Canon and Continuity

Fiction’s Fearless Females: Shmi Skywalker

Young Anakin Skywalker turns and runs back to his mother, telling her that “I just can’t do it mom.” Offered the chance to flee his life of slavery on Tatooine, to travel the galaxy and become a Jedi under the tutelage of Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the 9-year-old boy has a reasonable moment of doubt. He has only ever known this life with Shmi, his mother. As an audience we know very little of their life prior to meeting them in The Phantom Menace, only small bits that are often short on details. Anakin and Shmi used to be the property of Gardulla the Hutt and are now owned by the junk dealer Watto. Shmi has taught Anakin to care for others who are in need, and she says he has no greed. Anakin is the only human who can fly a podracer, having incredible reflexes that are uncommon for a human. We learn these and other facts, but they remain superficial, lacking any depth to better understand the trajectory of the life Shmi and Anakin have lived together. When Anakin says he does not want to leave, and his mother never-the-less insists “don’t look back,” we are otherwise lacking any meaningful understanding of what looking back truly means.

Except, there is one very important piece of information that we did learn that something that is stunning and adds incredible depth to both characters. At one point, Master Jinn enquires about the boy’s father, wondering who he was. To this, Shmi offers something startling. “There was no father,” she tells the Jedi Master, “I carried him [Anakin], I gave birth, I raised him, I can’t explain what happened.” In other words, Anakin is quite literally a miracle.

Qui-Gon Jinn takes this information and runs with it, taking a blood sample from Anakin that evening, a sample which confirms what he already suspected, that the boy has a unique and powerful relationship to the Force. Curiously, though, Qui-Gon takes no further interest in Shmi other than briefly wanting to free her from slavery along with Anakin, something he is unable to accomplish. Once Anakin is freed, with plans set in motion for the boy to join the Jedi, Qui-Gon will also ask Shmi if she will be alright, but this is a question that Shmi has little time to contemplate. Her son has been set free, he can now leave the arid sands of Tatooine for a better life, something she could not offer him.

It is unsurprising that Qui-Gon’s focus becomes freeing Anakin. Afterall, The Phantom Menace is a story about the discovery of Anakin, the “One who will bring balance to the Force,” and his first steps on the journey to becoming Darth Vader. The Star Wars saga which creator George Lucas crafted by adding the Prequel Trilogy is the story of Anakin Skywalker, of his fall to Darkness and his redemption, but this story is not possible without Anakin’s mother. She is the linchpin, the one character who was needed to establish his inevitable importance. All of the other characters, the events, the details, all of it could be different, could be changed for us to arrive at Anakin’s downfall. Shmi, however, is central to Anakin’s story. Even though she occupies a mere sliver in the great canon of Star Wars, she never-the-less plays one of the most critical roles.

Miraculous births are fundamental to establishing the importance of religious figures, and virgin births are incredibly common across a wide spectrum of religious traditions. Jesus is the most obvious and well-known example, born to the Virgin Mary, but he is not the only one. In one Aztec story, Quetzalcoatl was born to the virgin. A legend about the Muslim poet Kabir describes that he was born to a virgin Hindu. The list goes on and on (just google it). Thus, what Shmi describes to Qui-Gon Jinn follows this archetype, establishing Anakin’s special importance as a religious figure.

However, with Anakin as the focus of this miraculous information, Shmi becomes lost in the background. For a long time, I took Shmi for granted, never stopping to consider that her agency and voice in the matter is hidden behind the veil of Anakin’s importance. She could not explain what happened, we are but neither is she given the chance to explain whether she even wanted a child, not to mention any other reactions/emotions she felt when she learned a fetus was developing within her. As a man, I have no clue what it must feel like for a woman to discover that she is pregnant. I am incapable of understanding this experience, all I can do is listen and learn about what is undoubtedly a very personal and varied reaction from one woman to the next.

On this point, I am not suggesting George Lucas should have put words into Shmi’s mouth on this topic in The Phantom Menace. That could have just made things far more awkward. I do think, however, that Shmi Skywalker deserves to have her story told in a much more dynamic way that elevates her agency and voice regarding a pregnancy that was imposed on her, not chosen by her. We should not assume that just because Shmi could not “explain what happened” that this implies a passive acceptance of the pregnancy on her part. Instead, what she honestly tells Qui-Gon Jinn should be the jumping off point for a deeper dive into her lived experience, for this particular aspect of her story to be written by a woman or women in such a way that elevates her to the same level of importance as Anakin.

And that is the thing that I believe needs to be emphasized. Shmi Skywalker is just as important as Anakin precisely because she is, at the very least and in my opinion, an equal partner in the balancing of the Force. Like Anakin, Shmi Skywalker is also a miracle, she is the Divine Mother, and it is long past time that her story, her agency, and her voice are amplified.


Fiction’s Fearless Females is in its fourth year!  Yay!  The series runs for the month of March and along with myself feature pieces by Nancy and Kathleen from Graphic Novelty2, Kalie from Just Dread-full, Michael from My Comic Relief.  Be sure to follow each of these blogs and to check out all of the Fearless Females in the series. Just follow these links:

Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy

Ellie and Sandie

Black Canary/Birds of Prey

Beverly Crusher & Deanna Troi

The Erasure of a Huttlet

I suppose at the outset I should acknowledge two points that are necessary before proceeding. The first is that this piece contains spoilers from The Book of Boba Fett. Not a lot of spoilers, just a handful of details that help me explain my thought process. Secondly, the more significant point, is that as a Star Wars fan I am genuinely frustrated that I am sitting here writing this piece. This feeling being the motivating factor, rather than beating around the bush building to the big “reveal” about why I am frustrated I will just get right to the point:

The Book of Boba Fett never addresses the existence of Rotta the Huttlet, Jabba the Hutt’s son and the rightful heir to Jabba’s criminal empire.

Years ago, I wrote a piece in which I explained that Rotta – a character introduced in The Clone Wars movie in 2008 – should take over his father’s nefarious enterprise. In that piece I offered some ideas regarding how Rotta could be utilized, and while I was under no illusion (I never am) that the storytellers at Disney/Lucasfilm would ever come across my posts and use my ideas, I never-the-less was hopeful that Rotta would, eventually, make a future appearance in Star Wars. Or, at the very least, I held out hope that we would find out in some small way, even in a passing statement hidden in a book, where Rotta is or even if he is still alive.

When The Book of Boba Fett was teased in the end credits scene following the season two finale of The Mandalorian my hopes for Rotta’s return were raised. In this short teaser we watch Boba Fett, accompanied by the assasin Fennec Shand, enter Jabba’s throne room and kill Bib Fortuna, the Twi’lek who served as Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo. “Finally,” I thought to myself as I watched this short scene unfold, “Star Wars will address, in some way, what happened to Rotta the Huttlet!” My hope, unfortunately, was misplaced.

Boba Fett claims Jabba’s Throne after killing Bib Fortuna
Photo Credit: The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 8 – The Rescue

I waited to write this post until I watched the finale of The Book of Boba Fett. I wanted to be fair to the show, to the storytellers who put their time and energy into telling Boba’s Fett’s tale once he establishes himself as the daimyo, the self-appointed ruler, of Jabba’s fiefdom. But it became apparent I would write this piece following a moment of exposition at the outset of the show’s third chapter.

Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa begins with Boba Fett seated on the throne listening as a droid describes the areas of Mos Espa, the local metropolis, which were under the protection of Jabba the Hutt. The droid explains that “after the sail barge disaster there was a power vacuum; Bib Fortuna assumed Jabba’s mantle.” The droid then goes on to offer how Fortuna ruled, acknowledging that the Twi’lek did not have the same power as his former Hutt employer.

