Tag Archives: star wars the clone wars

Why Star Wars Rebels is a Must-Watch for any Star Wars Fan

Ever since Lucasfilm and Disney XD unveiled their latest Star Wars television series, Star Wars Rebels sometime last year, I have been enthralled with the latest exploration of the Star Wars universe. Aside from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there’s no doubt in my mind that Rebels is the absolute best Star Wars production since The Return of the Jedi.

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There’s a lot of debate among Star Wars fans who prefer The Clone Wars to Star Wars Rebels. While The Clone Wars has its many merits and is an absolutely wonderful series, I won’t be making any comparisons between the two shows, because in all honesty they’re both great shows in their own ways and don’t really deserve to be pitted against each other. Instead, I’ll be looking at what makes Rebels such a nearly-perfect show, and I’ll save the Clone Wars vs Rebels discussion for another article.

Anyone that knows that I’m a Star Wars fan should be well aware that I prefer the original trilogy over the prequel trilogy to the franchise, so when Rebels was the first Star Wars production to return to that era last year, it was something worth celebrating, and it felt like a return to something eerily familiar in the most unfamiliar of settings. Though we’re roughly in the same era as A New Hope, we’re being told a completely different story with entirely different, unfamiliar characters, and surprisingly, it works wonders. The series follows an unlikely team of Rebels who rise against the Empire during the dark period set before Luke Skywalker even enters the picture. Surprisingly, that setting of the show works well, and with this original new storytelling, and it makes a nice addition to the vast Star Wars universe.

But what makes Star Wars Rebels a truly impressive entry in the Star Wars canon? The storytelling throughout the show is so rich and engaging, and adds so many unpredictable twists along the way, crafting likable and complex characters. The series does a great job at setting itself between the dark period between The Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, not only does it do a good job at playing itself within that Star Wars period, but it also incorporates characters and set pieces from the original trilogy quite well. The thing that makes it so impressive though is that everything that made the Star Wars originals so spectacular is present in the series, from its superb storytelling right down to its quirky, subtle humor, Rebels has all the markings of a Star Wars classic.

There’s also plenty of bonus surprises for fans of The Clone Wars to be found in Rebels. Several key characters have made integral appearances on the show, and some with major story arcs that carry over from The Clone Wars into the rest of the Star Wars universe. Though it doesn’t quite necessarily need these characters to make Rebels a great show, the show benefits from having many of the same creators as The Clone Wars to throw in a few extra surprises to satisfy fans of the previous series.

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In the end, Star Wars Rebels continues to be an absolutely impressive new addition from Lucasfilm on a weekly basis, and a very welcome and satisfying inclusion to the Star Wars universe that’s bound to impress any Star Wars fan. Thanks to its likable characters and well-crafted storytelling, Rebels is truly a must-see show for the ages.

Mitchell Stein is the founder and operator of the Disney-fan based website The Mickey Mindset which is a leader in delivering Disney news, articles and opinions across the company. He can be contacted by following him on Twitter @MitchellStein1.

Women in Star Wars: April 2015

Happy Star Wars Day! The latest Women in Star Wars continues to shine a spotlight on female fans and their contributions to the Star Wars community.

First, happy belated birthday to Star Wars fangirl Bethany Blanton! She celebrated her birthday during Star Wars Celebration, and by browsing through her Instagram, it looks like she had a fantastic time!

Every last Friday of the month, transmedia author and scholar Natacha Guyot discusses all things science fiction with various talented women in a monthly feature called #SciFi Women Interviews. She kicked off the series with (me!) Star Wars fangirl Johnamarie Macias, and in April, Natacha interviewed science fiction writer and poet Yolanda I. Washington.

Congratulations to journalist Megan Crouse! She joined the Suvudu and Del Rey family as the new writer of the Holonet Digest series. You can read her roundups of Star Wars news over at Suvudu.com.

Also, congratulations to Mariel Mohns for winning the #StyleYourUniverse contest using Her Universe Star Wars attire. Find a brief interview of her over at GeekFashionWeek.net.

Fans from around the world came together last month at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. Here’s a rundown of fangirl highlights from the convention:

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(Photo: Erik Davis)

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(Photo: RebelScum.com)

Fangirls, add this to your future shopping lists! Hasbro revealed The Black Series Ahsoka Tano 6-inch action figure at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. The figure is expected to arrive in 2016.

Scott Murray wrote about the fangirl presence at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim over at Coffee With Kenobi in a piece called, “The Fangirl Impact on Star Wars Celebration“.

April was also a big month for FANgirl Blog’s Tricia Barr. She revamped her personal site over at TriciaBarr.com. At Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Tricia moderated a panel with a variety of Star Wars fans, known as From a Certain Point of View: A Diversity of Opinions in Star Wars. Tricia is also the co-author of the latest reference book, Ultimate Star Wars, and she will be on a book tour around the country. Check out the DK tour schedule over at FANgirl Blog for additional details.

