Heroes & Villains Raves On All Things Star Wars Celebration

A long time ago, in a part of Michigan far, far away… It’s Heroes & Villains! 

As I write this Star Wars Celebration is wrapping up and holy wampa, what a Celebration it was. I was not in attendance, but thanks to the magic of the internet it felt like I was. The daily live streams from the Star Wars YouTube channel, Twitter, etc all kept me front and center for all torrent of Star Wars news that flooded websites all over the internet. 

It was sometime during the panel for The Mandalorian that I felt the pull to engage in the hottest of hot takes on everything that had been presented to me, but as many a Jedi master before me cautioned…patience. Yes, patience. I should wait until the dust clears and instead of a hot take, present a more even and measured take. A Lukewarm take, if you will. 

So reach out with your feelings and read on!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Leading up to this panel I was astounded that the title hadn’t leaked prior to the reveal of the trailer. Not only that, but the internet was largely devoid of Episode IX leaks aside from one grainy photo of a merchandising poster. Which is a-ok by me! 

The panel, moderated by Stephen Colbert, featured J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the entire cast (well, almost) of The Rise of Skywalker doing a complicated high-wire act of talking about the movie while not actually talking about the movie. From a technical aspect, that might be the most impressive thing about the movie, the generating of hype using little or no info about the movie.

Prior to the release of The Force Awakens, a good friend of mine texted me on the day of release that, “We are just hours away from seeing a new movie with Chewbacca in it.” I feel that pretty well sums up my excitement levels when it comes to new Star Wars movies. Chewbacca isn’t something that just happens every day! You’re lucky if he shows up every twenty years or so.

So, I sat waiting for the panel about nothing to wrap up. I was mere minutes from a new trailer for a movie with Chewbacca in it…and I was not disappointed. Chewbacca was in the trailer but there was so much more to it.

A shade under two minutes long, The Rise of Skywalker trailer could quite possibly be the most discussed trailer in the history of mankind. The rest of the internet is just filthy with reaction videos and trailer breakdowns so I’ll largely stay away from that type of thing. But this trailer got to me. I didn’t go full Kevin Smith but a couple images from the teaser caused me to mist up which I had NOT anticipated. Chewie and Lando piloting the Falcon once again and Leia hugging Rey were a one-two punch of emotion that damn near leveled me.

So what does it all mean? I will now put on my Cap of Irresponsible Speculation and say that the term “Skywalker” will replace Jedi as the go-to word for Force users. So, in a sense, Rey is a Skywalker even though she isn’t a Skywalker. That is FOR SURE a part of the second Death Star on what I hope is Endor at the end of the teaser, which I hope means we’ll see more Ewoks. Hopefully an older, battle-scarred Wicket make an appearance.

Lucasfilm has been keen to refer to this movie as the culmination of a nine film saga, which I find quite interesting. I will now apply the mandatory amount of tinfoil to my Cap of Irresponsible Speculation and predict that we’re going to see some prequel actors return in some capacity. We already know that Ewan McGregor provided a snippet of Obi-Wan dialog for The Force Awakens, and since Yoda popped up in The Last Jedi I feel like now is the time to see Old Ben as a Force ghost. Early on in the production of The Force Awakens the script and some concept art had Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker appearing to Kylo Ren, I can easily see Abrams returning to that idea. 

And, hey, The Emperor is back so who’s to say that clones aren’t off the table?

The Mandalorian

How do you make a series about an Mandalorian bounty hunter that isn’t Boba Fett? Well, making him cooler looking and surrounding him with a bunch of A-list talent is certainly a step in the right direction.

Coming this November, the first live-action Star Wars TV show (if you don’t count The Star Wars Holiday Special and the Ewoks TV-movie duology) The Mandalorian is going to fill in the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Which, as a fan is everything I ever wanted…it seems like such fertile ground for storytelling and I believe that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are cooking up something amazing.

Something interesting was that, if you were watching the livestream, the feed had to cut out for a few minutes while they screened some behind the scenes footage for those in attendance. I have to imagine that Disney didn’t want any advance looks at what’s coming to Disney+ in November. HOWEVER, several enterprising souls managed to put of old school, grainy shaky-cam footage of what was screened much to the chagrin of the Disney copyright team.

It’s going to be such an odd experience getting a brand-new, high quality weekly Star Wars film in the comfort of my own home and I’m totally here for it.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Hey, we’re getting a new Star Wars game! Yay! But it’s by EA…oh.

To say that people haven’t been happy with the Star Wars video game output since EA took over would be somewhat of an understatement. I got a copy of Star Wars Battlefront when I bought a PS4 bundle a few years back and since I don’t game online it was totally lost on me. I bought a heavily discounted copy of Battlefront II lured in with the promise of a campaign mode…and quickly lost interest in it. 

I fully accept that I am rapidly aging and that I am no longer the target demographic for, well, anything. So, it’s understandable that not all games are being made specifically with me in mind…but the loot box driven, pay-to-win business model that EA is so fond of REALLY isn’t for me.

I appreciate a good, single-player story that I can pick up and put down as I desire. Prior to EA coming on the scene there were a few single-player Star Wars games that had been announced (look up Star Wars 1313) that I was looking forward to, all of which evaporated in favor of an online multiplayer game.

Announced at Celebration was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which is being touted as a the antithesis of the last two EA produced games. It follows a young Jedi that escaped the purge in Episode III as he continues to try and avoid detection. Normally, I’d be onboard completely and picking up the game on day one, but given EA’s track record I’m going to adopt a wait and see approach for this game. 

And The Rest!

I’m sure there are fans of The Clone Wars that will call for my head since I’ve relegated the beloved show to this section. Truth be told, I kind of missed out on the show when it originally aired. It was in the pre-DVR and pre-streaming days and I could never quite get it together to get into the show. I am glad it’s coming back so I can finally get a chance to experience it.

The Phantom Menace turns twenty this year and I was not at all prepared to acknowledge just how long ago that movie was. The retrospective panel was interesting because it delved into the early days of the film’s production which amazingly started sometime around 1994. Not that I imagine the movie sprang fully formed to the screen in May of 1999, but 1994 reminds me of a time where I had finally admitted to myself that there were going to be no more Star Wars movies and that the franchise would live on via the ever expanding Expanded Universe. Oh, how wrong I was. 

Closing out this novella, I will say that I’m incredibly optimistic for the future of Star Wars. That thing we all love isn’t going away and you’re going to be getting it in every conceivable way until the heat death of the universe…which is pretty cool.

Oh, and I’m totally going the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme park this fall. 

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