Taken From Birth

A lot of my thoughts have lately been around my child (obviously) who is now three months old and how much they really do take over your life.  While the first eight weeks felt stagnant and like I was pouring in energy and getting nothing back, I now see changes each and every day and feel like she is growing so fast.

The first eight weeks was tough.  Yeah, it was really tough.  I began to think about how they did it in a galaxy far, far away.  Did they have droids to help them?  Like, babysitting droids?  Droids that somehow knew the magic touch to calm the baby?

All these meandering thoughts led me to think about the Jedi and the First Order Stormtroopers.

Qui Gon says to Shmi (in regards to Anakin):

Had he been born in the Republic, we would have identified him early, and he would have become Jedi…

General Hux counters Kylo:

My men are exceptionally trained — programmed from birth.

I’ve always admired the Jedi, though as I have gotten older I have seen their many flaws as an organization.  But all this thinking led me to wonder: how different are the Stormtroopers from the Jedi?

jedi younglingsWith the Jedi, I found some information online that says the parent’s permission was always asked, but once the child’s mind was opened to the Force, the parent could not take them back.  However, all this was wiped out with the new Disney canon so we essentially don’t know much about the subject of how the young were actually initiated into becoming a Jedi.

The Jedi Order is supposed to be good and uphold justice in the galaxy.  Yet they had a way of identifying young babies, or children, and taking them from their parents to become a Jedi.  I feel conflicted about this.  It seems almost selfish for a parent to refuse to give up their child to become a Jedi since it’s for the greater good of the galaxy.  When you think of how large the Star Wars galaxy is and how few Jedi there are in relation to the number of sentient beings – there aren’t that many Jedi.  At the same time – it’s your child.  How could you be expected to give it up?  Ever?  I look at ARM and I sometimes wonder to myself if I would be able to give her up if Jedi came knocking on my door.  I understand Shmi’s pain a lot better now when she said, “Don’t look back.”

It’s not just your child you’re giving up, you’re giving up your future.  Dreams and plans you had for them.  Little moments that you’ll never get to see.  You’re not allowed to visit them and they will never know who you are.

Then I began to think…is that more or less cruel than General Hux and his stormtroopers?

I’m assuming that Hux doesn’t give a choice to the parents and he wrenches the babies from them.  Then those children are spoon fed First Order young stormtrooperspropaganda day in and day out to make them completely loyal to the First Order.  Their whole life, all they know is the First Order and they live, breathe, and die for the First Order.

Is that really so different from the Jedi?  There are nuances but I find that they feel eerily similar to me.

Both are taken from birth to serve a higher order and both are entrenched in the doctrine of what they serve.  Creepy, right?

In the end, what slightly mollified me was remembering Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order at the end of The Clone Wars.  I realized that despite the similarities, the Jedi offered something the First Order did not: a choice.  As a Jedi, you had the option to leave the Jedi Order.  If you wanted to give up your life as a Jedi when you got old enough, you were allowed to leave.

I have now begun to wonder if the Jedi who left ever went back to find their family.  If they found them, would they ask why they made the decision to let them go?  Or how hard it was?

The more I think about the Jedi Order, the more jaded I become with them at times.  But did the Jedi do what was right for them as an organization?  Had this been tried and tested many times over the years and they realized that younger children were better to train than older?  Yet, couldn’t there have been a balance between allowing them to know and love their parents while also training to be a Jedi?  Though attachment was forbidden, could it possibly have made them better Jedi in the end (an argument I strongly stand by)?

I don’t have any answers but I do realize now how hard it would be to let my child be taken by strangers, even if they were Jedi.  I’m not sure I could do it, even with how much I love Jedi.  Perhaps that’s the real reason why they had such small numbers – maybe more people had the Force than we know, it’s just that their parents didn’t want to give them up.  😉

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A Thorn in My Side

This blog/article made me angry: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/09/16/when-kids-strike-back-against-star-wars/

Besides the obvious fact that it was not written cohesively (I expected a piece on Star Wars with valid points, but instead I prequel trilogyfeel like I got a trip down memory lane), it also shows a lack of encouragement on having a child form her own opinion.

