The Kingdom of God

I’ve been sitting and reworking and writing blog posts for the past two weeks that would help describe the changes that have gone on within me but also try to help make sense of the horrible massacre that happened last week. I’ve scrapped almost all of them. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable sharing them, but I also like to keep this blog only about Star Wars. I usually save personal thoughts for one time of year – my year end blog posts.

In the end, this post became a mishmash of personal reflections and also Star Wars, so bear with the scattered feel to it.

Here is the one main change that happened, followed by two other thoughts.

  1. I read a wonderful book called The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg that has changed the way I think about my life and faith in God/Jesus.
  2. The massacre in Vegas happened. It could have been any horrible, human-led event honestly that changed a bit in me, but it happened to be this one and it was a doozy.
  3. These two events culminated in me thinking about the Kingdom of God and where the Jedi failed.

 

Sometimes, the way you stumble upon something can be labeled as divine influence, and that may be what happened with The Heart of Christianity. I had never heard of Marcus Borg before I was asked by a client to go into her Audible account and purchase a book on her wish list. While scrolling and trying to find that book, I saw The Heart of Christianity sitting in there. I clicked the link, read the description, and thought “That’s an interesting premise,” and of course I didn’t think about it for days. But then, one day I did think about it. I’m not sure why. There was no rhyme or reason but something compelled me to read that book.

I got it out of the library and devoured it.

I was raised very conservative, Protestant Christian. The Bible is fact, it’s an undeniable truth, and some people go to heaven and some people go to hell. I call myself a Christian, but…I wanted a fresh take on Christianity. It had gone stale for me. I have had trouble praying, finding God in my life and understanding where this all fits in the big picture of life. That’s not to say I didn’t try – I still read my Bible a few times a week and attempted prayer, but I wouldn’t say Christianity was a daily “thing” for me.

This changed when I read the book by Marcus Borg. I don’t agree with everything he said and there are some parts that are questionable, but I would say I’m a changed person after reading this book.

One thing that really stuck with me was his concept of the Kingdom of God. I was raised to believe that the Kingdom of God was something “up there” or, more precisely: heaven/afterlife. Borg argues that when you focus on the Kingdom of God as heaven, or something for after we die, you miss a crucial point that is essential to historic Christianity (i.e., the time when Jesus was speaking to everyone and the few hundred years following). Jesus argues that the Kingdom of God is the future…but also the present. With the historical context that is often lost on modern day United States – Jesus used the word “Kingdom” because that is the political sphere they were under. They were living under Roman rule, a kingdom under Caesar. When Jesus was telling us to pray “thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven,” he was asking us to imagine what life would be like in the present day and moment with God as king.

There is a lot more about the argument Borg makes, but for now, I will just go into how it changed my life. Essentially, when you think of God as our king and bring his kingdom into our daily life, then treating others as you would yourself makes a lot more sense to me. It becomes a community action. You cannot have a kingdom without a community of people. Treating others as you would like to be treated is Jesus’ number two command, after loving the Lord with all your heart. But what if we all did it? By doing so, we make this a social action, a call to arms for this community of people (NB: I did not say believers). Politics within this kingdom would call for being compassionate to others, loving all of creation, perhaps exercising more patience with each person we meet in our daily walk.

This opened my eyes – realizing the Kingdom of God could be in heaven but also here on Earth and we can create it every day.

I realized that this community action needs to begin with us, within our homes. I read a post by epicipseity few weeks ago where he wrote that somewhere in this country, someone is raising their child to have them believe that white people are the dominant and best race. It struck me like a blow. I have a child who is almost a year and a half old and she understands so much of what I say. Within two years I will be able to teach her things that she will take as law and truth without questioning.

So how do I battle against someone who grows up thinking that? I hope to teach my daughter that loving others, even when it’s hard, is the best way to heal this community. That we need to go into our community and make a difference by being kind to everyone you meet, even if you don’t like them.

You might say – oh that’s such a wussy way of thinking. There’s so much MORE you can do.

Oh, trust me, I know there is more I and we can do. But can you imagine if we taught our children love instead of hate? If we really instilled in them that every person could be someone in need of a kind word or gesture? We’d make a community one step closer to the Kingdom of God.

