The New Jedi Order

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