Tag Archives: Hera

On Rebels, Family Shopping Trip Turns Into Murder Spree

Quick note: this is not a full review. If you want that, that’s totally fine, and we can help you out. But here we take some aspects of the show for further discussion. And as always, SPOILERS from here on out.

(Sorry, I really couldn’t resist the headline. This isn’t an anti-rebellion themed review, honest!)

Constant losses amongst Phoenix squadron in this week’s episode of Rebels, entitled Homecoming, can only mean one thing: road trip! Yes, our Rebels head to Ryloth, Hera’s home planet, and meet up with Hera’s father, Cham Syndulla. Good times were had, stories shared, Kanan met the in-laws (well, half of them) and, oh, stole a big honking Imperial hangar ship. Like you do. Then they went for ice cream.

‘You WILL add an extra scoop. Free of charge.’

This episode presented an intriguing question, one which was slightly buried underneath all the family drama: what takes precedence, the small war or the large one?

The Large War

By large war, I mean saving your resources, sometimes to the detriment of local rebel cells, so that you may fight on a much wider front – and concentrate on no specific one. Hera, of course, represents this ideology – and is the one that wins out. Which is a little bit unfair, since we’ve had a series and a half to explore her side of the argument, and is the side that our Spectres tend to favour (but ever then they rarely left Lothal in the first series). This is in contrast to Cham Syndulla, Hera’s father*, who has less than half an hour (though Ezra does briefly share this outlook in the first half of the first series, and Kanan briefly in the premiere of the second series before both get a pep talk and say ‘eh, whatever. Let’s shoot stuff’).

*Or ‘papa’ if you are a) French/of French descent, b) a Twi’lek or c) a horribly pretentious Brit

This form of warfare has many benefits: you can stretch your enemy’s resources thin and force them to expend more effort and energy to perform various tasks. For example, during the Napoleonic Wars Spain and Portugal were mostly occupied by French forces who plundered, raped and murdered many of the native people. This was, I think we can all agree, not a good idea. And so the locals rose up and formed rebel cells, called ‘guerrilleros’, who attacked supply lines, performed hit and run raids on camps at night, tortured and occasionally made very public examples of their prisoners (which I don’t condone, but can understand). For an answer, the French dedicated more troops to the protection of supplies, taking them away from the front line, and came down harder on the populace … which only generated more guerrilleros.

It also has the advantage of propagating, without much effort on your part, propaganda for your cause. Simply put, the more visible you are to the wider galaxy, the better known you will be. The better known you are means more potential recruits. Even if they don’t join, they will still have ears (if their species’ biology permits) to hear and hopefully evaluate your reasoning and help – not by arms, but in a quiet way – your cause by not aiding the enemy, or sheltering you in your time of need or simply just cheering when you hear some old guy in a hood is dead. Because nothing beats tyranny better than having the courage to speak your mind when your voice can be heard by those who’ll silence it.

'I beg to differ.'

‘I beg to differ.’

And being a smaller force does afford you more places to hide, and can make you much harder to hit, since you’re not wholly tied to one small area of operation (sorry, Alderaan). And though the entire galaxy is essentially hostile to you, you can quickly become safe because you can masquerade as civilians and simply blend in … with the other civilians being horribly repressed by the government. Bit of a trade off.

These are just a few examples, and there are downsides, too: your own forces can be stretched thin, and one serious defeat can knock you out of the game entirely. It also means your victories are going to be minor as well – and we actually see this in the episode itself. Cham’s goal was to destroy the ship, I remind you, so that the people of Ryloth can see that victory, know that there is reason to hope and may rise up. Any other episode of Rebels and this would have been the Spectre’s goal, too. Not today. Instead they want a place to hide. A place for supplies, rest, maybe watch space netflix (holoflix? Please let this be a thing) and generally ensure that they live another day. Not exactly heroic but still very important. And it’s generally a good goal. It’s like that old joke: ‘I don’t have to outrun the lion. I just have to outrun you’. If all else fails, if the Death Stars aren’t destroyed, if the rebellion’s fighting force fizzles out and their armies have about as much bite as a toothless granny, then that desire to survive and live on just might see them to victory. Because they may not have to beat the Empire, they just have to outlive it.

Still, it is a lot more fun to watch the Death Star blow up rather than watch Hera and our Spectres grow old.

The Small War

I usually illustrate my point with a photo, but this is literally the only photo that doesn’t involve betrayal.

That said, there is some merit to fighting the small war (represented by Cham Syndulla’s crusade), to fighting for your home planet – and nothing more. This is somewhat lost in the episode, what with Cham’s becoming ever-so-slightly unhinged and inevitably betraying Hera.

I have been waiting SO long to use this!

I have been waiting SO long to use this!

I was a little miffed at this, mainly because the show implied (though never outright stated) that this was largely a bad idea. This is a common trope in storytelling, called ‘villain has a point‘, wherein the baddie brings up a valid idea, but it is then dismissed simply because the villain thought of it.