Her daughter most likely does not want to see the Prequels based on what her mother (and others) are saying.  But her mother probably explained the backstory of Anakin, his relationship to Obi-Wan, his secret wife, Padmé, how he turned to the dark side, etc. etc.  And guess where all that information came from?  Ohhhh yeahhhhh, those films that so many fans try to ignore: The Prequels.  Otherwise, we’d all still be questioning and guessing on the back story of our favorite movies.

I don’t think the Prequels were bad.  At all.  However, if you think they were horrible, then that’s your free choice.

When I was younger, my family always encouraged me to make decisions for myself by looking at all the different angles when it came to novels, movies, music, food.  If I didn’t like something because everyone else didn’t like something, I was always quickly shut up when my mother or sister always asked, “Did you read/eat/see it?”  And I would sheepishly reply that actually, no, I hadn’t done that.  In which they would promptly dismiss what I said because it had no validity.

Here’s a sampling of books/movies/music I swore to hate because “everyone else” hated them, and then was encouraged to read them by my family and make my own opinion:

  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Harry Potter
  3. The Clone Wars
  4. Country music
  5. The Hobbit
  6. Any and all documentaries (some of them are quite good, I’ve come to learn)
  7. Brussels Sprouts

Here’s a sampling of books/movies/music I thought I’d like because “everyone else” did, but found that I actually hated them:

  1. The Twilight Series
  2. Rap music (for the most part)
  3. Anne Rice novels
  4. Coffee (okay, not really in the same category but I cannot get the appeal)
  5. The Mists of Avalon

Do you see my point?  Even just a little?  “My daughter says she doesn’t even know who Jar Jar Binks is, but she doesn’t want to watch him on screen.”  If your daughter doesn’t know who Jar Jar is, then why does she have a problem watching him?

I’m not perfect by any means, but what I’m trying to say is that we should be encouraged to form opinions after we’ve actually experienced something ourselves.  I can’t imagine all the happiness I would have lost in my life had I never read Pride & Prejudice with the sole purpose to prove to my mom and sister how horrible it was.  What a good book!

Suppose my argument is not good enough.  Okay, fine.  The daughter does not want to watch the Prequels and she made her own opinion that they were horrible.  By herself.  Without seeing them.  Fine.

What makes me further ticked off with this article is that the author did not use this as an exploratory lesson for her child on star wars prequelsstorytelling and the different aspects of it.  She did not bring up that the Prequels are part of the history of Star Wars and you can’t just ignore them. They may not seem to have a huge relevance to Star Wars right now with the upcoming movie, but I know they will be referenced in future films (did you see the photo of Rogue One? Doesn’t that look like podracer parts in the background?).  Or how about the reason George Lucas focused on releasing the Original Trilogy first is because he knew that it was a stronger story than Anakin’s backstory.  Or how about the fact that the Prequels broke new ground with their CGI?  Or that the Prequels are actually a very interesting, tragic love story between someone who is forbidden to be in love and a story about best friends who end up almost killing each other.  Or that the PT show one man’s journey from boy to man and from light to dark – and that after watching them, it highlights the flavors of the Original Trilogy so much more.

I do not have kids, so maybe I’m making too hasty of a judgement.  But I am a Star Wars fan and I think this Prequel bashing has got to stop.  It’s one thing if you were brought up on the OT and were seriously disappointed by the PT.  It’s another when you, as a Star Wars fan, transfer that disgruntlement to your children.

I hated The Clone Wars when it first came out on TV.  But I eventually watched it to and I ended up loving it.  #AhsokaLives

Who can say that won’t happen to this 13 year old girl?

8 Reasons I Loved the Star Wars Rebels Season Two Premiere

I’m honestly in shock at how much I liked the SWR season 2 premiere that aired this past weekend.  Not that I didn’t like Season One (you can see my thoughts here and here), but I thought the beginning of Season Two blew all of Season One out of the water.  I kind of wish I went to see it at SWCA with all the other fans now.

Here’s what was downright awesome about the premiere.