Now, that Bib Fortuna placed himself on the throne following Jabba’s demise in Return of the Jedi is not entirely surprising even if it is odd that he somehow survived the destruction of the sail barge. It is reasonable enough to think that Jabba’s majordomo would step into the vacuum following the Hutt’s death, knowing as he would how the criminal empire was run. Yet, this only makes sense if we presume that Rotta the Huttlet is somehow out of the picture when Fortuna moves himself onto the throne. Basically, either Rotta needs to have died before the events of Return of the Jedi, he had to die in the sail barge explosion, or Fortuna would need to eliminate him from contention in some other way. Whatever the case may be, there has to be some accounting for Rotta’s absence.

I was hopeful The Book of Boba Fett would address this, that in acknowledging the obvious power vacuum after Jabba’s death there would be some type of explanation about what happened to Rotta. But when, in Chapter 3, the droid explains that Fortuna took over without mentioning Rotta I knew, right then, that this show would not account for Rotta the Huttlet. I wanted to be wrong but intuitively I knew I wouldn’t be. Never-the-less, as I said, I also felt that I needed to be fair to the creators of The Book of Boba Fett, allowing their story to play out, and doing so on the off-chance a reference to Rotta was dropped into the show.

I mentioned earlier in the piece that I have written about Rotta the Huttlet before and back then, just as now, I feel his absence from Star Wars is a massive problem. With a 7-part show dedicated to a new ruler on Jabba’s throne, The Book of Boba Fett was THE place for Star Wars to address, in some way, the fate of Rotta the Huttlet. But it didn’t, and as a result I am left to ask if the erasure of Rotta is intentional. I cannot help but wonder if the creative directors at Disney/Lucasfilm are choosing to ignore the Huttlet who helped introduce us to The Clone Wars animated series? Have they decided that he is just not worth consideration, that it is easier to skip over him because he is an inconvenience to the story they want to tell? Frankly, I don’t have the answer. At this point, I don’t know how to account for Rotta’s continued absence in Star Wars and to be entirely honest I am no longer hopeful his fate will ever be adequately addressed.

Rotta the Huttlet is returned to his father, Jabba the Hutt.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: The Clone Wars (movie)

I do not want to belabor the point regarding Rotta’s erasure any further. Instead, I will offer my own form of positivity, a hopeful idea to salvage Rotta that the Disney/Lucasfilm creators will neither see nor use. But I offer it anyway because, for my own sanity, I would like to settle the issue. So here is the idea:

Rotta the Huttlet is still alive. He survived the sail barge disaster because he was not on the sail barge. He was captured by a criminal gang known as the Red Key following his father’s death, although the Red Key was unaware they had Jabba’s son. In turn, the Red Key planned to install the Huttlet as their puppet ruler of Mos Pelgo, aka Freetown, but were ultimately thwarted by the town’s new lawman, Cobb Vanth. Placed in the care of Malakili, the former Rancor keeper in Jabba’s palace, the orphaned baby was given the name Borgo. Perhaps Malakili knew he was now the guardian of Jabba’s son, recognizing the child from their time in the palace, or perhaps not. It does not matter. Rotta the Huttlet, the true heir to Jabba’s criminal empire, is alive and he is waiting for the day he can reclaim his rightful throne from the imposter daimyo Boba Fett.

Star Wars: 10 Characters Dathcha Never Interacts With

I recently came across two Star Wars…articles?…on cbr.com that left me genuinely dumbfounded. One is titled “10 Characters Obi-Wan Never Interacts With” and the other is “10 Characters Darth Vader Never Interacts With.” As the titles both imply, each goes on to list a variety of characters in Star Wars whom Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, respectively, never encounter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not entirely opposed to pointing the obvious at times, particularly when presented in relation to a genuine question such as “did Obi-Wan Kenobi interact with Watto in The Phantom Menace?” Given the relative proximity to one another in the same film, both being in/around Mos Espa at the same time, it is a worthwhile question that one may ask and that can easily be answered with a resolute “No” followed by a short description. That in and of itself is fine, I have no problem with that.

What is NOT worthwhile and is, in fact, a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time is a list of random Star Wars characters from across the spectrum of films that one can easily say “never interacted” with literally any character an author chooses. In the list of “10 Characters Darth Vader Never Interacts With” the author…no, sorry, the “lister”…states that another character who “didn’t get a chance to met [their typo, not mine] Darth Vader is Qi’ra from Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Well, yeah, of course they didn’t “met” because Darth Vader isn’t even in the damn film and it is the ONLY film Qi’ra appears in. So why even put Qi’ra in the list!?!?!

Maybe if the lists were more focused, more directed towards a single Star Wars film that considered the major/minor characters Obi-Wan or Vader, respectively, never cross paths with, maybe that could be worthwhile. Perhaps then such a list could then be beneficial, at least adding something semi-interesting to a conversation about Star Wars. But that is not what these lists are for. No, the randomness of the lists belie their true purpose: both are just mundane filler with “Star Wars” in the title for another run-of-the-mill comic book site.

And so, to highlight how utterly pointless such drivel is I happily and annoyingly present to you “10 Characters Dathcha Never Interacts With.” Feel free to skip the list and go do something else. Like, literally anything else. You do not have to keep reading because nothing I present below will be worth your time. That is, unless, you are a fan of really bad jokes.

10/10 Dathcha Never Interacts with Director Orson Krennic

Why the hell would they interact? Dathcha is the Jawa who shoots R2-D2 on Tatooine in A New Hope while Orson Krennic is the Imperial Director of Advanced Weapons Research in Rogue One.


9/10 Wat Tambor and Dathcha Don’t Met One Another

Of course they don’t met! Dathcha is a Jawa in A New Hope and Wat Tambor he is the Skakoan leader of the Techno Union who signs Count Dooku’s treaty in Attack of the Clones. Wait, did the Jawas also sign the treaty? I’ll be back, I need to go suffer through the bad CGI and bland dialogue in Attack of the Clones to find out if Dathcha was one of the original Separatist leaders.


8/10 We never see Dathcha with Princess Leia

Now, let’s be clear…and this is REALLY important… both ARE in A New Hope. But no, they never cross paths, probably because Leia never actually goes Tatooine in the film. She just sends R2-D2 instead.

But hey, I guess that is something, right!?! Like, wow, Character A (Leia) interacts with Character B (R2-D2) who then interacts with Character C (Dathcha). That is wild! So Character A never meets Character C, but they have a connection through Character B!!!! Does that ever happen in other stories?


7/10 Dathcha and General Hux Don’t Have Team-Up to Solve Crimes

I was hoping to find a connection here but to no avail. This is probably because Dathcha is a Jawa in A New Hope and General Hux is a First Order officer who appears in the Sequel Trilogy. But I do think it is worth Lucasfilm giving these two a series on Disney+ where they team-up and solve crimes. It could be called “Jawa and First Order.” Give it a second and you’ll get the joke. Or not. Whatever.


6/10 Ahsoka Tano and Dathcha Haven’t Interacted…

…although, I have to be honest, they may have at this point. I don’t really know because I can’t keep track of Ahsoka Tano anymore. She seems to be everywhere in Star Wars all at once so at this point she and Dathcha could be best friends.


5/10 Dathcha and Darth Sidious Never Discuss the Dark Side of the Force

This one is just so obvious I’m not even gonna write anything else. Moving on…


4/10 Millard Fillmore and Dathcha Never Interact

Last I knew, the 13th President of the United States was not in A New Hope. Then again, maybe he was thrown into the film in one of the special editions of the Original Trilogy. I will have to go back and look more closely because maybe, just maybe, President Fillmore and Dathcha do interact and I have missed it. I will update this if I find anything…


3/10 Dathcha Doesn’t Fly with Gold Leader in the Battle of Yavin

Unfortunately, our brown robed Jawa friend never has the privilege of joining Jon Vander, aka Gold Leader, in the final battle of A New Hope. But it is a neat thought, right? Like, what IF Dathcha somehow survived the faux Tusken slaughter, stowed away on the Millennium Falcon, made his way to Yavin and jumped in the Y-Wing with Gold Leader!?! That would have made for an amazing and completely unnecessary Star Wars twist!

