Haiku Me Friday! Hanging upside down

I’m disoriented
The blood rushes to my head
But I feel the Force

This scene in ESB is often overlooked.  It’s a scene that seems like it could have been left on the cutting floor EXCEPT for the fact that we see Luke use the Force in a way we’ve never seen before.  As someone who has grown up with the OT, I’ve gotten used to this scene but I believe it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Before now, we have not really seen what the Force can do.  We’ve seen Obi-Wan mind trick some Stormtroopers, fight Darth Vader with a lightsaber, and speak inside Luke’s head.  Luke blows up the Death Star but it’s still a little hazy on whether or not that was the Force.  As an audience member, we are to believe that he blew up the Death Star with two perfectly timed proton torpedoes using some supernatural element but still…ehh…maybe it was luck?

Then we see Luke pull his lightsaber to him like a magnet.  This is a huge jump from what happened in ANH, even more so because Luke is actually physically doing it and there can be no doubt.  Also, he does this while hanging upside down for goodness knows how long.

After this scene where it is determined that yes, Luke does have the Force, and yes, he’s getting stronger in using the Force – we see him speak to Ben on Hoth through a Force vision and then he heads to Dagobah where he trains in using the Force with Yoda.

This scene serves as a moving piece on the Saga game board.  Though small, it helps cement the audience’s belief in the Force.

 

Happy St. Patricks’ Day everyone!  Hope you find your pot o’ gold.  🙂

I leave you with this picture of my husband and I at the Guinness Brewery in October:

 

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In Which I Defend General Hux and Speculate on Supreme Leader Snoke

General Hux

I think I’m in the minority out there…but I really like General Hux.  I’ve been reading many reviews that label him as a superfluous character in The Force Awakens but I would like to argue that people who are writing about that are missing the point of who he is.

General Hux is a bad guy, sure.  He’s not the main antagonist like Kylo Ren and, possibly in the future, SL Snoke, but he falls more in the realm of a secondary antagonist.  Maybe J.J. was trying to create him to be the new Grand Moff Tarkin but he fell short.  Not in a bad way necessarily, but just because General Hux is different from Tarkin.

General HuxHux represents a new generation of the Empire.  He is the ideal First Order candidate.  Similar to Finn, he was raised with Imperial propaganda as his breakfast, lunch and dinner.  General Hux sincerely believed that the Empire saved the Republic from the Clone Wars and the current New Republic is weak.  He grew up as a beast frothing at his mouth, trapped by the New Republic.  He’s what I would label a First Order Fanatic (FOF…nice ring, right?).

This is where he is different from Grand Moff Tarkin.  Tarkin worked strategically to get the Empire where it was.  Hux believed it was his God given right to rule the galaxy as one of the best Generals in charge of the biggest, baddest base.   Tarkin was someone who firmly believed the Empire should rule the galaxy.  Hux believes the First Order is there to wipe out anyone who doesn’t agree with them and he should be leading it.

He’s a maniac. I love it.

All his thoughts and actions are surrounding the First Order in a way that reminds you of a deranged serial killer.  He’s obsessed with bringing the First Order to the height that the Empire once was.  He steals kids from birth to brainwash them into being perfect stormtroopers for the First Order!  Wow.

Everything he says and does is purely for the First Order. Starkiller base and it’s troops are his tools that he works into perfection.  Even Kylo Ren does not live up to his expectations, possibly because he knows that he has not completed his training or maybe it’s because of his heritage that involves people who so vehemently opposed the Empire, and now, the First Order.  Though Hux makes mistakes, you can see that he genuinely believes he still has the best army in the galaxy, unlike Kylo Ren who shows a moment of weakness when Hux accuses him of purposefully letting BB-8 escape in favor of taking the girl instead.  General Hux hates weakness and hates mistakes, especially large blunders like the one Kylo Ren made.

All this leads me to talk about why I loved his speech.  There were a lot of complaints out there about how it was badly written, but I didn’t even pay attention to what was said.  I was enraptured with Hux’s face because in that moment, he is in his glory.  Everything he has worked so hard for over 30 years is coming to a the epic climax.  His eyes fill with tears and you can see he means every single word of what he is saying to the core of his being.  This is his moment to show the galaxy that General Hux and the First Order are not ones to be trifled with.

