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Andor Actor Genevieve O’Reilly on the Legacy of Mon Mothma

Thu, 10/06/2022 - 14:29

Genevieve O’Reilly has played Mon Mothma, the galactic senator from Chandrila, on and off for nearly 20 years. But in that latest resurgence,  on the new Star Wars Original series Andor now streaming on Disney+, it’s clear her story is only just beginning.

When O’Reilly first stepped into the role in 2005 for an ultimately deleted scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, she rewatched the character’s debut in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Originated by Caroline Blakiston, the first appearance of Mon was just before the Battle of Endor, delivering somber news on the Bothans who had sacrificed everything to deliver top-secret Imperial intel to the Rebel Alliance. “I remember studying the scene, really trying to work on capturing her voice, her syntax, so that fans could see a connectedness between me playing her and Caroline playing her,” O’Reilly tells StarWars.com.

“I always go back to that scene. I think that was as ambitious then — perhaps even more ambitious — than it is now,” O’Reilly adds, referencing creator George Lucas’ bold decision to show a woman as the leader of the Rebel Alliance in 1983. “And she’s a character that I love.”

O’Reilly first made a triumphant return to Mothma in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and a TV mini-series promoting the standalone film. The following year, she reprised the role again in animation with appearances on Star Wars Rebels. In each version, O’Reilly found Mothma surrounded by like-minded freedom fighters, the proud and assertive leader of the cause. “The iterations that we found her in, both in Rebels and in Rogue One, were similar: a leader of a rebellion with a tough decision. It requires a dignity and a strength, which is at the heart, I think, of Mon Mothma.”

In Andor, neither the audience nor the storytellers have found Mon where we left her. “What is different this time is that we meet Mon Mothma in a very different stage of her life, like we meet me at a different stage in my life,” O’Reilly says. “Usually, we see her surrounded by a band of rebels. She has company. In Andor, it’s quite lonely. I think that’s new. There is a cost to her voice, and it’s interesting to see her having to make choices, to step outside of that loneliness to get to Yavin.”

Beyond her family and their staff, Mon has precious few allies in the series so far, but chief among them is the mysterious Luthen Rael, played by Stellan Skarsgård. Sharing scenes with the accomplished actor has been a joy for O’Reilly, as the two found themselves in the wonderland of Luthen’s gallery, surrounded by artifacts and props plucked from Star Wars history. “It’s a great honor for me to be able to inhabit a space with such a fine, fine actor,” O’Reilly says. “But, also, he’s just so much fun! He’s really playful and we had the best time together in those scenes. The pair of us were like kids in a playground. ‘Look at this! Have you touched this? Have you seen this? Oh my gosh, shall we put it on? Should we wear it?’ We had such a great time together. And he’s such an accomplished actor that we had a great interplay. It’s like sword play: it’s deft and it’s dangerous, but there is a sophistication to it.”

As the season progresses, O’Reilly hints that we’ll learn more about the toll forming the Rebel Alliance will take on her character. “We can all be different versions of ourselves and I was grateful to Disney and to [Andor creator] Tony Gilroy to invest narrative space in this woman, to get to explore her, to get to see what it costs to be her, to get to see how dangerous it is to have her voice. I hope fans are as interested in that as I am, because I want to know what it is to be that woman.”

We all know where Mon Mothma ends up, tasking dedicated rebels with sacrificing their lives for the greater good. “So I want to know, how did she get there?” O’Reilly adds. “What pain does she carry that drives her to be that woman? To ask that of someone? I always found when I went back to Caroline’s scene Return of the Jedi that at its heart, you can see that she carries a pain, and I always wondered what that was. And I hope, during Andor, we get to see what it costs to be this woman.”

Hear more from Genevieve O’Reilly in a special interview in the latest episode of This Week! In Star Wars below.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is the author of the book Skywalker: A Family At War, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and an 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. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #DisneyPlus, #Andor, #ThisWeek

Syril’s Cereal Bars: A Recipe for the Ex-Deputy Inspector on the Go

Thu, 10/06/2022 - 13:35

Some mornings you’re just not feeling your breakfast with a side of your mother’s lecture. Blue cereal may be on the menu every day, but Syril Karn is on a mission and even a harsh morning reprimand won’t deter him from his goals of finding Cassian Andor.

Inspired by Andor, now streaming on Disney+, these cereal bars are the next best thing to a bowl full of blue breakfast. Cerulean-hued puffs bound together by sweet, sticky, marshmallows come together to make a delicious snack worthy of the Empire’s finest. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and luckily you can take it with you while you’re on the move, trying to stop a rebellion.

Syril’s Cereal Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups blue cereal puffs

A snack to share with Mom. Take Syril's breakfast of choice on the go and watch #Andor now streaming on @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/I0wcCC931h

— Star Wars | Andor Now Streaming On Disney+ (@starwars) October 6, 2022

Step 1: Prep an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment sprayed with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Step 2: In microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and marshmallows on high for 2 minutes. Stir, until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Step 3: In a large bowl, add the cereal and pour over the melted marshmallow mixture. Stir until completely coated.

Step 4: Press into the prepped pan and let cool. Cut into bars to serve.

Enjoy this breakfast treat anywhere in the galaxy. And say hi to Uncle Harlo!

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

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.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #Andor

StarWars.com Fan Spotlight: Isabella Holguin’s High Republic Cosplay Is For Light and Life

Thu, 10/06/2022 - 10:00

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.

Before Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022, Lucasfilm Publishing Creative Director Michael Siglain issued a challenge to avid Star Wars: The High Republic readers. “Calling all #StarWarsTheHighRepublic fans & cosplayers!” he wrote on Twitter. “Best cosplay wins a prize from the Luminous 5!”

Isabella Holguin was up for the task.

In fact, she was already hard at work designing a High Republic-themed costume for her first-ever Star Wars Celebration. “When thinking of who I wanted to cosplay as for Celebration, I absolutely knew I wanted to do someone from The High Republic,” Isabella tells StarWars.com. “The stories and characters mean so much to me.”

She first came across the exciting new era of Star Wars stories while on the hunt for a new book to crack open. “They looked so magical and exciting, fully showing the height of the Jedi,” she recalls. “Within one chapter of Light of the Jedi, I was already hooked. My favorite book of the era is The Rising Storm, despite how much it hurts me when reading it. And, of course, my favorite comic is The High Republic Adventures!”

Young Qort from the action-packed all-ages comic series stood out for his striking design, and because Isabella enjoyed his journey in the story. But there was someone else she couldn’t leave out of the fun: Geode, the Vintian navigator of the Vessel.

“The idea to bring Geode along came from countless Tweets of people saying they hoped to see a cosplay of him, so of course we had to provide,” Isabella says. “Once the idea was laid out, my dad and I set to work on creating them, and the full cosplays were finished within a week.”

Qort and Geode drew gasps of admiration not just from Star Wars fans at the convention, but from the five authors of the first phase of The High Republic — Charles Soule, Daniel José Older, Cavan Scott, Claudia Gray, and Justina Ireland — as well. As for Isabella, she was over the moon to meet the luminous writers.

“Seeing all of them during the High Republic meetup, being so supportive and loving towards the fans, really shone on how positive this community is,” she says. “It was such a great moment to be able to tell them, ‘Hey, this thing you made really changed my life!’ and to be able to feel that love radiating back. They are all just amazing people, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that experience.”

Isabella’s creative take on Qort and Geode claimed the title of Best Cosplay that day.

But it’s not about the accolades. Above all, Isabella loves experiencing the joy of the galaxy far, far away with her fellow fans and friends. “Star Wars is so special to me because of the community that it brings,” she says. “I grew up in a household that loves Star Wars, it was always something that brought us together. To now have that be extended towards friends and creatives, it’s such a positive and remarkable feeling!”

The StarWars.com Fan Spotlight Q&A

What’s your favorite Star Wars movie, and why?

Isabella: The Empire Strikes Back has always been my favorite for so many reasons. I mean, it has the Vader and Luke duel, Yoda, Bespin, the Battle of Hoth, and, of course, the debut of Zuckuss! What’s not to love?

Would you join the Rebel Alliance or the Empire?

Isabella: Rebel Alliance all the way! I would love to bring hope all across the galaxy. And of course wouldn’t mind becoming best friends with Wedge Antilles.

You can have Mando’s Darksaber, Kylo Ren’s unstable red lightsaber, or Luke Skywalker’s green lightsaber. Which do you choose and why?

Isabella: I’m not a very Sith person, but I can’t resist Kylo Ren’s saber. It’s too beautiful to pass up.

If you could align yourself with any group in the Star Wars galaxy — the Jedi, the First Order, the Mandalorian Death Watch, whatever you want — what would it be?

Isabella: The underworld speaks to me the most. Bounty hunting seems a little too dangerous, so I would love to be a smuggler or some kind of informant.

Which Star Wars character would you want as a road trip buddy?

Isabella: It would be a crime not to say Geode! He would be the perfect navigator and I’m absolutely sure he would know of all the best clubs to stop at.

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

Kelly Knox writes features and DIYs for StarWars.com. She’s the author of Be More Obi-Wan and co-author of Star Wars Everyday. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, pop culture, and bad dad jokes.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #FanInterviews

You’ll Lose Your Mind Over This DIY Bor Gullet Pumpkin

Thu, 10/06/2022 - 08:46

It’s no secret that I think Bor Gullet is the creepiest creature in Star Wars — and that makes it an ideal Halloween decoration! This conversation-starting DIY decoration is based on early Rogue One: A Star Wars Story concept art by Ivan Manzella.

This monstrous craft isn’t for the faint of heart. Not only is the Mairan itself unsettling, but you’ll be also working with modeling foam, armature wire, and layers of paint to get that appalling patina just right. This how-to walks you through crafting Bor Gullet from start to finish. As for getting over the heebie jeebies once it’s complete? You’re on your own!

What You’ll Need

  • 6.5-inch orange craft pumpkin 
  • Craft knife
  • Thin craft foam sheet, black
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Black spray paint
  • Silver acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Orange acrylic paint
  • Armature wire
  • Wire cutter
  • Small pliers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Modeling foam
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Bronze acrylic paint
  • Light gray acrylic paint
  • Silicone mat or mold
  • Glue
  • Clear glossy spray paint

Get Started!

The activities in this article should only be done with adult supervision.

Step 1: Cut off the top of the craft pumpkin by cutting around the stem with the craft knife. Discard the stem piece.

Step 2: Cut four pieces of the black craft foam with the scissors, each about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Step 3: Hot glue the bottom edge of a piece of cut craft foam on the inside of the pumpkin, just below the rim.

Step 4: Fold the piece of glued foam over the rim and hot glue it to the front side of the pumpkin. 

Step 5: Repeat with all pieces of cut craft foam, overlapping the edges as best you can as you glue.

Step 6: If there are any gaps on the front of the pumpkin made by folding the craft foam over, cut additional black craft foam pieces. Hot glue them to cover the gaps. The entire top edge should now be covered in black craft foam.

