Tag Archives: Hondo Ohnaka

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Rebels: Legends of the Lasat and Other Alliterations

Star Wars Rebels:
Legends of the Lasat and Other Alliterations

Teased as a look into Zeb’s past, “Legends of the Lasat” has a great deal more to it than simply telling us a bit more about the background of the Rebels’ hulk.  Centered on a Lasat prophecy and flavored with a touch of piracy via fan-favorite Hondo Ohnaka, this episode could well be called “Prophecy and the Profiteer”.  While one individual is motivated by the profits he could obtain by selling captives and information, others seek a paradise promised through an ancient prophecy.  Or perhaps in reference to the various manifestations of the Force in different cultures, as evident in Chava’s reference to “Ashla”, this episode could find meaning in the title, “Flavors of the Force”.  Ok, I admit, that’s a bit of an alliterative stretch, but hey — it gets to the heart of it, doesn’t it?  The fact of the matter remains: this episode has much more going on than a 22-minute episode can possibly contain.

Mysteries and Mystics
The word mystery is a transliteration of a Greek word that simply means “something hidden”.  Paying subscribers of Season Two of Rebels are certainly familiar with the idea of “something hidden”, having discovered that their subscriptions to the second season of this animated Star Wars series was for only half the episodes they had expected to receive when they purchased their subscriptions through iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.  In fact, the backlash against this hidden fact has been so negative that the ratings of Star Wars Rebels (Volumes 2 & 3) have suffered tremendously on Amazon, not because of the quality of the show itself, but because of the justly perceived deception of cutting Season Two into two volumes for those who purchase the series digitally.  Had these online services simply been upfront with what was to be included in the original purchase price last fall, these negative responses could have been entirely avoided.

However, mysteries are generally well received among Star Wars fans.  Hidden gems, surprises, and unanswered questions generally give rise to enjoyable discussions and numerous speculations about the potential plots in the future.  After all, everyone has been buzzing about Rey’s heritage since her name was officially released early last year.  As fans, we love to analyze and debate the possibilities about this galaxy far, far away.  Last week’s episode of Rebels has certainly given us plenty to consider with all that lies beneath the surface of the story presented entitled “Legends of the Lasat”.

Many fans (especially “first generation” Star Wars fans) remember Glenn A. Larson’s amazing television show from 1978 that capitalized on the clamor for sci-fi during the initial run of Star WarsBattlestar Galactica captured the imaginations of kids yearning for more of what they had seen in movie theaters.  We were introduced to the tragedy of a people whose home planets were destroyed by a rising empire (Cylons with their Imperious Leaders) and their quest to find a home from legends long passed.  Over the years, we have witnessed many tv shows and movies that profited from the success and popularity of Star Wars.  With “Legends of the Lasat”, the circle is complete, as Rebels borrows from the program that borrowed from Star Wars.  While the central plot of “Legends of the Lasat” is more than reminiscent of the plot of the entire Battlestar Galactica series, elements of this episode also hearken back to the first few episodes of the 1978 series.  In the first few episodes of Battlestar Galactica, a story arc now known as “Saga of a Star World”, remnants of the Colonies escaped the Cylons by traveling through the Straits of Magadon, a dangerous routStraitsofMadagone through the Megadon Nova.   In the next arc, “Lost Planet of the Gods”, the Galactica travels through a mysterious void to discover an ancient tribal habitation and possible birthplace of the Tribes.  “Legends of the Lasat” capitalizes on both of these story arcs, combining them into one voyage through an imploded star cluster to find Lirisan, the ancient homeworld of the Lasat.

Fan-made trailer for Battlestar Galactica “Lost Planet of the Gods”

Kevin Kiner attributes his inspiration for “Journey into the Star Cluster”, an oft-acclaimed musical addition to Star Wars, to Philip Glass.  By perusing the Philip Glass catalogue, one can find a similar track from the 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi entitled “Pruitt-Igoe”.  Apart from the distinctive mysterious tones of the string ensemble, the origins of Pruitt-Igoe reveal a story similar to the Lasat in Rebels.  Due to overcrowding and poor living conditions in St. Louis in the late 1940s, officials embarked on a hopeful project to build modern low-cost housing to accommodate the growing population.  Essentially, the older, decaying complexes were to be replaced with newer, better apartments.  In 1955, thirty-three eleven-story apartment buildings were completed and named “Pruitt-Igoe” after two prominent St. Louis natives.  Economic “refugees” from the deteriorating neighborhoods found a new home in Pruitt-Igoe.  This musical cue from “Legends of the Lasat” has an underlying, hidden message in Kevin Kiner’s choice to use this Philip Glass composition as inspiration for the Lasat journey to their new home.