He’s crazy.  I love it.

 

Supreme Leader Snoke

There are rumors going around that Snoke is Darth Plagueis.  He looks like someone once dead and most importantly, people are arguing that Snoke’s theme is eerily similar to the music played during ROTS when Palpatine and Anakin discuss Plagueis at the opera.

I sincerely hope that Snoke is not Plagueis.

Why?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked!

Because the more I’ve written in this blog about Palpatine, the more I love his character.  Lucas did an excellent job intertwining Palpatine’s story between both trilogies to see that he was an absolute genius and mastermind in creating the Empire bringing the Sith back into power.  He was, in supreme leader snokeshort, a genius the galaxy had never seen.

Palpatine, as we know, also learned everything he could from his master Darth Plagueis, and then killed him.  He stole everything he learned.

Do you really think that Palpatine would let there be a chance that Plagueis could return?  By doing so, it shows a weakness in Palpatine’s planning and takes away from how amazing and intelligent 60+ years of his life was.

The music being similar is a good argument, but LFL and Disney has a bunch of tricks up their sleeve.  Remember that the previews led us to believe that Finn was the Force user, as opposed to Rey.

Or perhaps Williams is getting up there in years and forgot he already did a very similar piece.

I just don’t like the idea of Snoke being Plagueis because it takes away from Palpatine’s greatness.  I much prefer Snoke being Palpatine resurrected but, for some reason, I just don’t think that’s the case.  I could be wrong, but I think that would be yawn-worthy and hope they don’t do it.  I like Palpatine’s story just the way it is and I don’t think he should be brought back.

It would also be somewhat out-of-character for Disney to bring in a character that was only mentioned in the PT when they are focusing so much on pulling similarities from the OT.  I will argue that the opera scene is one of the most interesting and best acted scenes in the PT and I don’t think anyone could argue with that so perhaps if they take anything from the PT, they go with the Plagueis storyline since it is canon.

If you’re interested in reading all the theories out there on who Snoke is, combined into one place, click here.

But please don’t.  Leave Plagueis to history and leave Palpatine with his body in fragments across the galaxy after the second Death Star was destroyed.

 

Final Analysis on the The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

So we all watched it last week and had a great discussion about what the heck is possibly going on in The Force Awakens.

I thought that since it’s been a week, now is a good time to organize my thoughts, excitement, and speculations and write everything down.  It will be fun to come back in a year-ish and see which of my predictions were right, and which were wrong.

Overall, I liked the trailer.  I’ve heard complaints that people wanted to see the original cast back, but I’ve said from the beginning that I really wanted them to focus on the new cast and give a fresh look to Star Wars.  They did that with the trailer and I’m happy about that.

I was also happy at just how much of a tease it was.  So many questions left unanswered and so many theories now in place.

This is a looooooooooooong blog post, mostly for my own reference next year, but if you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan, then plow ahead.  (Oh wait, that’s all of you)

******

Trailer fades in and all we hear is,

There has been an awakening.  Have you felt it?

I spent a long time trying to figure out the voice.  My first thought was Andy Serkis, and then I completely wiped that from my mind and I swore it was Benedict Cumberbatch, despite his denial that he’s in VII.  I thought maybe he wasn’t appearing in VII, but his voice was there…mysterious and elusive and he will appear in person in VIII and IX.  I was completely wrong (but originally right) because Andy Serkis confirmed he’s the voice.

THEN BAM!  Up pops John Boyega in a stormtrooper outfit on a desert planet.

john boyega

Boyega: My first gut reaction is that he’s on Tatooine.  I still believe that because it would be a nice way to tie all the trilogies together.  We visit Tatooine in the first movie of each trilogy (ANH and TPM) so I think it would be appropriate to also see it in TFA.  Will the main star come from Tatooine like Anakin and Luke did?

Most interesting is that Boyega is in the stormtrooper outfit with his helmet off.  When have we ever seen that with a stormtrooper?  Never.  We’ve seen it with clonetroopers, but not stormtroopers.  He also looks paranoid, frightened, and is definitely out of breath.  Why the urgency?  What’s going on here?

