Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

In which all my dreams come true and my emotional reaction is much more muted than I expected.

She’s here, y’all, Ahsoka Tano has arrived in live action and while I was apprehensive about the casting decision here (not that I don’t love Rosario Dawson, she’s wonderful) I was vibrating at a frequency I can’t really explain to people who don’t know her and how wonderful she is to people.

So, we open with a scene of a shadowy figure running through some burned out woods and taking out motherfuckers with two white light sabers. It ends with Ahsoka standing before a Magistrate at a wall, who tells her that she’s going to kill her. Ahsoka basically rolls her eyes at this and disappears into the mist and ROLL CREDITS.

Baby Yoda is trying to get his little silver ball back and Mando is babbling about finding Ahsoka (Mando is all of us in this moment, and LBY is all of our friends who don’t know, nor care about Ahsoka). and when they land on Corvus (a planet I’m very into) they go to the Magistrate who hires Mando to kill Ahsoka.

He goes into the woods to find her and she gets the drop on him because she’s the best and they discuss why he came looking for her. She has a little telepathic force conversation with LBY who is actually named GROGU.

WE HAVE A NAME AND AHSOKA GAVE IT TO US. We learn that Grogu was trained at the temple but was taken away sometime before or during Order 66, and also after some Force Powers testing, Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu, because of his emotional connection to Mando and is fear of losing him. She’s been on that particular heart breaking, Dark Side leading train before.

She does however ask for Mando’s help freeing the village and in a badass set of fight scenes they do just that. She then tells him to go to a Jedi Temple planet and hopefully, Grogu can then commune with the Force and choose his path, and a teacher will come.

This teacher will, with all likelihood be Ezra Bridger, because, during her fight with The Magistrate, Ahsoka asks about Thrawn, and as we all know, the last time either of them were scene they were riding some space whales into the unknown reaches.

Anyway, the nerds were in fine form this time around, with a lot of screaming and talking about how much we love Ahsoka (because we do) and speculation about Ezra, and shouts of #NotAJedi.

I was overwhelmed by how good Rosario Dawson was as Ahsoka, managing to capture her movements and facial expressions perfectly. And I’m so glad for more people to know her and love her. She’s the best.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 11: The Heiress”

You guys are we all doing OK? I’m not, (I mean in general maybe, my OK-ness varies hour to hour at this point) but in regards to this episode and it’s bearing on Star Wars and Science Fiction television, in general, I am not OK.

I mean, I’m thrilled but I’m also like *BOOM* galaxy brain. SO, let’s get into the episode.

Mando, LBY and Frog Lady land on an industrial planet and Frog Lady is reunited with Frog Husband. Mando puts The Razor Crest in for repairs, and heads to a tavern to get some information on other Mandalorians and some food for LBY, now that his supply of yummy frog eggs is gone. The baby gets some soup that tries to eat him. (Star Wars is whacky) Mando gets a ride on a fishing boat that will allegedly take him to some other Mandalorians.

It doesn’t. The captain just wants to feed them to a sea monster and steal the Beskar. RUDE. Luckily, they are rescued by three Mandalorians jumping on board. They include MOTHER FUCKING BO KATAN! And not just a new intrepretation of Bo, she’s played now in person by Space Jesus herself, Katee Sackoff.

When she takes off her helmet Mando is scandalized and she and her two companions laugh and say that he’s “A Child Of The Watch” which he doesn’t even know, but they agree to help him find The Jedi for LBY if he helps them with a heist. Said heist is to find The Darksaber so that Bo can take her place as ruler of Mandalore again.

Cool, great, love it. We see a brief conversation with Moff Gideon and eventually Bo gives Mando a piece of information, he should go to a forest planet and there he will find a Jedi to help him with the baby. That Jedi is….AHSOKA TANO.

Guys, seeing Bo, and seeing Katee playing her would have probably held me over to the next season, really. But that we’re this close to Ahsoka made me run around flailing. Because of some family commitments I couldn’t stream this with my friends, but I did leave family dinner to watch them all get these revelations and it was so satisfying.

