Is it safe to come out now and try to have a conversation about The Last Jedi? Maybe? Okay, let’s talk about Force sensitivity in canon and legends, good and bad, and how it hasn’t really changed all that much. If The Last Jedi ruined your childhood, this may not be something you’re interested in reading. But the Definite Article stands to ready to dissect, dismantle, and hopefully understand.
Where do I begin with recapping Catalyst? It’s a great novel by James Luceno, one of my favorite Star Wars authors who also wrote some of my other Star Wars books – Tarkin in the new canon, and Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, and Darth Plagueis to name a few of his fantastic Legends works. I can’t call this a genuine review; I’d simply gush too much about this book. So instead, I’ve decided to put together a recap with no-spoiler and spoiler sections in preparation for Rogue One: A Star Wars story, which comes to theaters December 16th. Continue reading “Death Stars and Dinner Parties: A Recap of James Luceno’s Catalyst”
Head canon wearing the best helmets in the galaxy. Check out the Definite Article for a mix of canon, Legends, and head canon takes on everything Star Wars!
I love the Empire and they’ve done nothing wrong. But when it comes to the vast array of unique races and cultures throughout Star Wars, nothing beats the Mandalorians in my opinion. This race of fierce warriors dates back to the days of the (Legends) Old Republic, where they frequently allied themselves with Vitiate’s Sith Empire as bounty hunters and mercenaries. They were known to wear distinct armor colored to reflect family ties and honored traditions, and their suits of tough armor were also renown for turning the wearer into a walking armory. Mandos get all the coolest gear, from jetpacks and wrist rockets to cutting edge blasters, tether cables, and jetpack-mounted missile launchers. Not only do I love them, but the Empire are apparently fans too. And that’s canon now, so let’s talk about it!
“Imperial Supercommandos,” the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, pits Sabine and Ezra against Mandalorians on two sides as they reach out to Concord Dawn to reestablish contact. Mandalorian soldiers loyal to the Empire and lead by former Shadow Collective member Gar Saxon have destroyed the encampment of Fenn Rau, and his forces are killed in the process. Seeking to escape rather than join the body count, Rau escapes in the new Phantom after Ezra distracts the other Mandalorians. Long story short, he has a change of heart and turns back to save Sabine and Ezra from the supercommando team. Okay, so that might be an oversimplification of the episode, but honestly I saw that ‘twist’ coming a mile away. However, I liked this episode a lot. Both the supercommandos and Fenn Rau are sympathetic, even though Rau does put the kids in a rough spot by leaving them behind. The Mandalorians under Gar Saxon want power to restore the former glory of Mandalore, and the only way to stay in power is to side with the Empire. Odds are it isn’t going to pay off greatly for them, but you can sympathize with a warrior culture wanting to stick to its ways while, at the same time, trying to cement a better future and hoping they can outlast the Empire.
This episode makes some great contributions to the new Mandalorian canon established by The Clone Wars series. First and foremost, Imperial Mandalorian soldiers are canon now. Originally that was just an idea back in the day when Boba Fett was just a better version of a stormtrooper, not a bounty hunter, and he wore all white armor.
Secondly, Gar Saxon is back and has become a pawn of the Empire, given a title of Viceroy of Mandalore. Sabine doesn’t care much for Gar, and rightfully so – he used to ally himself with Maul, who ruled Mandalore for a short time near the end of The Clone Wars. It’s great to see him back after his appearances in the Son of Dathomir comics. The only thing that bothers me is that he teases a lot of backstory on Sabine and none of it pays off in the episode. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Sabine gets the short end of the stick on this show most of the time. All this backstory is teased yet it doesn’t pay off or actually include her. We learn that Gar knows who Sabine’s mother is and that she is looking for Sabine. We still don’t know who she is, if that’s even true or if Gar is bluffing, or who her mother is. The Sabine episodes tease a lot of what I’m hoping will eventually be a very compelling Mandalorian character. But in the meantime, we’ve had several episodes explaining Chopper’s backstory. Chopper has PTSD after crashing in a Y-Wing during The Clone Wars, and he was rescued by Hera Syndulla (who also could use some more story time in my opinion.) Chopper can fend for himself, is often violent, and is so stubborn that he will often defy direct orders. What do we know about Sabine? She paints. She’s spunky and quippy. She’s from Mandalore and went to the Impreial Academy there, knows several languages, and has a mother she’s been distanced from. We don’t know how she came to the Ghost crew, much at all about her childhood on Mandalore, or what she’s truly fighting for. It’s arguable that she gets plenty of screen time, but I think her time could be used better on this show.
