Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian

The thing about becoming a pop culture blogger, and excited fandom tracker and frequent Comic Con goer (I’m really missing cons this year. So much) is that you just accumilate junk knowledge, but it also can suck the magic out of stuff, because a part of this kind of work, which I love doing, is figuring out how to see the strings.

So I decided to let the magic of The Mandalorian linger for a bit and not watch the behind the scenes Disney Gallery specials about the show. But as I realized that I’d maybe watched The Imagineering Story too many times, I decided to check it out.

First of all, I loved the format of the show, which reminded me of Jon Favreau’s delightful Dinner For Five. (I’ve heard The Chef Show does something similar, I might watch that too) Favreau used to host a show where he held a dinner party for five people and rolled cameras. It’s an intensely fun way to have a talk show. On Disney Gallery he takes a similar approach, doing roundtable interviews with different people involved in The Mandalorian, talking about their experience with Star Wars in general, this show in particular, and laughing a lot.

Some really cool stories come out, and there’s interesting behind the scenes talk about the technical and writing processes, tons of info dumping from Dave Filoni, and Bryce Dallas Howard telling an incredible story about a childhood trip to Japan. (This is in the “how did you find Star Wars” section. She starts with, “so when I was six, my dad,” and everyone just groans. She laughs, “I know, OK! But I promise this is cool!”)

The stuff about Baby Yoda is cool, but I was really fascinated with the way Favreau talked through building new tech as he moved from Iron Man to Jungle Book to The Lion King and now in The Mandalorian. And not for nothing, it’s always a joy to watch someone talk about something passionately, and if there is anything I know from following his career for most of my life, Jon Favreau loves movies and loves artists and loves film history, so talking about how special effects have grown to be able to create something as special as The Mandalorian is a real treat.

I’m also completely in love with Gina Carrano. My God, that woman is beautiful and funny and charismatic as hell.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars Comics: Darth Vader By Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca & Edgar Delgado

Darth Vader is cool.

Like, he’s a very cool villain. There’s no getting around it. Dude’s awesome.

Darth Vader the comics series from 2015-2016 takes huge advantage of the fact that Darth Vader is really cool. Also, magically, Kieron Gillen manages to make this Vader, purely Vader at this point, the series takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, feel of a piece with the Anakin Skywalker we’ve come to know from the prequels and The Clone Wars, without betraying how cool and scary Darth Vader is.

Gillen’s Vader is impulsive, single minded (he wants Luke Skywalker. That’s it.), cruel and charismatic. He’s also, oddly compassionate, in his totally and completely evil way. Like, I don’t know how to quite describe it, this is just a wonderfully written series and I was glad to have read it. (Even if I got it my mistake thinking it was Darth Vader: Lord Of The Sith, which we’ll do soon.) There are fun new characters too. The mercenary Doctor Aphra, a sassy rogue archeologist (There’s a particularly fun moment where she fights Han and they are foiled by some snakes…), two evil murderbots, 000 and B2, and a host of cyborgs who have been trained in the Jedi Arts, including two twins who make Vader want to Force Choke things even more (The Force is mysterious that way.)

I was genuinely overwhelmed with glee reading this series. Seriously, it’s a must do for a Star Wars fan digging deeper, if only because it balances fun and adventure in a way that the series does not always do well, and is always a joy to see.

Next time we’re going to take on Resistance Season 2, and I MEAN IT THIS TIME.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 12: “Victory And Blood”

The Clone Wars is over. It’s end is bleak and terrible and sad, unbelievably poignant and conclusive. Of course having watched Rebels, we know how this ends for these characters and because of Star Wars we know how this ends generally.

But, I’ve never really bought into “The Prequel Problem,” a tale well told is worth it regardless of if you can guess the ending, and The Clone Wars is, if nothing else, a tale well told. And this final chapter, where Rex and Ahsoka save one another, after everything they’ve been through and more importantly those final images.

Despite the betrayal of Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex bury each of the clones that died on their ship, marking their graves with their helmets, and leaving her light sabers behind. When Vader finds the scene he picks up the saber and looks to the sky walking away.

It’s over, and as far as anyone knows, Ahsoka Tano is dead, the only Jedi who truly understood Anakin Skywalker, (Not a Jedi) and Anakin himself is about as gone as possible right now.

This show has come to mean so much to me over these past few years. It’s deepened my love for this world and these stories that have always been with me, that will always be with me.