  1. Darth Vader. I was really, really nervous going into Season 2 that they would try to humanize Vader in some formdarth vader ezra SWR season 2 because, well, this is a kid’s show at the heart of it.  But they didn’t.  He was evil and ruthless and whooped both Kanan and Ezra’s butt.  When they fought him in the end, I thought there was no way the writers could have both escape without compromising Vader.  They couldn’t defeat him (they are both not even close to strong enough in the Force or Jedi training to take him on); nor would he let them easily escape.  Filoni and his team did a great job by letting Kanan and Ezra escape but still showing Vader as the complete badass that he is.
  2. Ahsoka did not have much screen time. Don’t get me wrong – I love Ahsoka and I’m so glad she’s back.  But this is a new storyline with new characters.  While I’m happy she’s back, I’m also extremely pleased to see she is less feisty and quieter, which shows character development and I’m happy she is not central to the Rebels team.
  3. There was dissention within the Ghost crew. Now, this was no mutiny but I think it’s smart to show children, and us, that working with a team is not always perfect. Kanan did not want to be part of the Rebellion…he wanted to be on their own again, whereas Hera wanted to be part of the larger cause.  She spoke to Kanan about it quietly on the side and maturely.  When he stormed off, she didn’t push the matter.  I really admired that.  Further, she later brought the subject up with the whole team to see what everyone thought.  Stay with the Rebellion or continue solo as they had been?  The vote was 3 to 2 to stay with the team.  But it showed us an important lesson that working as a team means that sometimes there are disagreements on how to move forward and talking about it without getting angry is a good way to resolve matters.
  4. Ezra showed major character development. Ezra is an awesome character and those that disagree clearly don’t remember what it was like to be a child.  He’s is slowly figuring out right versus wrong, good versus bad, just like many of the children watching the show.  He wants to be a Jedi, but he struggles in grasping the Force and controlling his anger.  Sometimes he’s unsure if he even wants to be part of the team, but in this first episode we saw him realize that there’s more to life than just him and his friends.  There’s a bigger cause and sometimes it’s worth fighting for, even if it means helping someone who was once your enemy (Minister Tua) and you’re unsure if they can be trusted.
  5. It was good, classic Star Wars fun, very similar to the OT. Throughout this episode, there were moments where I was just nervous and on-edge, not knowing how it would turn out, especially when they were trying to get off of Lothal.  Vader was this looming presence that seemed to guess their next move at every turn, something I was not used to with SWR.  I’m used to the good guys winning and getting away with it, with their cocky assuredness.  That was not the case with this episode.  Yes, they got away, but it was not a victory.
  6. The Empire is cruel. In this episode we see Minister Tua blown up and killed as she enters her ship because she contacted the Rebellion for help.  It’s also used as a trap to extract and possibly capture the Ghost   Later, we see an entire town burned to the ground.  Though the show was clear in pointing out that they had taken all the citizens out before burning it, I don’t think that’s what happened.  I think that’s what they had to say because it’s on Disney but the sense I got from it was they burned the entire town, civilians included.  It drives home the point that the Empire was an oppressive government and to take it on would be a huge undertaking.
  7. What about the people just doing their job? I always think I would be a character similar to Minister
    I'm just trying to do my job!

    I’m just trying to do my job!

    Tua if I lived in the Star Wars universe.  I would be good at my job, enough to get me promoted and make me think I have some power.  I would probably help the Empire because I wouldn’t want any trouble and it is what it is.  But when I failed or got sucked in too deep, what would happen then?  Would I pull a Minister Tua and ask for help?  Gosh, knowing my personality, I doubt it.  I would just continue to hope for the best and that I’d be forgiven.  And end up dead.

  8. “The apprentice lives.” This brought so many questions with it.  Did Ahsoka know that her and Kanan’s connection was with Darth Vader?  Vader definitely knew it was Ahsoka, hence those words.  All Ahoska does is faint, yet she gets even more quiet for the rest of the episode and seems very unsettled.  What does this mean??

I really wish most of Season One was like this first episode.  I couldn’t help but love almost every minute…even Lando’s random appearance didn’t completely rankle me.

ahsoka star wars rebels

If you saw the premiere, what did you think?  Share!

