Sunday, April 3, 2016

[Twilight of the Apprentice Spoilers] Analysis of Ahsoka and Vader's interactions



It occurred to me during my latest rewatch of Twilight of the Apprentice that Ahsoka's dialogue with Vader changes as she slowly realizes who he is and how he no longer bears any resemblance to her old master. At the beginning of their confrontation she is more lighthearted with him, addressing him as she would address Anakin, albeit in a slightly more aggressive manner. As their conversation progresses, she gradually realizes that she is not speaking to Anakin anymore, becoming angrier and more hurt until she resolves to "avenge his death". The brilliance of the dialogue in this scene cannot be overstated. Her attitude toward him changes steadily with each exchange until she has gone from attempting to reach out to what might be left of Anakin Skywalker to vowing to kill Vader. Here's a line-by-line breakdown of their showdown:

Vader and Ahsoka's interaction begins after Vader tells Ezra, "Then you will die braver than most," and then disarms him.


Vader: Perhaps I was wrong

Ahsoka: It wouldn't be the first time.

She talks to Vader like she would talk to Anakin. Think about Anakin saying that line, and then Snips quipping back at him. The context is different, but her response isn't. Ahsoka calls him out, just like she did with Anakin so many times.


Vader: It was foretold that you would be here. Our long-awaited meeting has come at last.

Ahsoka: I'm glad I gave you something to look forward to.

Ahsoka is still being light, still trying to banter like she did with Anakin. She's angry, but she still thinks that some part of Anakin might be there.


Vader: We need not be adversaries. The Emperor will show you mercy if you tell me where the remaining Jedi can be found.

Ahsoka: There are no Jedi. You and your Inquisitors have seen to that.

She's growing increasingly frustrated. There isn't anything recognizable about the man before her to latch on to. Anakin isn't coming through like she thought he might.


Vader: Perhaps this child will confess what you will not.

This is completely unlike her master. Anakin Skywalker would never threaten a child to achieve his ends. She's rapidly losing hope that Anakin still exists beneath the guise of Darth Vader, so she makes one final, furious attempt to draw him out.


Ahsoka: I was beginning to think I knew who you were behind that mask, but it's impossible. My master couldnever be as vile as you.

Vader: Anakin Skywalker was weak. I destroyed him.

This is the final nail in the coffin. She realizes that nothing is left of Anakin Skywalker, and resigns herself to what has to happen next.


Ahsoka: Then I will avenge his death.

Then, in perhaps my favorite Vader line of the whole episode, he openly mocks her with:


Revenge is not the Jedi way.

Resolute in what she has to do, Ahsoka channels Eowyn and shoots back:


I am no Jedi.

The dialogue here seems pretty standard at first pass, but I think a deeper look reveals real nuance to Vader and Ahsoka's verbal confrontation. It might not be the most overtly emotional moment of the episode, but I think it's arguably one of the most, if not the most, subtle and meaty in terms of how these two old, estranged friends go from meeting for the first time in years to crossing blades. Ahsoka resigns herself to the reality that Anakin Skywalker has been completely consumed by Darth Vader, that he is, for all intents and purposes, dead, and she resolves to seek revenge against Vader. She is convinced that Anakin is gone until the end of their fight, after she slices Vader's mask open and, for the first time, he address her by name. Then, also for the first time, she addresses him by name. Only by literally breaking through Vader's mask does she finally reveal that Anakin is truly, literally and metaphorically, beneath it, and she is able to briefly connect with him, stating:


I won't leave you. Not this time.

But the connection is fleeting. Vader/Anakin responds with:


Then you will die.

There is so much to unpack in this episode, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of how complex this episode is. I look forward to discussing the episode at length during the long wait until Season 3 and can't wait to hear other analyses of these incredible moments in the Star Wars story.



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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Anakin Skywalker was the only Jedi in the galaxy to kill a Sith Lord in a millennium



Something I just realized, that others may have already realized.

Back in 1999, when The Phantom Menace came out, Obi-Wan singlehandedly killed a Sith Lord Star Wars canon by slicing Darth Maul in two.