Let’s ignore that, because there are some solid reasons for waging the small war. The first is a similar fallacy that Cham buys into – and to a certain extent the Spectres also: false equivalence. This states that you can focus your efforts on A, or you can help B. You can’t do both. As the episode aptly shows towards the end, you really can help both parties – and that’s because people can generally care for more than one thing at a time, which is something this fallacy tends to forget.

Following that line of thought, it’s entirely natural and understandable for people to care more about their home than some far off place. The problems start when a person only cares about their home and not the far off places, as Cham perfectly illustrates, and which our Spectres, Numa and Unremarkable Background Twi’lek* admirably provide a counter example. That same love of your home can provide a very strong will to fight, one which can often eclipse ideological fervor.

(*Whose character went down in Star Wars lore as the one responsible for the famous joke:

A: Knock knock.
B: ‘Who’s there?’
A: Unremarkable Background Twi’lek.
B: ‘Unremarkable Background Twi’lek who?’
A: Exactly.

It never really caught on.)

But there are military benefits to fighting locally, too. Because it is your own home, you will naturally know it better than an invading force. And you are much more likely to come across aid and friendly civilians than not. Because the war front is necessarily much smaller than a galaxy-wide conflict, you’re better able to develop and concentrate your forces in larger numbers. And though that battles themselves may be smaller, that doesn’t mean they’re any less necessary or important. And the more of a nuisance that little local cell becomes, the more resources the enemy pours into it. Just look at Lothal – well, you can’t, because all those Star Destroyers are in the way. Due to the actions of one small yet effective splinter cell the Empire has poured a significant portion of its military to on fairly insignificant target.

But, of course, all this does paint a rather large target on your back. It being your home planet, you may be rather unwilling to leave it, to such an extent that even your planet, and not just you, becomes the target (sorry, Alderaan).

So, which is better? As stated, I personally believe each is a worthy fight. Different people can focus on different issues, just as long as they don’t impede or thwart the others’ attempts. If only Cham had learned that.

Michael Dare

On Rebels, Hera Gets the Episode She Deserves, and the One We Need

Hera Syndulla takes flight in the lesser known but beautiful B-Wing in this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, Wings of the Master, and I seriously do not know which of those things I’m more excited about.

Pictured: my brain

The winner, of course, has to be Hera – star of, if I’m not mistaken or currently having an aneurysm, the first episode centred around one of the female Spectres. But before I discuss the leader of the crew (don’t let that numbering of Spectre-2 deceive you), I’d like to discuss the second in command, Spectre-1. I think I may be having an aneurysm, after all.

Kanan

In the beginning of the second season, Kanan very vocally resisted playing an active role in the larger rebellion, preferring to just help people here and there. This, for me, is the most memorable moment in his characterisation, and as such it bears repeating, because it encapsulates so much of what makes him tick.  A former Jedi who’s still Jedi-ing, who fought in a galaxy-spanning war but doesn’t want to do so again – yet, you know, still totally does. And in this episode he’s at it again, helping people, the hypocrite. Continue reading

Rebels Returns By Finding Some Nostalgia

Review: Star Wars Rebels: The Lost Commanders

(Quick note: Welcome! Just so you know, this review is not so much a review of the episode, but a look at one or several aspects that I found interesting.)

Star Wars Rebels saw its return last week with its first (or second or third, depending on your philosophical bent) episode of the series, entitled The Lost Commanders. This episode sees the crew of the Ghost seek out some old codgers in the hope of gaining a list of safe harbours. What makes this particular episode stand out, however, is that those old codgers turn out to be none other than Captain Rex, Republic Commando Gregor (if you were drawing a blank, as I did, he’s the Commando who lost his memory and worked as a chef), and Commander Wolffe – characters hopefully well known to viewers of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

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SWR Fulcrum.004

Who Is Fulcrum? Now We All Know!

Who Is Fulcrum?
Now We All Know
—shazbazzar

For those of us who loved Star Wars: The Clone Wars from its outset to its premature end, the announcement of a new Star Wars animated series on Disney XD resulted in mixed emotions.  Many of us were frustrated that one of Disney’s first moves after purchasing Lucasfilm was not only to Ahsoka Walks Awaycancel The Clone Wars but to halt production on many several episodes which had been planned, written, recorded, and in various stages of production, from animatics to final rendering.  However, we were also cautiously curious about this new series.  We had questions, some of which remain unanswered:  Would Disney give this new series a fair chance to attract an audience?  After all, the ever-changing and inconsistent scheduling of TRON: Uprising (a Disney property) led to viewers wondering when it would air.  Would the audience be left hanging (again) by a premature, inconclusive end to the series?  Star Wars fans are still wanting an appropriate conclusion for The Clone Wars and the aforementioned TRON: Uprising came to an abrupt halt on a cliffhanger.  Most importantly, would our favorite characters from The Clone Wars be seen in Rebels (specifically, Ahsoka Tano)?

Anticipating the upcoming series, I was diligent to seek out all information regarding Star Wars Rebels prior to its release — especially interviews with Dave Filoni.  Empire Online asked him about tie-ins to The Clone Wars to which he responded, “It’s possible, I’ll just say that. I think people would be disappointed if there wasn’t some connection…”  On the official site, during a video entitled, “The Lost Missions Q&A Rebels”, he admitted, “It would almost be crazy for there not to be anything that is related to a show I loved so much in a new show I’m doing.”  These statements, combined with my admitted bias for Ahsoka, convinced me that we would indeed be seeing her return at some point in the series.

