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Rancho Obi-Wan Launches First Book for Celebration Anaheim Exhibit

Awesome news from Rancho Obi-Wan -check it out!

We are excited to announce that the first Rancho Obi-Wan book will be launching for Celebration Anaheim!

Rancho Obi-Wan Book

Rancho Obi-Wan’s 900-square-foot exhibit at Celebration Anaheim April 16-19 will focus on how Star Wars fans through the years have made their own tremendous contributions to that far-away galaxy, and in commemoration the nonprofit museum will make available a limited print-run book, “Inspired by the Force: Star Wars Fan Artifacts & Art.”
The full-color, hardcover 72-page book will act as an exhibit guide, containing photos and stories of scores of the items on display. Written and photographed by Steve Sansweet and Anne Neumann, with design and layout by Stan Stice, the book is intended to be the first volume in a series, “The Treasures of Rancho Obi-Wan.” It also includes a 4-page centerspread foldout that has hundreds of photos of visitors to Rancho and to our exhibits at past Celebration events.
The new book, with an initial printing of just 1,000 copies, is one of several surprises that Rancho will reveal in the weeks leading up to what many believe will be the largest and most exciting Star Wars fan event ever.
The Rancho Obi-Wan Experience exhibit will feature fan objects and art starting in the late 1970s through today, from an airbrushed van tire cover and hand-tooled leather backgammon board to a Chewbacca tissue box cover and bird house, from amazing art mash-ups based on a print by Goya and a painting by Picasso to bizarre limited edition figurines made by urban artists.
The book will cost $25 and pre-orders for pick-up at Celebration will begin in March on RanchoObiWan.org.
Both Steve Sansweet, chairman and CEO of Rancho Obi-Wan, and Anne Neumann, vice president and general manager, will be available at posted hours to sign the new book at no charge.

More exciting news about the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience Exhibit and other Rancho activities will be announced soon!

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A Rebel by Any Other Name…

A Rebel by Any Other Name…
–shazbazzar

Since the inception of Star Wars, names have been significant to the saga’s story lines.  From subtle hints about origins to conveying more obvious character qualities, the names, and changes in names, are selected to expedite the audience’s understanding of the storyteller’s vision.  For example, Deak Starkiller from the early story treatments became Luke Skywalker in the final script — a name that maintains the potential power of the character without the burden of the negative connotation inherent in the word killer.  Han Solo’s surname gave us immediate insight into the smuggler as a loner who relied on himself for his success (or failure).  During the three years between the releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, many fans made a connection (although, in this case, an unintended connection) to Darth Vader’s claim to be the father of Luke Skywalker based on an interpretation of Darth Vader as Dark Father, based on variations of the word father in German and Dutch.  Star Wars Rebels continues in this rich heritage of nomenclature with the names of its characters, both heroes and villains.

Gall Trayvis
In a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, the self-proclaimed “SenaVision-of-Hope-Gall-Trayvistor-in-Exile” betrayed our heroic band of Rebels by luring them into a trap on Lothal.  When his betrayal was fully revealed in “Vision of Hope”, what was expected by some as far back as “Rise of the Old Masters” was proven: Gall Trayvis was an agent of the Empire, tasked with drawing out insurgents who set themselves against the tyrannical government.

As the closing credits of “Vision of Hope” rolled, I noticed something about Brent Spiner’s character that I had failed to realize previously — the spelling of his name included part of the word betrayal.  Gall Trayvis had the gall to pretend to fight the Emperor’s tyranny while intentionally bringing the wrath of the Empire down upon small cells on various systems.  His bitter deception had been foreshadowed in his own name, a hint to observant fans of the new animated series.  After realizing this, I wondered what other clues the storytellers have hidden in their characters’ names.  Below are my thoughts about the names of the members of the crew of the Ghost in Star Wars Rebels.

Hera Syndulla
Home
This one seems rather obvious to fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, since Cham Syndulla was a freedom fighter of the Twi’lek people in the opening episodes of the third seasonStar-wars-rebels-hera of the series.  Most fans quickly made that connection, amplified by unconfirmed reports that she is the niece of the famed hero of Ryloth.  But perhaps more interesting to her role in Rebels is her namesake, the Greek goddess Hera.