Is there significance with the way he pops up after the voice over mentions “the awakening”?  Could Boyega’s character randomly have the Force awakened in him?  We’ve thought that the Force is with someone from their birth and it doesn’t awaken out of the blue.  In a sense, it awakened with Luke when Obi-Wan began his training, so perhaps that is the case with Boyega’s character, though the voice over suggests otherwise.

ezra and zare

Ezra and Zare

My final thought on this shot is my grand revelation I had last Friday that Boyega is actually the stormtrooper that Ezra met in the Star Wars Rebels episode “Breaking Ranks”.  If so, his character name would be Zare Leonis and he infiltrated the Imperial Academy in search of his missing sister.  When Ezra escapes, Zare decides to stay to continue his personal mission.  Disney and LFL said that they wanted to start tying the canon together more with the books, shows, and movies.  If my theory is correct, this could be step in the right direction.  Perhaps we will never see Zare again in SWR, but his storyline will be revealed in TFA.  It could also explain why perhaps he’s on the run in this episode.  Maybe he’s escaping the Empire (finally).

On top of that, what if his sister is played by Lupita Nyong’o?  We don’t see her character at all in this trailer, but they gave Zare’s sister a name in SWR (Dhara) and why do that with no intention of ever bringing the storyline back?

It might be a bit of a stretch though, since Boyega himself is 22 years old.  But Nyong’o is 31 so it could work…maybe…?

As we transition to the next scene, you can faintly hear a probe droid, so it reaffirms the fact that he could be on the run.

Soccer ball droid: Your guess is as good as mine.  No idea how that droid would function, what it was there for, or if it was even important.  I checked through the Prequels trailers and they did have some random shots of ships that really had no real bearing on the story.  So maybe that was the case with soccer ball droid, or maybe it does mean something.  The only thing I saw of significance was the junk it was rolling past.  Looks a lot like podracers to me…

soccer ball droid

Empire:  Stormtroopers in garish, flashing light.  Oh, and isn’t one a little short for a stormtrooper?  Could that be John Boyega again?  So we know stormtroopers = Empire, so it brings us to the question…did the Rebellion not destroy the Empire in ROTJ?  Is it still alive and well?  And look at the helmets!  Different, but similar.

stormtroopers tfa

There are also rumblings online that they could be in an Imperial Troop Transport.  Apparently Kenner released a toy of them but no one has actually seen them on film (It was in SWR though).  So is that true and it’s making it’s first movie appearance?  If you see the quick shot, it also looks like the stormtroopers have new-ish blasters as well.

And then we see their feet and it looks like they are about to descend into the night.  But where?  What planet?  There are lights, not natural lights, when you look into the night as the ship opens.  The dots of white and red make me think it’s some kind of civilization where they may be going to attack.

Ridley: Daisy Ridley!  Wooo.  She jumps on some sort of speeder, that kind of looks like a cross between an AA-9 Coruscant Freighter and podracer, but different.  And yet, did anyone else feel like it was eerily similar?  Like I had seen it before?

But let me just say this was my FAVORITE scene.  It was so reminiscent of Leia on Endor that my heart sang.  The outfit was even similar to what the Rebels wore on Endor with the over-the-shoulders slouch look.

There has been a lot of speculation on the fact that she had some sort of spear and/or lightsaber right next to her when she jumped on, but then it wasn’t there when she was flying away.  I also noticed that.  Look:

The hilt definitely looks like a lightsaber, but the blade somehow encased or contained?  Why is it missing in the next scene?  Honestly, I think it was a mistake by the editors.  They aren’t even close to done with the film and they probably have a bunch of different shots, some with that lightsaber thing and some without.  Abrams probably didn’t want us seeing it and getting too much information so he didn’t want it in the scene.  You know what…I have no idea, but I really think it was a mistake.

And she, like Boyega, looks like she is running from something and is slightly nervous.  As she speeds off into the distance, we see her going towards something that looks almost like the junk we saw in the background of the soccer ball droid.  Is it the same place?