Actually, come to think of it, that might already be one of the short stories in “From a Certain Point of View.” I wouldn’t know, though, because I never read the anthology.


2/10 Datcha Didn’t Participate in the Immaculate Reception

Dathcha was not playing for either the Oakland Raiders or Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1972 AFC Divisional Playoffs. So there was really no way for him to be part of one of the greatest plays in American Football history. Although I wonder if George Lucas was watching and the play inspired him to create the Jawas! Now that is a really REALLY dumb thought but I am gonna hold out hope that it might be true.


1/10 Finally, Dathcha never interacts with Obi-Wan Kenobi OR Darth Vader…

…OR DOES HE!?!?!?!

No, no he doesn’t.

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! If you made it this far I hope you enjoyed what you read and do be sure to check back in for my next post: 10 Star Wars Characters the Rancor Never Eats

Star Wars: Force Collector (Review)

There are times when one comes across a book that is so good that you simply refuse to put it down or stop thinking about it. Sometimes such a book is a Star Wars book, hijacking your imagination and transporting you to the galaxy far, far away. I can say, without a doubt, that Star Wars: Force Collector by author Kevin Shinick is unequivocally NOT one of those books. Don’t get me wrong, Force Collector does take place in the Star Wars galaxy, with familiar places, species, and concepts popping up over and over again. Yet, the novel is otherwise dull and one-dimensional, constantly falling back on a bland formula while simultaneously adding nothing of substance to the Star Wars canon. On the other hand, Force Collector goes out of its way to undermine one of the most important episodes in The Clone Wars with baffling nonchalance. Allow me to explain.

The plot of Force Collector is rather straight-forward: it is about a teenager who wants to learn about the Jedi Order and better understand his own Force abilities. Set prior to the events of The Force Awakens, the teen in question is Karr Nuq Sin who has the gift of psychometry, the Force ability to gain information in the form of sights, sounds, and emotions by touching objects. This is the same power which Jedi Quinlan Vos (The Clone Wars) and Cal Kestis (Jedi: Fallen Order) both harbor, although the stark difference for Karr is that his psychometry ONLY manifests when he touches an object that is associated with the Jedi in some way, shape, or form. This important fact about Karr’s psychometric power, established right out of the gate when Karr buys/wears the helmet of a stormtrooper who once had his mind manipulated by a Jedi, is also a fact that is entirely contrived to drive the plot of the book. Psychometry is a worthy concept for exploration, and that Karr spends a great deal of the story growing to control and accept the intensity of this power makes sense. Yet, the notion that psychometry would awaken in one while simultaneously being limited to Jedi-objects only is absurd. “That’s not how the Force works,” as Han Solo would say.

Then again, without any type of Star Wars group overseeing the possibilities and limitations on Star Wars concepts like psychometry, I suppose the Force can work in whatever way an author/writer might need for the sake of a plot. More and more this seems to be the case in Star Wars, with the Force serving as a convenient plot device to account for the most unlikely of eventualities (such as the time travel in Rebels which ensured Ahsoka Tano would survive her duel with Darth Vader). That Karr can only experience visions associated with Jedi objects is pretty convenient for a book in which the main character wants to become a Jedi and needs to learn more about the Jedi Order. Just give the protagonist a Force ability that is directly tied to this desire and, shazam, you have the magical ability to insert all manner of Jedi-specific objects with Jedi-specific information just waiting to be unlocked and collected.

Unfortunately for Karr, though, he is stuck on the planet Merokia and cannot head off-world to discover the secrets of the long forgotten Jedi. That is, he can not do this until he meets Maize, the new girl in school who is willing to steal her father’s company-provided yacht (the Avadora) to whisk Karr on a galactic scavenger hunt. Who does her dad work for you ask? Oh, just the First Order. But you know, the First Order is pretty chill about one of their ships being stolen because it is clearly the type of organization that just lets things slide.

First Stop: Utapau

So, the grand adventure begins. Karr and Maize, along with Karr’s droid RZ-7, decide their first stop will be Utapau because it was the location of one of the final battles of the Clone Wars. Fair enough, you have to start somewhere and Utapau is as good a place as any. Once there, Karr and company will come upon a junk dealer (the son of a clone trooper) who conveniently owns the staff of Tion Medon, the Pau’an port administrator who meets Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith. Karr touches the staff, a flashback to that scene in Episode III ensues, with additional details we don’t see in the film, and Karr has some new information about the Jedi to mull over.

a
Tion Medon speaks with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Naturally, there is no better place to mull things over than in a diner. Discussing aspects of the vision with Maize, Karr name drops “Skywalker” – Anakin, mind you, has absolutely no role in Kenobi’s interaction with Medon in Revenge of the Sith, but is added to the vision so the Skywalker name can be mentioned in the diner – and another patron perks upon hearing this name. In turn, the patron points Karr, Maize and RZ-7 to the planet Jakku because, rumor has it, at the Battle of Jakku the Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker pulled Imperial ships out of the sky using the Force.

What are the chances that Karr would be on just the right planet, in just the right location, at just the right time, to gather a clue about the next stop on his journey? I mean, those chances would have to be astronomical, so it is reassuring to know that this only happens one time in the book. Except, this happens every time he travels to another world, with a standard formula of convenience really stretching the imagination. Over and over, the ability to suspend one’s disbelief is tested in Force Collector, with Karr arriving at the perfect locations and times for things to fall into place for his journey of Jedi discovery.

Onto Jakku

Arriving in Niima Outpost on the planet Jakku, the group sets out to find more Jedi junk. First, they meet Unkar Platt, the blobfish from The Force Awakens buying salvaged wreckage for food portions. When Platt’s collection ends up being a bust, Karr and company decide to poke around the Outpost. What do they come across? Well, a run-down and grimy Corellian freighter of course! I won’t provide the name, as it isn’t revealed in the novel, but you already know the name...

Boarding the freighter the teens and droid end up finding a curious looking orb, “gray, dotted with silver circles.” Touching the orb, Karr has another vision, this time experiencing a scene from A New Hope. Or rather, the scene is entirely made up, details being filled in prior and up-to the moment when Obi-Wan Kenobi senses the death of millions which is where the vision ends. That details are added is not a problem in and of itself, but what his vision leaves out, which Karr desperately needs on his quest to become a Jedi, is the actual lesson which Luke Skywalker learns in this scene in A New Hope. Instead, the added “backstory” to the scene is meant to do one thing: simultaneously name drop Skywalker and Kenobi, making Karr question how his scattered visions line-up.

Fortified with this new vision, Karr and his pals exit the freighter and run into two First Order stormtroopers. Yikes! Sent by Maize’s father to take her back to Merokia, the stormtroopers leave Karr and RZ-7 alone on Jakku but do not reclaim the Avadora. But they DO let Karr and Maize have a moment to say their goodbyes because First Order stormtroopers are pretty chill.

Remaining on Jakku, Karr goes about searching for more Jedi clues and eventually comes across a Pyke who has information for him about “the crashed ship of a Jedi Master” that went down a long time ago on the desert moon orbiting Oba Diah, the Pyke homeworld. The Pyke also tells Karr that Oba Diah and it’s moon harbor many criminal outposts, warning the teen that if he travels there he may never leave.