Star Wars Rebels – Season One Review

I was really hoping to have a report on how the virgin Star Wars viewing went last week…but turns out my friend’s husband decided to get appendicitis that day so they were in the hospital and had to reschedule.  Really?  Lame excuse.

So instead I’m here to talk about the first season of Star Wars Rebels, my thoughts, what I liked and disliked.

*Thar be spoilers ahead!*

You can read my initial reactions on the first episode here.

Overall, I really liked Rebels, and I definitely liked it a lot more than I liked The Clone Wars when I first started watching it.  You guys have heard me mention many times that I actually was furious at TCW when they began the show (Anakin has a padawan?  What??  What are all these random storylines thrown in??).  I didn’t want there to be the recurring, older characters.  I wanted a fresh start.  Though I grew to love and enjoy TCW, we definitely had a rocky start to our relationship.

This was not the case with Rebels.  I loved these characters that were not in the movies and I loved the settings.  It was Hera and chopperdifferent from TCW in that the animation was softer, not as angular or harsh.  For the most part, I liked the animation style.  I thought the ships were done excellently, though I believe the people didn’t flow as well as I would have liked.  Most of the time they were good, but sometimes they seemed a little jerky.

The throwbacks in Rebels were also fun to watch.  I loved that they pulled from Ralph McQuarrie, especially for Lothal, and his touch was a constant, even with Zeb and Chopper.  The lightsaber fight in the last episode screamed of TPM (it was nice to see a Prequel nod) and characters like Lando were thrown in to remind us of the OT.

The storyline was also pretty good.  Out of the entire season, there was only one episode I really disliked and that was “Droids in Distress”.  Clearly it was an episode just to throw a bone to the fans who wanted to see characters they knew (Artoo and Threepio).  I didn’t like “Path of the Jedi” (I’m not a fan of Yoda speaking to people when he’s off on some far off swampy planet) or “Idiot’s Array” that much either, but I thought they had nuggets of character development that I appreciated.

My favorite episodes were:

  • “Breaking Ranks” – Ezra joins the Empire temporarily and befriends Zare Leonis, who later becomes a spy for thestar wars rebels zare leonis band of Rebels. I still think Zare is also Finn, but maybe I should drop that point for now.
  • “Empire Day” – I loved the political undercurrents in this, as well as finding out a lot about Ezra’s family. It gave us some insight into who he is and why he is so against the Empire.  It kind of put a purpose to his mischief, as opposed to someone who just caused trouble for the hell of it.
  • “Call to Action” through “Fire Across the Galaxy” – I understand why they can’t do episode arcs that much in the beginning of the season. First, they need to find out if they are going to get renewed.  No point in investing in characters and storylines if it gets canceled.  Second, you need to pull the viewer in and the easiest way to do that is with one-and-done episodes.  Everything is somewhat resolved by the end of the episode, but there are hints to a larger storyline.  But this episode arc was really great.  The Empire (including a steady appearance of Grand Moff Tarkin – whom I actually didn’t mind showing up at all) is getting uneasy with all the Rebels and Tarkin is upset that Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor have not been able to capture them yet.  By the end of the first episode, Kanan is captured, and the next two episodes show how the crew of Ghost come together to rescue him.  What I liked is not that it was a simple, “Yes, let’s go get him!” but there were doubts, especially from Hera.  She had to decide between the mission and Kanan.  It took some convincing from the rest of the crew (and disobeying her orders), including Chopper, to finally make her see that Kanan was worth going after.  At the end of the final episode in Season One, we get to find out who “Fulcrum” is … and it’s Ahoska!  I did a little squeal, I admit it.  AHSOKA HAS RETURNED!
ahsoka star wars rebels

Ashley Eckstein’s voice too!

