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On Rebels, Chopper Becomes A Double Act

Just a reminder: this isn’t a full review of the episode. If you want that, that’s totally cool, but you may wish to look to one of our fellow fan-sites. Here we take a look at a few aspects of the show (be warned, in a fairly spoilery way).

As an avid Sabine fan, it takes a lot to draw my attention (not like that, you perv) away from our resident Mandalorian artist. Enter our guest star of Blood Sisters: bounty hunter and fellow street decorator, Ketsu Onyo, voiced by … Gina Torres? How did I not realise this before!

Did you not get the memo?


Ketsu Onyo represents a perfect microcosm: first, her design is utterly brilliant. (I realise it’s more than a little iffy to focus on a woman’s appearance, and foremost at that, and I do apologise. Unfortunately I’m not sure I can’t not say anything, it’s just too good). As we learn in this episode’s Rebels Recon, the design was lent/borrowed/yoinked (delete as appropriate) to/by Dave Filoni from the design team for The Force Awakens – which, if I’m not mistaken, marks the first time for the new movie, and the latest in a long and storied tradition* in Star Wars.

*Which by itself is downright bizarre. I can think of no other franchise that utilises its cast-offs, for that’s what it is, to such a degree. Time and again this has happened in a Star Wars product, from the earliest novels and comics, to Star Wars Rebels itself, and even the prequel trilogy. And what’s more, we’re totally okay with it (more or less); this is not so much a testament to the skill of the designers, though they are certainly talented, but it is more an acknowledgement that some designs don’t fit one character, yet fit perfectly for others.

Though to be honest, I think this looks good on anyone.

Though to be honest, I think this looks good on anyone.

And I loved, too, how Ketsu’s presence essentially put up a mirror to Sabine, to show us more of the character, yes, but showed us what she was, and could have been. And then that mirror, in the form of Ketsu, then proceeded to outshine Sabine. Please don’t mistake me: I loved Sabine in this episode, I merely thought that Ketsu was much more compelling.

But enough about that. I’m excited, too, about what she represents on the show: the underworld.

Even though this show is primarily about rebels, a small band of merry men and women, taking on the big bad of Bespin, the scourge of Serenno, the … naughty … Empire (I ran out, sorry). This series, and this episode in particular, leans heavily of the ‘scum and villainous’ underworld, that which is partly untouched by, and partly created by, the Empire – and I want more of that. Not simply because it’s an interesting moral area – though that, too: by providing morally ambiguous characters, our Spectres are given a much more varied pool of storytelling. That aforementioned pool can become a source of enemies and heroes (much like the Hondo episode), heartache and heart-warming, too, by showing the morally un-ambigious in the ambiguous cess-pit. What I mean by that is, not everyone in the underworld are going to be baddies doing bad things. There could be generally decent people who are either caught up in or pushed towards a life of crime, or good people who aren’t pushed but simply have no choice in the matter, if they wish to be able to afford their next meal (not to mention elevensies. Blimey, they may be crooks but they’re hardly barbarians). And then there’s the civilians who simply carry on living simple lives, somehow, surrounded by these villains – much like Tarkintown in the first series. The show provides the space these stories need to be told.

However, it’s not just a case of ‘these baddies aren’t all bad, after all’, no no. Certainly we can have non-Imperial baddies, I’d just prefer them used in a slightly different way, one that has been done before in the show, and one that ought to be played up more often. And if we look at our own history, our own dictatorship-toppling rebellions and revolutions, we see that such people very much have their own place in the story being told in the galaxy far, far way. They aid the rebellion.

If I may be honest, Star Wars is very much a binary, light and dark story. You have the good and the evil, and – scum and villainy aside – that’s pretty much it. I feel that’s to its detriment. From the French Revolution, to Bosnia, to, well, pretty much any civil war, really, the revolutionaries often had to deal with morally ambiguous* groups to survive, to procure weapons, armaments, food and medical supplies, and even just straight up hire mercenaries to fight their battles. It doesn’t make sense that our rebels wouldn’t do this, or at least that it wouldn’t be shown more often than it has.

*or morally un-ambigious gits.

But more than that, it serves a narrative purpose. While we can’t be too clear on the exact state of affairs, it is fairly reasonable to assume that the rebels on the show are in a precarious position. They’re not a legitimate government, but freedom fighters, and it’s entirely likely that the standard citizen of the Empire, even if said people are not fans of the Empire, would think that they’re little more than petty criminals with delusions of grandeur and/or a lust for power. While, certainly, we the viewers inherently understand this to be false, what better way to demonstrate this (both to us and the general galactic public) than by putting our rebels alongside the actual scum, so that we may see what sets them apart?

And, oh look, the show just happened to (re)introduce the nefarious crime syndicate, the Black Sun. Juuust thought I’d mention it.



I take back what I said earlier. Though Ketsu was brilliant, Sabine is still my favourite. HOW DARE YOU HURT HER, KETSU?