Video of “Pruitt Igoe” by Philip Glass from Koyaanisqatsi
Compare it with this track on StarWars.com

Beyond the theme and themes of “Legends of the Lasat” are the names of the key characters in this episode.  At the outset, viewers are introduced to two other members of Zeb’s species.  Those of us who, like Zeb, believed that he was the only remaining Lasat were excited to find out who they were and how they had survived the devastation of their homeworld, Lasan.  Once liberated by the crew of the Ghost, we discover their names — and on further inspection, uncover their names’ potential significance (as we’ve noticed before in Rebels).  Gron and Chava the WiseGron reveals that he had formerly served in the Honor Guard under Captain Garrizeb Orrelios.  Gron’s name sounds a bit like “ground” or even “green”.  Its Dutch etymology stems from this sound in its meaning, “from the earth”.  Gron is “rooted” in Lasat culture, and therefore seeks another homeworld for his people.  Furthermore, the Kabalarian meaning of his name has to do with being parental and generous — a father-figure for all Lasat.  When combined with Chava the Wise, whose name in Hebrew refers to life and, according to some, wisdom gained through life experience, becomes very telling when one considers that “Chavva” is the Hebrew transliteration of the Biblical character, Eve, who was given her name by Adam (which refers to coming “from the earth”) because she was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).  That this connection is not by accident is accented when Sabine voices her assumption that the two Lasat are all alone on Lirasan.  That these names were not randomly assigned is clearly evident, as even Zeb’s name takes on significance when we consider its Hebrew importance as “gift of God” and “dwelling of honor”.  Zeb is the embodiment of the Lasat Honor Guard, as we have known, and is revealed to have a special “gift” that enables him, and him alone, to show his people the way home.  The incredible detail that underlies every aspect of this episode is astonishing!  By the way, I was surprised to discover that Hondo’s name has African roots and means “warrior” in Egyptian.  And I thought he was “the fool” in the Lasat prophecy.

The Bottom Line
Regardless of how the additional, unexpected expense of purchasing the second half of Season Two (essentially, that’s what happened) has affected us personally, and in spite of not knowing just how profitable Hondo’s various attempts at remuneration for his efforts were to him, “Legends of the Lasat” has undoubtedly given us much more than our money’s worth for a single episode.  Lengthy reviews have been penned and published online, podcasts have devoted hours of time discussing the themes and events of this episode, and ramifications that this single half-hour of Wednesday night television will be discussed and debated for days, weeks, and months to come.

BONUS HIDDEN MESSAGEStar Wars Rebels Blue Milk Ad
Translating from the Aurabesh text in the corridor reveals an advertisement for “Blue Milk”, saying that it’s available “at markets everywhere”.   It even hints at another message for those lamenting the destruction of Lasan in its graphic depiction of spilled blue milk over a yellow background not to cry over spilt (blue) milk.

On Rebels, Hondo Makes It All Better

This week on Star Wars Rebels, veteran of The Clone Wars (the show, not the many, many battles – though that too), Hondo Ohnaka, turns up and I literally cannot remember anything else except Hondo. Seriously, that man crops up and takes over everything, the show, your brain; it’s like a disease.

Don't worry, they make a pill for that now.

Don’t worry, they make a pill for me now.

This episode was an odd one, and I don’t mean Hondo. Okay, yes, him too. But after the stellar TV movie, and the last few episodes – particularly with the introduction of the new Inquisitors – it was odd to have the momentum of the show all but shudder to a halt. It’s odd, too, to have this influx of old faces enter the show, especially in one large wave. Continue reading

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.

17 Essential The Clone Wars Episodes to Watch Before Season 5

Season 5 of The Clone Wars starts this Saturday and fans like me who have been following the show since the very beginning are extremely excited.  But maybe you are new to The Clone Wars.  Maybe you saw the mind blowing trailer for Season 5 and thought I really want to see Darth Sidious kick some butt but I have no idea what is going on in the show.  There have been 88 episodes of the show so far, not to mention the theatrical movie release, so it would almost impossible to catch completely up before Saturday.

Well you don’t have to watch all 88 episodes.  Based on what we have learned so far about Season 5, I have come up with a list of 17 episodes that should cover the major players and plotlines important to understanding what is going on in Season 5.  These aren’t necessarily the best episodes that The Clone Wars has to offer (although some on the list are great) but these 17 episodes should get a new watcher or even a fan who needs a refresh ready for the new season.

 

Season 1 Episodes 11 and 12: “Dooku Captured” and “Gungan General”


Most of Season 1 of The Clone Wars was really hit and miss for me.  It seemed the show was trying to find its footing and really wasn’t sure who its target audience was.  The animation was still an obvious work in progress.  There were some episodes I enjoyed and a bunch I really didn’t care for.  Admittedly these episode are two that weren’t my favorites especially Gungan General.  The reason I have them on the list is they are the episodes that introduce us to the great character Hondo Ohnaka.  Hondo is a Weequay pirate who has a run in with Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Count Dooku in these episodes and becomes a recurring character in future seasons.  Based on the Season 5 trailers we will be seeing even more of Hondo.