Bo Katan is great, I like learning for sure that Mando was raised in an extremist sect (this was always the assumption), and that we are likely in the next few weeks going to see live action Ahsoka is pretty much getting me through. (Having things to look forward to is my main coping mechanism, and I’m freaking out a little about the Holidays due to COVID spikes and also, my sister isn’t going to be at Thanksgiving for the first time ever and OMG YOU DON’T CARE!) Ahsoka is very important to me, as I have outlined many times. I love her very much. I’m still mixed about her being played by Rosario Dawson, WHO I ADORE, because part of what’s made Ahsoka mean so much to me is Ashley Eckstein’s stewardship of her, and my odd, parasocial relationship with Ashley.

That’s beside the point though. Ahsoka is about to enter mainstream, live action Star Wars and I cannot wait.

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 10: “Phantom Apprentice”

It’s kind of crazy how sometimes two things I’m working on can dovetail nicely, or maybe it’s just my liberal arts brain trying to make less reading for myself that connects things that way, but the fact that this episode aired the same week that I was reading Erik Larson’s truly brilliant history book In The Garden Of Beasts, about the American Ambassador to Berlin during the years leading up to World War II, William Dodd.

The book is mostly about how Dodd kept saying, “HEY HITLER IS DANGEROUS AND WE CAN’T TRUST THE NAZIS,” and everyone in the American state department and establishment kept saying, “ehh, Dodd’s overreacting, I’m sure it will be fine.” (Narrator: It was not fine)

How does this connect to “Phantom Apprentice,” you might ask?

This is all about how Darth Maul has been shouting that, “HEY I KNOW WHO DARTH SIDIOUS IS AND YOU’RE ALL JUST PAWNS!” and everyone reacts by saying, “Boy, that Darth Maul sure is crazy, huh? Anyway,” and moves on. It’s even more present in this episode, where he and Ahsoka have several beautifully animated confrontations and he tries to convince her to join him and stop Sidious, because he knows this is all about to fall down on their heads.

What’s really fascinating in this run of episodes is that they are running parallel to Revenge Of The Sith, and that’s all the more chilling. Everytime Ahsoka checks in with Obi-Wan and Anakin we know exactly what’s going on with them and how horrible the next steps are. I keep holding my breath waiting for the moment that the clones turn on her. We know Rex helped get her out, but Order 66 has broken my heart every single time I’ve watched the movie, all the way back to high school when I first watched it. I don’t think whenever this hits in the next two weeks will be different.

The real showcase of this episode were those fights between Maul and Ahsoka, and frankly, they were some of the most stunning visual moments the show has ever had. Ray Park, who played Maul originally did the motion capture for them, so the physicality is perfect, and while the fight is exceptional there are also a pair of excellent performances from Sam Witwer and Ashley Eckstein here. Ashley has done incredible work all season showing Ahsoka’s growth and Witwer is always a joy, but this particular “We’re not so different, you and I,” “I’m nothing like you!” back and forth was a true joy to hear. (Granted, I’m a sucker for the trope)

This was my favorite episode of the season so far and I can’t believe we’re only two out from the finale. I’m going to miss this show so much. (Although, let’s face it, I’ll probably just watch ROTS and then Rebels again as soon as it ends.)

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: 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: Rebels: Season 2

Ahsoka’s great right? Like she’s really great. I feel like I could write this whole essay about her. (Except I already wrote that essay back the first time I watched this season.)  

So instead we’re going to focus on something else this season.

We’re going to focus on Kanan Jarrus: Mediocre Jedi Knight.

Kanan’s a pretty shitty Jedi. But he’s a great character. Freddie Prinze Jr. does excellent work too. But Kanan is a different kind of character for Star Wars which is after all, the joy of both Clone Wars and Rebels, and, at least on paper the Story series, exploring different corners of that galaxy, far far away. Kanan isn’t a hero. He’s not a great warrior like Anakin. Or the best teacher ever like Obi-Wan. Or a wise sage like Yoda. He’s not the savior like Luke. Or power awaking anew like Rey. He’s just, a guy, who got lucky one time, and has been surviving on his wits since then.