 

So now that Ahsoka is back in the storyline and canon, I guess it brings up a lot of interesting questions.  Does she know Vader is Anakin, her former Jedi Master?  Does she know Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive?  Or is she acting on her own in this rebellion?  She has connections to Bail Organa, and Organa knows that Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive.  Do you think Ahsoka just assumes Anakin died in the Jedi Purge?

inquisitorMy favorite character was the Inquisitor and I loved him so much.  I thought he was actually kind of brilliant, though he actually created more questions for me than anything else.  Maybe I just liked Jason Isaacs voice (ahhh so hot).  But I understood why he had to die.  Grand Moff Tarkin made it quite clear that he would not suffer failure…so if Kanan got away (which he did), the Inquisitor would not have been a welcome guest at Vader and the Emperor’s dinner party.  But now they bring in Vader…this could be interesting.  If they keep Vader in Season 2 as a steady character, I hope they stay true to his character.  Don’t take away from his scariness, add to it.  Don’t be afraid of making him as ruthless as he seems to be in ANH.  Don’t show any sympathetic gestures from him.

I think Rebels has potential.  I’m interested to see if there are any tie-ins to The Force Awakens and to see how they link this back to ANH.  Already they have Tarkin playing a somewhat major role and Vader seems to be stepping into the picture as well.  I want to see more interesting episode arcs and less silly standalone episodes.  Perhaps I’m asking for too much, too soon, but I think they’ve been doing a good job, but I want to see it become great, like TCW did.

What were your thoughts on Season One of Rebels?  Did you like it?  Dislike it?  Will you watch Season two?

For some great reading on what Dave Filoni says about Season One, check out this article.

Let’s Take a Look at Star Wars Rebels

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Rebels has kicked off and…overall, I liked it.  Last week we had the one-hour premiere with a movie on the Disney Channel.  This week the season officially got underway with its first episode on Monday night.

I loved the movie.  I thought it was exactly what Star Wars should be and how they should approach the series.  They stayed away from any characters we knew and the only glimpse we got of a familiar character was a hologram recording of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The recording was the one he released in ROTS, warning all Jedi to stay away from the temple and that the Jedi are no longer safe.

Other than that – we were introduced to a completely new band of characters.  We have Hera the Twi’lek pilot who commands their ship Ghost, Kanan the undercover Jedi, Zeb is the Lasat who is really the tough guy of the operation (and his species is based on original concept drawings of Chewbacca!), Sabine the Mandolorian who is kind of a pyro and graffiti artist, and finally we have a newcomer named Ezra.  A kid of the streets who gets pulled into this little clan and decides to stay to do some Jedi training with Kanan.  Oh, and we can’t forget Chopper: the little astromech droid who helps run the ship.  They did a great job on making him seem pretty different from Artoo, a fear I had.

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The opposition to this team on a larger scale is, obviously, the Empire.  Specifically, at this point we know of two beings: Agent Kallus, an official of the Imperial Security Bureau and The Inquisitor, a Pau’an male who hunts down remaining Jedi.  We have not seen much of him yet – only saw him at the end of the movie when Kallus reported that he had found a Jedi (Kanan).

What I liked most about the movie is that we were introduced to new areas, new people, new ships and my imagination was opened to a part of Star Wars I didn’t know, but there was “something familiar about this place”.  Ralph McQuarrie’s touch was extremely obvious and some of the landscape shots were ripped right off of what he had done for the OT.  Not saying that’s bad, in fact, it gave us the OT feel.

I was most surprised at the time period of Rebels.  Apparently it takes place 5 years BBY.  I completely missed this somehow.  That means that Luke and Leia are 14 and the Jedi have been written off the galaxy for 14 years.  What made me question this time period is that the need to have an Inquisitor means that there are still quite a few Jedi throughout the galaxy.

I don’t like that.  Jedi shouldn’t be that prevalent still, right?  Han Solo was really skeptical of the Force and Luke barely knew anything about Jedi.  If Luke and Leia are 14 at this point, and Han would be older, wouldn’t it mean that the knowledge of Jedi would be a little more common?

Also, they are making this group of misfits look like the beginning of the Rebellion.  The Rebellion should have been pretty much established by this point in the game, even if they are not completely rebellious (pun intended ha!) yet.  The crew on Ghost are smart; I think they would have heard about the Rebellion through their travels across the galaxy and at this point either joined them or aided them in some way.

Which brings me to the first episode of the TV series.  After coming off of a successful premiere movie, I cringed and got angry when I saw C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in the first official episode.  UGH.  Really?? I know that other people have no problems with this but I do.  I was hoping that Rebels would stay away from that trap of bringing in familiar characters to satisfy all audiences.