From Jakku to Oba Diah

Landing in a canyon on Oba Diah’s desert moon, Karr and RZ-7 head west, towards evidence of a crash which the droid detected. After poking around for an hour, Karr comes across a “drag mark etched into the stone.” Being the “only sign of disruption on this whole eroded planet” – a completely ridiculous and naïve assessment – the two follow the mark and come across the wreckage of a ship!

Is this wreckage the crashed ship of a Jedi Master, a crash that took place a long time ago? Come on, you already know the answer is yes. More importantly, Karr finds a piece of debris with the serial number 775519, and also notes that “a ship crashed here, and somebody took the wreckage away, but they didn’t get everything…” And what, besides the debris, was left? Answer: a storage locker containing a recording of the Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas in the final moments of his life.

Okay, let’s pause for a moment. If you have not figured it out yet, the crashed ship of a Jedi Master which Karr finds himself exploring comes from “The Lost Ones,” a Season 6 episode of The Clone Wars. At the outset of the episode we find Jedi Master Plo Koon and the 104th Clone Battalion on a desert moon searching for the wreckage of a ship that had been in the possession of a Jedi Master killed long ago. When they find it, Plo Koon enters while a clone in the background states, “the scans check out, it’s a T-6 shuttle alright. Serial number 775519.” Finding a lightsaber buried in the sand, Plo Koon immediately turns and says, “I want the entire area cleared. We’re taking everything back to Coruscant.”

“Everything?” a clone inquires.

“Everything,” Plo Koon exclaims.

Did you catch that? Plo Koon wanted the entire area cleared so they could take everything, EVERYTHING, back to Coruscant. Except now, with Karr and RZ-7 searching the exact same crash site, we discover that Plo Koon and the 104th Clone Battalion “didn’t get everything.” Up to this point in the book, I had found myself rolling my eyes at the series of impossibly convenient events playing out. I was at least willing to continue reading, to overlook some of these unlikely moments and just move on. It wasn’t about accepting the way things were unfolding so much as it was to say “okay, whatever, let’s just head to the next stop on the journey.” Yet, when Karr finds the crashed ship of Sifo-Dyas and says that whoever excavated the site “didn’t get everything” I became annoyed, really, really annoyed.

Clone troopers in the 104th Clone Battalion search the desert moon of Oba Diah.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6, Episode 2 “The Lost Ones”

In my opinion “The Lost Ones” is easily one of the best episodes of The Clone Wars and one of the most important. With the discovery of the crash on Oba Diah’s desert moon, the Jedi Order set out to discover the fate of their long-lost friend Sifo-Dyas, attempting to piece together his fate. In doing so, they are led on a journey which takes them to a point they were neither expecting or fully prepared handle: the Clone Wars was secretly orchestrated by the Sith. This revelation is a gut-punch to the Jedi, the Council recognizing that they have been playing by their enemies rules this whole time, and they must continue to play along until they can uncover the deeper layers to this Sith plot.

The opening of the show sets the stage for this stark revelation. With the initial explanation and voiceover, we learn that the Jedi have stumbled upon a clue to an enduring mystery and have dispatched Plo Koon and his clones to investigate. The set up explained, we are then transported to the moon, a raging sandstorm concealing the view of the clone troopers and vehicles scouring the landscape. The sandstorm is an appropriate metaphor, a symbol for the turbulent mystery obscuring the Jedi from discovering a harsh truth. Added to this is the ominous music which captures the foreboding discovery and exploration of the wreckage. This may be the crash they were seeking for more than ten years but the music presents a heavy tone and stark warning: what they have found is also a harbinger of a deeper and darker web which has ensnared the Jedi Order.

“The Lost Ones” is meticulous in peeling back the layers of mystery only to unveil even more nefarious truths lingering below the surface, truths which the Jedi are aware of but can not fully grasp. Force Collector is anything but meticulous, offering nothing more convenient plot so Karr not only discovers the crash site of Sifo-Dyas’ vessel but also wreckage which, as noted, Plo Koon and his soldiers failed to salvage from the site.

For Master Koon to demand “everything” be found, only for fans to later learn that “everything” was not found is ridiculous, a canonical bait-and-switch which makes Plo Koon and the 104th Clone Battalion look inept and undercuts the profound importance of The Clone Wars episode. That even one piece of wreckage remained of Sify-Dyas ship – and a critical piece at that, an actual recording he made prior to his death – is flabbergasting. Nothing in “The Lost Ones” lends itself to this possibility. Absolutely nothing.

Frankly, although I have only presented half of Force Collector’s plot in this review up to this point, I genuinely have nothing left to say about the book. Don’t get me wrong, I did finish reading it, and I certainly have opinions about the remained of the story. Yet, the way Force Collector so willfully undermined “The Lost Ones” put such a foul taste in my mouth that I see no reason to elaborate on anything else. The moment Karr stated “they didn’t get everything” my opinion about the novel was made.

Haikuesday: Xim the Despot

A long time ago
there was a Despot named Xim.
This is his story…

The Tion Cluster.
Xim’s birth place, planet Argai.
Son of pirate-king.

The pirate-king Xer.
Raiding, conquering Tion.
Slaughtering as well.

The Kingdom of Cron.
Xim’s brutality unleashed
in a noble “Sweep.”

The Livien League
checks the forces of Xer.
Xim smashes the League.

Expansionist Xim,
the Tionese Empire
grows under his rule.

The Despot’s army –
children trained for life of war.
Janissary troops.

Xim’s elite soldiers:
Duinarbulon Star Lancers.
Glossy, black armor.

Famous war robots
Reserved as shock troops and guards.
Tough and effective.

Robots with the Force?
The Crimson Condottieri;
Rakatan enhanced.

Eibon Scimitar
The first great capital ship.
The Despot’s flagship.

Conquest of riches.
Flaunting his prosperity.
Driven by his greed.

Mytag crystal skull
masthead of Xim the Despot.
A famed artifact.

Haiku Addendum:
the skull, pictured above, can
be seen in Solo.

Planet Desevro –
A statue in Xim’s honor
displays his glory.

Obsessed with the Hutts.
Determined to add their worlds
Xim prepares for war.

Rakatan title:
Daritha, ruler of worlds.
Xim’s grand delusion.

The Xim Wars begin.
Tionese forces invade
the Hutt Empire.

Two great Hutt leaders:
Kossak unites the Hutt clans.
Boonta leads the fight.

On the Hutt frontier,
Xim assaults rich Ko Vari
where Boonta defends

Suicide attacks –
Boonta throws waves of slaves at
Xim’s warships and troops.

Sleheyron failure –
Xim is unable to take
another prized world.

Lured into a trap.
The three battles at Vontor.
Xim will lose them all.

Defeated warships.
The First Battle of Vontor.
A rematch follows.

At Second Vontor,
A ground battle ensues and
Xim is beat again.

A final showdown.
The Third Battle of Vontor.
Xim the Despot’s fall.

Boonta overwhelms
Xim’s forces with hundreds of
thousands of soldiers.

Legendary ship.
Queen of Ranroon flees Vontor
with Xim’s great riches.

Hidden and secured
Location of Xim’s treasures:
The vaults on Dellalt.

Captured in battle.
Paraded through streets in chains.
Xim, Hutt prisoner.

The Despot, long dead,
twenty-five millennia.
His legend endures.


Check out these other Haikuesday 2.0 posts:

Imperial Atrocities

Luke Skywalker (ANH)

Luke Skywalker (ESB)

Luke Skywalker (ROTJ)

Dark Lords of the Sith

Star Wars Planets

The Great Jedi Purge

Star Wars Aliens

Clone Troopers

Finn (TFA)

Chewbacca

Imperial Officers (OT)

Bounty Hunters

Haikuesday: Bounty Hunters

Just doing his job.
Greedo confronts Han Solo
but doesn’t shoot first.

Everyone’s favorite:
Boba Fett intimidates…
…but not as a kid.