Moving on, the episode does take some steps in the right direction even if they are just teasing again with more light Sabine backstory. I like that this episode didn’t have a single “look how stupid the stormtroopers are” moment and that the rest of the Ghost crew wasn’t in the episode after the initial few minutes. It’s giving Sabine some time to do her own thing, dealing with people she recognizes in the only way Mandalorians know how; helmets on and blasters out. I was expecting Gar Saxon to have the dark saber but that didn’t happen, at least not yet. But we know Sabine gets it later on, and I think getting it from Gar makes the most sense. Either that or it’s in Thrawn’s collection somewhere. I appreciated seeing some Clone Wars loose ends tied up without having another cameo-of-the-week as well, though admittedly I am excited to see Bo Katan come back later on because it means more Mandalorian-centric episodes this season. Mandalorian participation in galactic events beyond mercenary wok is an interesting step in the right direction. Pre Vizla was shaping up to make big changes before he was killed by Maul. And while we’re on that topic, what are these ties between Clan Wren and House Vizla that keep coming up? How deep does that go?
Something I’m very excited about is that I think these Mando-centric episodes are going to set up some pre-A New Hope Boba Fett stories. These supercommandos probably don’t survive season three, but who do we know who is also an awesome Mandalorian? Boba Fett! I’d love to see him even if it isn’t until season four. He’s known to work with the Empire and we might even get to see how he establishes his connections with Vader. I’m probably dreaming, but that’ the episode I’d make if I was in charge. Oh if I was in charge…
So what did you think about this episode? Like Mandalorians as much as I do? Leave a comment below and let me know! And as always, thanks for reading.
Rebel or rebel not – not the question, that is. Check out my thoughts on the extended season premier of Rebels!
Jumping right in, isn’t it great how Thrawn just shows up as if he’s been around the whole time? I love it when TV shows do something like this and don’t acknowledge how important something is (in a humorous way, which I think is what they were going for in a subtle way) This show gets a lot of things right, sometimes gets them wrong, but as a lifelong Star Wars fan I can wholeheartedly say I like this show. Maybe I don’t love it, but it has its place in the universe, and that place isn’t perfect, but I believe it to be necessary.
Being primarily a show for children, Rebels tends to not get overcomplicated, and that’s a good thing honestly. Much like one of the movies, most episodes end with hints toward the larger story but wrapped up nicely enough to complete a thought. The show isn’t without its annoying cliffhangers, but that’s par for the course when capturing the short attention spans of children is in play. (Personally, I enjoy having the blu-ray playing when you can watch without constant interruptions and ads – it feels much less choppy when binge-watching)
Season three opens with Ezra having learned some dark side techniques, jumping straight into the fray as he slices up stormtroopers with his new lightsaber and mind tricks an AT-DP pilot into fighting for his squadmates. He’s dangerously powerful, and the fact that we weren’t explicitly shown everything he learned from the holocron (before Kanan takes it from him) leaves many questions to be answered about his place in the Force. Can he sit on the fence and begin to learn balancing his personal conflicts, something even Kanan still struggles with? Or will he fall, and how hard?
