It’s Time for the Jedi to End

I’m back. At least, I think I am. The move is done, we are (slowly) settling in and I’m beginning to enjoy life once more without feeling completely overwhelmed. We love our new neighborhood and new house…but goodness, we do not want to move ever again.

I watched the TLJ trailer another time and I began thinking about when Luke says, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

I’ve mentioned before here that I do not actually believe that line will have much context within the movie. I think that it’s more along the lines of what happened when Luke went to train with Yoda: Yoda did not want to train him and gave many excuses before accepting him. I think Rey will show up and ask to be trained, he will give the history of why he went into seclusion and tell her he believes the line of Jedi should end with himself as he no longer wants to train future Jedi. (But he’ll be convinced to train Rey because she is awesome)

It got me thinking, however.

What if there were no Jedi? Kind of like how we were made to believe in ANH, but even more so.

What if we started with a blank slate with the Force? What would the galaxy look like?

Current canon is stuck in a bit of a rut as they try to figure out how to create an explanation of the Force that fits with the Original Trilogy and the Prequels. In the OT, Obi-Wan explains the Force as,

..an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.

We then jump to the Prequel Trilogy and have Qui-Gon explaining to us a scientific reason for the Force: there are a bunch of cells-within-cells (midi-chlorians) that are intelligent and work with the Force, which then allows some beings to access the Force’s powers if they are more sensitive to the Force.

Here’s where the explanation gets a bit murky. When trying to combine both of these understandings, you are left with questions of:

  1. Can anyone access the Force and does everyone have some form of midi-chlorians within themselves, or
  2. Do some beings not have any midi-chlorians at all, or
  3. If everyone has midi-chlorians, is it possible to have a high count and not be Force-sensitive?

Because looking at the OT explanation, we see that the Force was in all living things – this included nature. And the PT explanation is not specific enough to tell us if every single being has midi-chlorians residing within themselves.

The way I interpret it is (and I believe this is correct from what I’ve read online) that everyone has midi-cholorians within them but not everyone can access them to use the Force. Some people have more midi-chlorians and some have less. Those that have a lot, or more, tend to be Force sensitive and channel it’s powers even if they don’t know what they are doing.

The perfect example of this would be Anakin when we met him in TPM. As we know, he had the highest midi-chlorian count known at that point, yet he was still able to harness it and see things before they happen, though he never had formal training. It made him a good podracer.

If this is what we are working off of, the example of someone like Anakin at age 9, what would happen if there were no Jedi and no Sith in the galaxy?

It’s an interesting thought that I’ve been mulling over in my head the past few weeks.

Would the galaxy instead be controlled by beings who have the Force and not know it (but have an inkling)? Would they use their power to manipulate and control those around them and make their way to the top of the government through coercion? Would the entire government be held by Force users who would either use their power for good or evil?

If only certain people were Force sensitive, where would it take them? Not everyone would want to be in the government.

Would it turn into anarchy, with those using the Force for good or evil but not knowing how or why they had those special abilities?

Or, would there be those few who figure it out and create something like an Order anyway – and perhaps inevitably it would turn into light and dark side factions?

 

Knowing what we do about the galaxy, what do you think would happen if there were actually no Jedi or Sith but the Force existed?

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Book Review: Thrawn

He’s back! A favorite character of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe, now Legends, has been recreated in this new novel by the one and only Timothy Zahn.  I believe Thrawn was one of the greatest disappointments to numerous fans when Disney announced that the EU was no longer going to be canon.  Thrawn is amazing.  Seriously.  His tactical genius made him a beloved character, up there with Mara Jade.  Even fans who were not into the novels, had a general idea of who Thrawn was.

I can speak for a lot of fans that when Thrawn was announced as a new character in Star Wars Rebels, fans were delighted. Then they announced a new book with him as well written by Zahn and the fans went nuts.