Hera is the goddess of love and marriage in Greek mythology.  She is seen as the protector of the home and family, especially in nurturing and providing for children under their mother’s care.  As the captain and pilot of the Ghost, Hera manages her “household” by seeing to their care and growth while under her protective wing.  Early in the series, Hera convinces Kanan of his responsibility to train Ezra, repeatedly reminding him of his need to begin the boy’s training.

Hera is the mother figure of the crew of the Ghost.  She will both protect and push her “family” to rise to reach their potential, as individuals and as a collective unit.

Sabine Wren
Heart
The young, artistic explosives-expert of the Ghost’s crew shares her surname with a character in the upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, as well as with a Cularin senator whose history is checkered with accusations of CIS sympathies as well as incidents of graffiti on warehouse walls (see Senator Levina Wren).  Whether Sabine has any coSabine_Panel_Shot.pngnnection to either of these characters is unknown at this point, but with the young Mandalorian’s penchant for artistic explosions and at a hint that her family was negatively affected by the Empire, some significant connection is plausible.

Her given name, however, is rife with meaning — both historically and colloquially.  The Sabine women of Italy are credited with aiding the creation of ancient Rome according to folklore passed down over the centuries.  Long before the Sabines were subdued by Roman forces in the third century, the fortitude of Sabine women was recognized and prized, first by the republic and later by the empire.  In certain circles, the term Sabine is used to describe a lovable girl who is artistically gifted, quick-witted with a tendency towards biting humor, and fiercely loyal.  While a “Sabine” may be difficult to get to know, she is worth making the effort.

With these characteristics, it is little wonder that Sabine has already captured the heart of young Ezra Bridger.  However, Sabine is certainly not cast as a simple love interest, but as the very heart of the crew.  Her fiery disposition pumps energy through the rest of  the team.

Ezra Bridger
Hope
In a recent interview with Jimmy Mac, writer Henry Gilroy somewhat inadvertently voiced what many already felt to be the case in Rebels, that this series which seems to be told from Ezra’s perspective, bridges the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (consult RebelForce Radio “2.20.2015”).  Ezra, whose birth coincided with the birth of the Empire (Star Wars Rebels “Empire Day”), provides a new generation of Star Wars fans with insight into the times and circumstances of the original trilogy characters as he introduces Luke, Han, and Leia to the fourth generation of viewers just in time for the seventh movie in the ongoing saga.Erza-Star-Wars-Rebels

The selection of Ezra as his common name may stem from the Biblical character who is credited by students of the Old Testament with restoring the Israelites to their former status by reminding them of the original covenant they had with their God through Moses after they had fallen into captivity because of their failure to faithfully adhere to the statutes of the Law as handed down at Mount Sinai.  The Biblical Ezra called his people to return to the Law of Moses by teaching publicly, reorganizing the canonical books and psalms into their commonly accepted order, and possibly even penning the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles as a history of the nation of Israel with a focus on faithfulness with the intention of preparing the people for the culmination of their history through the long-awaited Messiah who would usher in a new hope for the world through the people of Israel.

As such, Ezra connects Star Wars of the past, both the original and prequel trilogies, with Star Wars of the future in a story that centers on the hope for a brighter future based on the promises and prophecies of the “Messianic Age” of the Force.

C1-10P (a.k.a. “Chopper”)
Human Nature
To put it briefly, and bluntly, Chopper is the “cut-up” of the crew of the Ghost.  As Dave Filoni star-wars-rebels-chopper-viddescribed him when introducing him on StarWars.com, “If Artoo is the family dog, Chopper is the cat.”  Although an essential member of the team, Chopper’s actions at any given moment is solely focused on doing things his way.  His muffled murmurings are patently snide, likely filled with cut-downs, and eschew an amiable grumpiness in the ‘droid who serves the group in a way that best pleases him (perhaps to satisfy some deeply-ingrained sense of self-importance — something unexpected in a unit designed to serve its creators).  In a way, Chopper continues in the Star Wars tradition of making ‘droids the most human of the characters of the saga).  Maybe most of us are more like Chopper than any other single member of the crew.

