A Rebels Reflection: Ahsoka and the Future of the Rebels Storyline

Nine years ago, my debut piece was published on Eleven-ThirtyEight. It was a defense of the then-yet-to-come animated series Star Wars Rebels, hitting back against the criticisms that early promotional materials had been receiving of being too “kiddie” or “Disneyfied” compared to its predecessor, The Clone Wars. Since at the time, the show had yet to air, I had to work in the hypothetical and with conclusions based off of what little we knew and what I could try to infer, meaning that not all aspects of that article have aged well, and the writing itself could certainly use some improvement. But the reason I bring it up here is that it shows that I have been following Rebels for a long time, even before the show itself had released anything more than a piece of concept art. I followed the show’s development and release, I’ve absorbed the tie-ins (few though they may be) and, after the show’s end with its fourth season, I’ve watched the horizon for any sign of a sequel.

I and many others like me expected that there would be one, because what successful story in the Disney Star Wars era doesn’t get a sequel of some sort? For a while, it seemed like one was very near in the offing. Rumors came trickling out years ago about a proposed “New Republic” show starring some members of the Rebels cast, dealing with the fate of Thrawn and showing the youngest members of the Spectre crew, Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger, as adults. But that show never emerged; it remained the subject of rumors and nothing more, as other animated efforts like Forces of Destiny and Star Wars Resistance came and went. Rebels moved further and further into history as more Star Wars media came out, obscuring it further and further in favor of other eras and other characters.

Then The Mandalorian was released, and everything changed. At a time when the lukewarm receptions of Solo and The Rise of Skywalker had left the future of the theatrical films in doubt, The Mandalorian was a genuine blockbuster smash, or at least as close as a show on a streaming service could be. Thanks in large part to Baby Yoda, it put Star Wars into the public consciousness in a way that it hadn’t been in years. And with it came a seismic shift in the Lucasfilm slate of releases moving forward, as theatrical releases were deprioritized (to the point where, as of this writing, there hasn’t been a theatrical Star Wars release since Rise in 2019) and Disney+ releases ramped up. From the first season of The Mandalorian was born a second season, naturally. And from that second season three other shows were born, all announced in the wake of the finale: The Book of Boba Fett, Rangers of the New Republic, and Ahsoka.

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Sav Malagán, Community, & Identity – A Queer Lens on The High Republic Adventures

Content Warning: spoilers for Adventures #1 and discussions of real-world queerphobic violence

Maybe it’s because I’m queer. Maybe it’s because of Lula, Zeen, Kantam, the very queerness of The High Republic Adventures Phase I run. But ever since we received the preview of a young, gremlin Sav Malagán in the first issue of Phase II, saying this about Maz Kanata’s castle –

“I head to a place where no one bugs me about meditating or following rules, where I can be whoever I want, whatever I want, or even disappear. The only place I can really be myself.”

– I can’t stop thinking, “queer bar.”

Now that we have the full comic, it’s embedded in my perspective. I do not know if writer Daniel José Older or artist Toni Bruno intended this reading, but for me as an aromantic asexual trans man, it felt inescapable.

We join Sav Malagán on the sidelines of this queer bar, watching the various characters who represent the person she wants to become. She tells herself their stories and hopes one day to be counted among them. The pirate outfit she dons at the beginning is perhaps even inspired by one of these elder queers she idolizes; the one she scampers after to learn about how she can live her full identity.

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The Dexter Jettster Renaissance: Twenty Years of a Literary Classic

In 2002, we were blessed with a scoundrel of a space cook with an arm gimmick, a ready grin, and a menacing chuckle. Dexter Jettster – the one-scene wonder of Jedi Quest #2: The Trail of the Jedi.

Oh, and also of some movie, I suppose.

While created and developed for Attack of the Clones, the Besalisk actually debuted in Legends literature. His first appearance came a month and a half before the film’s release, in Jude Watson’s middle-grade series Jedi Quest. Though the movie would obviously make a bigger impact, this pulp-fiction book set the stage for how Dex would grow into a more complex character: through literature.