This new novel is an origin story of Thrawn. It shows how he came to work with the Empire and evolve into one of the greatest strategist’s and commanders (or Grand Admiral) of the Empire’s fleet, overcoming obstacles along the way.  His chief obstacle was that he is an alien and as the Empire is, you know, kind of prejudiced against aliens, it’s quite a feat that he makes it as far as he does.

 

***spoilers ahead***

 

The novel starts with Thrawn being rescued by the Empire from being exiled by his native Chiss species. I use the word “rescued” loosely because Thrawn purposefully drew them to him to board their ships and let himself be seen and caught by them and we find out later, in typical Thrawn style, that it was never a rescue at all – he had planned everything. On the ship, he encounters a young man Eli Vanto, who is on the road to becoming a supply chain officer. Vanto helps translate for Thrawn at times since his Basic is rusty and also because Vanto was also brought up in the Outer Rim (therefore also slightly disliked by others because he is “backwater”). Thrawn immediately gets taken to Emperor Palpatine who puts him into the Imperial Academy on a fast track with Vanto.

Throughout the novel, Vanto remains at Thrawn’s side through the academy, to commanding posts, and missions. Thrawn sees potential in Eli though it takes a long time for Eli to also see it. Half of the novel follows Eli regretting that he ever met Thrawn as he only wants a quiet life in the supply department.

As a side story, we are introduced to Arihnda Pryce, whom we have also seen from Star Wars Rebels. Her path intersects with Thrawn’s later down the line but we get a fleshed out backstory for her (the later governor of Lothal).  She begins her story working at her parent’s mine – Pryce Mining – which gets ripped from her by the Empire. She resolves to get it back. How does she get it back? Through political scheming and working with the Empire. If you can’t fight them, join them. Her journey to that point is up and down along with lots of petty backstabbing.

As Pryce moves up the ranks in the Empire politically, Thrawn also rises as a commander. Pryce does not have too much involvement with Thrawn, but when she does she helps him and Vanto through favors with connections (the great Tarkin, who was written superbly) and Thrawn also helps her with his tactical, objective way of looking at things.

The end of the novel sees a culmination of a battle (where we know Thrawn will obviously come out ahead) where those who doubted Thrawn are now convinced of his genius, along with understanding the real reasons for…well…everything in the novel that Thrawn has done. The side twist belongs with Arihnda Pryce and how far she has gone down the path of corruption. Thrawn’s beautiful plan gets screwed up by her with unnecessary deaths, but she never admits to it and covers her tracks beautifully, though he knows but can’t prove it. Thrawn still comes out ahead, but it’s interesting to see that this is the beginning of Pryce and Thrawn’s working relationship that we see in Rebels.

 

Pros:

