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As Random as a game of Pazzak

Prequel Dreams- TWL #119

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Droopy, we hardly knew ye.

Max Rebo Band Once Again Snubbed – You Won’t Believe Why! (Monday Funnies)

The inductees for this year’s Jizz-Wailer Hall of Fame were announced today, and for the fifth year in a row The Max Rebo Band was not on the ballot. There have been many rumors for the reason The Max Rebo Band hasn’t been considered, but most presume that it was due to the controversy back when Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes were inducted that led to Sy Snootles making the comments: “How are we supposed to even know they are the original members? All Bith look the same!”  Shortly after, Snootles issued an apology claiming that she “was just angry the Modal Nodes were inducted first.”  However it seemed to do little to calm the outrage. D’an responded to the statements saying that it “…felt clinical and insincere. The Bith people have offered a lot to this galaxy and it really hurts to be demeaned like that by a peer.”

What's a Bith?

It’s no secret that the two bands have had an ongoing feud since before the creation of the Max Rebo Band, however both parties have always refused to elaborate on the issue. With 5 years passing since the controversial remarks, The Max Rebo Band have done little to rebuild their reputation with their one-time audience.  Droopy McCool has become a recluse and hasn’t been seen in almost two years.  Max Rebo has had multiple arrests, the most recent  due to an altercation with a restaurant owner attempting to walk out on a tab of over 400 druggats. Snootles has also continued on a destructive downward spiral. Rumors of late night partying, driving a speeder under the influence, and altercations with law enforcement have kept her in the tabloids.  She is expected to see a judge this week regarding her arrest a few months ago where she was discovered by local authorities carrying over 1 kilogram of the spice known as Carsunum.

Sy Snootles -Sy no More

It’s been reported that she’s only done 37 of her 200 mandated community service hours, and unlikely to catch up before her hearing. If she is imprisoned it is unlikely that the Rebo Band will be considered for next year’s ballot either, as the Jizz Wailer Hall of Fame Foundation has historically rejected bands in the past due to similar behavior that they felt reflected poorly on the Jizz community. The Foundation holds contributions to the music community very highly in their considerations for nominees, and it’s truly a shame that this once great band have let their egos get in the way of such recognition.  It certainly seems that both The Max Rebo Band and The Jizz-Wailer Hall of Fame are lesser for it. There have been rumors of Teemo the Hutt inquiring about the Rebo band for residency in Teemo’s palace. If the Rebo band were to come to terms, this could be a great first step toward rebuilding their reputation and opening considerations for future Hall of Fame induction.  Currently no terms have been accepted by the Rebo band and we can only speculate that this is due to the unknown location of Droopy McCool.

Droopy, we hardly knew ye. This post was written up by the amazing Michael Morris.

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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!”

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.