Re: Resistance – Hello Kaz!

rr-kazxwing

In light of there being four episodes’ worth of Star Wars Resistance out and available through some platforms, while others are limited to watching only the two-part pilot or (in the case of our international friends) nothing at all at the time of writing, it’s difficult to know what exactly to write about. I don’t want to overly spoil things for people who have not had the chance to watch all four episodes that I had access to, yet at the same time why read an article explicitly discussing the show if you have not watched any of it?

So here is my compromise: rather than discuss the ins and outs of the plot that has been thus far shown, since the plot itself is still very much a work in progress and will likely burn slowly over the season’s course, let’s talk about the characters. Specifically, let’s talk about character, the one that is both the most exposed, and most divisive, of the show: Kazuda Xiono. Kaz is our main character, a “gifted but green” pilot who begins the series flying for the New Republic and is recruited into the titular Resistance by Poe Dameron after catching the elder pilot’s eye on a mission in deep space.

He’s also the sort of personality that is pretty much instantly recognizable to devotees of Star Wars animation since he shares traits with the protagonists of every modern series from the franchise thus far. His youth and enthusiasm have echoes of both Ezra Bridger and, to go even further back, Ahsoka Tano. As with Ezra and Ahsoka, Kaz has a very distinct and strong personality which can certainly be off-putting for some people, but I believe that goes for most of the cast of Resistance in general. Especially in the pilot, everyone’s portrayals are dialed up to eleven to make sure we know who they are and what they’re on about, and we’ll start to get more nuanced as time goes on and the story spools out more. Like with Rebels before it, Resistance seems to be embracing a semi-serial form of storytelling, where each episode stands on its own but story elements and character moments bleed over to those before and after, interconnecting the whole series. » Read more..

Star Wars Resistance – Hopes and Fears

auntzsbar

Remember when Star Wars Rebels was being hyped up, back when all we had was some concept art and character ideas? No one knew what the show was going to be about, or what it would look like, only that the characters seemed fairly diverse and colorful. Then the character shorts started coming out, and immediately there was a backlash from some that derided them as being too “Disney-fied”, about the animation not being as good as The Clone Wars, that the show was too childish and ruining Star Wars forever, and so on.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Four years later, we’re less than a month away from the launch of a new Star Wars 3D-animated show, this one titled Star Wars Resistance in an effort to frustrate and anger those who prefer to use acronyms to classify the different series. Rather than teasing us out with concept art or character-based shorts, Resistance opted instead to wait until only a couple of months before release to begin showing footage via a teaser trailer and behind-the-scenes clips. The reaction was by and large the same as when Rebels was first shown off: a lot of very vocal dislikes in the YouTube comment sections and an otherwise general sense of excitement from the fan community at large.

Make no mistake, Resistance isn’t universally anticipated any more than Rebels was. Whereas Rebels had to contend with accusations that it was somehow replacing The Clone Wars, Resistance is the first major exploration of the universe leading up to the sequel trilogy’s time frame. Even leaving aside the toxicity in the fandom where anything related to the sequel films is concerned, there are plenty of people for whom elements of the show are simply off-putting, whether that’s the time frame, the characters, the animation style, or a combination of these and other factors.

So where am I, personally, regarding this show? As with Rebels before it, I’m holding most of my judgment until at least the first episode of the show is out and available for viewing. Judging a show’s entire worth by its trailer is a mistake in my book, so this isn’t an article proclaiming some sort of judgment of Resistance from the glimpses we’ve gotten. And besides, I’m going to watch it regardless of what the final quality winds up being because it’s Star Wars and an animated show and both of those things are right up my alley. But if I can, let me lay out some more specific hopes and fears for the show overall. » Read more..

Escape Pod: Essence Transfer

palpatine-essencetransfer

After a lengthy dry spell, welcome back to Escape Pod, our recurring series in which we choose one thing from Legends and argue for its inclusion in the new canon.