Step 7: Cut small strips and rectangles out of the black craft foam. Hot glue them around the black foam rim to add visual interest.

Step 8: Spray paint the inside of the pumpkin black and let dry. 

Step 9: Drybrush sliver acrylic paint across the foam rim to give the top part of the pumpkin a metallic, weathered look.

Step 10: Flip the pumpkin over. Remove any stickers and cover any printed text or marks with orange acrylic paint. Let dry.

Step 11: Cut a piece of armature wire about 24 inches long. Bend it at the midpoint and use the pliers to loosely twist the wire around itself.

Step 12: Bend the top 1/4 at a rough 90-degree angle to make the armature for the head.

Step 13: Wrap the armature in aluminum foil. Smash the foil into round shapes for the head and body, then wrap them onto the armature. (No glue is needed for this step.)

Step 14: Cut four more pieces of the armature wire about 7 inches in length for Bor Gullet’s tentacles. 

Step 15: Wrap each tentacle in foil, leaving about an inch or two at one end uncovered. Make two shapes about the same width as your index finger, and the other two about the same size as your pinky finger.

Step 16: Cover all foil-covered pieces with modeling foam clay, shaping the head, body, and tentacles.

Tip: Modeling foam is lumpy and doesn’t smooth out like typical clay. Use this to your advantage! Give Bor Gullet folds in his skin, wrinkles, and a generally unsettling texture. 

Step 17: Let the body and tentacles dry, preferably overnight.

Step 18: Turn the pumpkin on its side and choose where the bottom will be. Place the body inside the pumpkin with the head and front of the body visible. Hot glue the bottom of the body if needed to hold it in place and turn it right-side up for now.

Step 19: Add more modeling foam to Bor Gullet’s body, making it slightly overlap the edges on to the craft foam. It should appear like it’s just a little too big to fit inside the pumpkin.

Step 20: Press the wire end of the tentacles into Bor Gullet’s body, with one small and one large on either side. 

Tip: You can gently bend the tentacles into curved shapes, but be careful not to crack them!

Step 21: Turn the pumpkin on its side. Add more modeling foam around the “shoulders” where the tentacles are attached to seamlessly secure them in place.

Step 22: Let all modeling foam dry.

Step 23: Paint Bor Gullet with the black acrylic paint and let dry. Touch up any spots as needed on the rim at the same time. Next, paint a layer of bronze acrylic paint on the body. Leave some areas black, especially spots where shadows would fall. Let dry.

Step 24: Drybrush a layer of light gray paint, again letting the black and bronze show through to add depth to the body. Let dry. Add another drybrush layer of gray paint if needed.

Step 25: Next, squeeze two dots of hot glue, about half an inch in size, on the silicone mold to make the eyes. Let cool before removing from the silicone.

Step 26: Glue the eyes to either side of Bor Gullet’s head.

Step 27: Finally, spray Bor Gullet and the pumpkin with clear glossy spray paint to give it a wet look. Let dry before spraying another layer.

Bor Gullet will know the truth — every Halloween!

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

Kelly Knox writes features and DIYs for StarWars.com. She’s the author of Be More Obi-Wan and co-author of Star Wars Everyday. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, pop culture, and bad dad jokes.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #Halloween

Luke Goes Undercover in Marvel’s Star Wars #28 – Exclusive Preview

Wed, 10/05/2022 - 10:00

Adventure? Excitement? Maybe, sometimes, a Jedi craves these things.

A family of Imperial defectors with knowledge of a new Death Star contacted — and was dismissed — by the Rebel Alliance. But not by Luke Skywalker. In StarWars.com’s exclusive preview of Star Wars #28, the former Lieutenant Milton and his family struggle to survive, while Skywalker hatches a daring solo plan to infiltrate the very heart of the Empire

Star Wars #28, written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Andrés Genolet, with a cover by E.M. Gist, arrives October 12 and is available for pre-order now on ComiXology and at your local comic shop.

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

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

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

The Ronin Strikes Back in Marvel’s Star Wars: Visions #1 – Exclusive Preview

Wed, 10/05/2022 - 08:40

Lucasfilm’s critically acclaimed Disney+ anime anthology series, Star Wars: Visions, introduced the world to the mysterious Ronin and his loyal droid, R5-D56. As seen in Kamikaze Douga’s “The Duel,” the Ronin saved a sleepy village from a menacing Sith — yet he himself wields a crimson lightsaber, raising questions about his past and true nature. Now, we’ll learn even more about this enigmatic wanderer.

In a new story written and illustrated by Takashi Okazaki, one of the artists behind “The Duel,” Marvel’s Star Wars: Visions one-shot finds the Ronin before he arrived in a small town to face an agent of the dark side. In StarWars.com’s exclusive preview of the issue, thieves stop the wandering warrior, unaware of the mistake they’ve made… 

Star Wars: Visions #1 arrives October 12 and is  and at your local comic shop.

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

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

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

A Mysterious Mission Begins in The High Republic: Convergence – Exclusive Excerpt

Tue, 10/04/2022 - 11:00

The galaxy is changing.

Generations before the first stories of Star Wars: The High Republicthe Jedi Order and the Republic enjoy a prosperous time of exploration and discovery. But new threats are emerging. In the upcoming novel, Convergence, by Zoraida Córdova, the close orbiting planets of Eiram and E’ronoh have spiraled into war, with both worlds suffering from limited resource and a suffering populace. Following an assassination attempt on the royal heirs of their societies, Jedi Knight Gella Nattai volunteers to uncover the culprit, while Chancellor Kyong appoints her son, Axel Greylark, to represent the Republic’s interests in the investigation.

In StarWars.com’s exclusive excerpt of the book, which arrives November 22, a mysterious figure makes her way through the starving crowds of E’ronoh’s capital, seeking something other than rations; meanwhile, the E’ronoh fleet prepares for the arrival of an essential shipment. Enjoy this preview, then check out an extended excerpt for even more from Convergence.

CHAPTER ONE

THE ROOK, E’RONOH

For the first time in five years, the sky over E’ronoh’s capital was clear of fighting ships. When errant debris pierced the atmosphere, it was little more than ash by the time it settled over the stone arches dotting the landscape like great giants of the planet’s dawn, frozen against the red morning.

The war was not over, but life went on as life always does. Though parts of the city still smoldered, mourners hurried to inter their dead. As news of the latest cease-fire attempt with Eiram spread, the market of the Rook, E’ronoh’s capital, flooded with citizens anticipating the promise of the day’s water shipment.

Among them, Serrena, a slender figure dressed in a gray cloak, slipped through the haggling crowds. Tip-yip ten pezz a kilo! Thirty per barrel! Bargain asterpuff—dream the dream of the dead!

A mother bargained for a carton of eggs while keeping an eye on the sky. A girl, days short of the draft, shouldered her hungry baby brother on one side and cheap fatty cuts from the butcher on the other. A beggar waved an empty cup. A vendor shooed flies away from his spoiled fruit. A palace guard jumped at the resounding crunch of metal—only to turn and find that a speeder hauling scrap had overturned.

Serrena tugged at the hood of her cloak, but nothing, save for a breath mask, could stop anyone on the forsaken planet from eating a mouthful of dust, even when the winds were still. Snaking through the market and down a narrow underpass, she stopped at the fringe of the hangar bay. Here the canyon’s natural archways made it the perfect architecture for the royal launch pad. Locals liked to say the cavernous opening was the petrified yawning mouth of an old god. To Serrena it was just another place, another opportunity to serve the only entity truly committed to keeping the galaxy in balance.

As crewmembers flitted back and forth, readying a squadron of starships for flight, Serrena crept along the undulating walls of the canyon, invisible as the pilots huddled almost protectively around their captain. The young woman’s face was half cast in the canyon’s shadow, but Serrena could just make out the calm intensity on her regal features. The promise in her fist she pounded over her heart. Words that cut through the cacophony like E’roni gems as they all shouted—“For E’ronoh!”

“Thanks for the rousing pep talk, Captain A’lbaran,” Serrena muttered as she crouched behind one of the astromech droids and inserted a slender program chip into its front panel. A sharp thrill of victory coursed through her, but the moment was short-lived.

A soldier with an eye patch rounded the corner and halted. Confusion, then alarm twisted his face as he closed their distance in long, swift strides. “You’re not authorized to be here!”

Serrena cowered, let herself sink toward the floor, but he yanked her upright and shoved her against a stack of crates. There was the hard plunk of an empty canteen hitting stone. Dust, always so much dust, lodged between her teeth, the back of her throat.

“What are you—”

“Please,” Serrena whimpered and coughed. “Spare a pezz for a poor farmer? Some water . . .”

“There’s a ration distribution at high noon,” the soldier said, releasing her with a frustrated huff. His medals boasted the rank of lieutenant, though she hadn’t noticed him at his captain’s side. Pity, then frustration flitted across his scarred face as he reached into his pocket and fished out a bronze coin. “Now get out of my sight.”

Serrena clasped the coin then sprinted away from the launch pad, merging back into the sea of dusty cloaks in the market where a fight was breaking out. The desperate citizens of E’ronoh shoved one another to secure a better place in the queue for water rations, which had doubled in size in the time it took her to fullfill her mission. Serrena pushed harder, shielding her face against the current of sweaty bodies, until she broke through the throng. Tossing the bronze pezz into a beggar’s tin cup, Serrena straightened and made for the road leading out of town.

“It is done,” she spoke into a short-range comlink.

A worried voice crackled back, “Are you sure . . . it was . . . the right . . .”

Yes, yes, I’m certain.” She bit back the ire at being questioned. She had been chosen for this mission.

“Hurry back. Got a . . . perfect spot to see . . . the fireworks.”

As Serrena broke into a jog, thirty starfighters rocketed into the sky. Serrena let her hood fall, welcomed the heat of the rising sun, and smiled in anticipation of the will of the Force—because if the Force willed it, none of those starfighters would return.

CHAPTER TWO

BEYOND E’RONOH’S GRAVITY WELL

Captain Xiri A’lbaran was tired of waiting. For the ice hauler to drop out of hyperspace. For the enemy to break their tenuous cease-fire and attack. For her world to go up in flames again and again, and know that this time, despite everything she’d fought for, it would be all her fault. And yet Xiri waited, because in the outer reaches of the galaxy, the dregs of better-known worlds and sectors, waiting was all she could do. The helplessness of it all tore through her, though she kept her chin up, eyes locked on the chasm of space. She was the captain of E’ronoh’s fleet. She had to set an example for the batch of new recruits, every wave of them younger and younger than the last.

Xiri’s Thylefire Squadron had held sentry over the planet’s atmosphere since daybreak. Before the war, E’ronoh’s monarch might not have deployed a naval squadron for what was supposed to be a simple escort mission. But as drought ravaged her world, and hyperlanes crawled with pirates, the safety of the cargo was a matter of life and death.