X-Wings: Woooo!  X-Wings are back and Oscar Isaac is at the helm.  And notice guys…notice….the Rebel Insignia!!!  I had had moments of fear that they would completely change it and then my tattoo would be a remnant of a lost time, but nope.  Loud and proud on his helmet AND his fighter uniform.  Also, remember how I mentioned a year ago that most of the Insignia’s were actually a dark blue, not the red we always place with them?  Looks like Abrams remembers that too since the one on his uniform is the dark blue, though the one on the helmet is red.

oscar isaacs x wing

But of course that brings up the recurring question AGAIN…are we still fighting the Empire?  Still?  WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

xwings over waterThe X-wings fly over the water, which I actually could not figure out was water at first, silly me.  Just from the lighting, I thought it was actually Hoth again and they were flying over ice the first two times I watched it.  Beautiful shots though, right?  I love the artistry so far.  However…this scene actually makes me think it might be a closing scene of the movie.  Something about the lighting and the way there are three going into battle.  Will it be a final battle over the water?  THAT would be different!

Sith:  Okay, the big question.  All over the internet and TV, I’ve seen people dissecting this blade and the big question, “Who is that?”

First, we’ll talk about the blade.  I kind of like it.   The pulsing, unclean cut to it makes me think of something new sith crossguard lightsaberunfinished.  Perhaps due to the Sith (supposedly) being wiped out, this person had to create a lightsaber based on what they researched.  And this is what it is?

But what about those little blades coming out and making it seem like a cross guard?  I’ve read so much from people who think it’s stupid (what if your hand slips?) to people who think it’s practical as it will stop another lightsaber from chopping off your hand (that happens a lot, it seems).  I think…meh.  Don’t really like it actually.  I like the unfinished look of the blade, just not the cross guards.

As for who it is – I really, really want it to be Gwendoline Christie.  Really badly.  I’d love to think that the fact they were hiding the person was because we are finally, FINALLY get a female Sith.

Logic is pointing to Adam Driver because ever since he was cast he has been attached with the Sith rumor.  Some fans believe it could even be Luke due to the fact that they think this person’s right hand/arm is thicker than the other so perhaps it’s a bionic hand in there.  I disagree.  The gait of the villain (if it is a villain) seemed to be of a younger person.  And a very tall person at that.  Christie and Driver come in at 6’3” and Hamill comes in at 5’9”.

The voice returns.

The dark side.

And the light.

And then YAY IT’S THE FALCON.  Who got goosebumps then?  I certainly did.  The effect of it turning around and we’re following it upside down at this crazy angle and then there are TIE Fighters coming at you…MAGIC.  Loved it.  Second favorite moment for me, for sure.  And with the theme blaring in the background.  Happiness.  Pure happiness.

Falcon and TIEs

Again though, why the TIEs?  The Empire is somehow back in this movie.  Another desert planet, but this whole time we have not seen any sign of twin suns so we can’t confirm it’s Tatooine.   The Falcon also has a rectangular dish on it, no longer a circular one because if you remember, it got knocked off on the second Death Star run.

*****

The only question left for me at the end, on which I have no real theories on, is the voice.  Serkis’ overarching voice gave us a narrative that seems most unusual for Star Wars.  What character is that?  It seemed a little too neutral to me.  Are they good or bad?  Do they play a big role or are they, like my original theory on Cumberbatch, elusive for the first movie?

Time will tell, but for now, I’m pumped, excited, and can’t wait for the next trailer, much less the actual movie a year from now.

Conning for the First Time

My first convention experience was Star Wars Celebration II.  I was 14, maybe 15, years old and somehow managed to convince my dad to buy me tickets to Celebration II.  He agreed – but on the condition that we drive there from Massachusetts to Indianapolis.  All too easy; that deal did not require any further thought, though I did spend a long time in the car.

For a first con experience, I was completely spoiled.  This wasn’t a small crowd; I think it had something like 38,000 other Star Wars fans.  WOW.  After that, a convention has never lived up to it.  Sure, NYCC last year matched Celebration II in size, but it wasn’t all Star Wars fans.  The feeling of being surrounded by Star Wars 24/7 and seeing the amazing Star Wars cosplay was a dream come true.  So many wonderful experiences!  Maybe one day I will go into it in more depth…

One of my blog followers, Nathan, went to his first con a few weeks ago.  I was so excited for him that I asked if he wouldn’t mind if I sent him some questions to think about while he was attending and then possibly answer when he returned.  A year ago, Nathan seemed a bit skeptical about cons but since reading my many blog posts on the ones I have attended, he decided to give a local one a shot.  I am so happy that I may have directly or indirectly influenced him!