Trandoshan Hunter.
Bossk’s name literally means
“Devours his prey”

Droid 4-LOM
partners with the Gand Zuckuss.
Their ship: Mist Hunter.

IG-88.
The droid’s remains are in the
Cloud City junk room.

Easy to forget
that Asajj Ventress became
a bounty hunter.

Mercurial Swift:
Known for speed, agility,
and being “real dumb.”

Mandalorians:
Ketsu Onyo, Sabine Wren.
Partners for a time.

“I killed Obi-Wan…”
The “Marksman of Concord Dawn.”
Name: Rako Hardeen.

Template for the clones.
Jango Fett, second to none…
…except Mace Windu.

Cunning Kyuzo.
Embo holds his own against
all manner of foe.

Seleno Chandro.
Appears in Episode IX
and flies a D-Wing.

Australian Accent?
Or could it be New Zealand?
Someone ask Dengar.

Living by a code.
Djarin’s professional life
is complicated.

We should get more of
C-21 Highsinger.
I just like his name.

Hired by Malak.
Calo Nord tracks Bastilla.
But Revan kills him.

Jas Emari’s crew:
Jeeta, Embo, and Dengar.
They all turn on Swift.

Haiku Addendum:
Her crew should appear in The
Mandalorian
.

Onca, Bulduga.
The Ithorian brothers
die on Serreno.

He’ll take any job…
…if it is for the right price.
Infamous Cad Bane.

Have you realized that
Bane’s story is unfinished?
What happened to him?


Frenk bounty hunter
Rumi Paramita dies
fighting Hondo’s gang.

A famous Selkath.
Mantu enters “The Box” but
he does not survive.

Clawdite shape-shifter,
bounty hunter, assassin.
But Zam Wesell fails.

Hunter middle-man:
Greef Karga operates on
the world Nevarro.

Guarding Gardulla,
Sugi goes toe-to-toe with
the Sith Lord named Maul.

An expert sniper.
Palliduvan Aurra Sing.
She’s killed by Beckett.

IG-11.
“…fulfilling my base function.”
“To nurse and protect.”


Check out these other Haikuesday 2.0 posts:

Imperial Atrocities

Luke Skywalker (ANH)

Luke Skywalker (ESB)

Luke Skywalker (ROTJ)

Dark Lords of the Sith

Star Wars Planets

The Great Jedi Purge

Star Wars Aliens

Clone Troopers

Finn (TFA)

Chewbacca

Imperial Officers (OT)

Talking Star Wars Issue 002

In my first issue of Talking Star Wars I mentioned that we had moved into a new house at the end of July and that we were in the process of getting settled in. Well, that process has continued and coupled with my parental responsibilities (like being tackled by an energetic toddler) it all adds up and cuts into the time I dedicate to Star Wars in general and blog writing in particular. Further, my obsession with Doctor Who continues unabated, and I am finding myself not only watching at least one episode of the British show every day but also having some pretty long conversations about it with my friend Mike (aka: My Comic Relief). Still, I did find some time to focus on Star Wars a bit more over the past month, and I ended up publishing two pieces on the site:

Haikuesday: Imperial Officers (OT)
M-3PO: The Rogue Protocol Droid

This Is the Way

Probably the most talked about Star Wars news over the past month has been the trailer for Season 2 of The Mandalorian. I figured I should offer my thoughts on it, if only to jump on the bandwagon and feel included in the hype. Except I haven’t watched the trailer so I really have nothing to offer.

Well, I guess I could explain why I haven’t watched it. That is worth wasting 42 seconds of your time, right? Sure it is!

Here is the thing: I really liked the first season of The Mandalorian. As the first entry into live-action Star Wars shows I thought it was a strong debut, aesthetically and thematically capturing some of the best parts of the franchise. But even though I really enjoyed it, after I finished it and began hearing news about Season 2 my interest began to wane, and when the trailer came out I just wasn’t in the mood to watch it. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure I will still check out Season 2 of The Mandalorian and I am sure it will continue to capture some of the things I really love about Star Wars. Never-the-less, when it was announced that Ahsoka Tano would appear in Season 2 I just threw up my hands and said “Uggggggggggh!!!!!” I don’t hate Ahsoka, although I do think she should have died in the second season of Rebels (that’s a conversation for another time). Rather, what had me excited about The Mandalorian in the very beginning – a story about a loner in a “complicated profession” surviving in the lawless Outer Rim – feels watered-down and overshadowed by Ahsoka’s inclusion. She brings so much backstory and baggage with her that, at this point, it is basically impossible for her NOT to steal the spotlight. Besides, The Child (aka “Baby Yoda”) has already stolen the show, and the last thing The Mandalorian needed was another Force-user to compete with for audience attention.

Watching Star Wars

I did not watch any of the Star Wars films or shows over the past month but I DID watch the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Squadrons video game. The trailer – “Hunted” – is only 7 minutes long but the story it tells about Imperial forces in full retreat after the Battle of Endor, and more specifically a TIE Interceptor being hunted by an X-Wing, has me pretty excited to play the game (once I find some time to indulge in some Star Wars dogfights). If you haven’t watched the trailer yet you should even if you aren’t going to play it. And, because I am so nice, you don’t even need to search for it because I found it for you. No excuses, watch the trailer!

Oh, one more thing about the trailer: when the X-Wing pilot says “War’s over, Imp” I can’t help but hear my friend Mark Lockard. I guess I am just gonna imagine Mark actually is the pilot, and I’ll just believe he ejects before he meets an explosive end. So hooray, Mark lives!

Star Wars Reading List

Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising – Timothy Zahn
TIE Fighter (graphic novel) –
Jody Houser
The Stark Hypserspace War (graphic novel)
– John Ostrander
Dark Tide II: Ruin
– Michael A. Stackpole

At the beginning of September I took a short pause from my re-read of The New Jedi Order to check out Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising. While I noted in Talking Star Wars Issue 001 that the Disney Star Wars canon hasn’t really been appealing to me lately I still wanted to give Zahn’s new entry into the “Thrawnon” the canon of Thrawn, a read. Why? Well, because I am a Thrawn superfan. There was never a doubt I would read this book when it dropped because I live in symbiosis with the blue-skinned, red eyed Chiss. He and I are basically the same person (although I am slightly more attractive).

Did I enjoy the new book in the Thrawnon? Hell yes I did. I dare not spoil it for anyone, but I will say this: the vast majority of this book works with BOTH the Expanded Universe and the Disney canon. I am going to write more about this in a review of the book, though. So just be patient while I put it together…

Before jumping back into The New Jedi Order I also decided to give a couple Star Wars graphic novels a read. I’ve had my eye on the TIE Fighter graphic novel for a while, and the release of the Squadrons trailer convinced me to pick it up. Admittedly, the story wasn’t mind blowing but it was interesting, offering a look at a depleted TIE Fighter Squadron in the days before the Battle of Endor. As well, TIE Fighter is a small tie-in with Alphabet Squadron, with references to Alexander Freed’s series popping up here and there (i.e. – Yrica Quell, the protagonist in the series, makes a cameo).

I also decided to re-read The Stark Hyperspace War for like the 107th time. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little but I really do love this Expanded Universe story and have read it a number of times. It offers a look at a short but vicious war that takes place 12 years before The Phantom Menace, a war which helps set the stage for some of the events in the film. I am considering writing a longer piece about it but what I will say right now is that if you’ve never read it and you are a fan of Jedi Master Plo Koon then you should definitely check it out. In fact, I credit The Stark Hyperspace War with making me a die-hard fan of the Kel Dor.

