The Rise Of Skywalker – Excitement and Ambiguity in the Disney Era of Star Wars

I really wasn’t planning on writing something about The Rise Of Skywalker so quickly.  In fact, I had a totally different Star Wars-related post planned for this weekend.  But sometimes a movie hits and I, inexplicably, find myself with something to say right away.  The Rise Of Skywalker was one of those films.  The first trilogy of the Disney Canon has come to a close and the journey Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren began in 2015’s The Force Awakens has ended.  It left me with lots of thoughts, feelings, and questions.  So let’s talk about it, huh?

Note, there will be spoilers but that section of the post will be clearly marked.  If you don’t want to know anything at all before you see it, stop reading now.  But if you’re fine with overall-type comments, I’ll speak generally first and then give a clear warning before any plot spoilers happen.  Ready?  Ready. Continue reading

Reylo’s Role in Rendemption – A The Rise of Skywalker Reflection

With The Rise of Skywalker just weeks away, speculation is rampant.  Will Rey turn to the Dark Side?  How the heck could the Emperor have survived the destruction of the second Death Star?  How much of the film do Rey, Finn, and Poe really get to be together?  How will Leia’s character be handled with Carrie Fisher gone?  What role will Luke’s Force ghost play?  Will Anakin return in some form?!?  Of all the questions vexing Star Wars fans, perhaps none are so divisive nor as heatedly debated as the issues of Reylo and Rendemption.  Given the prevalence and the passion for and against each, I wanted to explore them more closely. Continue reading

What I Look For In A Star Wars Story

A little while ago I read a piece Kiri wrote on Star Wars Anonymous entitled, “The Mandalorian: Chapter One.”  As the name implies (and as those of you who are big on inferring from context clues may’ve guessed), it was a reflection on the first episode of the new Disney+ show The Mandalorian.  While I’ve yet to watch the show for myself (or get Disney+), I found her piece interesting.  I appreciated her take on the first episode and I was also struck by something Kiri wrote in the beginning of her piece.  She outlined what she, as a Star Wars fan, looks for in any Star Wars story she watches/reads.  And that left me puzzling over exactly what I look for in the Star Wars stories I watch/read.  I finally figured it out!  Now you can know my criteria too and, I’m sure, sleep easier at night because if it. Continue reading

Disney, Galaxy’s Edge, and the End of “Canon” Being Relevant in Star Wars

I haven’t written about Star Wars in a looong time.  When I began blogging, Star Wars was a regular topic for me, whether writing about it here or for Jeff’s site The Imperial Talker.  But it’s been almost an entire year since I’ve written anything about Star Wars.  It’s not like I’ve stopped thinking about Star Wars or talking about Star Wars (as the countless hours I’ve spent in conversation with Jeff discussing the galaxy far, far away can attest).  But I haven’t been inspired to write anything (save a few discarded drafts) about Star Wars since last July.  Well, lately I’ve been thinking about how Disney’s use of “canon” in regard to Star Wars has neutered the term of any shred meaning. The final nail in canon’s coffin comes care of Disney’s new Star Wars theme park, Galaxy’s Edge.  With this evolving revelation, I’ve found something Star Wars-related worth writing about again! Continue reading

Different Expectations for Different Universes: Why I’m Comfortable Skipping Solo

Let me start off by saying this is not a persuasive essay; it’s an explanatory one.  I’m not trying to convince anyone to skip Solo: A Star Wars Story nor do I think they should if they want to see it.  I hope everyone who wants to see it, does.  And I hope they enjoy themselves!  I’ve talked to a few close friends who saw it and thought it was great.  I’m happy for them.  I don’t want the movie to do poorly or for people to be disappointed.  I just can’t see myself seeing it (at least not yet).  I wasn’t even going to write about this because I didn’t want to seem like I was being contrary just for the sake of it nor that I was trying to trash the film.  But people keep asking me if/when I’m seeing Solo.  I’ve discussed it in Facebook posts, messages and texts, emails, and more than a few times in person with family, friends, and students.  So I just decided to write about it. Continue reading

Han Solo: Another Reflection on Head Canon

The term ended last week and with it came the close of the second round of our Star Wars & Contemporary Mythology course.  As Hannah and I were making our way through grading some of our students’ work, I had a revelation.  Something similar happened last year, as our students’ final papers helped us finally make peace with The Force Awakens.  I’m not sure if this epiphany-while-grading thing will become a tradition with our Star Wars class, but it’s happened to me again.  This time it came while reading several Star Wars Playlist assignments – focused on Han Solo – and it led me to clearly see something quite personal about my experience of Star Wars. Continue reading

Captain Phasma: A Lesson Learned in The Last Jedi

So this isn’t another essay or reflection on The Last Jedi.  I’m not looking deeper at the themes in the film nor am I furthering my analysis on Star Wars’ future as folklore in this post.  Rather, this piece is about an unexpected lesson I learned from The Last Jedi, care of everyone’s favorite chrome-plated stormtrooper Captain Phasma, regarding the growing Disney Canon of works in their Star Wars Universe.  What lesson, you may ask, did you glean from Phasma’s fifteen seconds of screen time?!?  While it’s probably quite the opposite of what Disney would want, I think it will make my Star Wars time far more enjoyable. Continue reading

The Last Jedi and Star Wars’ Movement from Mythology to Folk Tale

When I came out of my first showing of The Last Jedi, I was ready to say I liked it.  By the time I exited my third showing of The Last Jedi, I was ready to say I really liked it.  I was still struggling to figure out where to place this film in my larger emotional and intellectual experience of the Star Wars Saga but I was able to say, as a film, The Last Jedi was well done.  I was not ready for the heatedly divisive storm that followed.  As someone who needed a year and a half to be able to like The Force Awakens, I certainly appreciate the pain many feel over this film.  I’m just a bit surprised, given reactions to The Force Awakens, this film caused such an uproar.  Anyway, I’m finally ready to delve into my thoughts and feelings on The Last Jedi.  Be warned MASSIVE SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.  So if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you come back and read this once you have. Continue reading

In Star Wars…Your Head Canon Is All The Matters

There…I said it.  All that matters is head canon.  The Last Jedi is on its way right?  (Yay!)  With it will come countless analyses, deconstructions, and evaluations (myself included).  No matter where you’re at in the world of Star Wars, you’re going to have opinions (myself included!).  And that’s exciting!  However, the Star Wars community can be volatile at times (especially online).  Instead of sharing our love, we seem to enjoy chastising those who love something else or love what we love in a different way.  Yet we can (and should) happily love what we love and respect what someone else loves too!  At the end of the day, no one can tell you what Star Wars stories move you.  So in the seemingly endless debate over what is or isn’t “canon” or what stories are “best,” the only important question is what do you like?  If the story moves you, it’s part of your Star Wars experience and those are the only stories that really matter.  Continue reading

Who is Rey?: An Avatar as a (Possible) Answer

As we inch ever closer to The Last Jedi, my excitement continues to mount.  No matter how much I tell myself not to get my expectations too high, I can’t help but speculate!  As I’ve said before, this random and excited speculating is part of the fun of Star Wars.  I remember the months leading up to The Force Awakens were filled with hours and hours of pondering and hypothesizing.  What will happen??  Who are these new characters??  How will the fit into the world of Star Wars?!?  Geeking out with other Star Wars fans is one of life’s great joys :).  And like many fans of the Saga, I’ve been spending a lot of time puzzling over who Rey really is and how she fits into the Force.  Somewhat unexpectedly, the answer I keep coming back to that makes the most sense comes care of Hinduism. Continue reading