Tag Archives: The Empire Strikes Back

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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.

Ezra's Vision 1

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.

Anakin's Anger

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.

Rebels Review: Path of the Jedi

Rebels Review: Did “Path of the Jedi” Just Change a Historical Moment from the Original Trilogy?

Mitchell SteinIt feels good to be back and reviewing these episodes once again. After a fairly short winter hiatus, Rebels is back in a interesting new format. What I witnessed in this week’s episode was something that leaves me with mixed emotions. I found it entertaining certainly, but there are flaws that are just leaving me uncertain of what new direction the show is heading in.  Beware of spoilers ahead.

Like I said, Path of the Jedi is a confusing episode, not just in the story perspective, leaving you just as clueless as Ezra in the hallucination scene, but so much happened in this is episode, and ultimately at the end, not much of an actual outcome exists out of this episode, (or so we may think). So we get Ezra and Kanan going to a secret, ancient, Jedi base, yet another Inquisitor encounter (which actually doesn’t truly happen), and some confusing encounters that really just lead up to the one moment that the entire episode had me devote twenty-two minutes to getting the point across.

Kanan_vs_Inquisitor_vision Continue reading

Before & After the Special Editions: Han and Greedo (Part 2)

Before & After the Special Editions:
Han and Greedo (Part 2)
Stuart Tullis

Last week, I proposed that the exchanged blaster shots between Han and Greedo as seen in the Special Edition essentially changed the lovable smuggler from a “man trying to make his way in the universe” to a relatively shallow character who was inevitably poised to become a hero of the galaxy.  This alteration has continued repercussions on his character development throughout the original trilogy as well as affecting the storyline of the Rebellion as a whole.

Before the change, Han Solo progressed from loner to leader.  He made a deal to carry two men and two ‘droids to Alderaan for a hefty sum of money, not for a noble cause, and certainly not to rescue a princess.  He was coerced into marching into the detention area for an even heftier sum of money.  There is no evidence of altruism or heroism in him at all; he is, as the princess states, a mercenary.  He made the trip to Yavin IV to collect his promised credits for passage to Alderaan plus the expected reward for rescuing the princess.  As Y-Wings and X-Wings were being prepared for the battle ahead of them, Han was filling his hold with credits and cargo.  When Luke confronts him about “turning [his] back on them,” Han encourages the youth to join him and Chewie because Luke was “pretty good in a fight”.  As the younger man walks off, dejected, Han explains himself to his copilot — fighting against the Death Star was suicide.  Still true to his character, Han Solo is in it for himself, hurrying to pay off old debts before he pays with his life.

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But in that moment when Darth Vader has Luke’s X-Wing in his sights and his wingmen unexpectedly crash and careen into his TIE, Han Solo’s journey is complete (at least for this first installation in the saga).  Although he claimed that he came back so Luke wouldn’t “get all the credit and take all the reward,” when he playfully shoves Luke at the base of his X-Wing, we all realize that there is more to him than money.  He returned to fight alongside his friend, to come to the rescue when the call came his way.  Han becomes heroic in the footsteps of Luke, who had immediately responded to Princess Leia’s holorecording by making it his mission to deliver the ‘droids to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Han’s motivation seems to stem from personal relationships, however, while Luke’s emphasis is on right and wrong.  Therefore Han isn’t committed to the Rebellion, but loyal to his friends. Continue reading

Star Wars Scrapbook: Star Wars Kid

Greetings Bothans! What follows is a post about the Star Wars memories of a long time fan, Stuart Tullis. Reminisce about battles set in a galaxy far, far away, at a time that we have long passed, with characters, creatures, and stories we shall always love. Many of you will know Stuart, a fan of RebelForce Radio, but he is also a podcaster over at TechnoRetro Dads, so be sure to check that out! With that, I’ll let Stuart take us a long time ago, to a galaxy far, far away…. ~ Bethany Blanton

Star Wars Scrapbook

On a warm night in northeastern Kentucky, three kids sat atop hood of the family car, captivated by the characters on the screen at the drive-in movie.  Although the sound came from a small speaker on the pole beside the car and the picture on the screen paled in comparison to today’s high definition resolution, the sights and sounds they saw that night would be forever imprinted on their minds as well as the minds of hundreds of millions of both children and adults since 1977.  And though I don’t remember whether I was four or five at the time (my age is dependent on whether my mother’s recollection that we saw it in 1977 is correct or my brother’s insistence that it was 1978 is the year), what I do remember is that I wanted to see more of that “galaxy far, far away”.