Photo Credit – The Stark Hyperspace War
Artist -Davidé Fabbri 

And, as you can see from my list above, I did make it back to The New Jedi Order, finishing Dark Tide II: Ruin. Honestly, this is one of the more difficult books to read in The New Jedi Order, not because it is boring or drags but because it sucks you in and forces you to really feel the horror of the war the Yuuzhan Vong are waging against the galaxy. For me, this is no more apparent than when the Vong destroy the world of Ithor, the homeworld of the peaceful Ithorian species. What happens to the planet is heartbreaking and offers a stark reminder that war, yes even a star war, is terrible and we should never allow ourselves to think otherwise.

Compassion of the Jedi

Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi’s life.” – Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker (Attack of the Clones)

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Perfect Star Wars Pet: Boglings

Photo Credit – Jedi: Fallen Order

Native to Bogano, boglings make their first and only Star Wars appearance in the video game Jedi: Fallen Order.

A Long Time Ago…

…I wrote this post about war being No Place for Children. Give it a read.

Freeze Frame

Photo Credit: The Clone Wars Season 4, Episode 10 – “Carnage of Krell”

The 501st Clone Battlion, led by Captain Rex, steel themselves as they prepare to confront and arrest Jedi General Pong Krell. Surely knowing that some of them will die, the clones never-the-less march forward with a stoic resolve to complete their mission and bring Krell to justice.

Three Star Wars Quotes I Really Like

“We must keep our faith in the Republic. The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.” – Queen Jamilla (Attack of the Clones)

“The Emperor who ordered Operation Cinder, who built two Death Stars, who oversaw countless genocides and massacres and created an Empire where torture droids were in common use, was not a man of secret brilliance and foresight. He was a cruel man. Petty and spiteful in the most ordinary ways; and spiteful men do spiteful things.” – Reprogrammed torture droid IT-O speaking to Lieutenant Yrica Quell (Alphabet Squadron)

Our time has come. For 300 years, we prepared. We grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power, believing your people were safe… and protected. You were trusted to lead the Republic—but you were deceived, as our powers over the dark side have blinded you. You assumed no force could challenge you…and now…finally…we have returned.” – Darth Malgus during the attack on the Jedi Temple in 3653 BBY (The Old Republic)

Capital Ship Spotlight: EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate

Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Ten Random Star Wars Thoughts

  1. I always enjoy the pod race in The Phantom Menace. I think it is the second best part of the film.
  2. Poe Dameron may be one hell of a pilot but Soontir Fel is the best pilot.
  3. I wonder if Wookiees get their hair cut…
  4. Dark Forces is one of my favorite Star Wars computer games but I was never very good at it. In fact, I don’t think I ever beat it.
  5. The cover of the Imperial March by Rage Against the Machine is badass. Listen to it HERE.
    a. Rage Against the Machine is one of my favorite bands so I am completely biased in liking the cover. Plus, I love the Imperial March, so it all works out.
    b. I like to imagine Saw Gerrera and his partisans sitting around listening to Guerilla Radio.
    c. “Lights out, Guerilla Radio, turn that shit up!”
  6. The best part of The Phantom Menace is the duel between the Jedi and Darth Maul.
  7. I have absolutely no interest in going to Galaxy’s Edge. Theme parks just aren’t my thing and I really dislike crowds. If I ever go it will be with my son and only if he wants to go.
  8. If I taught an ethics class I would use Dark Disciple by Christie Golden as one of my required readings. The rationale the Jedi adopt for assassinating Count Dooku is challenging and worthy of deep examination.
    a. The novel does an incredible job of making the reader question the motives of the Jedi Council, particularly Yoda and Mace Windu.
  9. I can’t help but feel that Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus are being under used in Star Wars storytelling. Were it up to me I would put them in Jedi: Fallen Order 2. I could easily see Cal Kestis traveling to Jedha City and running into them.
  10. If I was asked to write a Star Wars story it would be set in the months after Order 66 and would involve newly minted Inquisitors not only hunting down and killing Jedi but also the extended families of Jedi.
    a. Maybe I should just write some Star Wars fanfiction about this…

Ten Random Non-Star Wars Thoughts

  1. Biden-Harris 2020
  2. Starbucks coffee is overrated. I drink it if I have to but I prefer not to.
  3. Allons-y!!!
  4. I have found myself thinking quite a bit about Kurt Vonnegut recently. I can’t help but wonder what he would have to say about the current occupant of the White House, the state of our democracy, the Coronavirus pandemic, conspiracy theories, and more.
    a. Were he still alive I bet he would write an updated version of A Man Without a Country.
    b. Even though he wrote it in 2005 the book is still very relevant today. I just think he would want to add a little bit to it.
  5. Somehow I accidentally purchased a digital version of the new Bill and Ted movie. Admittedly, this is not the worst thing that could happen since I was going to rent it anyway. I just hope it is worth the $24.99 I paid because that is a Star Wars LEGO set I could have bought!
    a. “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.”
    b. “Be excellent to each other.
    c. “Want a Twinkie, Genghis Khan?”
  6. There are benefits and drawbacks to running a 6-2 and a 5-1 in volleyball. In my opinion, you should fit the system to the players you have rather than forcing players to adopt an offense they may not be capable of running.
    a. If you don’t know anything about volleyball and are confused then just google “volleyball 6-2 vs 5-1”
  7. The most absurd question I ever got from a student in one of my college religion courses was the following: “Where do baby horses come from?” Naturally, I proceeded to explain how horses mate.
  8. One of the most extreme toddler tantrums my son has thrown over the past month was when his banana broke and he couldn’t put it back together.
    a. Tantrums don’t even bother me anymore because I have transcended to a new state of parenthood where the screaming and crying just blend with the background noise pervading the universe.
  9. I absolutely love composting. It is so satisfying.
  10. Did I mention Biden-Harris 2020?

A Star Wars Haiku

Jinn and Kenobi
Use Jedi speed to escape
but only one time?

Talking Star Wars Issue 001

I haven’t had as much time to work on The Imperial Talker over the past month. In large part, this is because my wife and I recently bought a new house and, at the end of July, we moved into it. Moving is always a pain, and it is extra difficult when you also have a toddler AND you have a laundry list of new tasks to complete in a home. As a result, cutting the grass and trimming bushes, among other things, has taken priority not only over this blog, but also over my ability to enjoy Star Wars (and other forms of entertainment). Then again, taking a break from over-indulging in anything, even Star Wars, is not only important but also necessary, an opportunity to reset the mind and brainstorm new ideas. While I have been adapting to a new daily routine, I have been conjuring up thoughts about a slew of topics, some of them having to do with Star Wars and this site. And that takes us to this post.

Vader and Kylo
Grandfather and grandson before the move. They wanted one last look outside.

Basically, I had this idea (one that came to me while engaging in the quasi-religious ritual of cutting the grass) where I would provide a little glimpse of what I have been up to as a Star Wars fan each month. As well, I thought it would be fun to get a little random, offering not only a snapshot of my monthly Star Wars activities but also whatever Star Wars things I feel like sharing. And, of course, the open-ended nature of such a post allows me to take things anywhere I want in a looser fashion than some of my more in-depth posts. Admittedly, while I love thinking/writing about Star Wars on this site doing so can at times be a slog because I am a perfectionist. Before I post anything, I need to be sure it is precisely what I want to say. And, as you can imagine, that can be time consuming AND mentally exhausting. I wouldn’t have it any other way, of course, but a little levity in the form of this new monthly series (and my on-going Haikuesday series) offers opportunities for me to take a step back and not worry about ideas/concepts lining up with academic perfection.

That said, I hope you enjoy this new series – Talking Star Wars – and be sure to leave a comment when you are finished reading.

