Star Wars, JJ-verse edition

I guess Spielberg is out.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. Cue the half-finished gas-giant-based super weapon with an orbiting planet full of cute aliens, a huge space battle and a climactic light saber battle where Rey defeats Kylo WHO IS HER BROTHER OMFG and then Kylo embraces the light and throws Snoke down a well.

Then again, JJ is coming in late so hopefully the script will have been fixed by the story group and not be as vulnerable to JJ’s flights of fancy, or lens flares.

If it sucks, we can always say it was an alternate universe and go back to Extended Universe for our head canon.

Which Leia was Leia?

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Right now, The Princess Diarist is the #1 book on Amazon.com. And it’s sold out.

Looking at Carrie Fisher’s other books that feature her in her Leia persona on the cover, namely Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic – I am struck by the fact that she always portrayed herself as Episode IV Leia. (Both are out of stock right now, too). Obviously, she wasn’t a fan of Slave Leia, but General Leia didn’t seem to be as iconic in her own mind.

In a recent Facebook convo about Leia’s image, a female friend of mine expressed that she thought General Leia in Ep VII finally redeemed Leia from the “degraded mess” the character had become in Return of the Jedi, presumably because of that bikini. Alyssa Rosenberg in the Washington Post writes a pretty comprehensive defense of Leia on that score. I largely agree that focusing on what Leia was wearing misses the point – Leia was kidnapped by a space slug, forced to wear something obscene, and then killed him with her bare hands in revenge. The bikini was a literal symbol of how women are oppressed, and it’s her resistance and revenge over the victimization by Jabba, not the actual victimization itself, that define Leia. Fisher herself colored outside the feminist lines – she once joked about not remembering who she slept with to land the Leia role, but hoped it was Lucas himself! That’s not exactly a female-positive sense of humor. Likewise, what Leia wore in one scene of one movie shouldn’t really degrade the character or define it. Leia was complicated, reflecting how Fisher was complicated.

Rogue One, the Force, and gender

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A (female) friend of mine loved Rogue One, but noted an imbalance in the Force:

Wept tears of joy. And not to nitpick the film’s clear feminist intentions, but couldn’t at least a handful of the nameless cannon-fodder strike force be women?

The ramblings that follow began as a long-winded reply, but grew so unwieldy and disorganized that I decided it fit better here 🙂 Spoilers may follow. Continue reading “Rogue One, the Force, and gender”

Rebels Season 3, Thrawn, and… Ezra is Snoke?

via File770, Star Wars: Celebration just dropped the trailer for Season 3 of Rebels. Big reveals: the Darksaber is back and more Mandalorian lore, Grand Admiral Thrawn returns to canon, and Ezra slips ever closer to the Dark Side. The trailer is amazing:

Everyone is going to flip out over Thrawn, which is cool (though extremely muddles the Empire’s command structure). But the bigger clue is Ezra. In many ways, Ezra is Luke (and the same age, notably) – being trained ad-hoc, growing in strength, and convinced he is immune to the Dark Side’s corruption. We saw Luke flirt with the Dark Side’s power throughout the original trilogy and in ROTJ Luke dresses more like a Sith than a Jedi. There’s an entire theory that Luke actually went full Dark Side.

dark luke

TFA basically refuted that, but there’s no denying Luke was walking the line between Light and Dark the entire time. He is a Skywalker, his grandfather is the Force, so I guess he had some plot protection in that respect. However, Ezra does not have that lineage. And the path that Ezra is walking is very similar to Luke’s – seeking more power, embracing the Sith holocron, not for its own sake but to protect his friends and family, and justifying the dalliance with the Dark Side on that basis.

My prediction: Ezra fails to walk the line as Luke does, and ultimately becomes Snoke.

Ezra’s dark side master is clearly Maul, which is appropriate because Vader is Maul’s replacement as Palpatine’s apprentice. As a result, Kylo Ren is the heir to Palpatine’s teaching via both Maul and Vader.

ezra saber

Since Maul went off the reservation, that would explain how Snoke has taught Kylo Force abilities we haven’t seen yet, like mindrape and forcefreeze. We can even speculate that Ezra’s final act to turn fully towards the Dark may be killing Ahsoka.

Obviously I’m not the only one to have speculated along these lines before, but the trailer for Rebels S3 makes it much more plausible, especially the Luke/Ezra parallels. But Ezra is no Skywalker.

Who are the Knights of Ren?

(warning – spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

knights ren

A quick thought about Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren, who we do see during Rey’s sabre-vision.

All we know of why Luke went AWOL was that one of his apprentices (Ren) “destroyed everything” that Luke had tried to build. It’s never stated explicitly that Ren went all Anakin on the younglings. In fact it seems given Ren’s angst about killing Han and the Light, that he’s never crossed the line so dramatically. This is underscored by Snoke who explicitly tells him, “you are the Master of the Knights of Ren, but even you have never faced such a challenge.” (paraphrasing)

What if instead of killing Luke’s jedi in training, Ren corrupted them? Using some of that charisma and leadership skill he inherited from mom and dad, it’s plausible that he took over the Knights of Ren and lured them to the dark side. Such a betrayal of Luke’s goals would be arguably worse than just killing them. In a real sense, that truly is “destroying everything Luke worked for”…

… from a certain point of view.