Seeing Threepio and Artoo made the galaxy seem smaller than it actually is.  Do you really think they would run into these two droids?  Really?artoo threepio star wars rebels  It was completely fine in TCW, because they had every single PT character running around that why not bring in everyone we know?  In fact, I got used to that in TCW.  But Rebels clearly seems to be reminding us that this is a new band of characters on new planets and in new situations.  The cherry on the cake was when they drop off the droids at, of all ships, the Tantive IV with Bail Organa.  (bangs head against wall)  I was expecting a teenage Leia to just stroll in and talk with her father.  Thankfully that did not happen and I was spared, but if we are going to introduce Organa this early in the series, maybe I should just brace myself and expect it to happen at some point.

The only interesting thing about the situation was that Artoo had recorded some of the conversations on Ghost and had brought it back to Organa who noted that they should keep an eye on them.  I still think they could have used other droids and a different character for this, but maybe by the time the series ends it will tie back to bringing the crew of Ghost into the Rebellion.  And, by the way, shouldn’t the droids be pushed off onto Captain Antilles at some point?  They’ve really been with Organa for 14 years?

bail organa rebels

Other than my major grievance with the droids, Tantive IV, and Organa – I think the first episode was pretty cool.  They stuck it to the Empire by stealing their prized weapons that were supposed to be illegal throughout the galaxy, and then later destroying them.  It spoke to an interesting larger lesson: the Empire can do what they want, regardless if weapons are illegal or not.  In the hands of the Empire, those laws are conveniently forgotten if it will further their cause.

Ezra showed us some of his Force powers…he has more than I thought.  But they came into action when he was angry and scared.  Not very Jedi-like, eh?  So Kanan will have to curb that and teach him how to use the Force in a calmer state.  Or will Kanan change the rules a bit and not follow the strict Jedi Code?  Speaking of Kanan…I couldn’t really figure out how old he was.  I was guessing late 20s or early 30’s.  Oh – nevermind, Wookiepedia says he’s 28 and was 14 when Order 66 happened.

Lastly, I wanted to touch briefly upon the tone and style of the series.  I enjoyed the style and the banter between the characters, but my good friend Mr. Reticent pointed out that it was a lot lighter than TCW.  Not only with the situations and how they talked with each other, but also the animation style.  When you contrast the animation, there is a big difference.  TCW was more angular, sharp and it felt like watching a video game sometimes.  Rebels is smooth, almost more “cartoony”, which makes sense considering that it comes from Disney.  The tone of the episodes seemed to play more for a Disney crowd as well…I’m not sure if any of you guys watch The Disney Channel/Disney X D or Cartoon Network – but they are two very different styles and draw in two different crowds.  Both focus more on drawing in boys than girls, but CN is a lot cruder in my opinion.  I find CN to grate on me often and I watch the shows with disbelief that kids watch that channel as it can feel gritty.  Disney X D still seems unfathomable to me at times, but at least I can somewhat relate and understand why a boy would watch a show on the channel.  X D plays it a little safer and perhaps that’s why Rebels also seems to reflect that. (apparently I can’t write X.D. without WP changing it to a gigantic smiley face)

I find it hard to decide whether or not I will like the series based on what I’ve seen.  I loved the movie, giving it an 8.5/10, but felt the first TV show would come in at a 6/10.

 

Okay, I’m almost done, I swear.  Two side notes!

  1. Greg Weisman has left Rebels. I am most sad about this as he was the one person I was really pumped to have part of the show and thought would lead it in a smart, good direction.  But why did he leave?  I can’t find anything online so if anyone has information on this, please let me know to satiate my curiosity.
  2. Kiri Hart. I can’t go further without mentioning her.  You guys know how often I have talked about my unusual name and how I’ve never met anyone else with my name.  Well, guess what?  She is the VP of development at LFL and oversees a lot of the Star Wars content produced by Disney…including Rebels.  Look for her name at the end credits of Rebels.  SUPER WEIRD.  SUPER, SUPER WEIRD.  But I’m loving it.  I would not wish anyone else to have my name but someone at LFL.  It’s a sign.  I’m not sure of what, but it’s a sign.