Nathan talks about his experience at CONstellation V (cool name) and you may just learn something new (Dr. McNinja).  Feel free to ask Nathan any questions you’d like in the comment area below.  I’m hoping that maybe this convinces other people to attend cons as well!  Why?  Because they’re interesting, you learn something, surround yourself with other geeks, possibly buy cool stuff, and just have fun!   By the way – in case you were wondering – I have never met Nathan.  He is just someone who has been following my blog ever since it started up (THANK YOU!) and has never left 🙂  He also wrote a guest post over a year ago reviewing the EU book Scoundrels.

Read on, Padawans…(hey that kind of rhymes)

 

Star Wars Anonymous: What drew you to this specific con?  (Was it a con full of actors/actresses, comic book authors, novel authors, technical, gaming, etc?)

Nathan G: Location, location, location.  CONstellation V took place in Lincoln, NE.  That’s about 70 miles from my hometown, and being from rural Nebraska you take your opportunities to unabashedly geek out when you can get them.  A couple other factors was that the Con was a cheap way to try out the world of Cons, $30 for the whole weekend, and I happened to be a fan of the short fiction of the two guest authors.

 

What were the highlights of it?

There were quite a few things about the weekend that I really enjoyed.  Definitely the author panels I attended were pretty interesting.  I was glad to meet Robert Reed who’s a Lincoln, NE science fiction author I really admire.  Also the Cosplay Contest was surprisingly awesome but more on that later.

What was something that you didn’t expect?

The friendly attitude of the Con was great.  Because it was such a small event, it was always easy to find staff or experienced Con-goers to point you in the right direction.  Also, the size gave the impression of a tight knit group.  It was easy to run into people several times over the course of the weekend.  In one situation, the presenter for a panel I attended never arrived.  After several check-ins and profuse apologies by con staff, everyone in the room was content to spend the hour chatting about past Con experiences and fandom in general.

Did anyone show up in cosplay?  What was your favorite outfit?  If you have a photo, please include it.

I did not expect to have nearly as much fun as I had at the Cosplay Contest.  Actually, I don’t think the organizers did either.  I attended the contest just to fill in some time between panels I hoped to attend, and it ended up being full of more laughs than any other single event of the weekend.

It started fairly blasé with cosplayers making their way to the front of the room, offering a few lines about their costume or character and walking off.  A few of them interacted with the MC in-character, but mostly it was just an amateur fashion show.  I didn’t know what to expect as far as quality of costume, but I thought most of them looked good, clearly some time and care had gone into a lot of the costumes.

Anyway, after the last costume, the MC said, “Well, we have to let the judges deliberate, so if anyone would like to talk more about their costume or process, feel free.”  Cue the crickets.

There was apparently no official plan to fill the time.  And this is when Dr. McNinja saves the day.  If you’re not familiar with The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, then leave this blog (sorry, Kiri!) and go check out drmcninja.com as a favor to your future self!  Forget about your past selves, it’s too late for them anyway.  Okay, since that’s over I can proceed to tell you that the cosplaying Dr. McNinja stepped up to give us all a PSA about the dangers of Paul Bunyan’s Disease.  From there, the event turned into a Q & A with Dr. McNinja in character the whole time.

It was pretty fantastic.  We learned about his many doctorate degrees, his time spent at the University of Batman, his tutelage under the clone of Benjamin Franklin, and of course the many, many species of dinosaurs Dr. McNinja has had to punch over the course of his adventures.  Eventually, the other cosplayers warmed to the attention and we were able to have a Q & A with several of fandom’s most beloved characters.  That is until the coup de gras…  A question for Pink Batman (yes, there was a Batman, and he was pink).  He was asked, “Excuse me, Pink Batman, but could you tell us where your pink parents are today?”  “TOO SOON!” cried out Dr. McNinja, and the two ninja-scientist-heroes consoled each other until the judges interrupted to complete the actual contest we came to see.

As for the contest itself, I was fairly impressed by the quality of cosplay.  There was a couple dressed as Deadpool and Harley Quinn that I believe were the Best Team.  There was Princess Jasmine who won in the Best Sewing category.  The Youth Division winner was Lego Darth Maul, and he was just about the cutest little Sith Lord you’ve ever seen.  Halo’s Master Chief was the Overall Winner in a cool costume with multiple layers and a light-up helmet.

