We Are All Jurassic Park – An Examination of The Fallen Star

This piece contains minor spoilers for The Fallen Star.

These spoilers discuss the scope of what the novel does and does not cover.

The three Del Rey novels of The High Republic’s first phase are essentially disaster films, centered around a specific Event. Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule opens with “The Great Disaster” and the rest of the novel is about preventing the aftereffects. The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott is centered around the attack on the Republic Fair. The Fallen Star is about the Titanic-style collapse of Starlight Beacon.

However, out of all the options of disaster films to reflect upon, out of all the sub-genres and styles, what kept returning to me as a comparison was a single franchise: Jurassic Park.

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More Than One Way to Be Mandalorian

The Mandalorian’s first season establishes early on that Mandalorians are recognized both by their armor and by their refusal to remove it. An essential part of their creed, removal of the helmet was so great a sin that it would excommunicate someone from the culture. An essential part of fandom meant that we had to immediately argue about what this meant.

Theories, jokes, and accusations of canon contradictions flew, but there seemed to be at least some draw towards a consensus. A consensus that the show would confirm in the second season.

In “The Heiress”, three people in Mandalorian armor remove their helmets in front of Din Djarin. Din immediately accuses them of stealing the armor, of not being true Mandalorians. Problem is: one of them is the former regent of Mandalore itself. Bo-Katan of House Kryze.

Mandalore’s culture applies to Din as well as to Bo-Katan and her warriors because of the simple fact that there is more than one way to be a Mandalorian.

Star Wars has tackled the nuances of several in-universe identities over the years. We know that there are endless variations on what it means to be a Jedi, a clone, a Separatist, an Imperial, a rebel, all nuances well worth exploring. I only wish Star Wars showed the same sort of dedication to nuance when it comes to real-life representation.

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Stories of Light and Dark: Is There Merit in a Clone Wars Adaptation?

The merits of page-to-screen adaptations are an endless discussion, and “The Book Is Always Better” seems to be an adage that will never die. However, between my middle school years and now, it seems that people are more willing to make allowances for the differences in medium. You can’t tell a story through film the same way it was told on the page. Different tools are required to tell the same story, and usually there’s a time constraint, which causes certain elements to be cut.

Less frequently discussed is the reverse: the screen-to-page adaptations. The various novelizations of film and TV. What is the merit of books like The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark?

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Memories From the Menu of Dex’s Diner

Cooking is supposed to help your mental health in these quarantined times. Unfortunately, peeling out laughter because a splatter of chicken gore hit your face is the opposite of helping. In fact, every step of making Aunt Lilja’s Liver Pancakes was tinged with horrified regret. Though the end result was an anticlimactic set of normal(ish) sausage(esque) patties, this is a journey I don’t aim to repeat. At least not with the liver pancakes.

See, my regret was premeditated. After all, one simply doesn’t purchase chicken livers on a whim (chicken gizzards, on the other hand, is a different story). This deliberate decision was driven by an unearned confidence from The Galaxy’s Edge Cookbook, a perfectly healthy fascination with Dexter Jettster, and a Finnish family tree.

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“Die Well, Mandalorian” – The Chance of Escape That Maul Didn’t Take

If there is one thing that Maul cannot shut up about, it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. If there are two things that Maul cannot shut up about, it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Maul’s abandonment by Darth Sidious.

It was one of the first things he discussed upon regaining lucidity, “…such is how you found me, brother. Discarded! Forgotten!” And it’s the story he draws from to gain Ezra’s trust on Malachor:

The Sith took everything from me. Ripped me from my mother’s arms, murdered my brother, used me as a weapon, and then cast me aside. Abandoned me! Once I had power, now I have nothing…nothing…

Maul, “Twilight of the Apprentice”

He snarls at Sidious directly for it in the Son of Dathomir comic, and in the latest episode of The Clone Wars, “The Phantom Apprentice”, Maul makes sure to work it into his monologues, both overtly and as subtext. He will bring it up to anyone who will listen – and those who won’t, he will make listen.

Beyond his ongoing monologues on the subject, we do see that abandonment is a constant theme in Maul’s arc, and I appreciate what “The Phantom Apprentice” adds. It makes explicit Maul’s complicity in the cycle of his own abandonment.

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