And so much of that comes from Ahsoka. From this girl who learned her own code and morality, who will help people when they need it, no matter what. I’m so grateful for her, thank you to Dave Filoni and Ashley Eckstein for her. Seriously, watching her story unfold has been the greatest pleasure, and seeing this chapter close properly was wonderful.

Star Wars will always be my favorite fandom. It is home, even when it’s at it’s worst I love it so much. These past eleven weeks have been such a gift, and I’m tremendously happy to have had them.

Next week we talk about the Darth Vader comics. Which I very much enjoyed.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 11 “Shattered”

“Execute Order 66,” I actually cannot hear those words without taking a big ass inhale of breath. It begins a long slide into weepiness that last for the next half hour of movie in Revenge Of The Sith, rivaled only by Return of The King and Avengers: Endgame for absurd blockbuster blubbering for me.

So I held my breath as Ahsoka sensed what happened between Mace Windu, Anakin and Palpatine, leading to the execution of Order 66. It’s devastation and also important to note that Ahsoka might be the most powerful force user in the series, before Rey? She’s not fully in her powers yet, that doesn’t come until she passes through time with Ezra but she’s still strong here. Strong enough to connect while looking for Anakin, something we’ve only ever seen Yoda do with such specificity.

Anyway, after this moment of darkness, she turns to Rex, who is shaking, talking to himself, refusing to follow his programming and kill Ahsoka. Unfortunately the rest of the Troopers don’t have will and try to fight her. Of course she wins and gets away, taking Rex’s warning, “Find Fives” to heart and searching for a file on Fives, learning that his malfunctioning inhibitor chip caused his death. Rex sent himself a message in this file, which is why he was able to resist.

Ahsoka practices some “cogninative recalibration” on Rex, and also, to get the two of them away, releases Darth Maul, to spectacular effect. She reminds him that she doesn’t trust him and also that she kind of hopes the clones kill him which is great. I know I talked about it last week but it bears reiterating, Ashley Eckstein and Sam Witwer are doing unbelievable work here.

OK, we’ll finish up tomorrow. I’m not sure I’m ready. How far will we go into Episode III, where will we end?

I don’t know, but I bet I’ll be crying, and crying a whole lot.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 9 “Old Friends Not Forgotten”

This is going to be a very difficult month when it comes to Clone Wars (and you know, other things too…)

But man, the reunion of Ahsoka, Rex, Anakin and Obi-Wan was wrenching. Not to mention Boe Kattan bringing Satine up every five seconds and pointing fingers at Obi-Wan about her death.

What is nice is that even after having seen how she’s grown and changed how quickly old rhythms established themselves. Anakin finding a middle path between his master and apprentice, the great politician, Obi-Wan trying to hew to ideals that are clearly dying, Ahsoka embracing a new ideal. The Clones establishing their own loyalty rallying beside their old commander.

And then there’s the moment where Anakin returns Ahsoka’s sabers to her. It killed me. Anyway, after Anakin and Obi-Wan find a loophole compromise (divide the 501st) that allows Ahsoka a command, Ahsoka and Bo head to Mandalore with Rex to catch Darth Maul. Obi-Wan warns them that capturing him is a better plan than trying to kill him because he’s hard to kill. (I’LL SAY!)

While laying siege to, Bo goes after the Prime Minister and Ahsoka and Rex hunt Maul. They find him, and he’s waiting, but not for Ahsoka, she’s the wrong Jedi. He wanted Obi-Wan (I mean, obviously.)

It was all building the this, the previous two arcs were meant to remind us who Rex and Ahsoka were, what they’re made of, why they fight, and show us how far they’ve come in the past few years.

It’s going to be quite a ride.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episodes 7 & 8 “Dangerous Debt” and “Together Again”

Sorry I missed last week y’all, I went down a Downton Abbey and The Crown Hole so there was no way I was going to be able to analyze the end of Ahsoka’s return to the world.

So after taking the week off, let’s talk about “Dangerous Debt” and “Together Again.” Raffa and Trace and Ahsoka are trying to break away from the gangsters that they don’t have Spice to deliver to. Also, Raffa still does not trust Ahsoka, and Trace reveals that they lost their parents during a Jedi mission a few years ago and Luminara was, uh, let’s go with less than compassionate about the situation.

So they hate the Jedi, and Ahsoka decides, not just for her safety from the gangs chasing them but for the sake of her relationship with Raffa and Trace she can’t tell them the truth. But they do need to get out of this. After being captured Ahsoka bluffs through a confrontation with the leader to get Trace and Raffa off world, which finally wins Raffa’s trust and they go back for her.