  • It’s Thrawn. Enough said.
  • But seriously, there is not too much changed from the character older Star Wars fans loved reading about. He is still a genius and still a masterful tactician…rivaling Palpatine in some respects.
  • How did Thrawn get in Palpatine’s good books so well that Palpatine fast tracked him through the Academy and military career? Anakin Skywalker. Yes – interesting twist. Thrawn says he heard of Palpatine through his “servant, Anakin Skywalker”. This implies a lot. It implies that 1) Thrawn met Anakin when he was a Jedi and 2) he could have caught on to Palpatine’s game of chess that he was already working on bringing Anakin to his side prior to the Empire existing. It’s not a stretch to believe that as Thrawn is able to deduce everything. The question remains though – does Thrawn know Vader is Anakin? My guess is yes though nothing is confirmed.
  • Each chapter begins with an excerpt of Thrawn’s diary which made for a fascinating read. Chapters are also interspersed with Thrawn reading people’s body language and giving insight on how he picks up on their next moves.
  • There’s a lot on Thrawn in here, obviously. But crazily, I still feel like he’s a bit of a mystery. Well done Zahn!
  • You can read this novel even if you are a Disney-hater; if you love the EU and refuse to acknowledge anything Disney related. It actually fits into both Legends and the current canon, which I admire, especially since it’s a backstory. And, amazingly, this canon backstory actually fits in perfectly with Thrawn’s original backstory in Legends.
  • This novel ties into Rebels nicely as well as the other new canon books, though it’s not hitting you over the head with it.
  • Most of the characters from the movies are spot-on with the writing. Grand Moff Tarkin was eerily written, to the point that I had no problems believing his character (which is unlike how I felt with the writing of Han in Bloodline). Palpatine was done pretty well too, not 100%, but well enough for the time he was in the novel.
  • The new characters are also well written, for the most part. Pryce ended up being one of my favorites after reading, though during the novel I kept wanting to go back to Thrawn and see what he was up to. But once I closed the book and mulled over it for a bit, she ended up being one of the most multi-faceted interesting characters to come out of it. The last scene/battle of the novel when she goes down a point of no return, and sees the look on her parents faces, you have to wonder…is it worth it? She did everything for them and their mine, but you can tell they’d rather she hadn’t if they had to sacrifice who Arihnda had become.
  • There are hints of the Rebellion littered throughout the novel, but for the most part, it’s extremely Empire-driven, which I very much appreciated. It’s hard to write about the Empire in a way that seems positive, or at least neutral, when you’re writing in the Star Wars universe. This novel did it brilliantly…and I feel a little disloyal to the Rebellion for liking it so much!
  • My favorite observation of this entire novel was that I didn’t actually feel like I was reading a Star Wars novel. I felt like I was reading a good sci-fi book. Again, a little hard to do with Star Wars, especially with characters we love in the book. But because there was no mention of the Force (I think; I don’t remember it) or mysticism, Jedi, etc., it felt like a great sci-fi, outer space novel.

Cons:

  • For me, I felt like it took a while for Thrawn to feel like Thrawn. There was a learning curve for him in the beginning of the novel as he learned the Empire, and nuances of politics. In a way, I thought he seemed very much like Spock in the beginning of this novel. It eventually leveled out and got to a point where he felt like the Thrawn I loved and remembered, so I’m not sure if that was a deliberate move on Zahn’s part or if it was him being a little rusty.
  • Some of the book was littered with little side plots that I thought could have been kept out entirely. It’s tough because some of the side plots do end up coming together at the end of the novel, but some had me thinking…oh that’s it? When they were resolved.
  • Not enough time with Thrawn and art. One of the most loved parts about Thrawn (for me) was how much information he gained from observing society’s artwork. Through their art, he was often able to bring them down. It was a final piece of the puzzle that other tactician’s didn’t have time with or feel was necessary. Unfortunately, there was only one scene in this book where art played into the success of Thrawn. It always lingered in the background and was mentioned often, but we didn’t get to see it enough in action. We get in Rebels, thankfully, but I was sad about there was not as much in Thrawn.
  • I didn’t love Eli Vanto. He was a main character but the ending of his story was a little unbelievable to me. I won’t say much, but I don’t think he has the chops for what the end of his character arc bestowed upon him. I believe he was created as a bit of a Watson foil to Thrawn’s Sherlock but I often wanted him cut from the story entirely. I think I may be in the minority here but he was blah.
  • I’m not sure I want to put this as a con but it’s a little interesting. Was there a plot? I’m not sure. It seemed more like a detailed timeline of events. There wasn’t a real antagonist, more of a mystery Thrawn wanted to solve but it didn’t seem too pressing. So if you need a plot and an arc and all that good stuff, maybe you won’t really get into this as much as you’d want to.

I’m giving Thrawn 4/5 stars. It’s hard for me to rate any book 5/5 stars, and Star Wars books usually don’t make that cut. BUT this is still the best book I’ve read from the new canon.  Read it if you have EU nostalgia, love Thrawn, or want a good Empire-driven Star Wars novel.

Fan Art Friday! Leia and the Death Star

Hey all – Kiri here!  This post was scheduled before I added a new member to our family.

Mei-Mei and I are trying to do a once a month matching page from the Star Wars coloring book we have.  Last time, we both did this interesting, intricate design that highlighted the light side of the Force and the Rebellion.  See Mei-Mei’s here and mine here.