Watching Star Wars

In the past month I have watched no Star Wars. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Instead, I finally caved and began watching Doctor Who. Until the move I never had any real desire to watch Doctor Who. It sounded interesting but I was otherwise indifferent. Then came the move and a new cable package that includes HBO Max. Since the good Doctor is on HBO Max, and seeing as I need to justify spending $15/month on the service, I said “Okay, let’s do this” and, well, the rest is history. I can’t get enough of it. Sorry Star Wars, but you’ll just have to wait until I am done traveling with The Doctor.

Oh, but I should note that while I have not watched Star Wars over the past month, I have discovered quite a few moments in Doctor Who that I am fairly confident influenced The Clone Wars. Watch Doctor Who Season 1, Episode 2 (“The End of the World”) and then watch The Clone Wars Season 2, Episode 13 (“Voyage of Temptation”). If I’m wrong then I am wrong. But if I am right then I am a flipping genius!!!

A Star Wars Room is Born

After my wife and I bought our new house I had a mini-panic attack over the most ridiculous first world of problems: where the hell was I going to put all of my Star Wars stuff? To solve this non-crisis of consumerism we had a room converted in the house into a collection room with custom shelving where I could display my objects of Star Wars desire. I am still in the process of working on the room, bringing things together and getting everything set up, but I am pleased with how it is coming along and look forward to sharing its evolution as time goes on.

I am incredibly lucky to have the privilege to worry about where I will put my Star Wars “stuff.” I have done well financially to accumulate the Star Wars things I own AND to dedicate a room in my home to the passion I have had since I was a child. With great privilege comes great responsibility, though, and my Star Wars room serves as a constant reminder that I am called to a more important cause, the cause of creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. I am far from perfect in this, but I am never-the-less dedicated to working on behalf of others who are in distress, be it physical, mental/emotional, financial, etc. Fighting on behalf of others, taking on the unjust and corrupt systems that harm and destroy lives, THAT is just one of the many messages message I learned from Star Wars as a child and which has stuck with me to this day. I am privileged to have a room with my Star Wars collection, but grateful for the constant reminder that I must continue to bring positive, progressive change to the world.

Collection Room 2
A small glimpse of my Star Wars room. More pictures to come in the future!

Compassion of the Jedi

Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi’s life.” – Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker (Attack of the Clones)

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Perfect Star Wars Pet: The Rancor

Star Wars Reading List

Vector Prime – R.A. Salvatore
Dark Tide I: Onslaught – Michael A. Stackpole

I began a re-read of The New Jedi Order at the end of July, just before we moved. It has been a while since I read the entire series, primarily because there are A LOT of books in The New Jedi Order. Reading it is a pretty big time commitment but a worthwhile one. Never-the-less, a re-read was long overdue and since I just finished re-reading the X-Wing series I wanted to stick with some more Expanded Universe stories. Besides, the content Disney is putting out right now just isn’t captivating me the way it did a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I am still enjoying some of it here and there, but as a whole I have found it difficult to get excited about the Disney canon. Alternatively, having grown up living and loving the Expanded Universe, jumping back in made perfect sense. I needed to remind myself that there ARE Star Wars stories that have been around for years and continue to speak to me. I am sure I will jump back into the Disney stuff again, but The New Jedi Order is where I will be living for a while.

A Yuuzhan Vong warrior.
Source: The New Essential Guide
to Alien Species
Artist: William O’Connor

That said, the series is unlike any other in Star Wars because the villains – the extra-galactic Yuuzhan Vong – challenge the heroes of Star Wars (Luke, Leia, Han, etc…) and the reader in truly unexpected ways. This is no more apparent than in Vector Prime, the first novel in the series, when Chewbacca heroically dies saving Anakin Solo, the youngest child of Han and Leia (I have a post forthcoming about his death). This event sends emotional shockwaves through the book and hangs over the entire series, a constant reminder of just how dangerous the Yuuzhan Vong truly are and that no one, not even the heroes we grew to love in the Original Trilogy, are safe from death.

A Long Time Ago…

…I wrote this post about General Veers. Give it a read!

Freeze Frame

The face Admiral Piett makes when the Millennium Falcon escapes at the end of The Empire Strikes Back is priceless. With Darth Vader killing Admiral Ozzel and Captain Needa earlier in the film, one can certainly understand the look of “Oh shit…” on Piett’s face. That he survives, reappearing in Return of the Jedi and still in command, is quite the surprise!

Three Star Wars Quotes I Really Like

“”He is a wound in the Force, more presence than flesh, and in his wake life dies… sacrificing itself to his hunger.” – Visas Marr describing Darth Nihilus (Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords)

“A communications disruption could mean only one thing: invasion.” – Sio Bibble to Queen Amidala (The Phantom Menace)

“Your reputation precedes you, General. The reputation of a coward, and a murderer.” – Jedi Master Eeth Koth to General Grievous (The Clone Wars Season 2, Episode 9 “Grievous Intrigue”)

Ten Random Star Wars Thoughts

  1. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite Star Wars movie but A New Hope is the best Star Wars movie.
  2. Darth Caedus would beat Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel.
  3. Ahsoka lived but she should have died.
  4. That B’omarr Monk in Return of the Jedi is probably wondering why Jabba the Hutt has not returned to the palace yet.
    a. Speaking of Jabba the Hutt, what the hell happened to his son Rotta? Are we just ignoring the fact that Rotta exists in Star Wars? I guess so…
  5. The Rise of Skywalker is a cinematic rip-off of Dark Empire, and Dark Empire is better (and the plot actually makes more sense).
  6. Children’s book idea: One Sith, Two Sith, Red Sith, Blue Sith
    a. “This one has a double-blade, this one took a Jedi braid.”
    b. “Those Jedi Knights are such a blight, they ramble on about the Light.”
    c. “The Rule of Two or just The One? Bane and Krayt could duel for fun.”
    d. I am copywriting this idea 😉
  7. I always screw up the trial on Manaan when I play Knights of the Old Republic even though I have played the game a dozen times.
  8. Zander Freemaker and I have something in common, we both love the N-1 Starfighter.
  9. Whenever I played “Battle of the minefield” in the TIE Fighter computer game I would immediately destroy my wingmen at the outset of the mission before they turned against me. I’d just reduce my speed, line them up in my targeting sights and blast them into oblivion.
    a. The two wingmen end up turning on you a few minutes into the mission. They are loyal to Admiral Harkov who ends up defecting to the Rebellion in this particular mission.
  10. Shmi Skywalker is the most important Skywalker.

Ten Random Non-Star Wars Thoughts

  1. I blame My Comic Relief for getting me hooked on Doctor Who. That show is crazy good. Craaaaaaaaaaaazy good.
    a. Should I just convert The Imperial Talker into The Doctor Talker?
  2. Biden-Harris 2020…need I say more?
  3. I recently re-watched The Lord of the Rings. I still get goosebumps when Éomer leads the Rohirrim charge at the Battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers.
  4. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is stuck in my head and I blame my son (but I sure do love him).
  5. Black Lives Matter
  6. I wonder if anyone has actually read this far. If so, I am impressed because that means they must really like me or they are just really bored.
  7. Everyone says I should watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. I probably should but since I finally started watching Doctor Who I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.
  8. I think everyone should read Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi. It is a gut-wrenching novel that offers a important perspective on the insidious ways in which systemic racism destroys young black lives.
  9. I can quote most of the movie Gettysburg from memory and the last time I watched it was like 15 years ago.
  10. Did I mention Biden-Harris 2020?

A Star Wars Haiku

Ozzel was murdered
Captain Needa was murdered
Piett got lucky

Haikuesday: Clone Troopers

The Muunilist 10
Advanced Recon Commandos
Captain Fordo’s squad


Clone Wars – Chapter 8
Kenobi strikes with a clone
Lancer Battalion.


Boss, Fixer, Sev, Scorch
From Republic Commando.
It’s a damn fun game.