Under different circumstances, Xiri would have marveled at the awe-inspiring view of their curious pocket of the galaxy. Her world, with its red mountains and sleek canyons, and neighboring Eiram’s turquoise seas mottled by constant storms. Locked between them were a belt of debris—remnants from years of battle that cluttered the corridor like asteroids—and the Timekeeper moon. Her own grandmother used to say that, billions of years before, E’ronoh and Eiram were two cosmic beings that emerged from stardust, and the moon was their shared heart, vital to E’ronoh’s winds and Eiram’s tides. Xiri had loved that story once. Whether in peace or war, the planets and their moon were irrevocably bound, not simply by the pull of their gravity, but by a long past and an ever-murky future. A future Xiri would dedicate her life to making right.

Now the restlessness among the young pilots was beginning to show as one of them nudged out of formation, then back.

Captain A’lbaran and Lieutenant Segaru had selected an unprecedented thirty pilots for the mission: safely escort an arriving ice hauler to the capital’s docking bay and ready the ice for immediate distribution. A hauler that was late. The previous shipment had been destroyed amid the most recent clash with Eiram. The one prior had mysteriously disappeared in the maze of new hyperspace lanes. The one before that—or what was left of it—had been found, likely ravaged by pirates and stripped to the wires, half the crew drifting dead in space. No, the only way to secure this haul was to intercept and escort it the instant it dropped out of hyperspace.

“Captain, we can’t stay out here much longer,” Lieutenant Segaru said, the steady tenor of his voice fringed by the hum of their private channel’s static.

“It’ll come,” she clipped back.

“Captain—”

“It will come.” She worked her tongue against the dry roof of her mouth. She’d given her water canteen that morning to a child begging in the market and tried not to think of her own thirst. “It has to.”

Xiri turned to her left where he always was in their chain-link formation, his bronze helmet obscuring most of his bearded face. She imagined the scrutiny in his storm gray eye, the way the scars under his eyepatch turned red when he was frustrated and angry. She also knew that he was likely squeezing the pommel of the ceremonial bane blade every E’roni soldier had strapped at the hip, a habit she shared. That a part of him would never forgive her for being promoted instead of him. That he resented her, even as he turned in her direction, like he could feel her stare.

“Captain.” Then softer. “Xiri.”

“Don’t.” She snapped her attention straight ahead, past the blue of Eiram, and at the pinpricks of distant stars. “We’re lucky to have secured this shipment after Merokia reneged on their promise of relief.”

Merokia was the latest on their list of former allies. What could she or the Monarch have expected? With every passing year, every broken cease-fire, every failed attempt at peace, even their closest trading partners had turned their backs on E’ronoh. Few dared to intervene in the conflict, and most simply waited for a victor to arise to choose a side.

“I am aware of our predicament, Captain A’lbaran. It’s . . .” He paused for so long, Xiri moved to toggle her channel to see if her comm had fritzed again. “We agreed to clear the corridor between the two planets for Eiram’s military escort. They could take our prolonged presence here as a breach of the terms. I’m always ready for a fight, but this cease-fire, clearing the corridor—all of it was your plan.”

Your plan. Jerrod Segaru always knew how to get under her skin.

It had taken years off her life to convince her father to agree to this in the first place. He’d been convinced the circumstance was an elaborate plan for the enemy to catch E’ronoh with their guard down and attack, hence the thirty starfighters. The conditions were simple—Xiri would lead an escort mission in at daybreak and clear the space for Eiram in the afternoon. No weapons would be engaged. Previous cease-fires had been broken over less, but she counted on Eiram being equally desperate for relief, so they would understand.

Xiri knew quite well where the blame would fall when—if— something went wrong.

“Thank you for reminding me, Lieutenant. But we can’t go home empty-handed, and I won’t have another one of our shipments destroyed or raided because our backs were turned fighting a war. I’ll handle Eiram. We’re staying.”

“I hope Eiram’s general is as—understanding—as you would be,” he said, then switched his comm channel.

She followed suit, the restless chatter from the pilots filling the time. Every moment they remained in open space, they seemed to forget their captain was listening. She didn’t mind. It was how she got to know them, during rare moments of stillness, listening to the rhythms of their voices.

“Look at all this junk,” Thylefire Ten said.

“That’s not junk,” Thylefire Nine piped up, his voice breaking on the last word. The youngest of them all, Thylefire Nine had been dubbed Blitz on his first day of training.

The fresh recruits were mostly a result of the draft, but Blitz had begged for permission to enlist early, in honor of his fallen sister, Lina. He’d been weeks away from the conscription age. Xiri had done the same after her brother’s death, and perhaps that was why she had signed off on the request.

Xiri had seen hundreds of soldiers fall, but Lina’s death had been a turning point for E’ronoh. What should have been a routine recon mission to Eiram’s western isles ended in destruction when her starfighter’s thruster malfunctioned moments after lift-off, and she plummeted from the sky—the third malfunction in consecutive days, but the first to result in a casualty. It felt like everyone in the Rook collectively held their breath as they watched the ship crash into the Ramshead Gorge.

It was Lina’s tragic end that had sent civilians rioting into the streets. How many others had they lost, not to Eiram, but to their own fleet of outdated starships? What would the Monarch do to ensure it didn’t happen again? What would he do to finally win this war? Where were the food and water rations promised? Xiri couldn’t—wouldn’t—fight her own people and Eiram at the same time, but the dissidents propelled the Monarch to lease a plot of the mountains in the southern hemisphere to Corellia in exchange for three dozen devilfighters. Xiri had cursed the bargain. But she knew it was the most strategic solution. Their fleet was stretched too thin. E’ronoh was stretched too thin. But what would the Monarch sell off next? What would be enough? Questioning the decision, especially during a time of war, and especially by one of E’ronoh’s own captains, would have been treason. Even for the Monarch’s own daughter.

Xiri’s only form of rebellion had been giving one of the new ships— assigned to her—to Blitz, fresh out of basic combat training. She’d opted to remain in the ancient clunker she’d been flying since she enlisted. Besides, no matter what the ship, she’d get where she needed to go.

“It’s not junk,” Blitz repeated. His ship wavered, likely toggling his controls with trembling fists.

Easy, Thylefire Nine,” Lieutenant Segaru growled low into the comm. “Get ahold of your ship.”

Blitz stilled and whimpered an apology.

“I didn’t mean anything by it,” Thylefire Ten muttered. “It’s just— look at it.”

The belt of debris was unavoidable. Remnants of starships and people floated in a river of scorched metal and frost-covered limbs. At first, Xiri had run salvo missions and turned cargo holds into reaper barges, if only to give closure to those waiting on the ground. Now it was nearly impossible to tell the wreckage apart. If the cease-fire held, she would try again.

People just want something to bury, Lieutenant Segaru liked to remind her. They might never be friends again, but she could never call into question his loyalty and ability to get his hands dirty for the cause.

“No, he’s right. It’s not junk. It’s a graveyard,” Thylefire Six said, his somber words followed by a strange yowl.

“Is that your stomach?” someone asked.

“Ah, he’s just nervous,” Lieutenant Segaru said amiably. “It’s his first flight.”

Or he’s hungry, you giant fool, Xiri thought. The words were on the tip of her tongue. But Lieutenant Segaru had a way of smoothing out the moods of their soldiers. Take it easy, kid. It’s just a tiny explosion, kid. There’re casualties in war, kid. We will make Eiram pay for their crimes and sink their glass palaces to the bottom of the seas, kid. Segaru could be their friendly lieutenant, while Xiri was the one who made them run drills until their bodies ached. The one who had to worry about whether or not they had the rations promised to the new recruits and their starving families. The one to fight with her father about prioritizing water over fuel, which was why that ice shipment needed to appear and it needed to appear intact and it needed to appear now because after five years of fighting, their homeworld had decided it had had enough.

The old gods are angry, cried the temple elders. The old gods are angry at the Monarch’s war and have stopped the rain.

Xiri couldn’t blame the old gods or new for the worst drought in her recent memory. All she could believe in was herself and do everything in her power to get aid to her people. E’ronoh would require every fiber of her being, and she would give until there was nothing left of her.

As the planets crept along the moon’s orbit, Xiri scanned Eiram for movement, but saw only swirls of clouds over turquoise oceans. No escort ships, but there would be.

“My wife’s going to kill me for missing supper again,” Thylefire Three murmured. The woman she knew as Kinni was among the eldest members of Xiri’s squadron and had been a retired mechanic when she’d reenlisted a couple of years prior.

“I miss my mum’s pilafa stew,” Blitz added.

Kinni chuckled softly. “You’re all welcome, of course.”

“Now that the war’s over—” Thylefire Six began but was cut off by a grunt.

“Don’t let your guard down,” Thylefire Thirteen snapped. “Nothing’s over. Not until they return everything they’ve taken. Our colony, our prince, our lives. Eiram should never know peace.”

Thylefire Thirteen was Rev Ferrol, son of Viceroy Ferrol, one of Xiri’s father’s most trusted advisers. Rev was repeating the same acidic words the Monarch spoke from his balcony whenever he felt morale was low. There was a mutter of assent, and Xiri tried to swallow the knot in her throat, but her mouth was dry. She could feel Lieutenant Segaru’s stare on her, but she only gave a shake of her head. Her people were frustrated, and she would be failing them as not just their captain, but their princess, if she shut off her comm simply because of her own guilt.

“We’re just catching our breath is all. The barnacles are, too,” Lieu- tenant Segaru added.

“M-my gran used to say when she was small, they measured time not by the moon, but by when Eiram’s ships flew over the city.” Blitz chuckled nervously. “I—I think she was exaggerating but it was ages ago.”

“Was it now?” Kinni scoffed. “Then I’m ages old.”

There was a string of laughter.

“Well, when it’s over,” said Blitz in his boisterous way, “I’m taking a pleasure barge to one of them resort planets.”

“There’s no pleasure barge coming out here,” Rev muttered.

“I hear that on some worlds you can pay to have simultaneous—”

“Simultaneous what, Ten?” Xiri spoke into the comm, crackling as others snickered at the embarrassed pilot.

The younger boy swallowed his words, then stuttered, “P-princess!

I mean, Captain. Captain A’lbaran.”

“All right, Thylefire, stay sharp,” Lieutenant Segaru commanded in his easy drawl.

Xiri allowed herself a small smile. She liked when they spoke of their dreams, their plans. That they imagined a when and an after. Their hope was a fragile thing, but it was there, and she couldn’t allow herself to forget it, not for a second.

A sensor blinked on her control panel. A dozen of Eiram’s ships emerged from their cloudy atmosphere. Their starships had a bulbous quality, outfitted for underwater submersion first and spaceflight second.

“They’re here!” Blitz said. His ship lurched forward, then staggered to a stop.

“Easy does it,” Lieutenant Segaru warned.

“I-it’s these new ships,” Blitz stuttered, his breathing heavy. “The controls are too sensitive.”

Riiiiight,” Thirteen muttered, and the others took the easy shot and laughed at their nervous friend.

“Remember,” Xiri said, commanding silence, “Eiram is receiving cargo, too. We’re both escorting deliveries home. Wait for my orders.”

“Captain,” Lieutenant Segaru said. “They’re hailing you.”