Garazeb Orrelios
Hulk
I have absolutely no idea where Zeb gets his name.  His is the least recognizable name among zeb-orrelios-star-wars-rebelsall the characters in the series.  Zeb embodies strength and loyalty combined with a childish mindset that enables him to connect with Ezra like a big brother in the “family unit” on board the Ghost.  Not known for his intellectual aptitude, Zeb is at his best when bashing Stormtroopers or teasing his mates.  A combination of Wookiee and gecko, his agile strength provides Rebels with a unique character that rounds out this small band of freedom fighters.

Kanan Jarrus (Caleb Dume)
Help
Kanan’s name may have the most complex and intriguing origin of all members of the crew of the Ghost.  First introduced to Star Wars fans as a padawan in the Jedi Temple before the Purge, Kanan was formerly known as Caleb Dume (see A New Dawn).

Another name derived from Hebrew Scriptures, Caleb was one of twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan to determine how the Israelites would conquer the land God had promised to them through Abraham.  Of all the spies, only Caleb and Joshua returned with an optimistic appraisal of their situation.  Even against seemingly insurmountable odds, with fortified cities and giant inhabitants, Caleb tried to rally the army of Israel to invade the land promised to them, saying, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it,” (Numbers 13.30).  However, due to the people’s lack of faith, God prevented Israel from entering the land for another forty years.  In the end, of all the soldiers of that generation, only Caleb and Joshua were permitted to enter the land when those forty years of wandering ended.  At the age of eighty-five, Caleb led the attack on the city of Hebron, trusting that even in his old age, God would give him the strength to conquer the giants before him.

Even as a padawan, Caleb embodied the same “can do” attitude of his namesake, recognizing the possibility of using the Jedi homecoming signal to warn Jedi away from Coruscant in case of immanent danger.  Once Order 66 had been issued, Obi-Wan Kenobi put Caleb’s idea to use, sending out the signal to all Jedi about their betrayal by the Emperor and chc55beedb16e8cf5a003b3f39be19c413arging them to conceal themselves in exile for an unspecified period of time.  It was at that point that Caleb became Kanan (a homophonous reference to the land the Biblical Caleb was assured he could conquer with supernatural assistance).

Kanan spent the years after Order 66 distancing himself from the Jedi Order, not merely assuming a new name, but casting off many lingering vestiges of the Jedi Code and avoiding using his Force abilities, and specifically his lightsaber, for fear of drawing attention to himself.  When Star Wars Rebels premiered with the hour-long televised movie, Spark of Rebellion, Kanan revealed himself as a Jedi by brandishing his lightsaber in the battle to release a group of Wookiees from slavery and allowing his crew mates to escape the Imperial forces converging on their position.  His reemergence as a Jedi permitted Yoda to “see” him again, as the Jedi Master stated while Kanan meditated in the Temple on Lothal (“Path of the Jedi”).

As the Biblical Caleb was of the princely tribe of Judah, a tribe from which the greatest leaders of Israel would arise, Kanan is recognized by his team as a leader, especially by Hera herself, who conveyed her trust in his leadership when she confided in Sabine that “Kanan…he knows what he’s doing,” (“Out of Darkness”).  Kanan’s renewed trust in the Force that moved him to take on a padawan, even while doubting his own qualifications for doing so, reveal himself to the Empire’s agents set on destruction of the Jedi, and self-sacrifice in staving off the Inquisitor and Tarkin to enable his friends’ escape (“Call to Action”) will eventually result in Kanan taking the lead in allying his team with other Rebel cells, bringing about the emergence of the Rebel Alliance.

Kanan emulates the help this small band of Rebels needs if they are going to survive against the growing Galactic Empire and eventually bring about the fall of Palpatine’s tyrannical rule.

…Would Smell as Free.
While there are other names in this animated series that suit their characters well — Kallus is truly a calloused individual and it seems that much of the rebellion hinges on the mysterious character known as “Fulcrum” — the evidence that the names of the main heroes of this series fit their personas is a testimony to the depth of writing present in the conceptualization and realization of this addition to Star Wars canon.  I, for one, am looking forward to more tributes to the mythos of Star Wars which has lent to its longevity throughout my lifetime.  Certainly, “Star Wars is forever!”

TFNY 2015: Star Wars Toys From Bladez Toys To Yomega Corp.