Of course, this episode is called “Together Again,” which lead me to believe almost from jump that we were going to see Maul again. And AH HA! Turns out the gangsters our girls are entangled with are under the command of Crimson Dawn. So he’s there, all hologrammy and sneering and I was so happy.

After Raffa and Trace get Ahsoka out, she tells them the truth about who she is, was, and while they didn’t know that you could stop being a Jedi, and that they think she still acts like what they thought the Jedi were before they lost their parents.

Just as the three new friends are about to head home, Ahsoka is confronted by Pri Vyszla, who asks for her help, and as she said in “Dangerous Debt,” “In my world, when people need your help, you help them. No matter what.”

So Ahsoka is off to Mandalore, to help. The siege begins next week and I for one am very excited.

Also, while I’ve enjoyed our four weeks of Ahsoka, I miss the Jedi.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I might never love a Star Wars novel because of the mandated third person present tense driving me bonkers?

Such is the power of Poe Dameron my friends because I have found a Star Wars novel I love. Resistance Reborn is fabulous, silly, interested in its characters, tells a rollicking adventure story and even brings back some old favorites. 

Oh, right and it’s basically got three chapters that are just Poe and Finn flirting including a scene where POE TEACHES FINN HOW TO TIE A TIE BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING UNDERCOVER AT A FANCY FIRST ORDER PARTY AND FINN CHOOSES ALIAS’S FOR THEM THAT ARE ACTUALLY THE STAR WARS VERSIONS OF SUPERHEROS AND OMG WHY WASN’T THIS THE OPENING ACT OF THE RISE OF SKYWALKER? (Also they’re in love and Abrams, Kennedy and Iger are cowards. Roanhouse is clearly a Stormpilot shipper because she goes OUT OF HER WAY to have Poe flirt with Finn, Finn grin about it, Finn assure Poe that Rey and Rose are “just his friends” and have Poe be super happy about that.) 

I really very much enjoyed this book, where Poe, and the rest of Black Squadron take Leia’s words of hope and decide to do whatever they need to to rebuild the Resistance. Snap and Kare head to pull Wedge and Norra out of retirement. They are not difficult to sway on this one, although Wedge is allowed a moment of hopelessness when he learns of Luke’s death. Leia and Rey are around in the periphery both knowing something else is coming but unsure what that something else is. Meanwhile, Poe, Suralinda, Finn and a new friend from Ryloth all head to Corellia to get a list of First Order defectors and known critics. (This is where the fancy party and tie tying come in.)

And I love it, y’all, I love it so much. I love the capers and the banter and the Stormpilot of it all. Rebecca Roanhorse’s tone suits my taste almost perfectly and did I mention SO MUCH STORMPILOT, and also more time with Black Squadron.

Just in general it’s great. I liked it a lot. We’ll be touching base next week obviously, with Clone Wars and with Resistance Season 2, which is now on Disney+, and as for Star Wars reading goes, I have the Darth Vader comics from the library and since the library is closed, I’m going to be relying on Kindle & Comixology once I get through my reading pile. I’m not sure what I’m going to read but it will probably be Prequel era. I’ve been eyeing Master & Apprentice, I could use some Obi-Wan in my life right now. 

I also might do an “Anatomy Of A Favorite Post” for Poe. I’ve done these before for Dick Grayson and Ahsoka, started one for Obi-Wan that never got where I wanted and I think Poe has earned it. 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7: “Gone With A Trace”

It was a big day for Ahsoka on Friday so this is going to be a longish entry.

First we get the newsreel, reminding us of Ahsoka’s decision to leave the Jedi order (As if we could forget!) We then get a thrilling free fall, as the engine on her speeder bike, brings her to the lower levels of Corruscant. She quickly meets a new mechanic named Trace and they become fast friends because who wouldn’t want to be friends with Ahsoka?

Trace and her sister are trying to scrape by in the lower levels and the war makes that tough. Ahsoka is still knee jerk defending the Jedi and the war, but her protestations don’t have the heat they used to. Trace’s sister has made a dangerous deal to build some droids and the three girls do so, even though it goes wrong. Ahsoka feels uneasy about the whole situation but helps anyway. (OF COURSE SHE DOES.)