Xiri licked her front teeth. She tried not to think of her thirst, her own pounding heart. Her squadron needed her to lead. E’ronoh would need her to lead.

“This is Captain Xiri A’lbaran.” Her words were steadier than she felt.

“Captain, this is General Nhivan Lao.” His clipped voice came in warbled through her ancient starfighter’s comm. She punched the panel hard to clear it. “We agreed the corridor between planets would be clear. Those were your terms, I believe.”

“I understand that, General,” Xiri said. “But our shipment is delayed. We would afford you the same courtesy in the same position.”

“Would you?” the general all but scoffed.

Xiri wouldn’t take the bait, and so their silence stretched heavy in the space between until the general cleared his throat and said, “Very well. See that you don’t cross your side of the corridor.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” She switched over the comm.

Xiri updated her squadron, then squeezed her controls and watched the empty field of space as if she could split open a black hole and wrench out the ice hauler from hyperspace.

“We should take whatever cargo they have, plus ours,” Rev growled. “I bet they’re planning the same thing. I bet—”

“I wouldn’t trust the Eirami, even if I had two good eyes,” Lieutenant Segaru interrupted. “But we stay put for now.”

“Didn’t you lose your eye in the first battle, sir?” Blitz asked.

“Precisely.”

“I want this channel clear,” Xiri said. “Is that understood?”

One by one, they signed off that they did.

Her sensor suite blinked. A coil of anticipation tightened in her gut as she said, “A ship’s coming out of hyperspace.”

Hidden among the pinpricks of light that surrounded them was the exit zone for the hyperspace lane the Republic had opened a few years back. It turned out that E’ronoh and Eiram were in the middle of nowhere, but on the way to everywhere.

When the ship emerged from hyperspace, Xiri stopped breathing. She had taken her squadron flying over the glittering spires of the Modine Valley, seen the first desert roses bloom, and yet, right now, nothing had ever been as beautiful as that rusty old ice hauler.

She sat forward in anticipation, smiled so hard her chapped lips cracked and bled. Even as she watched the hauler glide through the corridor between E’ronoh and Eiram, Xiri made a mental note that every bit of ice aboard was already spoken for, and they’d have to figure out a way to get more even before the last drop was distributed. It was a worry for later that night.

Xiri was a breath away from hailing the hauler when her fighter’s sensor suite chirped, this time flagging an anomaly.

“Captain,” Segaru said, worry and confusion in the single word. “There are two more ships dropping out of hyperspace. We must clear—”

Segaru’s words were lost as one gargantuan ship blinked into dead space after the other, narrowly missing a deadly impact. Xiri had only ever seen their likeness from newsfeeds on the holonet, and by the chatter instantly filling the comm channel, so had her squadron.

“Is that an Alif-class Longbeam?”

“Aren’t those Republic ships?”

“Dank farrik, what’s the Republic doing here?”

Star Wars: The High Republic: Convergence arrives November 22 and is available for pre-order now. Check out an extended excerpt.

Visit Lucasfilm’s official hub for all things Star Wars: The High Republic at StarWars.com/TheHighRepublic.

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5 Modern Toy and Collectible Lightsabers to Channel Your Inner Jedi (or Sith)

Tue, 10/04/2022 - 08:53

From the moment Star Wars landed in the pop culture consciousness, the lightsaber has been igniting kids playtime in a big way. In fact, one of the first Star Wars toys on the market was a light-up, inflatable lightsaber.

Decades later, consumer lightsabers remain as popular as ever and continue to evolve with plenty of collector-savvy versions and durable, tot-tastic toys up for grabs. With the launch of the lightsaber celebration Choose Your Destiny, StarWars.com takes a look at several of the most recent options of an elegant plaything for a more civilized age.

1. Star Wars Lightsaber Squad (Ahsoka Tano Version)

This lightsaber for Padawans ages four and older blends the appeal of the ultra-cool weapon with the likeness of one of the most beloved characters in the universe. Its molded plastic hilt features a stylized bust of Ahsoka Tano, a slight smile appearing on the Togruta’s face. The remainder of the handle matches the bluish gray tone of Ahsoka’s montrals. When it comes to wielding the saber proper, there’s no need to hunt for batteries. Ahoksa’s extendable white blade comes to life with a flick of the wrist. Other fan favorites, from Grogu to Boba Fett, make up the remainder of the Lightsaber Squad line.

2. Star Wars Lightsaber Forge (Yoda Version)

The Lightsaber Forge line is Hasbro’s latest foray into customizable sabers. Roleplaying kids ages four and older not only have the opportunity to play the part of their favorite Jedi or Sith, but they can use their imaginations to mix and match parts across the entire line, creating a lightsaber all of their own. In fact, if you count all of the pieces of the entire Lightsaber Forge spectrum, younglings could possibly create thousands of different combinations. The Yoda version, part of its Entry Level assortment, comes with four parts: the blade, cap, core, and cover. And there’s no doubt the inspiration for this one. The Jedi Master’s trademark green blade extends manually, and the gold and green accented cap features a design resembling Yoda’s pointy ears. Other Entry Level Lightsaber Forge sabers include Mace Windu, Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, and more.

3. Star Wars Lightsaber Forge (Obi-Wan Kenobi Bladesmith Version)

The Bladesmith assortment of the Lightsaber Forge line features sabers with extendable light-up blades and electronic sound effects straight out of that galaxy far, far away. You don’t need Jedi powers to make these flashy features work, just a pair of AAA batteries, which aren’t included. Say “Hello there” to the Obi-Wan Kenobi version with its famous blue blade. The cap, cover, and core, with their gold, silver, and black color scheme, come together to resemble the character’s signature lightsaber design. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker’s lightsabers, as well as the Darksaber, are among the other weapons available in the Bladesmith assortment.

 

4. Star Wars: The Black Series Force FX Elite Lightsaber (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader Versions)

Whether you’re a lightsaber-slinging cosplayer, a high-end prop replica collector, or a combination of both, the Star Wars: The Black Series Force FX Elite Lightsabers put the realism of the galaxy’s most iconic weapon in the palm of your hand. Recommended for ages 14 and older, these are the most realistic Force FX Lightsabers yet. The Kenobi and Vader versions, each sold separately, boast authentic design inspirations based on the weapons seen in the Disney+ limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Each metal hilt features its respective deco, as if these laser swords have flown right off of the screen. Both come with a table top display stand, allowing the collector to show off their saber with or without the removable blade. The advanced LED technology gives the lightsabers killer features such as the progressive ignition of the illuminated blade, a wall-cutting effect, and an authentic duel effect, which allows the blades to change colors when two weapons clash. With the press of a button, both of the battery-operated lightsabers emit fan-familiar sound effects, which only amp up the suspension of disbelief. The Vader version even comes with a red kyber crystal.

5. Star Wars Lightsaber Forge (Inquisitor Masterworks Set)

And here’s one to look forward to. The baddies seen in the Obi-Wan Kenobi live-action series get props in the form of the Lightsaber Forge deluxe set, which is just hitting stores. It comes loaded with two extendable red blades, two caps, two electronic hilts, and three clip-on rings. Grab some AAA batteries to enable the blades to light up and the screen-worthy sound effects to blast from the toy’s built-in speaker. Make like Reva, the Third Sister, and battle it out with either a double-bladed saber or with a pair of single blades in each hand. When choosing the double-bladed configuration, kids can opt for the half- or full-circle guard.

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Jon Waterhouse can’t get enough of that Star Wars stuff, and his passion comes to life in his work. A comic book author, Jon’s storytelling can be found in the Star Wars Adventures series by IDW Publishing. Additionally, he’s an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, radio show host, and performer whose byline has appeared in a variety of print and online publications including Esquire, BlackBook, Paste, CNN.com, and MTV.com.

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Andor Analyzed: 5 Highlights from Episode 4, “Aldhani”

Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:55

The rebellion has begun! Andor is now streaming on Disney+, following the fan-favorite rebel in a tale set five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and we’re watching. Join StarWars.com every week for Andor Analyzed, in which we list the best moments from each episode.

Spoiler warning: This article contains story details and plot points from the fourth episode of Andor, “Aldhani.”

Ferrix was just the beginning.

In the fourth episode of Andor, Cassian has taken his first steps into the larger world of working for the future Rebel Alliance, Mon Mothma has begun finding the means to finance the cause from inside the Galactic Senate, and on the world of Aldhani, a rag-tag group of idealists and warriors concoct a painstakingly detailed plan for a daring heist.

Here are five highlights from the latest episode of Andor.

1. Supervisor Meero arrives.

Among the Imperial Security Bureau bureaucracy, Dedra Meero stands out. A woman climbing the ranks in a male-dominated field, at first glance Meero is poised, put together, cunning, and shrewd. As an operative for the Empire, that also makes her a terrifying adversary for any rebels who dare to cross the Empire.

2. Call him “Clem.”

Cassian Andor has left Ferrix behind and with it his true identity. Adopting the alias “Clem,” he prepares for a job stealing from the Empire with a payday that promises to help Andor clear his debts.

3. Luthen’s transformation.

The wig. The rings. The posture! We wouldn’t have recognized this new version of Luthen Rael if he hadn’t transformed before our eyes from underground rebel operative to a member of Coruscant high society.

4. Two words: Mon Mothma!

Speaking of Coruscant, at long last Mon Mothma, the Senator from Chandrila, has arrived! Her public face and private persona are both on display here, one flipping to reveal the other, a constant and delicate balance between her duty and her desire.

5. Plotting the Aldhani heist.

With a small model and an inside man in Lt. Gorn, Vel and the Aldhani team walk through the detailed plan to infiltrate the nearby Imperial compound and abscond with the quarterly payroll funds. Among the squad are seasoned soldiers and young idealists, the types of people who will one day form the bedrock of the Rebel Alliance. 

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Associate Editor Kristin Baver is the author of several books including The Art of Star Wars: The High Republic, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and an 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. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.

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Star Wars + Halloween Shopping Guide 2022

Mon, 10/03/2022 - 08:00

From deadly dianogas to icky ice spiders to sinister Sith, the Star Wars galaxy is filled with spine-tingling stuff! Halloween is the perfect time celebrate the creepy elements of the saga, and StarWars.com has conjured a selection of the best toys, apparel, and decorations to aid in your enjoyment of the year’s most bone-chilling season. So give yourself to the scary side…with the guide below!

Inflatable Boba Fett Decoration by Gemmy

Send a clear message to all trick-or-treaters with the help of a legendary bounty hunter. Available in-store only at Walmart.

Grogu Matching Halloween PJs by Hanna Andersen

When the fall weather (finally) rolls in, the whole family can celebrate Halloween and Star Wars with these adorable matching pajamas. Hanna Andersson’s cute set depicts Grogu riding in a jack-o-lantern pram — perfect for our favorite chilly (and chilling) season.

Halloween-Themed Star Wars: The Black Series Figures by Hasbro

Looking to add some terrifying toys to your action figure collection? New releases in the 6-inch Star Wars: The Black Series from Hasbro, including a werewolf-esque Wookiee and skeleton-deco clone trooper, will do the trick. Each come with clever accessories, including a vampiric porg (!) and more. (Note: These figures will be available starting November 1.)