Communication – by that I mean, how the characters conveyed themselves to each other, not necessarily the vocal performances – between the various characters, throughout the episode, was all top-notch. (For the most part, I wasn’t a fan of Ezra’s gibbering. She’s not that into you, Ezra, move on, it’s creepy.)

Sabine and Ketsu truly felt like old friends; their dialogue and delivery conveyed an easy familiarity, even when they were facing off against each other, delivering angst- and backstory-heavy dialogue, their shared pain over the loss of their once tight bond*. And later, as they accepted each other’s current professions, that love and mutual respect was both endearing and heart-warming.

*I’m still not entirely certain about just what kind of bond theirs was. From the title, I had assumed that they were blood relatives, but from watching the show, it seems more like they were once strangers who became, I suppose, platonic soulmates. Still, I could be wrong, so apologies for any inacurracies.




Dear Chopper, I’m sorry, but I’m not that into you.

*Muffled* okie doke.

I can’t put my finger on it, exactly, but I think I feel so because his over-active acting seems rather forced and unnatural – and yes, I get the absurdity of that statement. It just doesn’t sit well with me.

And yet, somehow, that overacting actually worked in this episode. And all it took was a walking box.

You rang?

The communication, as it were, between the two was merely a collection of hooting, squaking, waving and shuddering* but it harkened back to the silent film, Laurel and Hardy-type shenanigans. Wait, no. That would be rather inaccurate: for, in one desperate scene, where Chopper, adrift in the vacuum of space, struggled to regain his place aboard the ship, he and Gonky managed to portray, quite successfully, the fear and the tension of the moment. All without a word being uttered by either. It was a great moment of silent acting, and the animators did a terrific job. It was the first time that his utterances and gesticulations felt appropriate.

I’ve never been so rooted to my seat as when Chopper – wasn’t.

*Which makes no sense to me. They’re droids, surely they’d be able to convey the entirety of their thoughts through simple beeps, dots and dits? Why the need to twirl their heads and wave their arms, or – adorably for the gonk – trample on the spot in a shy yet excited manner. While certainly I don’t rule out the usefulness in communicating with body gestures and hand movement (sign language, anyone?), I don’t understand why droids need this. Perhaps they’ve been living around biological beings for too long.

I don’t think I could really take a full Chopper-centric episode, but on this episode, this one brief instance, I became a Chopper fan.

Michael Dare

Thank The Maker- TWL #157

WampasLair_SquareKarl and Jason respond to a recent interview with George Lucas where he discusses his “breakup” with Star Wars. They then move on to thanking The Maker for creating this incredible saga highlighting what he brought to popular culture with his incredible imagination and will power!

LUCAS Continue reading

George Lucas Started the Party – Feat. Justin Robert Young – SWT #06

Riley and Justin kick off the 3-week countdown to TFA with the 6th episode of Star Wars Tonight.


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Like politics? Support Justin’s awesome card game at The Contender is a social card game straight from the eagle’s beak of American democracy.

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This week’s topics include: Continue reading

George Lucas is Done – SWR #196

Riley, and Mark are joined once again by Teresa Delgado to talk Season of the Force, and what’s new at Disneyland, Lucas is done with Star Wars? How he likens it to an ex girlfriend, as well as many other things on this week’s episode of The Star Wars Report!SWR Logo (2)

You can show your support of the Star Wars Report podcast by becoming a Patron at

Riley DameronMark verses the Death TrooperTeresa DelGado

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Star Wars: So You Want to Be a Jedi? – A Beyond the Films Review

With recent events leading to a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler will be posting short, non-spoiler reviews for new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz (hardback, 2015)

Preface (Found on My Reviews for All Three of the New Novelizations)

Novelizations for Star Wars have been a mixed bag over the years, an oddity in Star Wars publishing. In 1976, 1980, and 1983, the novelizations of the Original Trilogy were released. They did not expand upon the films they adapted to any large degree, and they were plagued by being based on scripts with stories and characters yet unseen, leading to plenty of inconsistencies between the films and the novelizations.

The same inconsistencies could be found in the Prequel Trilogy novelizations in 1999, 2002, and 2005, but as time went on, writers became bolder in adding to the films they were adapting. Attack of the Clones provided a look into Shmi Skywalker’s activities and capture prior to the film, while inadvertently (or on the sly?) giving the Legends continuity a hint as to Anakin’s birthdate within his birth year. Later, Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith novelization went so deeply into character motivations (especially those of Anakin Skywalker in relation to why not being a Jedi Master when on the Jedi Council was more than just an insult but a barrier to saving his wife) that it prompted me to eventually coin the “Stover Effect” – when an adaptation of a story provides so much more detail on that story that the overall qualiity of the story is raised. (For years, I have considered Revenge of the Sith one of my two favorite Star Wars films, less for what Lucas put on film and more for how the story is so much deeper with the background and intricate details that Stover added to its context.)