These thoughts piled around in my head when I heard about the Vegas shooting last week. I thought to myself, “What if more people treated this shooter kindly?” That thought alone is weird…I would never have thought that prior to reading Borg’s works. Have we, as a society, become too distant and exclusive? Have we ignored people on the street too much?

The shooter’s brother, said, “Something horrible happened to my brother and whatever happened to him in his head, it made him go over the edge like this.”

Could that something horrible have been something simple, like someone just flipping him the bird in traffic? And that set him off?

Now – how does this relate to Star Wars? It does, because everything in my life can somehow be traced back to Star Wars (is that sad? I don’t know).

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice. In a way, their task was to bring the Kingdom of God to the galaxy. They wanted peace and they wanted fairness and they wanted equality. It didn’t matter what species or race you were, they were there to help.

But the Jedi were wiped out, for the most part. They failed. They succeeded for a bit, but then they failed. It’s easy to pinpoint their demise on Anakin – he is the literal reason for being extinguished. But there was a lot more at work than only Anakin when you look beneath the surface.

One of the strongest reasons why I think they failed was their exclusivism and their way of being untouchable, in a sense. They helped when called upon, instead of trying to step up to the plate to prevent situations in the first place. In a way, they had gotten proud.

It’s kind and wonderful when we give other people help when they call upon us for our assistance. How much more important would it be if we could make it so that no one would ever have to ask for our help because we were always there? It would always be a team effort, like Baze and Chirrut.

I understand that physically, it would be impossible for the Jedi to be on every planet, but why have only a central place on Coruscant? Why not have the Jedi set up shop on different planets in the galaxy? Can you imagine how much more effective that would be? Living and getting to know the people of a planet instead of doing a one-stop help and then peaceing out?

Another reason they failed is that they were brought down by a member from within the Order. Their internal disagreements led to slight fractures. When a member was questioning the Order and not understanding his place, instead of welcoming the discussion, they shut it down.

I see this often at the church my parents attended. There was right (their way, based on the literal Bible) and there was wrong (any other interpretation you could have).

Why have so many people left Christianity? Because from the outside they see it in a similar way I was brought up – all questions can be answered within the Bible, but there is only one correct interpretation. Basically: there is right and wrong. Who wants to join a religion where exploratory questions are shunned?

When Anakin vents his frustrations to Obi-Wan about being put in a position that he didn’t even ask to be put in, Obi-Wan tells him off saying, “But it’s what you wanted!” Anakin continues to question the Order, wondering why things are not the way he thinks they should be. I don’t think Obi-Wan really understand the internal dilemma and battle that is going on within Anakin. If he did, he would know that it was not the right time to ask him to spy on Palpatine.

Lastly, the Jedi failed because they were too much like Mace Windu and not enough like Ahsoka.  Most Jedi lacked compassion. They helped others because they were told to help others. Would they do it on their own without the council guiding them? Because that marks a true Jedi….a little like being told to go to church, do right and help others, instead of honestly believing that being compassionate and attending church to help you to grow as a person will help our society.

They raised their younglings to be separate, apart, exclusive, and distant. They also told them to be kind, to think of others, and to do what was right. But I’m not sure I ever saw real, true compassion in most of the Jedi. I view Ahsoka as one of the best Jedi’s, up there with Qui-Gon Jinn. Ahsoka was one of the most compassionate Jedi I have seen in all of Star Wars. If I had to pick Jedi that could be capable of bringing the Kingdom of God into the galaxy, Ahsoka and Qui-Gon would lead.

If we were more patient with the way we treat others and demonstrate love as much as possible, would there be less shootings and less violence?

Yes and yes. I know and firmly believe this with all my being.

I challenge you to think about in everyday – what kind of Jedi do you want to be? Are you too proud and not compassionate enough? Do you view the world as your way or the highway?  How can you bring the Kingdom of God into your daily life? How can you show compassion? And with those individual changes, how will that bring changes to our society as a whole?

 

 

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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!

Friendship Shows Us Who We Really Are

I find that I’m really liking Star Wars Rebels.  One of the main reasons I think I love it so much is the camaraderie and friendships aboard the Ghost between all the crew members.  I love Kanan and Hera’s relationship, or more precisely: friendship.  Now, I haven’t read A New Dawn yet, but it’s sitting on my night table and is next in line once I’ve finished this epic fantasy series (for those of you who care, it’s The Kingkiller Chronicle).  So if I’m bringing something up that contradicts with the book, then I apologize.