Then, in 2012, Darth Maul returned in The Clone Wars and managed to survive until the show was cancelled in 2013.

Therefore, Kenobi never truly killed a Sith Lord. The only Jedi to ever actually kill a Sith Lord? Anakin Skywalker.
  • Anakin killed Count Dooku
  • Anakin killed Palpatine, sacrificing himself in the process.

Every other Sith Lord was killed by another Sith, ostensibly during their succession from apprentice to master over the course of the millenia, per the Rule of Two (except for Vader, who was killed by his master).

With the return of Darth Maul to Star Wars Rebels, I wonder if that will remain true. Will Maul die by Vader's hand?
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some thoughts on the Rogue One trailer - timing, network, style, etc...



I have seen a lot of speculation on the Rogue One trailers, release information etc. on these forums. I wanted to remind everyone about the business side of Star Wars so we have some perspective.


  • First off, I don't believe we will see a trailer until TFA is out of the theaters. I believe they don't want to overlap the properties that way....in fact, they may wait until after the DVD is released so all the o2 from Ep7 is clear.
  • Second, any TV trailer is going to be on ABC, ESPN, and DISNEY - where the add is "free." Not CBS, TNT, or NBC - where they would pay and THAT network could hype the trailer and sell ads around it like ESPN did last fall. If there is a sports tie-in, it would have to be the NBA playoffs (ESPN / ABC) - although a lot of video games drop during that 4-5 weeks, so it would be strange to see a Call of Duty ad next to Star Wars.
  • Finally, I suspect that they will make this thing very distinct from EP7 - I believe they want to make sure the "casual" Star Wars fan "gets it" that this is NOT the next movie in the main series. There are many causal fans who will hear "star wars" and will just assume its Ep8 ...they will wonder things like "why is Darth Vader" in the trailer. Its going to be an education effort by Disney and by other fans - maybe the trailer will reference the time period first, so people understand (not everyone reads this subreddit)

TL;DL (I believe any TV coverage will be on a DISNEY owned channel - like they did with the Ep7 trailer on ESPN)

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Guys, I figured it out



I've seen a lot of fan theories on here since Episode Seven, but after taking like five handfuls of opiates and watching Return of the Jedi seven times I've figured it out.

Rey is Kylo Ren's Sister.



BUT SHE'S NOT HAN'S DAUGHTER

Remember this asshole?

This is Leia, Rey and Kylo Ren's mother. But Han didn't fertilize that. His pull out game is way too strong. But I know what you're asking. "If Rey isn't the product of the sweaty loin grinding of a bikini-clad princess and marauding stallion of a loose-cannon smuggler, then who is the father?" Well prepare yourselves. Because it's...

Remember how he takes off his mask?


WELL GUESS WHAT. This is just another mask. Another beautiful, shovel-faced mask.

BOOM


The Real Kylo Ren. When Episode 8 comes out, I won't say I told you so.


TR-8R Tax. Always b loyal
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Star Wars Prequel Love and TFA Love


The release of TFA has provided my wife and I a unique experience. After being together for 11 years and married for 4, I have finally gotten her to watch the Star Wars saga before going to see TFA. As a huge fan who has seen the saga quite literally dozens and dozens of times, I can't tell you how fun it was seeing the saga through the eyes of a newbie.

I was born after the release of the CT and was in middle school when TPM was released. I grew up with the CT and it was part of my knowledge and worldview from as far back as I could remember. For that reason alone I decided to start at Episode 1 and move in order. I wanted to feel that experience through her. Before I get to that, let me say that I used to be a PT hater. With the exception of ROTS, I spent the better part of the last decade hating on the PT.