I’d missed Ahsoka, so I was happy to see her back, finally, and doing what she does best, participating in barely controlled mayhem while offering compassionate help to people that really need it. This set up reminded me a lot of the novel Ahsoka where she winds up in a similar entanglement. (I’m sure that’s where they got the idea for this storyline.)

In other Ahsoka news, our girl is coming to The Mandolorian! And she’s going to be played by Rosario Dawson. Now, y’all know how I feel about Rosario, I think she’s great! And I do feel like she’ll do an exceptional job as Ahsoka. (Man, I can’t wait for her to call Baby Yoda “Little One!”) I do know that my nerd rage is going to bubble when people meet her for the first time here and it’s not Ashley Eckstein doing the work. She’s been Ahsoka’s voice, heart and protector for the past decade. Also she’s a kind and lovely person who’s been very nice to me over the years and who makes stylish clothing I like quite a bit.

But part of fandom, especially long running, multi author fandom like Star Wars is seeing new interpretations of the things you love. If I stamp my foot and whine that Rosario Dawson isn’t “the real Ahsoka,” aren’t I just as bad as all those fanboys who go crazy every time we get a new Batman? I’m sure she’ll be wonderful and Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will write her very well. This will be Ahsoka The White, remember, who has passed through time and space at Mallus and been hunting for Ezra for five years, after all. She’s different. She will be different.

Can’t wait to see what next week brings. Again, I hope you all are keeping safe. STAY HOME if you can. Drink drinks, eat food, video chat, watch Star Wars, the Force will be with us during this.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7: Episode 4: “Unfinished Business”

Hi everyone! Sorry this is a day late, like everyone pretty much, I spent the weekend spiraling a little bit about COVID-19, so I completely forgot to write this post. I hope everyone is doing OK, practicing social distancing, and taking lots of deep breaths. If you want to talk about what you’re reading, watching and eating in these super weird times, please reach out to me on any social media. (I’m hanging out on Instagram a lot these days! @thefangirlsdilemma)

Moving on! “Unfinished Business,” is the end of The Bad Batch arc, which as I noted, I’m not crazy about, but I liked this episode a little bit more. There’s a really great Mace Windu moment that really seals the deal, but overall I enjoyed it.

Echo has to prove to the others that he can get back in the game, and that The Separatists aren’t in control of him. He does so, through a series of very cool action sequences. Also Anakin has a BIG Dark Side moment in his reactions to Spider-Monster Admiral Trench, Obi-Wan does some in command stuff and I mentioned Mace right?

The moment that made me fall in love with this episode is when he steps in front a batallion of battle droids and recites his stats, reminding them, and us all that HE IS A BADASS.

Next week apparently we’re going to be finally getting some Ahsoka stuff, which means I will probably have a lot more to write about. But here’s the thing, theses episodes have been very action heavy, which is GREAT for watching, and not so much for writing, which is why these recaps have been so short.

Anyway, I hope everyone is healthy and safe, I love you all as much as I love Star Wars, maybe even more! I’ll be doing a bunch of reading, watching of Disney movies and other stuff as I’m stuck home, I’m hoping to get back to a regular 5 post a week schedule. So something good can come out of all of this.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episode 3: “On The Wings Of Keeradaks”

First, a correction, I thought Echo died last week, he didn’t! He was liberated, A LA Jean-Luc Picard from the Borg! (We’ll get to ol’Jean-Luc soon! I’ve been selectively binging Picard.) Now, Anakin, Rex, The Bad Batch and Echo have to escape from the Techno Syndicate, with some help from the natives of the planet that they’re on.

The Tecno Syndicate are furious, obviously that their “experiment” has been stolen. That experiment is of course, Poor Echo, who is in really bad shape.

Not going to lie, I’m not overly enamored of this arc. It’s visually interesting but it isn’t doing much for me story wise and not really deepening any of the characters. We already know Rex would do anything for his brothers, that Anakin recklessly dives into danger heedless of the consequences and that the council is basically useless. There’s nothing new here. Except the bad batch, who really are pretty great, just not super compelling to write about.

It’s emotionally satisfying to do more with the clones. Clone episodes have always been among my favorites, but this arc, until I see how it plays out just has not delivered so far. It may also just be my impatience to get to the SIEGE OF MANDALORE FOR GOD’S SAKE.

I wish I was more engaged and had more to say here, but I really just don’t. The show is as ever visually stunning with compelling action and decent character work, this arc just seems a little repetitive from a story and development standpoint.

Anyway, another week without any Ahsoka. This is getting tiresome and I do not care for it at all.