FANgirl Blog is also a fantastic source of the latest fangirl news in the Star Wars community. Check out April’s Daisy Ridley Roundup to learn more about The Force Awakens actress and her character as well as last month’s Fangirls Around the Web to read up on female fan spotlights.

Fangirls in Podcasts

Here’s a collection of podcasts featuring fangirl hosts, co-hosts, and guests:

Coffee With Kenobi with special fangirl guest Amy Ratcliffe
April episodes(s): Show # 35: Celebration Anaheim Pre-Show! (95)

Fangirls Going Rogue with fangirl hosts Teresa Delgado, Tricia Barr, and Sarah Woloski
April episode(s): Fangirls Going Rogue #18 (special guest Ashley Eckstein), Fangirls Going Rogue: Star Wars Celebration

Far Far Away Radio with fangirl hosts co-hosts Meg Humphrey and Mallory Conlon
April episodes(s): Episode 203 – The Star Wars PrequelsEpisode 204 – The Force Awakens Teaser #2

ForceCast with fangirl co-host Megan Crouse
April episode(s): Episode 347: Do You Have a Question?Episode 348: The Funfare AwakensEpisode 349: We’re Home!,

Force Cult with fangirl co-hosts Tracy Gardner and Saf Davidson
April episode(s): Episode 13Episode 14Episode 15

Hyperspace Theories with fangirl co-hosts Tricia Barr and Kay
April episodes(s): Episode 8: Star Wars RebelsPre-Celebration ShowStar Wars Celebration Anaheim Day One Coverage Read, Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2015 Recap

Mos Eisley Comic Port with fangirl host Catrina Dennis
April episode(s): Kanan #1 – Episode 002 (special guest Johnamarie Macias), Darth Vader #4 – Episode 003 (special guest Elaine Tveit), Star Wars #4 – Episode 004 (special guest Amanda Ward)

Radio Free Tatooine with co-host Amy and special fangirl guest Catrina Dennis
April episode(s): Episode 25

Skywalking Through Neverland with fangirl co-host Sarah Woloski
April episodes(s): Episode 73, Episode 74, Episode 75An Interactive Fandom Adventure LIVE at #SWCA

Star Wars: Legends and Lore with special fangirl guest Elaine Tveit
April episodes(s): Journey to the Long Titles #2

The Wolfpack Podcast with special fangirl guest Johnamarie Macias
April episodes(s): Flashback Episode: Pre-Celebration Predictions

The Wookiee Gunner’s Rebels Chat with fangirl hosts Johnamarie Macias and Maria
April episode(s): Season Two Trailer

Fangirls in Writing

Here’s a collection of links to articles written by fangirls in April:

Fangirls in Arts/Crafts

Read up on the latest fan comics:

A selection of art and crafts made by fangirls in/around April:

May the Fourth be with you!

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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?

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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.

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Jedi Visions: Insights or Opportunities?

Jedi Visions:
Mere Insights into the Future or Opportunities to Change Course?

In the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Vision of Hope”, Ezra Bridger has visions of fighting alongside Gall Trayvis, the self-styled “Senator in Exile” who has been the source of information (or misinformation) for the Ghost’s small band of rebels.  Despite Kanan’s warning to refrain from taking the visions too literally, Ezra chooses to act upon his insights, hoping to meet and work with this man he idolizes as a celebrity among rebel insurgents.

The events that transpire during this episode of Rebels has caused speculation among fans about whether acting on visions is encouraged among the Jedi.  (Check out RebelForce Radio’s Star Wars Rebels: Declassified episode from 4 February 2015 for their discussion about Jedi visions.)  Citing Yoda’s advice to both Skywalkers in the movies, it has been asserted that using Jedi visions as a guide for action is frowned upon by the Jedi Order.

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From the perspective of the movies’ initial release order, our introduction to acting upon Jedi visions is during Luke’s training on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.  While balancing in a handstand and levitating cargo crates and R2-D2 through the Force, Luke experiences a vision of Han and Leia suffering at Cloud City.  When Luke prepares to rush to their rescue, Yoda issues a warning: “Decide, you must, how to serve them best.  If you leave now, help them, you could, but you will destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

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Yoda, aware of the machinations and deceptions of the Dark Side, tries to persuade Luke to choose his path based on wisdom and discretion instead of emotion and attachment.  He beseeches him to continue his training instead of hurrying away to confront unknown threats unprepared.  Obi-Wan weighs in on the discussion, warning Luke that temptation awaits him if he leaves before he is fully trained.  Adamantly, the two Jedi Masters, Luke’s mentors, sternly attempt to steer him from acting rashly as he is spurred on by his visions of his friends’ pain.  Some see this as a possible judgment against acting upon Jedi visions of the future.