Ewok Dog Costume by Jazwares

Your furry companion will be ready for Halloween — and any clash with stormtroopers — thanks to this festive costume.

 

Star Wars Adult Costumes by Jazwares

Whether you grew up loving Star Wars or are a new fan, it’s never too late to wear a Star Wars costume on Halloween. Check out options including Darth Vader, Ahsoka Tano, and many more.

Candy is the Way Card by LovePop

This Halloween greeting would even charm Moff Gideon.

Grogu Candy Bowl by shopDisney

This bright and colorful bowl will be perfect for your at-home Halloween candy. Just be sure Grogu doesn’t eat it all.

Grogu Halloween Mummy Plush by shopDisney

See? Even as a mummy, Grogu’s the cutest.

Halloween Droid Pin Set by shopDisney

Show your love of the scary season and add some frighteningly fun flair to your wardrobe with this limited edition pin set, inspired by Disney Parks’ Halloween-themed droid figures from years past.

Star Wars Kids Costumes by shopDisney

If your younglings want to dress as their favorite Star Wars characters this Halloween, shopDisney has the costumes you’re looking for. Choose between the Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano, and many more.

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Celebrate Star Wars Reads This October!

Sat, 10/01/2022 - 02:01

This fall, Star Wars Reads returns for its 11th year, another month-long celebration of reading and galactic fun!

Starting on October 1, 2022, curious Jedi of any age are invited to explore their own Star Wars story through books, comics, and free digital activities like printable coloring pages.

“We are excited to continue this annual tradition showcasing the importance of reading and literacy,” says Michael Siglain, Creative Director of Lucasfilm Publishing. “With the support of our publishing partners, longtime fans and new readers, and talented authors, we hope to encourage readers of all ages to read stories that will transport them to a galaxy far, far away.”

As a thank you the Anaheim Public Library and the surrounding community, Disney Publishing and Lucasfilm Press will collaborate with the nonprofit First Book for a book donation of 20,000 brand new and free titles for eligible families and educators from the area. The event will also include read-alongs and story times with Disney VoluntEARS from Disneyland Resort. First Book is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free and affordable new books and educational resources to educators who serve children in need.

More ways to celebrate:

    • Check with your local library or bookstore to see if they are hosting any in-person or virtual Star Wars Reads events. If not, download the Star Wars Reads 2022 Printable Activity Kit PDF here and get involved!
    • Participate in the Star Wars Reads celebration with your classroom.
    • Join the Star Wars Reads conversation on social media with #StarWarsReads.
    • Turn the page on adventure by sharing a Star Wars book with a friend or younger sibling on your own. Some recommended reading can be found below!

For younglings up to age 7:

Star Wars: A Jedi You Will Be by Preeti Chhibber

Star Wars: The Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi Little Golden Book

For middle grade Padawans ages 8-12:

Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older

Stories of Jedi and Sith

For Young Adult Jedi Knights ages 12-17:

Padawan by Kiersten White

Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland

For Jedi Masters ages 18+:

Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher

Or pick up a new story from Star Wars: The High Republic Phase II or one of many other Star Wars books and comics.

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Shop Star Wars Exclusives at New York Comic Con 2022

Fri, 09/30/2022 - 13:19

We are all the Republic! Next weekend, fans from every sector in the galaxy will gather together at New York Comic Con, October 6-9 at the Javits Center, to celebrate the launch of Star Wars: The High Republic Phase II and hunt for convention exclusives and new items available for the first time!

Fans on the convention floor Saturday, October 8, can stop by the Disney Publishing Worldwide booth for a free Star Wars: The High Republic poster giveaway available in limited quantities as well as other gifts, prizes, and a special photo opportunity on a backdrop themed to Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit. And that’s just the beginning! Check out our guide below to start your own shopping list for convention exclusives and first-to-market products galore.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett Premier Collection 1/7 Scale Statue by Diamond Select Toys/Gentle Giant Ltd., $200

NYCC Exclusive

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Anakin Skywalker (Dual Sabers) by Funko Pop!, $15

NYCC Exclusive

Andor B2EMO by Funko Pop!, $15

NYCC Exclusive

Ahsoka Trooper Backpack with Removable Chest Rig by Heroes & Villains, $120

First to Market

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Tee by Heroes & Villains, $30

NYCC Exclusive

Obi-Wan Kenobi Convertible Backpack/Duffle with Removable Cargo Net by Heroes & Villains, $120

First to Market

Rebel Pilot Backpack with Removable Mesh Helmet Holder by Heroes & Villains, $120

First to Market

Darth Vader Imperial Backpack with Removable Bungee Cord Organizer and Rain Cover by Heroes & Villains, $120

First to Market

Boba Fett Droids Mini Backpack by Loungefly, $90

NYCC Exclusive

Boba Fett Droids Wallet by Loungefly, $40

NYCC Exclusive

Asajj Ventress Cosplay Backpack by Loungefly, $90

NYCC Exclusive

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Ahsoka Tano Crystal Necklace by RockLove, $135

First to Market

Ahsoka Tano Crystal Ring by RockLove, $99

First to Market

Grogu Crystal Necklace by RockLove, $90

First to Market

Grogu Crystal Studs by RockLove, $65

First to Market

Grogu Crystal Ring by RockLove, $65

First to Market

L0-LA Droid Necklace by RockLove, $135

First to Market

Leia Organa Crystal Necklace by RockLove, $99

First to Market

Leia Organa Crystal Ring by RockLove, $75 

First to Market

Padmé Amidala Naboo Necklace by RockLove, $125

First to Market

Padmé Amidala Naboo Earrings by RockLove, $99

First to Market

Padmé Amidala Lakeside Wave Ring by RockLove, $90

First to Market

Padmé Amidala Lakeside Gown Necklace by RockLove, $135

First to Market

Padmé Amidala Lakeside Gown Earrings by RockLove, $145

First to Market

2022 Topps Star Wars New York Comic Con Set by Topps, $19.99

NYCC Exclusive

Star Wars: A New Hope Laser Engraved Wood Wall Art by Trends International, $150

NYCC Exclusive

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“His Awakening Begins”: Star Diego Luna on Returning to Cassian in Andor

Thu, 09/29/2022 - 14:36

Cassian Andor’s journey from Kenari orphan to hero of the Rebel Alliance is just beginning.

In the first three-episode arc of Andor, the new Star Wars Original series now streaming on Disney+, we learned more about what drew the young man into the fight against the Empire, how he met his found family on Ferrix, and even stepped inside his childhood bedroom for a glimpse at what shaped Cassian’s youth.

Behind the scenes, star Diego Luna’s return to the role has been a journey six years in the making. After being cast in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Luna couldn’t have predicted that he’d have the chance to tell the origin story of Cassian Andor. “I’ve been involved as an executive producer, so I’ve been reading the material from the beginning,” Luna tells StarWars.com of the latest Star Wars live-action series. “And it’s been very important for me to understand the journey and what needs to happen this first year. It’s crucial. It’s the year where [Cassian’s] awakening begins.”

Since his arrival on screen, Andor has become a fan favorite, especially essential for viewers in the Hispanic community. “This character represents a lot. It’s important that we see ourselves on the screen, that we feel represented, that the stories we tell reflect the world that’s out there,” Luna says. “This role has been one of the most special journeys as an actor. It represents a lot in my life because it came at the right time…it helped me reconnect with my childhood, which is something very special. It’s really nice to be back.”

After proclaiming “I’ve been in this fight since I was six years old” in Rogue One, we now understand the quotable quote on a deeper level after witnessing Cassian, the Kenari refugee, survive among a tribe of youngsters before being rescued and raised by Maarva and Clem Andor. “He’s been migrating,” Luna says. “He’s a refugee, you know, he can’t go back to where he belongs. This story is going to tell us what he left behind because that is really important in his journey.”

That reflection of the character’s cultural heritage also holds a mirror to real-life experiences in the Latin American community, especially among Mexican-born Americans. “I think about the relation between Latin America and the [United] States and that huge border that separates Mexico from the States,” Luna says. “That energy is going to be represented in Cassian’s journey. The strength of community — that’s what this story is about! It’s about people that, by themselves, they can’t do anything. They don’t have Jedi powers. They’re just regular people.” But by pulling together, “they find their strength, and that to me is a beautiful thing to say today when communities need to step up. We seem to be so alienated from each other that we have to go back to find out…What’s going to save you, you know? I think that message is beautiful to send and this series is sending it. It has a connection with the world out there.”

Hear more from Diego Luna in a special interview in the latest episode of This Week! In Star Wars below.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is the author of the book Skywalker: A Family At War, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and an 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. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.

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Star Wars Inside Intel: Bounty Hunters

Wed, 09/28/2022 - 10:00

Star Wars Inside Intel is a StarWars.com feature where Lucasfilm’s Emily Shkoukani, whose job is to know as much about a galaxy far, far away as possible, explores obscure facts about Star Wars lore and continuity. In this installment, Emily explores bounty hunters…

As the Client perfectly articulates in The Mandalorian, “bounty hunting is a complicated profession.” The Star Wars galaxy is full of both admirable and nefarious characters, but bounty hunters straddle a delicate line between good and evil. The tactics and skills of each bounty hunter often define them and their value to potential employers. The most rudimentary definition of a bounty hunter is a person who’s hired to capture or kill a target and receives payment upon completion of the job, although it’s almost never that simple.

Bounty hunting can be broken down into three primary factors: the client, the target, and the hunter. The client identifies the target and sets the parameters (wanted dead, alive, etc.) and the hunter tracks the target down for the client. In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Senator Padmé Amidala finds herself the target of two bounty hunters — Jango Fett and Zam Wesell. Hired by Nute Gunray of the Trade Federation, the Neimoidian clung to his grudge against Amidala following the Trade Federation’s defeat on Naboo and attempted to have her killed as part of his agreement to join the escalating Separatist movement. Fett and Wesell were unsuccessful, however.

The Guild

Bounty hunters have the option to conduct their business independently or as part of the formal Bounty Hunters Guild. The Guild is responsible for moderating, regulating, and distributing bounties to members of its organization. But while the Guild exists, it’s not required that a hunter be affiliated with it, nor is it necessary for a client to use the Guild’s services and members. Senator Amidala being a high-profile target meant Nute Gunray took precautions to avoid the intended assassination leading back to him; therefore, the use of independent hunters was necessary to carry out the kill discreetly. Some consider this type of job “assassin work.” but to reiterate the Client’s statement, bounty hunting is a complicated profession.

In Season 1 of The MandalorianToro Calican seeks Guild membership and believes capturing wanted assassin Fennec Shand will prove his worth. On top of an impressive resume, joining the Guild can also require dues in order to obtain the benefits that the organization offers, such as exclusive bounties, tracking fobs, and job security.

After joining the guild, there are various ways a bounty hunter can check for bounty postings. Bounties can be posted on communications boards or found on bounty pucks, which are typically distributed by Guild contractors such as Greef Karga.