I’ve gone into this a little bit with my “Not As Certain As Being Left Behind…” post from a year and a half ago, but I was re-thinking about friendship in Star Wars over SWCA.  The Star Wars movies are lacking some real, serious, admirable friendships.

Off the top of my head, this is what I can think of for friendships in the movies:

  1. Han and Chewie. Why it’s a bad example – Chewie has a life debt on Han.  Not that I don’t think their
    Tell me you kind of died of happiness inside when this happened. YEAH??

    Tell me you kind of died of happiness inside when this happened. YEAH??

    friendship is real or one of the best in the saga, but I don’t think their friendship stemmed from something organic.

  2. Han and Lando. Why it’s a bad example – Clearly, Lando betrayed Han.  But friendships go through rough patches, just like any relationship.  It just seems like Lando and Han were always uneasy around each other from the start.  Though I believe their friendship progressed further, we don’t really get to see it in the movies.
  3. Threepio and Artoo. Why it’s a bad example – they’re droids.  ’nuff said.
  4. Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan/Anakin, Anakin/Ahsoka. Why it’s a bad example – this is a little harder.  I have no doubt that a relationship with your Padawan breeds a great friendship.  But again, I guess I’m a little hesitant because it’s not that organic of a situation.  You are both placed together in a situation where you don’t have much of a choice.  You become friends in the way that I become friends with my co-workers…there’s no one else around, so might as well be friends with them.  And some of the friendships last a long time and are really sincere, but some are just situational.
  5. Padmé/Obi-Wan. Why it’s a bad example – I actually think this is the closest we have to a real friendship inobi wan padme Star Wars…with one tiny problem: The scenes that really exemplify her friendship with him were cut from Revenge of the Sith.  Unfortunately, a lot of the greatest Padmé scenes were cut from ROTS, but that’s a story for a different time.  I think if Padmé had lived, and if Padmé hadn’t been dealt the whole Anakin-is-her-secret-husband card, then her and Obi-Wan would have been the best example of a friendship within the movies.
  6. Anakin/Palpatine. Why it’s a bad example – Duh.  Well, at first I think it was a friendship of sorts, though Palpatine was clearly using and manipulating Anakin for his own ends.  But as soon as they became the two Sith, everything changed.  It was a relationship now based on fear, not anything sincere, that’s for sure.

the crew of the GhostBut with Star Wars Rebels, I love the crew of the Ghost because they all chose to stick together and become family.  I think it’s a great example of friendship in Star Wars.  They are all there by choice.  Every one of them can leave when they want but they choose to stay because this band of misfits are a solid group of friends that became a family.

More importantly, and I hope this never changes in the series, I love that Kanan and Hera’s friendship is not romantic.  If it was romantic at some point, then all the props to them because what’s even more amazing is that they were able to move past that and stay friends (I never figured that out with my ex’s. Ever. You break up with me and you’re dead to me.  See ya.).

But let’s suppose there was nothing romantic in their past.  It shows children, and all of us, that you can have a male/female friendship without romantic entanglements.  I think that’s missing heavily in our society.  We bombard children with ads, movies, books, and a lot of it is centered on something romantic.  Either male novels will be full of silliness that the male character gets in (ages 6-9ish) and then move toward action packed books where females play small roles (ages 10-15ish).  With female novels, it’s rare that I see a male female friendship.  Either the female is off on her own saving the world (with random love storylines thrown in) or it’s completely centered on a love story. This is not just the case with novels.  Turn on the Disney Channel or Cartoon Network and you’ll see something similar.

hera and kanan star wars rebels

Kanan and Hera show us that each can be a competent, unique person in their own right, with strengths and weaknesses, but also the ability to be best friends without falling for each other.  They are hanging out because they want to hang out, because of a situation that wasn’t forced upon them.  Not only is it so important for children to see, but I also think it’s a good reminder for us.

I really think Kanan and Hera’s friendship make the Star Wars universe a better place.

Friday Fives: Characters That Deserved More Screen Time

The Star Wars universe is amazing, we can all agree upon that.  There are so many characters, planets, ships, that our imagination can be taken beyond hyperspace and we know we could live in that world if we wanted to (oh, hell, I would love to live in the Star Wars universe).  But the stories we’ve seen in the saga thus far only focus on one family and the people that touch their lives.  Which is great and all, but unfortunately, we don’t get to see the background stories of other characters.  Here are 5 characters that I think deserve more screen time and wouldn’t mind if they were honored with a standalone movie.

