Character Building and the Art of Filler


“You did all this…for fruit?” “No! …okay, maybe a little!”

When a TV show is written, the staff has a choice to make: How will the show find its balance between character development and the plot? The Clone Wars was a show where the events of an episode held precedence over characters. Not that there were no character moments or any development, but the story came first, especially early on when summaries of episodes could be “Godzilla IN SPACE” or “the Seven Samurai WITH BOUNTY HUNTERS”. Whatever concept the TCW writers wanted to put on screen, they put there, regardless of whether it was a good fit for the characters drafted into various roles. While there were episodes that got away from this, it’s a tendency that colored the show’s entire run.

Another decision, one more specific to action-oriented media, is the stakes of a given story. From episode to episode, something or other may be at risk or hanging in the balance. Is it the fate of a world, or merely the well-being of a few people? TCW tended toward the dramatic side, where the stakes were high, be it to save hundreds of lives, catch a dangerous fugitive or stop a superweapon. While there were some low-stake episodes that focused less on the action and more on character interaction, they became fewer and fewer as the show moved into its later seasons and more driven, multi-part stories took over. Read More

Droids: Slave or Sentient?


Ben: What is a droid? What constitutes intelligent life? Where does programming end and independent thought begin? Themes like these have been tackled in just about every major science-fiction franchise since the early part of the twentieth century. There are exceptions, of course, but one of the most surprising ones is our own Star Wars. Considering the massive presence of droids on-screen throughout all six films and The Clone Wars, it is somewhat interesting that, outside of a few novels and short stories, the issue of what rights droids have, whether they are considered life or merely property, has yet to be touched on.

In many ways, the events of Droids in Distress provide us with a snapshot of how the two major factions of the time treat the universe’s ubiquitous mechanical sidekicks. There is a stark contrast between the Imperial treatment of droids and the way the rebels interact with the droid member of their own crew, as well as this week’s special guest stars. Read More

Rebellion and the Call to a Higher Cause


Note to our readers: this article was written with full knowledge of the Rebels pilot, Spark of Rebellion, in mind. As such, spoilers will be found related to the characters, plot and themes of the episode(s). If you want to get the most out of this article, the ETE staff would recommend reading it after you’ve watched the pilot for yourself.

“I’m all for sticking it to the Empire, but there’s no way I’d stick my neck out this far. I mean, who does that?” “We do.” – Ezra Bridger and Hera Syndulla

“If all you do is fight for your own life, then your life is worth nothing!” – Hera Syndulla

What drives the spark of rebellion? What brings beings to the point where they openly defy the galaxy’s one major ruling power? For one Ezra Bridger, it was just a game, something he did to get enough food to keep his stomach happy until the end of the day and make fools out of the men in white armor. Life, for him, is lived in the now, in what he does from day to day. He has no plans, no future, nothing to look forward to except possibly stealing something worthwhile that he could sell on the black market to get enough credits to buy a slightly nicer meal. His rebellion is less about fighting the Empire and more about being independent. Read More

Rebels Revisited: Prequel Shorts


With just under a month to go until the official premiere of Star Wars Rebels‘ first two episodes, the franchise’s hyperdrive is pretty much locked in—the first tie-in novel is out, the merch is starting to appear on shelves, there’s some kind of weird bag thing happening at Subway, and as of last Monday, all four preview character shorts are available to the public (and below!). Brief vignettes taking place apart from the main action of the series, these four 3-minute videos serve as our introductions to the cast of Rebels in action, and even more importantly, to the show’s tone and style.

So now that they’re out, this seemed like a good opportunity to introduce our own walking, talking Rebels coverage machine—new staff writer and longtime contributor, Ben Wahrman. Ben has foolhardily (is that a word?) agreed to write a piece covering each episode of Rebels’ upcoming first season—since the premiere is two episodes, that’s fifteen pieces in total. Myself or others may weigh in here and there, but the plan is for Ben to be the backbone of Eleven-ThirtyEight’s Rebels operation. Read More