He’s got his issues, (guilt mostly) but he’s in love, he’s doing his best to make the galaxy a better place, and he doesn’t really think he has what it takes to whip this kid into shape but he’s giving it his all anyway.

You wanna know who else comes back this season? (Besides Ahsoka? And again, she’s great.) Rex. Rex is great too. Kanan doesn’t care for him. (The thing about seeing everyone you care about getting murdered, it does a number on you and when a guy with the same face as the murderers shows up, you might not love having him around.) Ezra likes him though. Ezra is still super annoying. I forgot about the internet calling him Space Aladdin, but he is that. Also, back? Darth Maul. Dave Filoni loves bringing back Darth Maul so much he wants to take the concept out behind the middle school and get it pregnant, but he’s good here too, since his appearance at a Sith Temple eventually leads to that most devestating of showdowns. (That had me sitting on my couch rocking back and forth with tear streaming down my cheeks.)

That brings us to our villains! Hooray! Kallus is still around and still kind of a shit. But mostly this season is centered around The Seventh Sister, a new inquisitors who answers directly to Vader, who is also around. The Seventh Sister is eery and bad ass and, BEST OF ALL, voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Listening to Sarah and Freddie fight/flirt is super cute and also, there’s the whole Buffy factor adding to her badassery. And Vader being more directly involved so that he can kill Ahsoka is a necessity.

The moment where Ahsoka shouts, “I am no Jedi,” and declares her refusal to leave Anakin behind again is stunning. Ashley Eckstein is really wonderful. And knowing Ashley a little bit, I’m even more impressed by latter day Ahsoka, as she’s so straightforward and badass and Ashley is so giggly and bubbly and huggy. (Seriously I’ve met the woman four times and she always greets me with a “Reenie! IT’S SO NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN! OMG YOU LOOK GREAT! HOW ARE YOU?” and a giant hug. She’s amazing. I would follow her into battle.)

Next week we’ll deal with season 3, which will be fun, because I remember watching a few episodes, but little about them.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5

I have to admit I put off watching this season for a few reasons but mainly because I didn’t want to go through it’s ending. But the other arcs leading up the devastation are good too, so let’s talk about them first!

Ahsoka and Yoda and a Droid voiced by David Tennant teach a bunch of adorable Younglings to build lightsabers. Also Hondo is there and there’s a circus? I dunno, the Younglings are real cute though.

Maul and Savage team up with Death Watch to take over Mandalore, which is great on a few levels, because it gives Sam Witwer a lot to do, and isn’t he just the best? (We’ll talk even more about Witwer tomorrow friends, don’t you worry!) There’s also the small matter of Satine, and Maul’s vendetta against Obi-Wan, which of course, ends in the Duchess’s death. (The woman I love…)

The next step comes when a suicide bomber goes after the Jedi temple and Anakin and Ahsoka investigate the crime. Once the case is solved, Ahsoka gets wrapped up in the conspiracy and winds up thrown out of the Jedi order, and even when her name’s been cleared she decides to walk away.

That walking away is the fulcrum (HAH GET IT) of Ahsoka’s character. My favorite thing in all of clone wars is the way it plays with the people around Anakin being presented with similar situations to him, emotionally and choosing the more ethical and healthy paths. Obi-Wan chooses the order and his vows and commitment over Satine, Ahsoka leaves the Jedi behind rather than compromise her ideals. Anakin can’t do either of those things. He’s limited by his attachments, and can’t see beyond them.

I know this post was late, but I really was just not up for the emotions of Ahsoka’s walking away from Anakin, especially knowing what comes for them.

Next week we’ll cover “The Lost Missions,” which if I remember is mostly Yoda talking to ghosts? I mean, that’s super rad, so I’m looking forward to it.