Five Characters That Deserved More Screen Time

  1. Sabé. This woman was Padmé’s loyal bodyguard and decoy.  Sounds fun, right?  Uhhh, sounds dangerous.  How did she get to this position at such a young age?  What was the training like in order to learn all the young Queen’s Sabemannerisms, voice inflection, how to be a bodyguard, and learn all these secret ways of asking Queen Amidala for advice when you don’t know the answer?  Sabé showed great strength during the Battle of Naboo and was thrust into a position where she probably was always trained for, but didn’t expect to use in such a dire situation.  Was she even able to fool Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon?  She later fought in the Battle of Naboo and threw out the great line of “Viceroy! Your occupation here has ended!” Playing a pivotal role in distracting him so that Padmé could get the guns and corner Nute.  I would love to know more about Sabé, her past, and what the future held for her.
  2. Bib Fortuna. I haven’t talked about him much, and he’s clearly doesn’t have the strongest bib fortunamind, but I think he was actually a pretty savvy guy.  He was with Jabba for at least 30ish years (we saw him in TPM) so it shows that he knew the right things to say at the right time. Plus, he looked ugly meshed with evil.  The red eyes with greasy skin and lekku just made him this character I wanted to stay far away from.  According to the Legends, he actually really hated Jabba and tried several times to kill him unsuccessfully.  Poor guy.  To fail so, so, so many times.  But you know what?  Sounds like Jabba never knew or he wouldn’t have kept him on so it further proves my point that I think Bib was sly, cunning, and smarter than most.
  3. Syfo-Dyas. AOTC is not my favorite movie, but I was extremely interested in the clone army and how it was kept under wraps for so long.  The back story was explained to us slightly in The Clone Wars, sosifo dyas it fleshed out this mystery on who Syfo-Dyas was and how he kept the clone army hidden from others.  But I’d like to see a more robust version of this story and learn more about his Jedi past and the experiences that shaped him to make the decisions he did.  Why did the top Jedi not listen to him about the “growing darkness”?  Was this the beginning of someone being dissatisfied with the Jedi Council, even before Ahsoka?  Was there more unrest within the Jedi than we knew about and how did those seeds plant throughout the Order?  Knowing the ending of the movie (Spoiler alert!  He dies), could actually heighten the plot.
  4. Shmi Skywalker. Hear me out on this one.  We know a lot about Shmi already, but mostly just how she relates to Anakin’s story.  I’d like to see a more female centric Star Wars story that shmi skywalkerdeals with more everyday issues of life, with a sprinkling of Star Wars.  This could be a very interesting look at slavery in the Star War universe, something that is clearly abhorred by those closer to the center as implied by Padmé’s shock, but still very prevalent in the outer worlds.  Shmi was in slavery most of her life.  And imagine her shock when she became pregnant for no apparent reason?  This could be a very interesting movie/story, and if someone did it right, they could really do a good job with making it very separate from any Christ-like similarities.  Shimi doesn’t need to be visited by any angel or vision, she could just all of a sudden become pregnant.  Imagine the fear and confusion that lives with her for 9 months.  And when she gives birth, she devotes herself to her son and sees it as something happy, but he is taken from her at such a young age.  From there, she goes on to lead a happier life with Cliegg Lars.  This could be a very real life, tough and gritty, female-life story that I’d love to see on the big screen, even though I doubt it’ll ever happen.
  5. Nien Nunb. I have this this weird fascination with this character because I feel like they kind of dumped him in the nien nunbstory and then threw him away.  I mean, he got to be first mate to Lando during the final battle in ROTJ.  You have to be pretty good for that, especially as he doesn’t seem to speak a lick of Basic, but understands it.  According to Legends, he was once a smuggler and befriended Lando during one of his flights.  So much potential here!  Smugglers are always interesting so it would be great to see his adventures and the movie would be in all subtitles!  It would be a foreign action film, but Star Wars style.

All characters in a movie are there to serve a purpose, whether it be a decoy for a queen or the mother of the most important character.  But sometimes I think that they should get a little more time to show their side of the story and how they got where we saw them.

Who would you pick?  Do you have anyone from the movies you’d like to see more of?