But then something odd happened. After seeing ROTS in theaters about 5 times...I didn't watch a Star Wars movie for almost ten years. Unbelievable really. Until last year. I purchased the saga on blu-ray and started making my way through them and that's when the odd feeling began. I actually fell head over heels in love with the PT. At first I resisted it. At first I told myself I was being nostalgic and foolish. But I couldn't help it. Then it began to sink in that the movies hadn't gotten better, I had gotten better. I understood the visual storytelling and the mirrored imagery. I understood the moral ambiguity of the Jedi and their code, the uncertainty of Anakin's true parentage and the dubious nature of the prophecy, the intentional awkwardness of Anakin and Padme's love, Obi Wan's clear imperfections, and above all else, I finally felt the tragedy of Anakin.

So my wife watched the saga with me....and it was awesome. She had NO knowledge of what was coming. She had paid absolutely zero attention to Star Wars stuff since her birth. She knew the names Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, but she knew nothing about the story. She was also unbiased by any other opinions. I very intentionally told her nothing and said I wanted her to see them "with her own eyes" as a "virgince." Lol.

Here were some of her thoughts that really surprised me:

  • she really liked Jake Lloyd. She thought he was a cute little boy and truly felt for him. Now, she also thought the final space battle with him was stupid and cheesy. So in her unblemished and unbiased mind the kid was good, the story finished dumb.
  • she loved Obi Wan (of course) but more importantly, she really liked Anakin and was extremely bothered by his fall. She could not believe he was Darth Vader. Totally stunned. She did say on numerous occasions she thought he was whiny, but also thought it made sense. His life was "shit" she thought. I'm quoting her now..."of course he is whiny. He's a slave taken by Jedi and basically thrust into a difficult life. Everyone is afraid of him and hard on him, even his best friend Obi Wan. The only people that are nice to him are a hot girl who he is understandably awkward with since he's clearly a guy who has no experience with women, and the other is Palpatine. All of the Jedi treat him like shit. Makes sense he's whiny."

  • she really liked Padme. Nothing more to say.
  • she also loved the CT and thought "it was more fun, but less intricate."
  • she actually cried when Vader saved Luke and loved seeing Anakin's force ghost.

Anyway, it was a blast seeing the films through the eyes of someone who had never seen them before. She also enjoyed TFA and especially enjoyed Rey.

Watching ALL of the films again reinforced just how much I love every bit of this saga.

One last note... The use of the Starkiller base has been derided as Death Star 3 and a rehash. I disagree.

In ANH the Death Star was a completed mechanical terror like Vader. The two of them, Vader and the Death Star, are the embodiment of inhuman evil and the destructive power of mans creations. Luke destroys the Death Star just like he destroys Vader bringing Anakin back in the fold. In a similar vein, the second Death Star is under construction but is not yet complete. This is a reflection of Luke whose hand is mechanical but has not yet fully converted to the darkness. Like Luke who puts his faith in his friends and overcomes darkness to remain a Jedi, Luke's friends destroy the Death Star.

Starkiller Base is. Similar motif for Kylo Ren. It doesn't generate its own power, but takes it from a burning hot star just as Kylo draws of his grandfather Anakin's strength. Also like Kylo, Starkiller Base has life in it and on it. There are trees and signs of good. It's just frozen cold and in hiding.

Each Death Star / Starkiller mega weapon is nothing more than a motif of the Skywalker lineage. For that, I applaud TFA.
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lightsaber Buyer's Guide



There's a lot that goes into getting your first lightsaber. I've personally spent the past month looking into it, and here's what I've found:

"Eh, I don't really want to put a lot of time and money into getting a lightsaber. I just want something to swing around."

Alright, there are a couple options for you if that's the case. There's the classic fold-up lightsaber, which has always been a favorite of mine, but you could also go for something a little more fancy.

"I want a high-quality, solid lightsaber, but I don't want to have to do any work."

This is a pretty common category, and you have a lot of options here. The only really high quality mass-produced lightsabers I've found are the Hasbro Black Series lightsabers. If those aren't your style, you can go to the custom lightsaber makers like Ultrasabers, or Saberforge. I'd be a little wary of these sites, however, as they get a fair amount of negative feedback. Ultrasabers has been said to have low build quality (e.g. gluing instead of soldering connections), and Saberforge lightsabers take a massive amount of time to fabricate and ship. Personally, I'm a big fan of saberforge, but their sabers can get awfully pricey and take a long time. EDIT: Supposedly, there have also been reports of the owner of saberforge not taking criticism well and getting mad at customers, so take that as you will.

