontotho to oversee the excavation of a mysterious temple; on Ontotho, dueling forces of local resistance and ruthless security troops clash in a war for the fate of the planet, with the Jedi caught in the middle. Get a first look at the cover below!

“Working on the Jedi: Fallen Order comic has been a great experience,” Rosenberg tells StarWars.com. “Respawn and Lucasfilm are not only creating one of the most exciting video games in a long, long time, but they’re also telling a truly epic Star Wars story. So having the chance to introduce audiences to some of the game’s cast, and explore a bit of who they are and how they got where they are is really fun. Cere Junda and Eno Cordova are a pair of Jedi that fans are definitely going to want to know more about, and this comic will tell you part of their story you won’t get anywhere else.”

“What’s more fun than working on a new Star Wars book?” says Villanelli. “Well, the answer is working on a new Star Wars book exploring a completely new part of the franchise. As a video game lover I was super excited to be part of the new Fallen Order game, and as an artist I was thrilled to explore and create a part of it for the comics. Besides our titular heroes Cere and Eno, we’ll get a chance to show new planets, villains, and some good old lightsaber action.”

Dark Temple, developed in collaboration with Respawn Entertainment and Lucasfilm, kicks off with issue #1 in September. Featuring Cere, a major figure from the game along with more elements from the forthcoming action-adventure, the series promises to enrich the experience of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrives November 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and is available for pre-order.

Stay tuned to StarWars.com for more on all things Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

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

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Climb Into the Cockpit of Alphabet Squadron with Author Alexander Freed

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 08:00

The members of Alphabet Squadron are reporting for duty. The first novel of a trilogy that brings us back to the galaxy mere days after the destruction of the second Death Star, in its pages we meet some unique and not-entirely-trustworthy pilots who just might hold the fate of the New Republic in their hands.

There’s Yrica Quell, an Imperial defector who can’t completely escape her past; Chass na Chadic, a B-wing pilot has seen her entire squadron destroyed twice; Wyl Lark, a veteran inside an A-wing cockpit who just wants to go home; the roguish Nath Tensent, who also outlasted his squadron; and Kairos, a silent U-wing pilot clad all in black with a mask that hides her every expression. Together the ragtag group of pilots must take on one of the New Republic’s biggest threats, the Imperial TIE squadron Shadow Wing — an elite group of pilots that Quell belonged to before she switched sides.

To celebrate the release of the book today, StarWars.com climbed into the cockpit with author Alexander Freed to get some readings on the members of Alphabet Squadron, details on how the novel ties in to other Star Wars stories, and more.

Note: This interview does not contain detailed spoilers regarding the plot of Alphabet Squadron, but it does shed light on its characters. Fly carefully!

Quell

StarWars.com: When we first meet Yrica Quell, it’s difficult for the New Republic to determine which side she’s on. Why do you feel that the story of a former Imperial, someone who’s very late to the Rebellion, is a meaningful one to tell?

Alexander Freed: No one doubts that Emperor Palpatine was an evil man who needed to be deposed. But he was willingly served by millions of Imperial citizens — some true believers and some not — who were, in their way, complicit in the Empire’s crimes.

One of the first questions the New Republic has to face is what to do with all those ex-Imperials. Do you imprison them all? Put them on trial? Give them a second chance? It’s a hard question without an easy answer, and Quell is right in the thick of it. She is, as you say, very late to the Rebellion. But is she too late to absolve herself? Too late to become a hero? And if she is too late to set things right…what does she do next?

I’ve got plenty of thoughts about how these questions relate to life in the modern world, but I’ll let readers debate that themselves. Fundamentally, though, I think Star Wars works best when it’s full of both characters we can aspire to be like…and characters who may be flawed, and whose failures we can empathize with.

StarWars.com: Chass loves to blast music in the cockpit of her B-wing. How did you arrive at this particular character trait?

Alexander Freed: We see (and hear) lots of music in the Star Wars films — cantina bands, Ewok celebrations, Coruscant opera companies — but we rarely see characters talking about it! I try to make sure my characters have interests beyond what’s immediately plot relevant, and it seemed a nice way to give her texture.

I don’t recommend listening to music at full volume while flying a starfighter, by the way. But Chass has never been the most disciplined pilot.

StarWars.com: We’ve seen a few dark figures wearing a mask in Star Wars, but none on the Rebellion’s side, until we meet Kairos. How challenging is it to make a character with no expressions and almost no voice feel like part of the story?

Alexander Freed: The funny thing is, it’s not hard at all. Because Kairos tends to lurk quietly in the background, it means every time she steps into the spotlight it’s immediately clear that she’s up to something important.