Over the course of the Legends Expanded Universe, Dex would make enough scattered appearances across novels, comics, and magazines that certain character traits began taking root outside of the movie. Traits that held a distinct similarity to a literary classic.

In 2002, we were blessed with another scoundrel of a space cook with an arm gimmick, a ready grin, and a menacing chuckle. Long John Silver – the villain of Disney’s Treasure Planet.

Oh, and also of some novel, I suppose.

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Even His Droid is Called “Aces” – How Padawan Opens the Door to Exploring an Aromantic/Asexual Obi-Wan Kenobi

This involves a close read of a passage of Padawan, but it does not contain plot-related spoilers.

I am the type of person that Padawan by Kiersten White was written for. I am very much the fan being served by the various elements therein. Obi-Wan Kenobi is my favorite Jedi. My favorite minor character gets a handsome cameo. And, most importantly for this article, it intersects with my youthful introduction into Star Wars novels: Jude Watson’s Jedi Apprentice.

Published in the Legends continuity between 1999 and 2002, this mass market pulp fiction series about Obi-Wan’s Padawan years has left a mark on many a fan. Fandom celebrated when Apprentice characters like Siri and Bant were later integrated into the new canon. Siri in particular was an interesting choice to include in Padawan, as Jude Watson later wrote her and Obi-Wan into a romantic relationship.

Padawan, however, tackles that Legends relationship a little differently, and it was this that ultimately dominated my thoughts after setting the book down. For everything I loved about the entire novel, I kept returning here, to a single passage. Because I could hardly believe what I was being given.

Padawan gave textual support for a queer Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I have hardly been shy about asexuality and aromanticism in this column before, and Obi-Wan Kenobi himself has come up in said discussion:

“There’s also Obi-Wan, who feels a-spec (on the aromantic or asexual spectrums) to me, especially in the context of Satine Kryze. Their dynamic challenges the idea that romance and sex are innately good and should override every other motive in a person’s life. Obi-Wan and Satine decline to pursue a relationship in order to uphold their oaths to others, and neither is painted as cold or unloving in doing so.”

For everthing I took from Obi-Wan and Satine’s arc as an aromantic man, I expected it to remain wholly within the realm of headcanon.

And yet, here Padawan is.

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Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – The Game Star Wars Didn’t Know it Needed

For all that I was expecting great things of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, it still managed to exceed them. It did particularly well in its version of the main story, bringing new emphasis to certain aspects and expanding and improving upon others. Above all, it did something entirely unexpected: not only did it treat the nine films as a series of nine films, it made the story flow from the start to the end. Yes, that does include the sequel trilogy.

My route through the set was originals then prequels then sequels, but by all accounts, the game is rather smart in enabling any structure. You want to play in the machete order? Off you go. Two ace cards the game plays early and frequently are the assumption that the audience knows the material and a very smart sense of humour. The humour turns up all over the place in surprising ways and, at times, takes a very meta tack. For instance, one Phantom Menace level is called Better Call Maul. Similarly, a quest in The Rise of Skywalker that you play to unlock Beaumont Kin is called Second Breakfast, a sly nod to Dominic Monaghan’s role of Merry in The Lord of the Rings films. These jokes and others show that Traveller’s Tales (henceforth TT) were aiming this game at everyone. Sure, kids are the primary audience, but not exclusively.

George Lucas’s approach was mostly on the big-picture, grand-themes stuff — details, consistency, these were not his forte. This was demonstrated in how he syncs up the end of Revenge of the Sith and the start of A New Hope — it kind of works but when you start looking at the details it gets a bit iffy. The sequels, in some sort of weird homage to Lucas, replicated this freewheeling approach to its component parts. The result was three films but not a trilogy. It had the pieces to be so but the films just do not work together. The game cannot entirely fix all this but it has a very good go at it.

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