SWCA Recap

I think this is the happiest I’ve ever seen you.  I think you’re even happier than on our wedding day.

Yes, that was my husband’s statement to me on the second day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.  Oh guys, it was amazing.  Amazing.  It was so much fun.  There were high, high points throughout the whole thing, and only a couple of points that brought me down.  Overall, I wish I was back there and already miss it.

The best:

  • Standing in line for 4 hours to get onto the main stage to see JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. We saw the
    Line at 6:00am was already so long. We barely made it for seeing the main stage

    Line at 6:00am was already so long. We barely made it for seeing the main stage

    new trailer first (twice!) and saw John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and a real BB-8!  We were exhausted but the thrill of the crowd, seeing the trailer, and being surrounded by Star Wars was the best feeling.

  • The funny inside joke we formed as a collective group. Whenever someone knocked down a barrier while standing in line, everyone would cheer and clap.  It started on Thursday morning before JJ and KK and continued with each long queue where there were metal barriers on the concrete floor.
  • All the cosplay! There were the standard stormtroopers, Jedi, Sith, but some of it was super funny or really well done.
  • The deeper panels they had for fans like me who wanted to know where the costumes came from, how myth plays into the OT and PT, and learning about the music that was taken out of the Empire Strikes Back.
  • The panels with Ian McDiarmid (such a nice gentleman AND he read from The Jedi Doth Return in the Emperor’s voice), Carrie Fisher (complete wack job and I don’t think I learned much about the experience of working on Star Wars from her other than sometimes she was really hungover. But she brought her dog on stage which had its tongue hanging out the whole time and that was funny), and Mark Hamill (so gracious, funny, and told great stories about working on set) were really fun to sit in on and watch, even if we had to sit through mega long lines.
  • Talking with other fans in lines about Star Wars. Unfortunately, some fans were not as talkative as what I remember in Celebration II and I wonder if some of that has to do with everyone being on their phones.  People were on their phones all. The. Time.  However, we did talk to some great people and I loved talking to kids.  There was one 5 year old kid that knew so much about Star Wars that I was completely shocked.
  • The Star Wars Rebels panel was great! I didn’t go see the premiere, but I loved seeing all the voice actors on stage (along with Filoni and Kimberg) and finding out that Hondo AND Captain Rex are back in Rebels!
  • Meeting Darth Amethystos. Yes, I got to meet a fellow WordPress blogger!  I was so happy because I always want to meet people that I chat with on comments but I know some people just want to stay behind their computer screens.  But we spent a bit of time together, we were both not weird or psychopaths (well, she wasn’t, I don’t know what she’d say about me), and got along just fine.  I thought that was one of the best parts of the trip though I think my husband was totally baffled on who she was (and still is) since he never reads this blog.

The worst:

  • The lines. Especially on Saturday.  I didn’t stay for Sunday, but I’m sure it was just as much of a shitshow.  Everyone locally decided to turn up at Celebration and it made the place a mess.  Carrie Fisher’s line on Friday was 1.5 hours and we got an okay seat, Mark Hamill’s line was ridiculous on Saturday and we were in line 2.5 hours early.  And there were still so many people behind us.
  • Someone crashed into me and my pizza was spilled all over my costume. This was, again, on Saturday
    And this is only half of my stain :(

    And this is only half of my stain 😦

    because everything was so cramped and congested that I turned around with a plate of pizza and BAM a young girl crashed into me and the pizza just slid down my tunic, onto my tabard, down my pant leg.  The entire left hand side of the costume that took me 2.5 years and a lot of money to make is now ruined.  I was able to get the grease out with a stain remover but my next step is the dry cleaners.  By the way, I got back in line with my husband and totally cried a little bit.  We had been standing in line for The Force Awakens exhibit (an exhibit featuring many of the costumes from TFA which was a complete surprise at the convention) for three and a half hours, plus I was hungry, so I think the crying is justifiable.  Oh, and the worst of this is that we didn’t even get to see the TFA exhibit!  We found out that the Mark Hamill line was already really long so I gave up and headed to that instead.  Soooooo 3.5 hours of my life wasted.