"Money be damned. I want a work of art."

Well, lucky you. I'd look in the direction of Vader's Vault and Genesis Custom Sabers, as they both do commissions and make really high quality stuff.

"A lightsaber's not worth anything if you don't build it yourself, right?"

Good point! Making your own lightsaber can be a really exciting and fulfilling experience. You're going to want to start with the Custom Saber Shop. This place is really fantastic for so many reasons. They have a wide variety of different hilt pieces, so that you can design your lightsaber to fit your exact needs. They even have a lightsaber building tool that allows you to see what your lightsaber will look like before you buy the parts. There's also a varying selection of soundcards and LEDs, so that the sabers can fit both to your vision and your budget. Unfortunately building your own lightsaber is gonna require learning some basic knowledge of electronics, but it shouldn't be very difficult to learn.

Hope this helped!

EDIT: Just some more information on the electronics that have to go into making a lightsaber. The electronics a hilt needs are the following: An LED, a battery pack of some kind, a switch, speakers, and a soundboard. The soundboard is going to be the most expensive component. For a starting saber I'd reccommend the Nano Biscotte Sound Module V2. You can find all these parts at the Custom Saber Shop. They're out of stock with a lot of these things a lot of the time though, so you'll have to be patient. I alsohighly reccommend visiting their forums and watching their tutorials before buying anything so you know what you're doing. Don't just blindly buy the stuff I put in the links -- they're really just to give a sense of what you're looking for.
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kylo Ren's emotional outbursts aren't a sign of immaturity; they are a manifestation of mental trauma



People seem to attribute Kylo Ren's emotional issues to inexperience and youth and assume that in the future films he'll be more composed and in control. Actually, I think it's quite possible the opposite will happen and he'll just get more and more unhinged. Why? Because the reason he's emotional isn't because he's immature. He's emotional because his mental health is an absolute mess.

And why is he so messed up? Well, remember the talk Leia had with Han on how Snoke manipulated Kylo Ren into joining the dark side. I think most people took it as Snoke taking advantage of Kylo Ren's emotional issues, that perhaps he wasn't talented enough and he buckled under the pressure of expectations, which led to a thirst for power. But I think it's actually the other way around. Kylo's emotional turmoil is actually the product of Snoke's manipulation.

In the novelization of TFA, Leia tells Han that Snoke was manipulating him for a very long time, far longer than even she realized.



From the novel:
He had trouble believing what he was hearing. “So Snoke was watching our son.”
“Always,” she told him. “From the shadows, in the beginning, even before I realized what was happening, he was manipulating everything, pulling our son toward the dark side.”
This seems to suggest Snoke was present in Kylo's life from a very young age. It's very possible that he was a constant presence in young Ben's life, warping the mind of a kid who otherwise would have grown up normally. He was sent to Luke once Leia realized this, but by that time Snoke already had his grip on the kid.

Essentially he's less the kid who fell into the wrong crowd but rather more like a schizophrenic patient who has a voice in their head coaxing the individual to distrust people, except the voice was a real being manipulating a child. Kylo Ren is a disturbed individual who's been brainwashed since childhood, who's frantically trying to believe that what he's been taught and have done is correct despite the constant nagging feeling that something is wrong. Just like Finn, who still held on to his sense of conscience despite a lifetime of indoctrination, Kylo Ren has an inherent "light side" that he can't get rid of no matter how much he tries. This creates feelings of guilt and inadequacy deep inside that constantly eat away at him and drive him crazy. Years of this kind of emotional turmoil has taken a toll on the guy, making him more and more unstable.

People want him to grow in to the next charismatic, cucumber-cool baddie, but I think it's quite possible that he'll just get more unstable and crazy with time. Honestly despite all the emo teen jokes about the guy, if he was an actual high school teen, he's much more likely to be the kid who stabs someone with a pencil than the one writing poetry while wearing mascara.The root of Kylo Ren's issues is mental trauma. Not because he hasn't grown up yet.