 

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Did you buy anything at the Con?  If so, what did you buy and why did you buy it?

Even though the merchandise was limited, I did manage to buy a few things:  some art prints for my siblings, bead sprites from Galaga and a stormtrooper, and my obsession with used books continues.

CON_swag

Was there anything you were disappointed by? 

Mostly the Exhibitor Hall was disappointing.  I think this is one area where bigger is definitely better.  There were fewer than a dozen vendors and maybe four tables from other Cons or groups.  Also, I found their lack of stormtroopers disturbing.  Literally, not one stormtrooper, but there was a Mandalorian so that was cool.

(Editors note: they had a Mandalorian group/cosplay but no stormtroopers?  I definitely sense a disturbance in the Force…  Maybe the 501st doesn’t have a big presence in Nebraska.)

Did you learn anything new?

Probably the two things that stick out to me most as lessons learned from CONstellation would have to come from the author panels.  Robert Reed talked about a conversation that he had with a young writer who didn’t like a story he had just sold.  Mr. Reed told us that he didn’t like anything he’d written in his first 10 years.  That maybe a paragraph here or there stands out, but as you hone your craft, you have to let go of those stories you were so passionate about as a younger writer.

Carrie Vaughn made an interesting point in her panel about Voice.  She said that Voice is one of the most important elements to show that a writer knows what she is doing.  Ms. Vaughn explained that story, plot, and character can all be there, but if the Voice is inconsistent or doesn’t match the tone, your ability to engage the whole story suffers.

Did you prefer the exhibitor hall or the panels (if this applies)?

Panels easily.  The exhibitor hall just didn’t have a lot to offer.

Would you go to another con in the future?

Yes!  I was pretty sad to see the weekend end.  I’ve already started thinking about ways I can get involved next year, or at other Cons.

How would you rate your first Con experience from 1-10 (10 being the greatest, 1 being the worst) and explain?

This question I debated most throughout the weekend.  I think early on my expectations for CONstellation V were set too high, and I would have given the Con a low score.  However, as I settled into the event and began to really take part, I was having a blast.  That’s not to say the event was without legitimate disappointments, a lack of exhibitors and a panelist no-show, but it was all outweighed by the three F’s of friendliness, fun, and awesome fandom.  For my first Con experience, CONstellation V gets a solid 8.5.

 

Thanks, Nathan, for sharing your experience!  Please keep me updated on any cons you go too; I love hearing about cons in different parts of the USA.

Scene it on Friday – ROTS Scene #21

Scene it on Friday – ROTS Scene #21

Wow, not much to work with here.

One thing this scene made me think of – I definitely didn’t like how the droids got bigger and badder as the Prequels progressed.   If they are really that competent or “super”, why do we need stormtroopers?  Why would Palpatine decide that the switch to stormtroopers was even justifiable?

My best guess would be that, after watching The Clone Wars, stormtroopers (or clone troopers at the time) possess the ability to think on their feet.  We saw often enough that the droids lacked this ability and would just have a “does not compute” moment and freeze, enabling them to be easily destroyed.

However, the stormtroopers we see in the OT are just as dumb as the droids in the PT.  I give up.  Perhaps as they continue to grow, they slowly become less mindful and more like droids?

Another random thought – Lama Su mentioned that the clones created on Kamino grow in half the time.   So does that mean they also grow old really fast?  It must.  So the prime time for stormtroopers is only about 10-20 years, I’m guessing.  Then they have to constantly order more stormtroopers from Kamino to backfill the ones that are getting older?  Or maybe they don’t even live to get that old so in the end, it doesn’t matter?

This is starting to confuse me…

And speaking of Artoo, since he’s in this scene, why don’t they just take astromech droids brains/wiring, and put them in battle droids?  Artoo can think on his feet, can get anyone out of a tough situation, and is the best droid out there (sorry, Threepio, but I would honestly never want you by my side in a fight)!

There.  Problem solved.

Super battle droids ROTS

INTERIOR: HANGAR – TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER

R2-D2 notices two SUPER BATTLE DROIDS entering the hangar.  He moves and hides behind a Jedi Starfighter.