I love seeing the differences between what she creates and what I create.  Though we both start off with the same black and white picture, our interpretations are different and show the uniqueness of both our views.  Mei-Mei is also way better at this than I am as she seems to have practiced more, whereas this is my first venture into coloring books since I was probably 10.

Mei-Mei suggested the picture this time of Princess Leia sitting on some kind of balcony and viewing the Death Star in the sky above.  Here is what I ended up with:

rsz_0522161615_hdr

This is what I was attempting:

  • I thought it would be cool to take Leia out of her standard white dress that we all associate her with.  Then I thought it would be even cooler to make it reminiscent of Padmé’s handmaiden dress in Episode I.  This did not go as I had planned.  The blues didn’t really fade in and out as I was hoping and instead it just ends up looking like I had done half of her dress darker and the other half lighter.  I tried to convince myself that it looked like I had done it on purpose, but nope.  Fail.
  • The only thing I do like about the blue is that I stayed true to my original thought that her outfit was going to be the only blue in the entire picture.
  • I liked the idea of having this take place at night.  I thought that would be an interesting twist.  Meh.  Still not sure if it was the right decision.
  • It took me forever to find the right skin color for her.  When I finally found it, her skin ended up a weird color because I had been experimenting with so many different ones on her face that it just looked…not entirely right.  I should have experimented with her little hand peeping out, not her face.  Fail again.
  • Then I tried to add these shadows and grey to her face because she was looking out at this eerie Death Star at night.  Bad choice again.  Now she has weird grey lines over her face.
  • For the flowers, I randomly picked out colors and went with it.  Those were probably the most boring to do and I wish I had more peach and yellows than pink and purples.

Overall, I’m probably being harder on myself than I should be but I was coming off of the last interpretive picture with lots of confidence.  Coloring a well known character had me frustrated and annoyed because nothing came out how I envisioned it.  That said, it was still a lot of fun and was relaxing as well (I’m consistently surprised that this coloring book IS actually a stress reliever).  But I’m sure Mei-Mei’s is better.

Now, for next month!  Mei-Mei here’s your challenge.  It’s actually pretty easy…I wish I could say that I picked it with a lot of deliberation, but I didn’t.  I did my standard open-the-book-to-a-random-page-and-see-what-I-land-on.  Lol.

Star Wars coloring book jabba intepretive

12 Days of Christmas…with some Star Wars spice

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

tauntauns on Hoth

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

Tooka

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

death star

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

homing beacon

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

golden droid

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

eopie

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
7 Varactyls swimming
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

varactyl

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
8 Blaster pistols
7 Varactyls swimming
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

blaster pistol star wars

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
9 Corellian freighters
8 Blaster pistols
7 Varactyls swimming
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

Corellian freighter

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
10 Flashing sabers
9 Corellian freighters
8 Blaster pistols
7 Varactyls swimming
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

lightsabers

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
11 Massive Wookiees
10 Flashing sabers
9 Corellian freighters
8 Blaster pistols
7 Varactyls swimming
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

wookiees

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Astros beeping
11 Massive Wookiees
10 Flashing sabers
9 Corellian freighters
8 Blaster pistols
7 Varactyls swimming
6 Eopies farting
5 Golden Droids
4 Homing Beacons
3 Death Stars
2 Tooka pets
and a Tauntaun on a cold Hoth

astro droids

I wouldn’t want to mess with whoever gets these gifts.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!  May the Force be with you today and always.

This is cool…

I don’t know if you guys have seen this yet, but I fell in love.  So much fun!  It’s a Star Wars Where’s Waldo with all geeky wonderfulness.  And no Waldo…at least, I haven’t found him yet, but tell me if you do!

P.S. I have no idea how to make images attach to a separate page to see them larger with this new WP posting thing, so to see it really large, go here: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/building-the-star-wars-universe/

SW wheres waldo

Source: Wired