Four Clone Commandos –
Niner, Fi, Atin, Darman
They show True Colors.


A different Niner
was killed on Vassek’s third moon
hunting down Gunray.


The best of the best.
Captain Rex is loyal to
his men and Sky Guy.


Commander Cody.
Leading the 7th Sky Corps
through numerous fights.


The Gauntlet of Death.
Clone sniper Cooker targets
power cells of droids.


Hevy’s sacrifice.
Kamino is protected
thanks to his actions.


Clone Captain Keeli
spends his last moments standing
with Ima-Gun Di.


Clone Commander Bly.
Secura’s loyal trooper.
He helps to kill her.


Fodder for the plot.
Cameron, Lucky, and Flash
are expendable.


The Clone Wars series
is really good at killing
lots of unnamed clones.


Duplicitous clone!
Sergeant Slick betrays his men
at First Christophsis.


Storm over Ryloth.
Clone Pilot Axe dies in his
V-19 Torrent.


“I guess we’re the best.”
Two clones scout a Twi’lek town.
Waxer and Boil.


Boil’s Fu Manchu
is absolutely stunning.
You can’t deny it.


The Battle of Khorm.
Wolffe loses his right eye in
a fight with Ventress.


Name is Cut Lawquane.
Deserted the army but
found a family.


Clone Commander Ponds.
Executed on Slave I
after his capture.


Landmine explosion.
“Oz is down. So is Ringo.”
Umbaran Darkness.


Hyper-active clone.
Hardcase is just a bit off.
It makes him unique.


Battle of Sarrish.
Gregor missing in action.
Found on Abafar.


Clone Commander Doom.
Designed as an homage to
Marvel’s Doctor Doom.


Turning on Tiplar.
“Good soldiers follow orders.”
Tup’s bio-chip fails.


ARC Trooper named Fives
discovers bio-chip truth:
To kill the Jedi.


Clone Medic Kix was
captured, frozen in stasis 
for next fifty years.


Clone Force 99.
Also known as the “Bad Batch.”
“they’re defective clones.”


ARC Trooper Echo.
Believed to be KIA.
But he was captured.


13th Battalion.
Led by Master Tapal and
Padawan Kestis.


“Time for you to leave,”
Appo tells Bail Organa.
Then wounded by Zett.


Clone Commander Gree.
Yoda cuts off the clone’s head.
Then makes his escape.


The Coruscant Guard.
Led by Clone Commander Fox.
Darth Vader kills him.


Check out these other Haikuesday 2.0 posts:

Imperial Atrocities

Luke Skywalker (ANH)

Luke Skywalker (ESB)

Luke Skywalker (ROTJ)

Dark Lords of the Sith

Star Wars Planets

The Great Jedi Purge

Star Wars Aliens

 

Star Wars: On the Front Lines (Review)

Ever since it was published in 2017 I had my sights set on Star Wars: On the Front Lines. I am a sucker for Star Wars reference books, having spent countless hours of my life immersing myself in the minutiae of the Star Wars universe found in these source books. But I did not buy On the Front Lines when it first came out, instead opting to wait to purchase it. Recently, though, the book was gifted to me and needing something new to read I decided to dig in. And, I am happy to report, On the Front Lines definitely did not disappoint. 

Primarily detailing battles from The Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War, but also one from the Age of Resistance, On the Front Lines takes readers quite literally to the front lines of some of the most important engagements in Star Wars. While author Daniel Wallace limits the number of battles that are explored – a perfectly reasonable decision considering how many battles are in Star Wars – he never-the-less chose one battle to examine from every live-action and animated Star Wars story to date. In fact, the only notable exception is Star Wars: Rebels, with no engagement from that series being discussed. Here is a list of battles that the author examines:

The Battle of Naboo (The Phantom Menace)
The Battle of Geonosis (Attack of the Clones)
The Battle of Christophsis (The Clone Wars movie)
The Battle of Ryloth (The Clone Wars animated show)
The Battle of Coruscant (Revenge of the Sith)
The Battle of Scarif (Rogue One)
The Battle of Yavin (A New Hope)
The Battle of Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back)
The Battle of Endor (Return of the Jedi)
The Battle of Jakku (Various Sources)
The Battle of Starkiller Base (The Force Awakens)

That Wallace chooses well-known battles from the Star Wars saga, battles that we have actually seen in film and on television, makes it easy for both casual and die-hard fans to digest and enjoy this book. Interestingly though, the clash I found myself most interested in reading about was the Battle of Jakku. As you can see from the list above, this is the only engagement discussed in the On the Front Lines that has never been depicted on-screen. Putting his penmanship and imagination to work, Wallace pulls from multiple sources (novels such as Lost Stars and Aftermath: Empire’s End) to piece together details about this relatively unknown fight. In doing so, he presents a vivid picture of the final battle in the Galactic Civil War, a brutal slugfest between the New Republic and Imperial Remnant that leaves wreckage and bodies littering the sandy dunes of the remote world.

Jakku-Starship_Graveyard-The_Force_Awakens_(2015)
Want to know how all those derelict Star Destroyers ended up on the surface of Jakku? On the Front Lines provides some context.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

While I found myself intensely fascinated by Wallace’s presentation of the Battle of Jakku this does not mean I found the other battles any less interesting. Far from it! In every chapter, Wallace draws on the source material available – movies, television shows, books, comics, etc. – to craft a unique and fairly comprehensive picture of each engagement. Granted, there are points where Wallace does leave out information, or gives details only a cursory glance. For example, the space battle which takes place above Naboo in from The Phantom Menace is only briefly mentioned, with the focus instead being entirely on the ground battle between the Gungans and the Trade Federation’s Droid Army. As well, the space battle over Ryloth, depicted in The Clone Wars Season 1, Episode 19 (“Storm Over Ryloth”), where Ahsoka Tano uses a Marl Sabl maneuver to defeat the Separatist blockade, is entirely ignored. For some die-hard fans of Star Wars, these and other omissions may prove annoying but for this die-hard fan, I found myself enjoying what was in the book rather than brooding over what was not.

That being said, I can admit that I wish the book had even more in it. This is not a criticism, though. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that I really enjoyed the way each battle is presented, with a combination of big picture information, such as why the confrontation took place and how it unfolds, along with more focused detail on things like armor, weaponry, vehicles and tactics. Every chapter also offers little asides about individuals from each engagement, specific commanders from both sides, and a handful of soldiers and/or pilots who displayed incredible courage during the fight. And, to top it off, every chapter is loaded with captivating and wholly unique images courtesy of four superb illustrators (Adrián Rodriguez, Thomas Wievegg, Aaron Riley, and Fares Maese).

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that On the Front Lines contains a lot of information that I never knew about, or had never even considered,, about each of these Star Wars battles. In closing, then, I thought I would pick just one bit of of insight that I learned from this book. And what comes to mind immediately is a detail about The Battle of Christophsis. Or rather, aftermath of Christophsis. As we see in The Clone Wars movie, towards the end of this fight, Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi tricks the Separatist General Whorm Loathsom into believing that the Jedi intends to conditionally surrender his clone forces. However, this is a ruse, done with the hope of giving Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano more time to deactivate the Separatist deflector shields. Kenobi succeeds in his plan, and actually captures Loathsom moments later, but as Wallace writes,

“General Kenobi’s false surrender at Christophsis was a boon to the Separatist-controlled media, who viewed the incident as clear evidence of the Republic’s duplicity. Almost no conditional surrenders were offered by either side for the remainder of the war” (pg. 31).

Kenobi may have been successful in that moment, but his “false surrender” was not without long-term consequence. As the Clone War intensified, it would be the clones themselves, the actual soldiers doing the fighting on the front lines, who would pay the price for Kenobi’s actions.