And, of course, unlike in a film, we can also dip into her head on occasion and get an entirely different perspective on the action.

StarWars.com: Alphabet Squadron has a major tie-in to the story of Star Wars Battlefront II with Operation: Cinder and its red-robed messengers. Why did you want to bridge these stories?

Alexander Freed: I first encountered Operation: Cinder in Greg Rucka’s Shattered Empire comic books, and thought it was a fantastic concept — the notion that the Emperor would order acts of terror and devastation after his death felt utterly appropriate for a wicked narcissist like Palpatine. But neither Shattered Empire nor Battlefront II really had space to dig into what significance Cinder had for the galaxy at large, and I wanted to take advantage of the space a novel provides to explore the subject in more depth.

StarWars.com: Speaking of connections to other stories, there’s also a shared character with Jody Houser’s TIE Fighter comic series, Commander Nuress. How did you collaborate together on the two books?

Alexander Freed: Carefully! We wanted TIE Fighter and Alphabet Squadron to be complementary works, so a reader could pick up either and feel satisfied but also feel like reading both rewarded them with a broader view of our corner of the galaxy.

Jody and I wrote lengthy emails to one another looking for places to intertwine the comic and novel while also working very hard to give one another enough space to not be creatively “boxed in.”

StarWars.com: Were there any particular space battles from the films that inspired you when writing your own?

Alexander Freed: All of them in their way, of course, but the battle over Scarif at the end of Rogue One is beautiful in how many elements it puts into play and adeptly juggles. Starfighters! Rebel capital ships! Imperial capital ships! Bombing runs! Ramming attacks! Space stations! Energy shields! It encapsulates so much of what’s viscerally thrilling about Star Wars space combat.

StarWars.com: Although this isn’t your first Star Wars novel, you’ll be making a huge impact on the universe with three books to tell this story. What does it feel like to be a part of the growing story of Star Wars?

Alexander Freed: Between video games, comics, and novels, I’ve been dipping in and out of the Star Wars galaxy for well over a decade now. I feel pretty comfortable here! But Alphabet Squadron is my first time working post-Return of the Jedi, and that’s exciting for me — there’s so much to say about a society where the underdogs have finally won and need to figure out how to rebuild.

On top of that, having three books to work with is an enormous privilege — I haven’t been part of a Star Wars story of this scope since Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I’m doing my best to use all that room as effectively as possible.

StarWars.com: Finally, if Chass listened to the music of our galaxy, which songs or artists do you think would be on her cockpit playlist?

Alexander Freed: A lot of Chass’s music collection is inspired by songs from the real world, but I dare not give specifics! It’s safe to say that her tastes are eclectic and that she’s (let’s be honest) not overly choosy. I imagine she would scoop up lots of obscure reggae and punk, some mainstream pop hits in a variety of languages, a smattering of rap albums, techno club remixes of all the above, the occasional novelty tune, and whatever else she could get her hands on.

My real hope is that some enterprising fans compile a Chass playlist or two. I’d much rather see other folks’ interpretations than inflict mine on the world!

Alphabet Squadron is available now.

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

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Discover the World of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in the StarWars.com Databank

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:55

This past weekend, we got our first look at Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay, the new video game debuting on consoles and PC later this year. But much to learn we still have.

Set in the dark times, soon after the execution of Order 66, the game’s story takes place at a time in the galaxy when the Jedi Order has been destroyed and remaining survivors have been scattered across the galaxy and are being hunted down by the Empire’s nefarious Inquisitors. Now you can learn all about some of the main characters and other new details in the official StarWars.com Databank entries for the game.

Our hero, Cal Kestis, a former Jedi Padawan, has gone into hiding. Living as a member of the Scrapper Guild, Cal conceals his abilities with the Force until a work accident forces him out of hiding.

The Guild operates on the planet of Bracca, an inhospitable world in the Mid Rim where decommissioned ships are brought to be dismantled and sold off for parts.

The game includes new droids, a never-before-seen stormtrooper design, and other new characters.

There’s BD-1, a companion droid programmed as the ideal assistant for researchers and adventurous explorers, serving as Cal’s lifeline and guide.

And among the young Jedi’s opponents, players will battle the Second Sister Inquisitor, an expert lightsaber duelist assisted by the purge troopers, an elite class of Imperial soldier specially trained to help the Inquisitors hunt down and snuff out Force-sensitive beings across the galaxy.

Plus, explore other entries for hints at what else you’ll discover in-game, from Saw Gerrera to the planet of Kashyyyk.

You can learn more about the gameplay through our coverage of the recent panel at EA Play and our breakdown of the newly-released trailer.

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

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