 

Season 2 Episode 4: “Senate Spy”


Ok.  Bear with me here.  This one wasn’t one of my favorite episodes but I believe it will be important to Season 5.  This episode introduces us a former love interest of Padme’s and shows us how jealous Anakin can get.  Judging by some preview clips that were shown, Rush Clovis will be returning to The Clone Wars in Season 5.  It will be very interesting to see what his role will be and if Anakin can keep himself from strangling him.

 

Season 2 Episodes 12, 13, and 14: “The Mandalore Plot”, “Voyage of Temptation”, and “Duchess of Mandalore”


When these episodes were announced many a fanboy head exploded.  The Mandalorians are coming to The Clone Wars!  We were introduced to a new version of the Mandalorians than we were used to though.  The main Mandalorians were pacifists.  Huh?  Inconsistencies with existing canon aside, these were some very solid episodes.  We do get to see some Mando warriors in action using jetpacks and rockets and all the other stuff we always wanted to see Boba Fett use in Return of the Jedi.  We are also introduced to the character of Pre Vizsla, who will have a prominent role in some of the major plot points in Season 5.  Oh, and we are also introduced to Obi-Wan’s former “girlfriend”, now the Duchess of Mandalore, who will also be featured again in Season 5.

 

Season 2 Episode 17: “Bounty Hunters”


This episode tells the story of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka helping a group of Felucian farmers learn to stand up for themselves.  Who are they defending themselves against?  Why pirates led by Hondo Ohnaka, the bad guy we love to love.  The Jedi are assisted by a group of bounty hunters which include the female Zabrak Sugi and the fan favorite Embo.  Both Embo and Sugi can be seen in the Season 5 trailers and clips that have been released so far.  Interestingly Embo doesn’t seem to be so benevolent anymore since the one clip shows him trying to hunt down Anakin, Padme, and Rush Clovis.

 

Season 2 Episode 22: “Lethal Trackdown”


This episode is one of my personal favorites.  It is actually the finale of Season 2 of The Clone Wars and is the final episode of a three part arc.  But you can get everything you need to know about the first two episodes in the 30 second recap at the beginning of the episode.  There is so much cool in this episode including Boba Fett, Slave I, Plo Koon, Aurra Sing, and Bossk, but the reason I have included it on this list is because it gave us further characterization of the pirate Hondo Ohnaka.  Maybe he isn’t such a bad guy after all?

 

Season 3 Episode 10: Heroes on Both Sides


Another character who has been featured in clips from Season 5 is Lux Bonteri.  Lux was introduced to us in this episode as the son of Separatist politician Mina Bonteri.  Lux is near in age to Ahsoka and there is some subtle flirting.  Look for a budding relationship between the characters in future episodes.

 

Season 3 Episodes 12, 13, and 14: “Nightsisters”, “Monster”, and “Witches of the Mist”


For me, this is where the show really hit its stride.  The animation is markedly better at this point in the series and the action in this trilogy is amazing.  I LOVE these episodes.  We have seen the character of Asajj Ventress in previous episodes but these episodes are where we really get to know her.  We are also introduced to the very important character of Savage Opress.  He is like Darth Maul on steroids.  Literally.  My guess is both Ventress and Opress will be playing major roles in the upcoming season.

 

Season 4 Episode 14: A Friend in Need


Remember earlier when we were talking about Lux Bonteri?  Well he is back in this episode and he has a chip on his shoulder.  Of course Ahsoka is featured as well so we can see some progress in their relationship.  This episode also gives us more Mandalorian action and more of the character Pre Vizsla who will feature prominently in Season 5.  A brand new character who is introduced in this episode is the female Mando named Bo-Katan.  We don’t get much of her in this episode other than seeing her really cool armor design, but based on clips from Season 5 we will be seeing her in an expanded role.  This episode also contains the single coolest lightsaber move in the entire series.  Watching this episode is worth that alone.

 

Season 4 Episodes 19, 20, 21, and 22: “Massacre”, “Bounty”, “Brothers”, and “Revenge”


This is the 4-part season finale of Season 4 of The Clone Wars and the latest episodes released so far.  The first two episodes, Massacre and Bounty, are important for further characterization of Asajj Ventress.  She is no longer a one dimensional bad girl and it is hard to tell exactly where her loyalties lie.  In a Season 5 trailer we get a number of clips of Ventress in a disguise fighting Ahsoka.  It will be very interesting to see how things get to that point.
In the final two episodes, Brothers and Revenge, we get the return of Savage Opress and more importantly the return of his brother *SPOILER ALERT* Darth Maul.  Yes Maul lived through being cut in half and he is out for revenge.  From everything we see about Season 5 and from things that the creators have said in interviews, Darth Maul will play a very big role in Season 5 and his brother will be right there beside him.  If you don’t watch any other episodes in this list at least watch these four before starting Season 5.

 

17 episodes isn’t that much.  If you start today you can watch 3 or 4 of these episodes a day (they are only 22 minutes each) and be caught up by Saturday.  If you don’t have the DVDs or Blu-rays you can always buy the individual episodes on iTunes and watch them that way.  Go have a Clone Wars marathon and get ready for what looks like an amazing Season 5!

Aaron Goins