  • The exhibit hall. I mean, it was good, but it wasn’t organized very well.  It also didn’t have enough of those Star Wars household items I love so much (beach towels, hand towels, plates, etc.).  There were replicas you could take photos at but the lines were SO long that it wasn’t worth it.  I feel like there could have been a much better system for those so you didn’t waste your time in line for a stupid photo…like a scheduled time slot or something?  The spaces between booths were also really cramped, to the point that it was stifling.  The reason why I’m complaining about this is that I’ve gone to NYCC which has MORE attendees than Celebration and I thought the exhibit hall was so better organized and had a better variety of vendors, personally.  Maybe that’s because it’s a comic con, but still, I was a little disappointed.

Okay, so those are my high level feelings on SWCA, but honestly, it was SO much fun and I’d go back in a heartbeat despite standing in lines for hours, and my costume being ruined.

Now what did we learn at Celebration, because isn’t that the most important thing about conferences?  You sit in panels and learn things you’ve never learned before.  You get the latest news on new seasons of TV shows, new movies, etc.

What I learned about TFA:

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a scavenger in a ship graveyard, a loner until she meets a character and begins an adventure. My guess is the character is Finn since the new trailer definitely seemed to point that way.  Therefore, my conclusion is that Rey is not a descendent of any of the Skywalkers even though she looks so much like she could have come from the maternal side!
  • Finn is in a lot of danger and “the way he reacts changes his life”. We always see him looking like he’s nervous/in a hurry in both trailers, plus we’ve only seen him in a stormtroopers outfit except once in this new one, so not that much new information here.
  • Poe Dameron is sent on a mission by a “certain princess” where he meets up with Finn and they continue together. Okay, he didn’t say that, he said “their fates are forever intertwined”, which is a super interesting comment.  Forever intertwined.  And who’s this princess?  Leia?
  • The desert planet from the trailers is NOT Tatooine.   I didn’t think it was, because I thought it was too orange, but then all my Star Wars friends convinced me it was.  Sad to say, I got caught up in that and eventually agreed.  So when JJ Abrams revealed it’s actually the planet Jakku, damn, I was thrilled.  It also reveals a little more about planets and what I had discussed a few weeks ago.  So you CAN have more than one planet with the same ecosystem, which just makes sense.  But then again, perhaps only one section of Jakku is a desert.

Here are the behind the scenes photos they revealed to us (plus some better quality photos of them on stage since i was so far away):

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What I learned about Star Wars:

  • Anakin and Luke really have the same mythical storyline. They both are taken from those they love and their home (Shmi; Beru/Lars), become a hero by the end of the first movie, and train to become a Jedi.  The only difference is that Anakin falls to the dark side when confronted by the Emperor, and Luke chose to remain on the light side.  And that made all the difference (…or did it?  Guess we’ll find out in TFA).
  • Jar Jar was an important piece of the saga. Jar Jar was largely ignored and cast aside as annoying and beneath people’s notice.  In turn, Palpatine noticed that and preyed upon his insecurity by making Jar Jar feel like he was doing something important when Jar Jar gave emergency powers to Palpatine.
  • If we look at both the OT and PT, we should be able to predict some situations in the upcoming trilogy…namely, a character will undergo an arc of leaving home, having an adventure, and trying to decide right from wrong. What the panel expert believed is that someone should die in TFA, and his prediction was Han Solo.  The only reason I might agree is that I don’t think Harrison Ford is interested in doing any more Star Wars after TFA.
  • ESB had about 20 more minutes of music that was cut out by George Lucas. Examples that I’m glad were cut: Luke’s training on Dagobah and his fight with Darth Vader.  The training on Dagobah sounded like a silly, light hearted mixture that gave the impression the training was not serious.  By taking it out, we get the more realistic impression of hard work and intense learning.  The music while Luke was fighting Vader was very heroic and pro-Luke.  It didn’t make sense with the end of the fight, where Luke is defeated.
  • Both Captain Rex and Hondo are back for Season Two of Rebels, along with Ahsoka. Also, Dave Filoni has such a soft spot for when a child < 8 years asks a question that he almost always answers, even if it’s just to whisper it into the child’s ear and tell her not to tell anyone.

And of course…much, much more!  I have come back refreshed with new ideas on what to go into on my blog and topics to write about that I had never thought about before.  I think I’m still on the whole post-Celebration cloud 9 and it’s been a little over a week.

Rumor has it they will start doing them every other year and go between Orlando and Anaheim.  I hope so!  I can’t wait for the next one and do hope I’ll get to go again.

Enjoy my slideshow 🙂

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