Here’s a bit of a fan theory for you. Something I noticed but never put much thought into was how much Ezra talks to himself, almost but not quite straight to the audience. At times his narration can be grating, but thinking about it while I brainstormed for this piece got me thinking. Ezra talks to himself because he’s been alone for his life much longer than he’s been with any kind of family, friends, or the Ghost Crew/Pheonix Squadron. His nervous narration likely comes from a childhood habit of talking to himself; unless he was trying to con the locals out of some food or steal from the Imperials, he’s never had anyone to talk to. It opens up to some meta-humor if the show continues to mature the way it has, and the way Clone Wars did before it. I’d love to see Sabine point out how often he talks to himself, out loud, and Ezra shyly realizing someone is really getting to know him on a more personal level (I suggest Sabine because it’s been a point of speculation since season one whether the two would be a couple, and I do think they’d make a cute couple somewhere down the line)
Watching the crew bust everyone’s favorite pirate Hondo out of prison and using his intel to steal Y-Wing bombers was a lot of fun. Ezra jumps the gun. He’s smart and powerful, but doesn’t always weigh the consequences. When they face setbacks, everyone has a different opinion; Sabine thinks logically, realizing the ships need fuel before they can steal them, and Rex mentions that it won’t be their last setback on the mission. Hearing different reactions to the situation helps make the characters feel less flat, and the show is doing a good job of getting characters more and more fleshed out, even if it is sometimes interrupted or shortened due to the 22-minute run time. I’d love to see some more Clone Wars-style arcs, a good three or four episodes spent in one place on one specific thing, where a lot of growth takes place over the arc rather than a quick lesson learned after a short while. However, I think Rebels is a great show for entry-level Star Wars fans, so having bite-sized chunks of story isn’t always a bad thing. These episodes move and don’t get bogged down. (See my previous point about Thrawn just showing up)
Thrawn was perfect, and I hope this show doesn’t see the end of him. I love these characters but in my opinion, they do not get to kill Thrawn – it isn’t how the story would go in my head. Thrawn is introduced and all of his EU/Legends traits are present. He is cold, calm, and sees a bigger picture whereas his Imperial underlings are much more shortsighted. The voice, provided by Lars Mikkelsen, is spot on. To be a fly on the wall while Disney held auditions for that voice (if they did) would have been quite an experience.The premier does not overuse Thrawn, and ultimately Thrawn lets the rebels escape. I hope this doesn’t become habit, but I suspect in the next couple episodes he will deal at least one crippling blow to Pheonix Squadron.
The Gray Jedi come closer to canonicity with the introduction of a new Force wielder, the Bendu, who helps Kanan see beyond his physical blindness. Kanan is among the best characters in the new canon, and seeing him struggle so much through his life really hits you in the feels when you know his whole story. He’s effectively a war orphan after Order 66, he kills his former clone trooper friends, and struggles for the rest of his life to hide, but not abandon, his Jedi ways. The Bendu, also voiced perfectly by one Tom Baker, was a fun addition to the show, and I hope he pops up again to teach more lessons about the Force.
I was discussing the show with my fiance before the premier, and we agree on a lot of points about this show.Sometimes it feels rushed, like more could be going on, but at the same time it is a show that will get a new generation hooked on Star Wars. I want the show to do well, and I want more spinoff novels about the other characters similar to A New Dawn (Disney, if you’re reading this, mind writing a book about Sabine’s days in the Imperial Academy on Mandalore?) As I said, binge-watching on blu-ray helps this the rewatchability of this show. And with the Ahsoka novel coming out next month, I have high hopes for any spinoff comics or novels we get in the future. To the people who don’t like this show or complain about it a lot, I know it has its flaws, but take it for what it is, not for what it is not. Not unlike Grand Admiral Thrawn, I see a larger picture. Does the show not do much for you? Maybe wait for a book, or get lost reading on Wookieepedia to get the stories in a different format. But give this show a chance, because it is getting better. This premier got. . .I hate to use this word, but darker. It is a well-rounded darkness, a more somber tone. It isn’t annoyingly grim-dark, and although I suspect tragedy will strike our rebel cell this season, I know that the heart of the show will remain in overcoming the odds and the darkness. Will they all make it out? Only time will tell. Trust in the Force, and trust in more entertaining episodes Saturdays this Fall.