Bounty pucks, sometimes called holopucks, contain bounty information. The puck emits a hologram profile of the target including an image and name (if available). A puck will also list if the target is wanted dead, alive, or either, as well as the associated reward.

The return of tracking fobs issued by authorized Guild agents is sometimes part of the proof required to secure payment in addition to the bounty itself. These compact, short-range sensor units, keyed to a target’s unique identification, are usually provided to hunters by Guild agents or clients, and provide extra security to the client, who can be sure that the target brought in matches the information on the fob. 

The Guild has established and enforced rules for its members such as delivering targets as stated in the bounty (dead, alive, etc.), maintaining any necessary confidentiality, and more. Although most hunters abide by these terms, the consequences for breaking them differs based on whether a hunter is a member of the Guild. Guild hunters could potentially lose their membership or face penalties and fees. Rule breakers who were unaffiliated could either get away with it or face other consequences that a client or crime syndicate might uphold, depending on who’s affected.

Going it Alone

It’s not required of a bounty hunter to be part of the Guild, and independent hunters are just as common as Guild hunters. Most, if not all bounty hunters start out independent and it’s entirely up to them whether they remain independent or join the Guild. While the Guild does offer perks such as exclusive bounties and flashy gadgets, the pros of being an independent bounty hunter is that there are no Guild dues or requirements to become a hunter, and generally a full cut of the bounty.

Independent bounty hunters rely on finding bounties through different means than what the Guild offers its members. However, these means are also available to Guild members, since they typically consist of public information. Bounties could be posted on bulletins and posters, through contractors, or they could be made verbally.

Bounties posted through bulletins and posters have various sources of origins. The bounty could be a local lawbreaker on the run or a big-time target that evaded capture (like Han Solo). These types of postings are usually found in bars or plastered on walls of towns where the bounty is wanted.

Getting the Job

Contractors, also known as “bounty brokers,” accumulate and distribute active bounties to hunters. While contractors could be affiliated with the Guild, some worked independently. Greef Karga was a contractor for the Guild on Nevarro, while Syphacc was an independent contractor who ran his operation under the title “Syphacc’s Bountiful Bounties” alongside the motto “Dead or alive… Doesn’t matter to us.”

Verbal agreements typically imply an unsavory job for bounty hunters. Nute Gunray opted to discuss the terms of his bounty on Senator Amidala this way, avoiding a paper trail (or “data trail”) that could lead back to him. Another reason for a client to opt for this route is urgency. When Darth Vader believes he’s closing in on Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the Empire discreetly contacts a lineup of bounty hunters; Vader identifies the target and sets the parameters — no disintegrations.

Some bounty hunters work for criminal syndicates and organizations. The Hutt Clan was most notorious for hiring bounty hunters to operate within their organization. Hunters such as Cad Bane, Sugi, Embo, and Boba Fett were all at one time or another working for the Hutt Clan. Syndicates most often employ bounty hunters as a form of insurance. If someone crossed the organization, or cost it profits, a bounty would quickly be placed on their head.

Bringing in the Target

The tactics to ensnare a bounty vary depending on both the hunter and the target. A hunter may have a signature tactic for capturing bounties, but some more elusive bounties may require hunters to think differently about how to trap or kill them. Bounty hunters are often equipped with an array of gadgets that complement their hunting style. In his prime as a bounty hunter, the Kyuzo Embo was formidable. Upon tracking a bounty, Embo used his arsenal of weapons, including his bowcaster and signature helmet, which he used as both a weapon and shield, to capture bounties.

Some bounty hunters work in groups. Embo was once affiliated with a handful of groups, including the Krayt’s Claw, the Hutt Clan, Cad Bane’s group, and more. Each group is unique and can apply whatever rules they want to one another. Although typically formed with good intentions, greed or other extraneous circumstances can sometimes get in the way of a group’s operations and cause strife. There are pros and cons to bounty hunter groups. Some of the pros include higher chance of success and a wider range of skills; cons include sharing profits and internal tension.

In Marvel’s Star Wars: Bounty Hunters series, Nakano Lash runs a bounty hunting group during the Dark Times that includes discharged Imperial Beilert Valance, twins T’ongor and T’onga, and the Trandoshan Bossk. Each member offers the group something unique, like Bossk’s inherent tracking skills, and Valance’s impressive combat prowess. 

Bounty hunters are some of the galaxy’s most diverse professionals, each one with varying motivations and tactics. From their lethal skills to their questionable morals, they keep the Star Wars galaxy interesting.

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Emily Shkoukani is a jr. creative executive at Lucasfilm who helps to maintain the lore and continuity of the Star Wars galaxy. And sometimes, they write for StarWars.com!

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5 Highlights from Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return

Wed, 09/28/2022 - 08:00

The Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series gave us a long-awaited look at what Obi-Wan was up to in the years between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope. It was an emotional, action-filled story, and now we have a VIP pass behind the scenes.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return, now streaming on Disney+, chronicles the making of the series with new interviews, visits to the creature shop, and much more; we’re treated to anecdotes, stories, and memories for what seems like a meaningful journey for all involved. Here are five highlights.

1. Deborah Chow’s influences in making Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Star Wars has seen influences from all kinds of sources, including samurai films, Westerns, and beyond. As revealed in Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return, director Deborah Chow found lots of inspiration in films she grew up watching with her dad, as well as from her own relationship with him.

“One of the things that really drew me to the project was the father-daughter story of it all. Because my dad, growing up, he was a very pivotal person for me,” Chow said. “He used to watch a ton of Asian action films. So I think I absorbed a lot from that and just the speed and the imagination that a lot of the Asian martial arts films have, and the legacy of people like Kurosawa and sort of the grandmasters like Jet Li.”

2. Ewan McGregor’s enthusiasm in revisiting Obi-Wan’s story.

Of all those who wanted to see more of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor was certainly leading the pack. McGregor shared how he was interested in revisiting Obi-Wan’s story for years leading up to the series announcement, always intrigued by the idea of what had happened to him after the encounter with his former apprentice on Mustafar.

“I started speaking with people at Disney a long time ago. I always thought it would be interesting to take a character that we sort of know and love as being one way and show him in defeat,” McGregor said. “I just said, ‘I just feel like it’s an interesting story about a man who’s broken and lost his faith.’”

3. Creature feature.

Practical effects were visible throughout the entire documentary — from small props that were used in the first scenes featuring Obi-Wan working on Tatooine, to larger aliens and creatures that are spotted in the background of the show. Including one very tall, furry creature that makes use of some serious stilt walking.

Chow said she was a big fan of the Muppets growing up in a brief segment where we get a close look at some of the numerous alien prosthetics that were used, noting how much she really loves the various creatures in Star Wars and how they help create a special world on set.

4. Hayden Christensen’s return to set.

A big part of the anticipation behind Obi-Wan Kenobi was seeing Hayden Christensen return to Star Wars as Darth Vader. That excitement was noticeable from cast and crew, as well as Christensen himself, as he talked about his return. 

The first day on set saw Christensen back in costume as Anakin Skywalker circa Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; as he got ready to shoot, Christensen shared that Ewan McGregor had already finished his work for the day, and was supposed to be heading home. Instead, McGregor chose to stick around.

“I was looking for him… They’re like, ‘He’s standing by the camera for your eye line.’ And they pointed off way in the distance, 200-300 feet away,” Christensen said. “I shouted to him. I was like, ‘Obi-Wan!’ I saw a hand go up and then I really felt his presence.”

5. Deborah Chow and Hayden Christensen’s collaboration.

It’s clear that Obi-Wan Kenobi involved a lot of collaboration on the part of the cast and crew. And that aspect from the production can be seen in Deborah Chow and Hayden Christensen working together on how to best bring Darth Vader back to the screen. 

“Deborah just had so much insight,” Christensen said. “It was clear that she felt a great responsibility to this character, as I do. And so we just knew we had to get this right.”

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Paige Lyman is a freelance writer and culture journalist who covers video games, entertainment, Internet culture, and more regularly for outlets like Digital Trends and Wired. She’s loved Star Wars since she was a kid and regularly convinces friends to watch the animated series. She loves iced coffee, video games, music, working out, cosplay, and traveling. She also has a soft spot for Han Solo, in all his nerfherder glory.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #Disney+, #ObiWanKenobi

Andor Analyzed: 5 Highlights from Episode 3, “Reckoning”

Tue, 09/27/2022 - 07:55

The rebellion has begun! Andor is now streaming on Disney+, following the fan-favorite rebel in a tale set five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and we’re watching. Join StarWars.com every week for Andor Analyzed, in which we list the best moments from each episode.

Spoiler warning: This article contains story details and plot points from the third episode of Andor, “Reckoning.”

Sometimes, nothing goes as planned. For anyone.

In the third episode of Andor, “Reckoning,” the obsessed Pre-Mor Deputy Inspector Syril Karn finally leads his strike team to Ferrix, looking to bring in Cassian Andor. Meanwhile, Andor gets his meeting with Luthen Rael, looking to unload his stolen NP-95 Starpath to the mysterious buyer. As events converge, mistakes are made on both sides, leaving devastation and changing the lives of all involved. “Reckoning” is a satisfying conclusion to what feels like a first act of the series, but it smartly sends heroes, villains, and those in-between off in new, unexpected directions. Here are five highlights.

1. Anger unleashed.

The episode begins with a flashback on Kenari, as young Cassian enters the downed transport glimpsed in previous episodes. All he finds is death — and an outlet for his anger, as he bashes away at everything in the control room, directed at those who’ve killed some of his friends, possibly his parents, and despoiled his planet. Though tragic, it shows how seeds were planted that would make him, eventually, a rebel.

2. “They can’t imagine it. That someone like me would ever get inside their house.”

Cassian’s explanation of how he stole the NP-5 Starpath from the Empire is simple but believable. And it rings true enough that Luthen Rael, Bix’s rebel contact, offers him a chance at something bigger.

3. Battle in the warehouse.

How do you make a regular shootout more exciting? Easy: throw in some heavy machinery attached to pulleys and drop them from the ceiling. An inventive, memorable action set piece that still feels grounded, the sequence illustrates the messiness of Pre-Mor’s operation, Luthen’s incisive leadership, and Andor’s keen survival instinct.

4. “That’s what a reckoning sounds like.”

The people of Ferrix come together, banging pots and pans as an alarm, and it’s clear the Pre-Mor team of wannabe stormtroopers is in over their heads. 

5. No turning back.

The episode ends with a powerful intercutting of images showing the ramifications of Pre-Mor’s debacle of a mission. Deputy Inspector Syril Karn is shellshocked, Bix heartbroken. But Cassian seems ready for a new beginning, heading toward the sun as we see, in a flashback, he once did as a child when rescued from Kenari. A sobering moment following the episode’s frantic events, the mix of somberness and hope reflects the complex new realities for all involved.

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Dan Brooks is a writer and the senior editor of StarWars.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks.

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Andor Analyzed: 5 Highlights from Episode 2, “That Would Be Me”

Tue, 09/27/2022 - 07:50

The rebellion has begun! Andor is now streaming on Disney+, following the fan-favorite rebel in a tale set five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and we’re watching. Join StarWars.com every week for Andor Analyzed, in which we list the best moments from each episode.