During the fifth episode, “Out of Darkness”, we heard about Hera’s mysterious contact, Fulcrum.  When Sabine and Hera go to an outpost to pick up supplies from Fulcrum, SWR Fulcrum.002Hera specifies which crate she will move to the Phantom, based on a mark on the outside of the container.  In the same episode, we heard Fulcrum’s voice, albeit altered to disguise the voice.  Some fans put together the clues and believed Fulcrum was none other than Ahsoka Tano (though I was a believer, I wanted to argue all the angles, just to challenge my own first impression).  However, these clues were certainly pointing us in her direction.

SWR Fulcrum.005As the season progressed, the makers of Rebels actively focused on turning our attention from my favorite Togrutan by showing previews of holographic images of a hooded Fulcrum speaking to Hera — a hooded form that was distinctly different from the familiar scenes of a hooded Ahsoka from The Clone Wars which clearly showed Ahsoka’s montrals and lekku.  Thankfully, we were not kept waiting for long (like a season-ending cliffhanger), but Fulcrum was revealed at the conclusion of the season finale, “Fire across the Galaxy,” when we saw the return of Ahsoka to the screen as she descended the ladder, revealing herself as Fulcrum.  We discovered who Fulcrum is, but what is the significance of her code name?

SWR Fulcrum.001

A fulcrum is the pivot point for a lever.  Therefore, Fulcrum may carry the connotation that Ahsoka is the hinge for all the work being done amongst the separate cells of rebels.  This fits the current storyline, since it appears that each rebel cell only knows Fulcrum outside their immediate context.  As Hera pointed out in “Fire across the Galaxy,” this would prevent any cell from being used against the others.  With Fulcrum as the contact point for all the cells, she could manage all the cells efforts for a greater impact in their resistance against the Empire.  In doing so, she increases the efficiency of the rebels’ efforts, enabling more work to be accomplished (like a lever) due to a well-placed fulcrum.

The Empire has amplified their efforts to quell rebel cells, focusing on Lothal because of the reported presence of a Jedi and his Padawan, as well as their successful attacks on the Imperial base and supplies (Kyber crystals).  Perhaps, they concluded that the force behind the rebels’ recent success was the Jedi they had repeatedly encountered on Lothal.  Interestingly, it is the Empire’s capture of Kanan that spurs a larger attack on Imperial forces, enlarging our Rebels’ perspective of their place in the galaxy.

A fulcrum is the balance point for a scale.  In a balance scale, the fulcrum is in the central position, perfectly set to enable each side to be equally balanced.  Perhaps, Ahsoka is able to fulfill this position, as well.  Given her history with the Jedi Council, wrongfully accused, yet turned over to the Republic’s (biased) legal system, she recognized that something was out-of-place in the Jedi Order before many others did.  She tasted the Dark Side on Mortis, was warned by a vision of her future about her Master, and made at least one true friend on the “other side” of the Clone War (Lux Bonteri).  She understands the need for balance.

With Dave Filoni’s latest comments regarding Ahsoka’s white lightsabers, SWR Fulcrum.003stating that they are neither green or blue (Jedi), nor red (Sith), we will clearly see in Season Two that Ahsoka is something different: neither Jedi, nor Sith, yet still using the Force.  (Maybe she will team up with other “third party” characters like Hondo Ohnaka or Bo-Katan.)  Ahsoka may well be the perfect person to usher in a new era of Star Wars by revealing the need for a true “awakening” of the Force with a balanced perspective of light and dark, as alluded to in the Mortis trilogy.

A fulcrum is a prop or support.  I’m sure I was not SWR Fulcrum.006alone in my trepidation going into Rebels.  Even as the series progressed, something just didn’t feel “right” about the new endeavor — likely because of my adoration for the former series, the look, the feel, the richness that had developed over the years, and above all, the characters.  The code name Fulcrum could be a signal to audience members like me who have needed an anchor to the previous series to prop up and support this new show.  The unveiling of Fulcrum as Ahsoka certainly did that for me and my family.  Now we can’t wait to see what happens in Season Two.

Women in Star Wars: February 2015

Women in Star Wars Around the Web

What promises to be a fantastic year in Star Wars fandom is off to great start in January and the women of Star Wars have already been getting the party started.

Over on the official site Amy Ratcliffe gave a great intro to the 7 Topics Star Wars Fans Love to Debate. Meanwhile host of Rebels Recon and social media correspondent for starwars.com, Andi Gutierrez, has started a new feature on the site called Social Scanner. It’s a peek into her favorite social media posts throughout the week with a new edition posting every Friday. It’s a great way to feature fans.

The cover was revealed for the upcoming Ultimate Star Wars – a guide to characters, creatures, locations, technology, and vehicles of the Star Wars universe. This book comes out in May and was written by Fangirls Going Rogue Host Tricia Barr as well as Adam Bray, Ryder Windham, and Dan Wallace.

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