TL:DR: Kylo Ren is a victim of life-long manipulation, which has led to an unstable individual with mental issues.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A few interesting things I picked up on from the TFA script





This may have already been determined, but if not, the person holding kiddie Rey on Jakku during her vision is indeed Unkar Plutt.



Kylo immediately thinks about Luke when talking about Rey. INTERESTING.


So, Han hasn't seen Kylo since he was in his teens (or thereabouts)?


Han touching Kylo's face apparently wasn't in the final script. Nice improv Harrison?


I wonder if Kylo's blade was originally intended to have more of a yellow-ish hue, then...


A mother's embrace, eh?
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?

Probably my favorite line in Star Wars. The entire scene immediately prior to the duel between Palpatine and Windu is chilling when you re-watch, knowing more about the lore. After not knowing what the dark side threat had been for all that time, those few Jedi masters went to confront Palpatine by themselves - and likely felt that they had the situation under control. The way Sidious delivers his lines is truly intimidating, and as he slowly rises and reveals his saber he looks calm and in control. He turns his saber on, pointing towards the ground, and just slowly raises it... and you can tell at that moment that even though he has had very few opportunities to use it, he's handling the weapon with an familiar ease and comfortability that shows just how deadly he is with it. There has been at least one instance where I watched Ep III again simply because I wanted to watch him raise his saber in that scene.

And of course, this is all punctuated by the sudden leap and screech that probably causes the Jedi to realize what an incredible mistake they made in confronting him directly. I just wanted to share my thoughts on what I feel was a very powerful scene - not the duel, but the moments right before it. Throughout the films, Palpatine is a calculating and slippery foe who avoids placing himself at risk and plays others like twisted chess pieces. This scene represents the only time that he sets himself as the pivotal point in his plans; there is no backup plan for losing the duel. Palpatine and Windu both exude confidence, but only Palpatine knows who should truly be afraid. He stands and faces four Jedi Masters alone, and kills them without hesitating or even acknowledging them as a threat. I think that is the most badass thing a character has done in any of the movies, both from a conceptual and an applied point of view.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The new EA Star Wars Battlefront video showcase lovely pieces off the new Gameplay



The new Star Wars Battlefront Video showcased content that had not yet been released which included maps, new modes, and hero characters such as Princess Leia and Boba Fett.

Star Wars Battlefront would be at the stores in a fortnight. The already released gameplay reveals some new characters, locations, and gameplay. This content has never again been present in a video format. You can have a look at the detailed forested world of Endor and Tatooine along with some added modes that only existed in writing.

There is also some gameplays surrounding hero characters such as Darth Vander and others that have not been showcased before. Boba Fett is also shown on Tatooine as dominating the opposing side with his rocket, a jet packs and a flamethrower. This military equipment enables him to attack a huge army at once. Princess Leia is also shown as having a great skill in picking off the soldiers in a distance and throwing down a shield for her allies using the bane trooper skill. Emperor Palpatine also gets some time to shine at the end of the movie, zapping his enemies with chain lightning and the ability to spin through the air via force dash.

The DICE and EA have reaped great success from the recent open beta for Star Wars Battlefront. In their statement, they confirmed that there were over nine million players that had logged into the game and played at least once. This might be due to the excitement it causes or player curiosity. The same is expected to be replicated when the new Battlefront hits the stores.

EA hopes that the popularity of the video will be carried on the main game where it expects to sell over 13 million units. The number is not an overstatement. This was replicated in the recent beta numbers. One of the biggest franchises that EA own, Battlefield, has been selling at least 9 million copies of each game that was released. Many more fans are curious about the new gameplay, and others are riding on the excitement created by the video and anticipating for the real thing.



Get some time and play the footage. Is the footage thrilling enough to make you look forward to playing the new game? Are you excited for the game? The Star Wars Battlefront game is launching on November 17. It will be available for customers using the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and the PC. Keep your fingers closed for some piece of Star Wars action.


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