Spoiler warning: This article contains story details and plot points from the second episode of Andor, “That Would Be Me.”

We finally understand what Cassian Andor meant when he said he’s been in this fight since he was six years old.

In the second episode of Andor, we step back in time to meet a young Cassian — or Kassa — on his native planet while simultaneously exploring a looming present-day threat to his adopted homeworld. His search for his sister is endangering the only family he’s ever truly known — his mother Maarva and their friends on Fennix. Here are five highlights.

1. Strip-mined Kenari.

We only get a glimpse at the devastation of Cassian’s homeworld that has left a group of children to fend for themselves. In the sweeping vista, we see the aftermath of an industrial mining disaster. There’s no movement or hint of life returning to the heart of the destruction. It’s a shadow of things to come from a regime far more concerned with accumulating power and resources than with the safety and security of the people in the galaxy.

2. “I messed up.”

In a heartbreaking moment between mother and son, Cassian confesses to Maarva after the Pre-Mor bulletin outs him as a child of Kenari — despite a meticulous data trail of official records that have previously always said Fest. In the tense exchange, it’s clear how much they care for each other and how well the stern yet maternal Maarva knows her child, as she patiently waits for her son to admit what she already knows.

3. Syril Karn finds an ally in Sgt. Linus Mosk.

Karn’s fanaticism for the rules of Pre-Mor and, by extension, the Empire set him apart. But in Linus Mosk, he finds a friend and ally who stokes his beliefs rather than dismissing them. “Pockets are fomenting,” Mosk tells him. And thanks to Timm’s tip-off, they have the lead to bring down one rogue. 

4. Enter Luthen Rael.

We don’t know much about the mysterious man played by Stellan Skarsgaard. But from the moment he arrives in his sleek ship, we can’t wait to learn more. 

5. Kids vs. crash.

The leader of young Kassa’s tribe bravely forges ahead alone at the crash site, poking at the bodies of the fallen passengers with her staff. But in quick succession, she falls and the tribe must rally, in a battle of blasters versus blowdarts, to bring down her assailant. While the rest retreat in mourning, Andor’s anger at the situation boils over. 

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Associate Editor Kristin Baver is the author of the book Skywalker: A Family At War, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and an 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. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.

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Andor Analyzed: 5 Highlights from Episode 1, “Kassa”

Tue, 09/27/2022 - 07:45

The rebellion has begun! Andor is now streaming on Disney+, following the fan-favorite rebel in a tale set five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and we’re watching. Join StarWars.com every week for Andor Analyzed, in which we list the best moments from each episode.

Spoiler warning: This article contains story details and plot points from the first episode of Andor, “Kassa.”

Cassian Andor’s journey — to rebellion, to becoming a selfless hero — has begun.

In the highly-anticipated series premiere of Andor, the titular character is not yet the man we meet in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This Andor fights for no cause. He acts alone. He burns bridges. But the seeds of who he’ll become are there. Here are five highlights from the grounded first episode of Andor.

1. Deadly encounter.

There’s an uneasy tension from the first frame of Andor, and it reaches its peak in this confrontation. Two drunken Pre-Mor sentry guards follow Cassian (who had been looking for his sister) from a brothel, seizing upon a perceived slight to exercise their authority; whether they plan on killing him, Cassian doesn’t wait to find out. The sense of dread deflates, but a new one rises as we know Cassian’s in trouble. As a tonal setup for the state of the galaxy and the series at large, this sequence is startlingly effective — and Andor is off and running.

2. Meet B2EMO, the galaxy’s newest lovable droid.

Who knew a red box could be so charming? From design to expressiveness, it’s hard not to love B2EMO, or “Bee,” who displays both warmth and protectiveness when it comes to Cassian. (And good for him, refusing to be a galactic fire hydrant to a space doggo.)

3. The hunt begins.

Cassian’s act on Morlana One has attracted some unwanted attention; unfortunately for Andor, it comes from the ambitious true believer Syril Karn. A Pre-Mor deputy inspector, Karn sees the danger in allowing Cassian to get away with his crime and can’t let it go, taking the investigation upon himself. Almost immediately, he’s a villain you love to hate — unflinching and smug, with a heaping dose of self-righteousness.

4. “Now, go fix your face.”

Bix and Cassian clearly have history — along with a side hustle — and it’s not all good. Though Bix’s patience with him seems to have been worn thin, their friendship shines through.

5. Glimpses of the past.

Flashbacks to another world, later revealed to be Kenari, focus on what seems to be a small tribe of children and teens — including a young Cassian, then known as “Kassa,” and his sister, Kerri. Sprinkled throughout the episode, they’re a fascinating window into his previously unseen early life and what could be a pivotal moment in who he’d become, as he joins the party that goes to investigate a crashed ship. But it’s the bond between Cassian and his sister that stands out, connecting back to his search for her as an adult in the opening sequence.

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Dan Brooks is a writer and the senior editor of StarWars.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks.

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LEGO Star Wars BD-1: 4 Things We Love About the New Droid Set

Mon, 09/26/2022 - 10:00

There are a lot of reasons to love Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The story is compelling, the gameplay is fun and rich. However, if you’re like me, the absolute best part of the game came in the form of Cal Kestis’ pint-sized little droid buddy, BD-1. He’s adorable, a fount of useful knowledge about Cal’s world, and extremely helpful in some sticky combat situations. In a galaxy of some truly remarkable droid friends, BD-1 ranks right up there among the best of the best. There’s no better partner a Jedi in hiding could possibly ask for.

That’s why when the LEGO Group announced its BD-1 back at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 earlier this year, I immediately pre-ordered him and then began counting down the days until his release several months later. His eventual arrival in August was the Star Wars event of the summer in this household; here are four reasons BD-1 was worth the wait and is an excellent LEGO set.

1. He’s beginner friendly!

While I’ve always enjoyed building with LEGO bricks, I’ve never been an avid collector or builder. Most of my experience has been with LEGO sets that are Microfighter sets. Picking up a larger one can feel intimidating for someone who doesn’t build them regularly. Not so with BD-1! While the instruction booklet does seem intimidating at first due to its size, the instructions were clear and easy enough to follow without much trouble. This is notable, especially given how the vast majority of pieces are white, red, black, or shades of gray and could easily be confused for similarly sized or shaped pieces. When mistakes are made because of the builder’s own error, they’re simple enough to correct, which is part of the joy of LEGO building. (However, BD-1 is still complicated enough that more experienced LEGO fans will appreciate the build process.)

2. It’s the perfect sized project.

With 1,062 pieces in the box, BD-1 is the sort of LEGO set that requires far more of a time commitment than one of the aforementioned smaller Microfighter builds, but he also doesn’t require days upon days or even weeks like the truly large-scale sets. The box is comprised of six large bags of pieces that could easily turn this into a week’s project for someone looking for a way to relax or destress after a long day at work or school. As a casual LEGO aficionado, it took me two nights of approximately two to three hours each to put this little buddy together, with the last three bags going faster than the first three.

3. His poseability adds to his sense of realism.

Maybe he can’t do the cute little tippy-taps like his on-screen counterpart, but BD-1’s head is poseable, and you can choose your favorite tilted angle for maximum cuteness. Even his little antennas rotate back and forth with the semblance of ears. What truly gives him a certain sense of life (even though your brain knows he’s still only made of plastic bricks) is how his little head wobbles as you change around his pose or when you gently boop his head. Which brings us to how…

4. This set is the closest most of us can get to having our very own BD-1.

One of the things that originally drew me to the set was how it’s fairly close to the actual size of BD-1. While the in-galaxy BD-1 isn’t built of plastic bricks, LEGO designers did an impressive job with designing this build so that at a quick glance one might not even realize he’s a LEGO set. In the week since I completed the build, BD-1 sat on my coffee table and has done a very good job of keeping me company while I work.

Technology in our world might still be pretty far away from making droids like those in Star Wars a reality. But in the meantime, this LEGO Star Wars set is a pretty decent substitute for those who’d love to have BD-1 as a companion.

LEGO Star Wars BD-1 is available now.

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Bria LaVorgna is a writer who doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t love Star Wars. She also really loves Alderaan, Doctor Aphra, and Inferno Squad. You can follow her on Twitter @chaosbria.

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The Mysterious “Mother” Seeks to Liberate the Force in The High Republic: Path of Deceit – Exclusive Excerpt

Mon, 09/26/2022 - 08:00

Not everyone views the Force like the Jedi and Sith.

Phase II of Star Wars: The High Republic is almost here, kicking off with Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton’s Path of Deceit, arriving October 4. The YA novel goes back 150 years before the events of Phase I, introducing two new Jedi Knights — Zallah Macri and her Padawan, Kevmo Zink — as they head to an Outer Rim world, Dalna, to investigate the missionary group called the Path of the Open Hand. The Path members believe the Force is owned by no one, and not to be wielded in the manner of the Jedi Order.

In StarWars.com’s exclusive reveal of the prologue from Path of Deceit, a treasure hunter comes to Dalna for a meeting with “the Mother” — leader of the Path of the Open Hand who is seeking objects connected to the Force…

Radicaz Dobbs, known as Sunshine to his friends and far worse to his enemies, landed his decrepit pleasure yacht in the docking yard on Dalna, a nothing planet in a nowhere part of space. The frontier was full of hardship and scarcity, but Sunshine had never seen such a terrible docking yard. The area was little more than a mudhole, and the dockmaster hadn’t bothered giving him coordinates but instead mumbled through the staticky comms something that sounded like “Set it down anywhere” as Sunshine cleared the upper atmosphere. “Anywhere” being a large open area that looked like the aftermath of a bantha herd migration. As Sunshine set down his ship, the Scupper, he wondered just how there could be a collector of rare Force-related artifacts in such a miserable outpost. But he did not think on it too long. Credits were credits, no matter where they came from.

The ship touched down without incident, and thanks to its decrepit appearance it wouldn’t attract much attention, not even in the most pitiful excuse for a dockyard Sunshine had ever seen. And if the dockmaster did a random inspection, they would find nothing amiss. The inside of the Scupper was no more impressive than the outside. The deck was old and scuffed, and there was a peculiar smell that never really came out, no matter how many times Sunshine had his maintenance droid, DZ-23, scrub the walls. But the disrepair hid powerful sublight engines, a number of coded safes, and a cutting-edge databank and navicomputer. Sunshine liked to keep ahead of the competition, no matter the role he was playing.

Once Sunshine had landed the ship and tucked away some of the rarer artifacts destined for better buyers, he packed up the remaining items and wrapped them carefully before placing them in a knapsack. He wouldn’t take in all his loot at once, only a few items at a time. He might be rather new at fencing items, it being just one of the many things he did to get by, but he was a quick study. It was a rathtareat-rathtar galaxy, and Sunshine was determined to stay off the menu.