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I am a Star Wars kid.  Everyone was a Star Wars kid in the late ‘70s.  We reenacted that movie in the basement, in the backyard, at school, at our friends’ homes, in the park, at the camp, and at the playground.  Before we had any official Star Wars toys, we shot stormtroopers with tree-branch blasters and had lightsaber duels with sticks, tubes, and vuvuzelas.  We quoted lines (and probably misquoted lines), pretended we were on the run from the Empire’s sinister agents, and jumped off walls into homemade trash compactors.  We wondered about the Clone Wars, imagining a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi with the father of Luke Skywalker flying their spaceships on missions as directed by their commander Bail Organa.  When we played dodgeball at school, we thought we could hear the voice of Obi-Wan telling us to “use the Force” as we prepared to throw the ball.  Car rides were especially exciting, since the car behind us was most certainly a TIE fighter in disguise, waiting for the right moment to fire at us.  Star Wars was everywhere because we took it with us in our minds. Continue reading

Star Wars Rebels: A Look Ahead Trailer Thoughts

There was SO much geeky news coming out of Comic Con that it was hard to follow! But, one of my favorite trailers I’ve seen coming out of all this news was the “Star Wars Rebels: A Look Ahead” trailer. This trailer was debuted especially for Comic Con at “The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels” panel.


The trailer starts with the Lucasfilm Ltd. image (I’ve always loved how that sparkles), and jumps straight into our heroes (Ezra, Sabine, Hera, Kanan, Zeb, and Chopper) of the show being chased by TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer in a manner that definitely reminds me of “Star Wars: A New Hope”.

CaptureIn fact, as I watched the trailer the first time, I thought it reminded me quite a bit of “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” both in setting and in style. The cockpit setting of some of the scenes was reminiscent of “The Empire Strikes Back,” especially some of the cockpit banter, and seemingly constantly being chased by the Empire.

CaptureIn fact, being chased by the Empire was a common theme. (This definitely makes sense given the time period it’s set in.)

CaptureWith all the sneaking around, being chased by the Empire, guerrilla warfare style of fighting, and the simple fact that the Empire is what’s in control in this series, the flavor of the fight will be quite different from some of “The Clone Wars” series I believe. It seems unlikely there will be any long battles between large forces in this series. The remnants of the Jedi are few and far between, the Rebellion likely hasn’t grown to be as strong as we see it in the original trilogy, and the Empire I assume is still aiming as some sort of pretense of benevolence (the board of governors should still be in existence at this time).

CaptureThe space skirmishes and stark black, gray, and white colors the Empire seems to prefer in the original trilogy also abound.

CaptureIt’s Hans! Er, I mean Agent Kallus. Also, could they make his friend to the right any grayer?

CaptureIn-spite of all this original trilogy feel and influence that I felt strongly when I first saw the trailer, this trailer also reminds me how much of a “The Clone Wars” flavor the show has. The appearance of the characters, plus the good animation, both really give me a TCW feel.

CaptureThe younger characters also give the show a younger feel, and will hopefully do as much for “Rebels” as Ahsoka did for TCW. Plus, some of the planets and locations featured in the trailer reminded me a lot of the different worlds we were able to explore in TCW.

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CaptureOther characters reminded me of TCW as well. Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, Kanan, and Ezra all remind me of some of the Jedi in TCW, and having these characters tells me (hopefully) that “Rebels” will prominently feature Force-users. This thought was reinforced for me because of the trailer clips showing both Kanan and Ezra using the Force, and of Ezra learning from Kanan. Also, the Inquisitor showing up for a lightsaber duel with Kanan reminded me of the many lightsaber duels of TCW: non-fatal, and likely to be between the same opponents several times.

CaptureThe Inquisitor reminds me a lot of Darth Maul (the TCW version), Savage Oppress, and the Secret Apprentice. This is also a connection to TCW for me. With a feel as powerful as those three, a double blade like both Maul and Oppress, and the glowing eyes of those two, the Inquisitor will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. His armor and manner of calm deadliness reminds me of the Secret Apprentice, who was voiced by Sam Witwer, who also voiced Darth Maul in TCW. The Inquisitor’s spinning lightsaber was even an unused design from “The Force Unleashed”. The episode also featured its fair share of droid humor, a la TCW.

CaptureThe use of more aliens as speaking characters and main characters was also reminiscent of TCW, as is the use of more female characters.

CaptureWhen “The Clone Wars” series started, Ahsoka Tano was a young, snippy, and somewhat naive character. She could handle herself in battle, but seemed unfamiliar in that environment. The series became slowly darker in nature as Ahsoka aged, the characters saw more battle, and Anakin Skywalker flirted more with the Dark Side (and with the approach of Order 66). From this trailer and other clips, interviews, and discussions though, I think “Rebels” will start in a darker place. The galaxy is under the shadow of the Empire. Desperate, battle hardened rebels without a home fight back. While there are younger characters, there is little innocence or discomfort I see (currently) in them when they’re in battle, being shot at, chased, and fighting for their lives against overwhelming odds. This makes sense given the time period, but what will this do to characters that we, the fans, are already getting attached to? Will this series last long enough for the characters to develop a new hope within themselves? Or will we see them suffer more from personal losses (“I have no parents…”), the Jedi being nearly extinct, and the Empire having one? If we thought TCW was taking a dark path towards the fall of the Republic, what will Rebels look like after it has fallen? What happens to children who grow up as warriors on the seemingly losing side?

Let me know what you think of the new trailer!
~ Bethany Blanton

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