Obligatory Review Score: A solid 7.5 out of 10, 1 being Sithspit and 10 being more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Like this rant? Hate it? Let me know in the comments! You can contact me on the contact page or in the comments. And if you have an idea for something you’d like to see, let me know and I might make a post about it! Thanks for reading this far!
It may not be canon, but it’s definitely an article. . .check out my non-canon theory on how The First Order made it’s budget equivalent of an Old Republic superweapon!
Star Wars weapons put real-life weapons to shame. A near-weightless beam of energy, the lightsaber outclasses a sword in damage and durability. Blasters and energy weapons tear through armor – both personal body armor and the metal hulls of starships. Even our nuclear weapons are relatively minor compared to the super weapons of a galaxy far, far away that can end planets and civilizations on a whim.
Imagine a weapon that can leach energy from a nearby star and use it to strike fear into the galaxy at large. Energy and mass are transferred from the burning stars to power the evil machinations of dark lords. And it almost always ends in the total annihilation of entire planets. If this sounds like Starkiller Base from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, it should. But it also sounds a lot like something else.
I had some time to catch up on reading over the long weekend, and wouldn’t you know it, something very similar to Starkiller Base existed during The Old Republic era. In the comics, volume 3: The Lost Suns, there is another sun-eating superweapon. In my personal head-canon, I’d like to believe that Kylo Ren got some ideas from the history of this time. We know it’s where he obtained the design for his lightsaber, and who knows if he had any input on Starkiller?
The ancient weapon is known as the Sun Razer, a sun-siphoning superweapon designed by Sith Lord Darth Mekhis. Her space stations were designed to be positioned around especially powerful stars, and drain them of their matter and energy in order to power other superweapon construction projects, most notably star destroyers such as the Ascendant Spear, Gauntlet, Silencer, Emperor’s Shadow, and Undying. (It is a requirement that all Sith weapons have awesome names FYI)
Just like Starkiller Base, the Sun Razer consumes solar energy with devastating effect. We know Starkiller eventually does its namesake and totally removes the star from space, but this has yet to be a confirmed side effect of the Sun Razer’s continued use. In my mind, the Sun Razer is actually much more terrifying than Starkiller. Sure, Starkiller is effectively a giant shotgun combined with a giant sniper rifle and a Death Star, able to destroy a cluster of planets across the galaxy almost instantaneously. But the Sun Razer not only drains the life of the sun, but also powers factories that churn out even more superweapons like faster star destroyers, destroyers with ‘fleet killing’ superlasers, and advanced cloaking technology. This weapon would not only devastate the star system by weakening or outright destroying its sun, but it would also help create more weapons to conquer other star systems.
Maybe the First Order is strapped for resources and had to settle for one ultimate weapon in its shotgun/sniper rifle/Death Star, but their evil hearts were in the right place when they looked to the Sun Razer for inspiration. Obviously this is all just head-canon to me, but since nothing in canon directly contradicts it, I’ll go with it. It’s fun to think of Kylo and Snoke looking to Mekhis’s ultimate weapons for ideas, and having to settle for one weapon versus a fleet of specialized super destroyers. The First Order simply doesn’t have the budget to do it the old way – no slaves, fewer controlled territories and planets to strip for resources, and even less public backing than the Empire.
Now if they would only address the single design flaw of these weapons, which is the biggest similarity between the Sun Razer and Starkiller – get it some plot armor so it isn’t destroyed within five minutes of the good guys knowing it exists. Let it be out there and be an ever-present threat! Let it be terrifying! Both Death Stars, the Sun Razer, and Starkiller Base all effectively have space cardboard for plot armor and it’d be amazing to see one of these weapons really change the galaxy rather than just scare it for a few hours.
Interested in talking about Star Wars theories? Leave a comment below! I come up with head-canon reasons for things all the time and might do articles/rants like these from time to time.