When Obi-Wan Kenobi first stated “if you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”, there was next to nothing explaining what that actually meant—even after we’d heard his voice in Luke’s head later in the movie. The rest of the original trilogy implied certain things when Obi-Wan was followed by Yoda and even Anakin Skywalker, recipient of that original warning, in apparent life after death. The prequels provided the first evidence that it wasn’t just a standard Jedi thing, but rather something that had to be proactively learned, and The Clone Wars finally spelled out the whole deal by showing us Yoda’s own Force ghost training just four short years ago.

Our own Mark Eldridge recently did a deep dive into the lore—and more importantly, the principles—of existence beyond death and what it means. In his conclusion, he stressed how important said principles are to the core messages of the franchise:

…the Force ghost mystery takes us to the heart of Star Wars: the selfless choice or the selfish, letting go and finding enlightenment or clinging on and causing suffering. Future filmmakers may be tempted to introduce a form of “dark side” immortality, but should resist the thought, because it would fatally undermine the value system at the heart of a series which was designed to teach these lessons to children.

That’s no hypothetical concern, either. With more than three decades passing between the first time we saw Obi-Wan vanish and when we finally received a full, official explanation, countless fans grew to adulthood without those answers, many of them ultimately creating Star Wars stories of their own, and without a full understanding of this subject1, the Expanded Universe was rife with immortality. Most famously, in one of the earliest “modern” EU stories, Palpatine himself returned in a cloned body six years after his death at Endor. » Read more..

  1. exactly what Lucas himself knew at any given point is probably debatable, but he certainly wasn’t sharing []

Admiral Holdo: A Fan Discussion

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Dragon Con is somewhat unique among large conventions in that despite its size it is still entirely fan-run, meaning you don’t really see the industry presence (read: exclusive merch and reveals) that you would at a SDCC, NYCC, Celebration, etc. However it also means that there’s an emphasis on a wide breadth of tracks to cover almost every tangentially geeky topic there is to talk about, from the obvious sci-fi/fantasy titans (Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, etc) to more niche interests such as puppetry or LAN gaming.

The Star Wars team in particular always puts on four days of incredibly high-quality programming and discussions, and as a frequent panelist with the Star Wars track my goal this year was to bring some of that fantastic discussion to Eleven-ThirtyEight. And in a year where the fandom at large has dealt with some serious discussions around toxicity and representation, it seemed fitting to put a focus on one of the more controversial elements from The Last Jedi: Vice Admiral Holdo.

So I now present to you the latest in ETE’s Aggressive Negotiations series: a transcription of the Vice Admiral Holdo panel from Dragon Con 2018, featuring myself and three other panelists unaffiliated with ETE. For those unaware, Aggressive Negotiations are raw, largely unproofed live chats among our staff and occasionally others. They are more off the cuff and unscripted with the goal being to present fandom in its most raw form.

The panel discussion originally took place on Friday, August 31, 2018. This transcription has been slightly edited for clarity.

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“I Didn’t Take You For a Coward” – An Emotional Response to The Last Jedi

Throne Room Header

The Last Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie. I could gush about it all day. Canto Bight, Rose, D’acy, the duel on Crait, Finn and Rey’s hug, the scene in the novel where Rey and Luke dance, the themes, the emotional release, the technical prowess of it all. Marvelous! But for all that, there’s one scene in which I find no joy.

It feels a little odd. I’m looking at something that’s a technical and choreographic marvel, at something where the actors deliver stunning performances, at something that hits the right emotional beats of a story, both in its own subplot and in the interwoven narrative of the movie as a whole. I’m looking at such a well-executed scene in my favorite Star Wars movie, and I cannot like it. I have never liked it. Not the first time I watched it, not the last.

I don’t like the throne room battle sequence.

It’s purely an emotional reaction on my part, I can admit to that. I dislike the throne room battle on a gut level. And that’s okay, because emotional reactions are a critical part of the conversation around this movie. If we’re not honest about our emotional reactions, we’re not going to get anywhere.

» Read more..

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