He was just about ready to go when there was a sudden pounding on the outside of his ship. Sunshine punched in the code and the boarding ramp lowered, the stabilizing legs at the end settling with a squelching sound that made Sunshine shudder. When he peered down to see who had been hammering the side of his ship, he saw a massive Nautolan dressed in strange blue-and-gray robes, blue paint smeared across his brow and decorating his hands and bare arms. But that wasn’t the most noticeable thing about the man: his head tentacles had been shorn away, leaving behind blunted and unnatural stumps. It was a brutal reminder that despite the man’s kind smile, the galaxy, and its citizens, could be very, very violent.

“You must be Sunshine,” the Nautolan said, holding his palms to the sky and bowing low. “I am delighted to make your acquaintance. You may call me the Herald.”

Sunshine felt a deep sense of unease. “How did you know who I am?”

A smile tugged at the man’s lips briefly before disappearing, and when he straightened, his large liquid black eyes held not a bit of guile. “The Mother asked me to meet you here. She dislikes Ferdan and avoids the city as much as possible. Being around so many living things can sometimes affect her ability to commune with the Force. If you’ll follow me?”

Sunshine did not want to follow the Nautolan, but the woman he’d exchanged messages with had promised quite the payday if he was able to provide interesting artifacts. So Sunshine, who had a very large bill coming due to the Hutt Cartel for some gambling debts, touched his waistband to ensure his blaster was still there before following the Herald.

“Our compound is not far,” the Herald said, leading the way to a slightly less muddy road out of the small settlement.

“We’re leaving Ferdan?” Sunshine asked.

“Yes. Our people’s compound is outside of the city.”

“This is what passes for a city here?” Sunshine said, looking at the people watching them go. For the most part the residents did not seem to mind their passing, but there were a few who stopped and made a sign Sunshine recognized from the rykestra tables as meant to ward away bad luck. He hefted his knapsack and glanced at the Herald.

“Yes. Dalna is peaceful and sparsely populated. That is why we, the Path of the Open Hand, chose this place as our home. There is very little in the way of distractions. You’ll want to hurry, though. This is the rainy season, and during this time of year you’re likely to get soaked if you dally outside too long.”

Sunshine tried to walk faster, but he was short and stout, and the Nautolan was tall and massively built. By the time the first buildings belonging to the Path came into view, he was huffing, and despite the Herald offering a number of times to take his knapsack, Sunshine still gripped it tight. There was something about this strange man and the odd reactions of the people of Ferdan that had set Sunshine on edge.

When Sunshine and his guide rounded a gentle curve in the muddy road, a knot of people waited for them, all of them wearing garments similar to the Herald’s. Sunshine realized there was a pattern to their garb, with some wearing more blue than gray and the older members having more ornamentation, including oddly beaded necklaces and rich blue face paint. The lone human among the group, a brown-skinned woman with soft curls and bright eyes, wore silver, the cut of her robes noticeably better than the others. Her smile was calm and welcoming.

“Sunshine Dobbs, the Force welcomes you freely,” she said, doing an abbreviated version of the Herald’s bow: hands open, palms held to the sky. She did not bend at the waist or close her eyes. Instead she merely inclined her head toward Sunshine, her eyes locked on his.

Sunshine blinked, forgetting himself for a moment. His wariness melted away. “Ah, you must be the Mother.”

“Please. Call me Elecia. The Mother is a title, not the name I go by.” She flashed a smile, and a warm sensation began to spread through Sunshine, like when he’d had a bit too much to drink. “These are some of our Elders. They assist me in making difficult decisions.”

“Ah, there are no hard choices to be made here,” Sunshine said, sensing an opportunity. He hefted his knapsack and grinned. “Every artifact I have is a delight to behold, and resonates with the Force in every imaginable way.”

Elecia’s smile widened. “Oh, I certainly hope so. Come, you must be exhausted after such a long trip. We have some refreshments in our main hall.”

They made their way through the compound, and Sunshine only vaguely noticed the children playing in the grass, all of them smaller copies of the adults: robes in blue and gray, blue face paint. There were older kids lying around, boys and girls talking to one another, and a group of younger kids played a complicated game of keeping a small sack aloft within a circle without using their hands. It would seem so utterly normal if it wasn’t for the strange clothing and face paint. But despite the novelty of it all, Sunshine found his gaze returning again and again to the Mother. So much so that one of the Elders, an elderly Twi’lek woman with wizened lekku, noticed and smiled at him.

“She is beautiful, is she not?” she said.

“Uh, I, yes. Yes, she is.”

“It is because the Force shines through her,” the woman said. “She speaks for it, and in exchange the Force blesses her with poise and beauty.”

Sunshine frowned. “Is she a Jedi?” he asked. He didn’t much care for Jedi and their mind tricks. The old woman hissed and drew back. “No! The Mother is a prophet. She understands the Force must be free, not wielded as a weapon.”

“Here we are,” Elecia said, turning back over her shoulder to smile at Sunshine. “Elders, I would ask you to join us but you should see to your meditation. The Herald will brief you on what is decided after, if that is okay?”

One by one the Elders nodded and peeled off from the group, walking toward the entrance to a cavern. Elecia turned back to him.

“I hope you don’t mind. I figured it would be nice to have some privacy.”

“Oh, um, yes,” he said, words failing him. There was something quite intoxicating about the woman, so much so that he found it difficult to hold a thought in his head. Perhaps it was the planet. The air smelled sweet and fresh, and flowers bowed their heads in the breeze. It was an idyllic setting, to say the least, and Sunshine found his attention wandering. He wanted to stay here, in this lovely place with this lovely woman. Just the thought of leaving seemed impossible.

But then the Mother touched the back of his hand, and the strange sensation disappeared, bursting like a popped bubble. “Mr. Dobbs, are you okay?”

“Sunshine, Miss Elecia,” he said with an uncertain smile.

“Sorry, I wasn’t myself for a moment.”

“Sun sickness,” the Herald said with a definite nod. “It happens sometimes. The dual suns of Dalna can be a bit strong to those who haven’t lived in such an unrelenting light.”

“Let us hurry inside to conduct these matters,” the Mother said. “There are some refreshments that should help you feel better.”

They entered the meeting house, which was, like the rest of the compound, clean and well maintained but completely unadorned. There were designs set into the walls with a strange rock, but nothing more. Sunshine had expected something like the Jedi Temple on Coruscant: spires and paintings and the like. He had gone once when he was young, although he couldn’t remember why or with whom. He just remembered feeling small.

But the Path didn’t make him feel the same way. Instead he felt warm and welcomed, like discovering his family after a very, very long time. There was a bare table set aside, and the Herald indicated it with a sweep of his hand.

“You may place your wares here while I fetch the refreshments,” he said. As he moved away the Mother came over to inspect the items one by one as they were laid out. Sunshine tried to say nothing and focus on laying out the items, but the Mother made him nervous, and when he was nervous he had a tendency to ramble.

“So, you’re a Force user?” he began. The Mother frowned, and he immediately sensed it was the wrong thing to say.

“No, I am a prophet. I do not use the Force. I commune with it and try to share its will with all those who will listen.”

“Oh. The Herald said you disliked town because it has too many people.”

The Mother picked up a bracelet, frowned at it, and immediately put it back. “The Force is life itself, and being around too much of it can be draining.” She paused for a moment, as though considering. “Imagine a crowded room, with everyone yelling at each other in myriad languages. That is what traveling to a town is like for me. Noisy. Chaotic. Not pleasant at all. It’s why I prefer to stay here, where I can commune with the Force in a more manageable way. Even better is to be out amongst the stars, on our ship, the Gaze Electric. There it is only the harmony of the galaxy, the Force and its beautiful inhalations and exhalations.”

Sunshine paused, watching the Mother as she spoke, her eyes shining. He felt something in him shift, and he knew that he would work very hard to make this woman happy. And that was that. A smile from her would be enough.

But then the Mother was frowning at him. “Are you okay? You have a very strange expression on your face.”

Before he could answer, the Herald returned with a tray, two glasses of tea upon it. The Herald handed one to Sunshine and another to the Mother, but made it clear he would not partake of the refreshments. Once each had a glass, the towering Nautolan cleared his throat.

“This is an impressive set of artifacts, but I do not think it is what we are looking for. We originally contacted you looking for an artifact known as the Rod of Ages. It is part of a set. There are two others: the Rod of Seasons, owned by the Hynestian royal family, and the Rod of Daybreak, which is rumored to be secured in a museum on Jedha.”

“Ah, yes, yes.” Sunshine drank deeply of the tea before turning once more to the wares he had laid out. It was mostly baubles and bits. Junk, really. But he’d counted on these backwater denizens not knowing the difference. “I am afraid that is pretty much a thing of legend. But! I do have a very nice bracelet here rumored to have been owned by a Lord of the Sith.”

“These are not what we are looking for,” the Mother said, disappointment clear in her voice. “Our group aims to liberate the Force in all ways, and that includes by obtaining Force artifacts so that they can no longer be abused. I am so sorry you wasted your time coming all the way out here. You were swindled. None of these items echo with the Force.”

Sunshine frowned. He could feel his opportunity slipping away. “Are you sure? This chalice, at least? It belonged to a Jedi who single-handedly ended a planetary civil war!”

The Mother gave him a sad smile, as though he were a child protesting an early bedtime. “I am quite sure. Don’t worry, we will still cover your fuel costs as agreed.”

“Wait! I have one item you haven’t seen.” Sunshine hefted the knapsack. He’d brought the jewel on a whim, since it was the oddest item in the collection. “This came from a far-off planet, on the other side of a maelstrom. An uncharted wonder of a planet, full of life, ruled by the Force.”

The Mother raised her eyebrows. “Truly?”

“Yes,” Sunshine said, pulling forth the jewel from his bag. It was grotesque in its size, with roughly the heft of an overweight tooka cat. Too big for jewelry, too gaudy to be a statement piece. More than that, the few people he’d tried to sell it to had been repulsed by the thing, as though it were something foul instead of a luminous purple orb.

But the Mother gasped aloud as she saw it fully revealed from the depths of the knapsack.

“Oh, yes.” She took the object as if it weighed very little, and her face became rapturous as she cradled it to her chest. “It sings with the Force, alive and wondrous! Oh, the Force delights in this liberation. We shall take it, Sunshine. Please, name your price.”

Sunshine blinked, and he realized that he didn’t want to leave. Not yet. There was something about this woman that was good and true and honest, and while Sunshine had always wanted to be good, he had never had much use for honesty.

“Perhaps, in exchange, you could allow me to help you locate more of these Force artifacts. Help you liberate the Force.” The Mother frowned, and he realized that he hadn’t actually asked for anything for the strange jewel. “For a small finder’s fee, of course.”

There was a pause, where Sunshine thought perhaps he had overstepped. But then the Mother smiled—at him! Only him!—and he realized he’d been terrified that she would say no.

“Sunshine, that is a very good idea. It will be a delight to work with you.”

Sunshine smiled. All this time he had been looking for a place where he felt wanted, and he had finally found it on a nothing planet in a nothing part of the galaxy.

Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit arrives October 4 and is available for pre-order now.

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