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In other instances, more blatantly foreboding in its decrying reliance on Jedi visions to govern one’s actions, are Anakin’s visions of his mother’s pain on Tatooine and later of Padme’s death in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, respectively.  Anakin’s nightmarish visions of his mother in peril causes him to leave his assigned post on Naboo in order to find and rescue Shmi from her Tusken captors.  When he discovers her, nearly dead at the abusive hands of the sand people, he erupts in a wrathful rage against the Tusken encampment, slaying men, women, and children indiscriminately.  Certainly, his willingness to allow himself to thoughtlessly follow his visions led to a growing darkness in his person — something that would manifest itself in the eventual rise of Darth Vader when he later acts on his visions of losing his wife during childbirth to the point that he betrays the Jedi Order and slaughters younglings in the temple in a vain attempt to save Padme’s life.

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For those who remember these bleak examples of the dangers of allowing Jedi visions to dictate a course of action, it seems reasonable to assume that the Jedi are not only cautious when it comes to such premonitions, but even to rationalize that acting on those visions is forbidden in the Jedi Order.

That is, until we consider what was revealed in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars…

TCW Assassin Fortune Cookie.001In Season 3 of The Clone Wars, Episode 7 “Assassin”, Ahsoka has visions of Aurra Sing threatening to assassinate someone.  When she tells Yoda of her dreams, he informs her that she is having premonitions which can only be seen more clearly through meditation.  In saying this, he encourages her to focus on the visions — to seek to understand what they are telling her.  When she does so, she realizes that Senator Amidala is the one who is in danger of being assassinated.  She brings news of her visions to the Senator, who insists on going ahead with her plans to go to Alderaan in spite of Ahsoka’s warning.

Ahsoka's Vision Aurra Sing

Determined to get a better understanding of what she has seen, Anakin’s padawan returns to her chambers in the Jedi Temple to continue her meditation, resulting in further confirmation that Senator Amidala’s life is in danger.  When she tells Yoda of her concerns, Yoda responds with the familiar words, “always in motion is the future”.  Similar to his direction to Luke many years later, he provides Ahsoka with a choice of whether to act upon what she has seen: “Choose you must, how to respond to your visions.”

Ahsoka Consults Yoda

As she accompanies Padme on her mission to Alderaan as additional security, she is plagued with uncertainty about her visions and how she should act upon them.  Her dilemma is punctuated by a rash response to her vision that turned out to be either misunderstood or a possible variation of the future of which Yoda spoke.  Yet, when she is convinced to act upon a vision a second time, she interrupts an assassination attempt by deflecting Aurra Sing’s shot sufficiently to save Amidala’s life.

Later, when Ahsoka realizes that the would-be assassin was about to make another attempt on the senator’s life, she prevents the second attack and enables the capture of Aurra Sing.

When Ahsoka and Senator Amidala return safely to Coruscant, Yoda congratulates Anakin’s padawan for her choice to act upon her visions in defense of the senator’s life,  “Served you well, your visions have, young padawan.”  He then encourages her to peer more deeply into the matter through her increased insight to discover more about the plot to assassinate the senator from Naboo.  The additional details she provides brings about the confession of Ziro the Hutt who was already imprisoned on Coruscant.

Although Ezra’s visions in Star Wars Rebels “Vision of Hope” turned out to be misleading, it is not a blanket condemnation against using Jedi visions to determine an appropriate course of action — rather it is an admonition to beware of allowing emotions to cloud one’s insight and discipline oneself to spend time and thought in meditation in order to better interpret one’s visions.  As Kanan teaches Ezra in the epilogue, “Visions are difficult, almost impossible to interpret,” Jedi visions do not forbid action, but are to be considered in view of the complexity of an ever-changing future.

Crystal Crisis: A Legacy Refracted

Greetings Bothans! What follows is a post about the recent Star Wars: The Clone Wars Crystal Crisis arc by friend of the Star Wars Report, Joseph Tavano! Be sure to check out Joseph’s new website RetroZap, a pop culture and narrative art site which currently has some of his thoughts on Star Wars Rebels. Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Joseph! ~ Bethany Blanton

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In 1985, there existed a fully formed concept for The Clone Wars. It was conceived entirely in my five-year-old mind. I envisioned the Jedi overrun by scores of doppelgangers sent forth by their Dark Side enemies, invading the universe and attacking the true Jedi from within. I imagined the Clone Wars to be a hall-of-mirrors nightmare across the galaxy where nothing could be trusted and danger was omnipresent.

When The Clone Wars was finally realized on screen, I was way off the mark. And yet, that’s an aspect of Star Wars I love more and more as the Galaxy Far, Far Away grows and matures. One of the best things that Lucasfilm has managed to do is to keep Star Wars moving in new directions virtually no one would have predicted. With every new installment, audiences get to cast off preconceived notions and fastidious theories for an inspired, radically unique story that is not afraid to go down roads less traveled.

Dave Filoni and the writing team of The Clone Wars kept this trailblazing spirit alive for over six seasons, chronicling the events of a three-year war that transpired in a way no one would have ever predicted. Ten years ago, we were left to assume that the wars were going to be a nonstop conflict similar to the battle on Geonosis in Attack of the Clones. Clone troopers versus battle droids. Blaster fire everywhere. Lightsabers leading the way through the fog of war. And, in their tour of duty, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi would become brothers-in-arms, inseparable throughout their legendary adventures across the galaxy.

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