As the years (then decades) have gone by, there have been frequent calls to release new, updated novelizations of the films in order to make them more true to the films and help them adhere to new context provided by other works, such as The Clone Wars or simply the other films themselves. That has never taken place for the adult novelizations, but we have seen very young reader books from Scholastic that tried to be more accurate to the films than their adult counterparts.

Now, in 2015, shortly after Force Fiday, a new trio of Original Trilogy novelizations has joined the Story Group’s Canon, and they are offbeat to say the least.

The three new novelizations are The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy (for A New Hope), So You Want to Be a Jedi? (for The Empire Strikes Back), and Beware the Power of the Dark Side! (for Return of the Jedi). Each is geared toward somewhat younger readers (big print and all), wrtitten by an established author for younger readers, and includes illustrations by Ian McCaig. These new novelizations each take an unusual approach in an attept to retell the stories of these films in a fresh way.

That being said, let’s take a look at the specific book in this series for this review . . .

So You Want to Be a Jedi?

If Alexandra Bracken’s take on A New Hope took an offbeat approach by simply shifting perspectives, Adam Gidwitz’s take on The Empire Strikes Back, entitled So You Want to Be a Jedi? defies the term “offbeat” and ventures into “What the heck am I reading?” territory.

Gidwitz is best known for his take on fairy tales and, as such, it is little surprise that the has applied a similar approach to how he has reimagined classic fairy tales for modern audiences to ESB. That will either be a welcome oddity for Star Wars fans or outright blasphemy, possibly in equal measure.

The book is written from the perspective of our modern day, telling the story of ESB as if it really happened “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” rather than as fiction. The narrator speaks mostly in second person (i.e. you do this, you do that, etc.) and present tense, casting the reader in the role of Luke Skywalker. When Luke acts in the film, it is “you” acting in the book. (When dealing with non-Luke scenes, the story is somewhat in third person present tense).

The narrator is attempting to teach the modern day “you” lessons in how to become a Jedi (philosophically at least) by telling the story of how the Luke Skywalker “you” dealt with the challenges of ESB. Along the way, the story is broken up by short activities for the reader to complete, such as lessons in meditation, seeing things from others’ perspectives, etc.

The approach is an unusual one, and it takes some getting used to, but putting the reader into Luke’s mindset provides some interesting insights (though somewhat few and far between) into Luke’s character, which Gidwitz asserts was not developed much on-screen in the films due to being the hero of a modern fairy tale, into which we are to pour ourselves as an audience.

The short lessons are also interesting in that they can actually be carried out by the audience, making it something that can more actively engage a young reader than simple prose fiction.

However, those looking for what amounts to an adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back that adds characters and scenes to the Story Group’s Canon will likely be disappointed. The book cannot be taken seriously as canonical due to both its perspective from modern day and the fact that the narrator relates the story in a way that constantly changes dialogue, ignores parts of the film (especially the “mushy” stuff that the narrator announces that he will be skipping for lack of relevance to Jedi training), and sometimes just mangles film scenes. For instance, Leia and Han’s “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee” scene cuts their banter almost entirely and is then merged with Han learning that Luke has not returned in a bizarre scene that feels unnecessarily combined and untrue to the film. This does not happen often, but it happens enough to be jarring, and the dialogue and scene specifics overall stray quite a bit farther from the source film than in most other Star Wars adaptations.

The narrator’s tone is quirky and often amusing, but it will not be something everyone will enjoy. Some will find it jarring. For me, I found it strange until I pictured the current Doctor (of Doctor Who), Peter Capaldi, as the narrator, reading it as if the Doctor was telling the story. That made the quirkiness work, though I still had to imagine that the Doctor had seen ESB years ago and only vaguely remembered the story but was telling it to someone who had never seen ESB, so he figured “hey, even if I get it wrong, they’ll never know the difference.”

Yeah . . . definitely not for everyone.

That said, if you can get over the extreme ideosyncracies of the book and just enjoy it as “some wackjob’s take on ESB” (or perhaps ESB as told by George Carlin’s Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, “live with the hippy-dippy weather, man”), then it can be an enjoyable read.

Every so often there will even be a glimmer of something that sparks your imagination, as happened to me when Gidwitz describes Vader’s reaction to losing the Falcon (and Luke) at the end of the film as not frustration, disappointment, or defeat, but in terms of sadness at his son having rejected him and fleeing from him. I had never looked at it that way in all of the decades I had been watching the film.

The Verdict

So You Want to Be a Jedi? is The Empire Strikes Back on drugs. It is weird enough to be enjoyable if we can accept it for what it is trying to do, but fans looking for a “true” adaptation or something that can readily be considered part of the saga must look elsewhere.

Recommended for: Those who can picture the 12th Doctor telling the story of Luke in ESB after having seen the film years ago to someone who has never seen it and thus cannot tell when details are way off.

Not recommended for: Those seeking what one might call an “accurate” adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back.

No review copy was provided for this publication. It was a standard retail purchase.