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Toy Fair 2015 had its highs and lows during its opening weekend at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The low being Hasbro and the lack of discussion around Star Wars: The Black Series and Star Wars Rebels. A variety of other exhibiting manufacturers and distributors displayed numerous toys and products, many of which have plans to expand upon collections as we get closer to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Going in alphabetical order, this post gathers up the best tweets, photos, videos, and other content related to this year’s Toy Fair.

Bladez Toys, Inc.

International company Bladez Toys, Inc., specializes in designing, developing, and distributing licensed products, including jumbo radio controlled inflatable toys. The following samples of Yoda and Darth Vader are hints of what’s to come soon from Bladez Toys. Yodasnews.com also has a video of the inflatable toys in operation and R2-D2 can be seen in a picture taken by the Collector’s Cantina. Continue reading

A Trooper’s Point of View: Under the Helmet

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The costumes of Star Wars are iconic.  They are some of the most recognizable costumes in the history of cinema.  Even those not familiar with the movies recognize the costumes.  They have made an indelible mark on pop culture.  Wearing the costumes, on the other hand, is a completely different experience.  First and foremost the costumes were designed to look good on the big screen.  They were designed to be archetypal, at a glance the audience could easily tell the good guys from the bad.  The costumes were not designed with normal human movement in mind nor were they meant to be worn for long periods of time.

We have to take this all into account when talking about actually wearing the costumes as a member of the 501st Legion.

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The iconic and ubiquitous Stormtrooper becomes far less menacing when you realize the field of vision is so limited that they can’t see something right in front of them, or that movement is so limited they can’t pick up something at their feet.  We wont even bring up the true enemy of the mighty Imperial forces, stairs.

As I said these costumes were designed to look good in a movie.  There is nothing about them that works in reality.  I’ve nearly fallen trying to go down one 8″ step.  The costumes are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.  There is almost nothing about an armored costume that I would call comfortable, there is only ways of minimizing your discomfort.

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Let’s start with the helmet.  A Stormtrooper’s helmet first can not just be taken straight on and off.  Because of the shape which is more of a flattened oval than a circle, you have to do a “corkscrew” method to take the helmet on and off.  You start with the helmet at an angle and turn it as you pull down.  Once the helmet is on, your vision and hearing are limited.  Imagine you are holding a pair of binoculars in front of your face, that is how much we can see in front of us.  Our peripheral vision is completely gone.  Needless to say we have to be very careful and aware of the area around us.

Some interesting things do happen once we put on the full armor and helmet.  Every part of your body is covered so you get a great feeling of anonymity.  This helps the first few times you wear the costume out in public.  No one knows it’s you and it can be very freeing.  Conversely people act differently when they can’t see your face.  In some ways it can dehumanize you and some people will forget that there is a person inside the armor.  Thankfully our negative experiences are few and far between.

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The body armor limits your movements in a variety of ways.  The shape of the pieces and how they fit together prevents a lot of movement.  If we drop an item it’s almost impossible to pick it back up.  Something as simple as sitting in a chair becomes a complicated ordeal.  I still have no idea how Harrison Ford managed to sit with his feet up and legs crossed.  The most impressive feat I’ve managed is being able to sit in a car (not driving) wearing most of my armor.

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Then there are the armor bites, or armor kisses as some call them.  These happen when two pieces of the armor come together in places like elbows or knees, the skin gets caught between the plastic and pinches.  It feels just as pleasant as it sounds.

We can’t see.  We can’t sit.  The armor pinches and limits our most basic movements.  You must be asking why we subject ourselves to such torture.  It’s the smiles.  For many of us it’s something we have dreamt about since we were kids.  The first smile we see is our own in the mirror as the costume comes together.  Everyone always seems so happy to see us that in the end it’s all worth it.

TFNY 2015: Updates Leading Up To The Big Weekend

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Toy Fair NY 2015 kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, February 14, at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Several toy announcements and updates have been made regarding future Star Wars toys and merchandise. Here is a small collection of news to keep you up-to-date with the latest.

Underground Toys Announces New Star Wars Themed Homewares Collection

Underground Toys is a leading manufacturer and distributor of licensed products, offering a variety of homewares and decor items. According to their press release, more items inspired by Star Wars are on the way! Continue reading