star wars the high republic a test of courage

This review will touch on some plot points that some readers may not want to know in advance. So consider this a minor spoiler warning.

Author Justina Ireland gives us the second installment of The High Republic with the utterly delightful book Star Wars: The High Republic – A Test of Courage

Though it’s aimed at younger readers than the adult-oriented Light of the Jedi, people are going to find this book a lot of fun. It centers around Vernestra Rwoh, a Mirialan Jedi who, at only 16 years old, is one of the youngest Jedi in recent history to take on the trials and become a full-blown Jedi Knight. But she’s still only 16 and she’s doing her best to find her way in the galaxy all by herself. This book opens on one of her first solo missions, where she must supervise a precocious senator’s daughter, the 12-year-old Avon Starros (who seems to be related to Sana Starros from our more familiar timeline).

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Star Wars: Light of the Jedi

This review will touch on some plot points that some readers may not want to know in advance. So consider this a minor spoiler warning.

Written by Charles Soule, the new novel Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi kicks off the entire transmedia experience known as The High Republic. Set a couple of hundred years before the events of The Phantom Menace, the entire High Republic era is designed to give us a view of a more frontier-like galaxy, and of Jedi who are at the height of their powers before the decay and destruction of the Skywalker Saga. 

The initial wave of novels begin with a central conflict that is established in this first book. There is a disaster in hyperspace. A ship called The Legacy Run suffers a catastrophe and breaks up into hundreds of pieces. The resulting wreckage slips out of hyperspace seemingly at random, causing destruction everywhere in its wake. Of course, the Jedi are called in to help mitigate the disaster and they get into more than they bargained for. Hyperspace lanes are closed until the cause of the accident can be determined, and the opening of the Jedi’s Starlight Beacon is delayed. The Starlight Beacon itself is an outpost in the Outer Rim where the Jedi can be stationed to expand the influence and justice of the Republic to those territories on the frontier of space.

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Mandalorian and The Last Jedi

This post contains major spoilers for The Mandalorian and Star Wars: The Last Jedi

For anyone with a passing familiarity with the timeline of The Mandalorian and its relationship to the rest of the Star Wars canon, it wasn’t a hard leap to guess that Luke Skywalker would be the Jedi to answer Grogu’s (or as you better know him, Baby Yoda) call from the temple on Tython. 

When he finally did appear on the season finale of The Mandalorian, he brought with him an action scene that is at once breathtaking and startling. Evoking equal parts of Darth Vader’s Rogue One hallway scene and Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon at the beginning of The Phantom Menace, Luke Skywalker arrives and cuts down the Dark Troopers in style.

To boil it down to a word, that word would be “badass.”

This scene and depiction of Luke became a talking point between those who liked Luke’s depiction as a broken man in The Last Jedi and those who disliked or misunderstood it, finding this new scene to be a repudiation of Rian Johnson’s masterpiece. So let’s cut through the noise: the Luke on display in The Mandalorian is exactly the Luke that we’ll find years later in The Last Jedi.

Let me explain.

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The Mandalorian The Rescue Review

Naturally, there are spoilers here.

This final episode of The Mandalorian season 2 brings to a head all of the disparate storylines from the series. After learning the location of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) moves across the galaxy to put together the pieces he needs in order to board the Imperial light cruiser and rescue Grogu.

First, Slave I, piloted by Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), captures an Imperial Lambda class shuttle with Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) on board. Then they arrive at an industrial planet where Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) have been hiding out. After fighting with Boba Fett (and it’s reiterated the he is not a Mandalorian) Bo-Katan agrees to accompany Din Djarin on the rescue.

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Star Wars: The High Republic is the bold new transmedia initiative from Lucasfilm that takes Star Wars hundreds of years into the past. Set a couple of centuries before the events of The Phantom Menace, The High Republic shows us a Republic and Jedi Order at the height of their power. The Republic is expanding its reach into the Outer Rim with the Starlight Beacon, a sort of Watchtower for the Jedi Order to keep their eye on the furthest fringes of the known galaxy.

Each of the initial novels deal with a catastrophe in hyperspace, a cataclysmic event that sets the Republic and the Jedi against the Nihil, a mysterious group with even more mysterious motives. And each of those books, Star Wars: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule, Star Wars: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, and Star Wars: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray, suggests that this new era of the Star Wars universe will be one worth exploring.

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During the massive, four-hour Disney Investor presentation last week, Lucasfilm was able to present its upcoming slate of projects. During that time, they were able to make a number of announcements. So many announcements were made that we’re still sifting through the ramifications of them. The Star Wars universe is going to look very different in a few years, and that’s not a bad thing.

One of the things I love about Star Wars is how malleable it is, and how we’re able to derive new context and understanding out of the original texts as new chapters of this intergalactic gospel are created. There is something so pure about rewatching A New Hope with the new context from Empire Strikes Back, trying to make sense of the idea that Darth Vader was really Luke Skywalker’s father. There is nothing more terrifying than watching Luke Skywalker teeter so close to the dark side after watching his father struggle with the same failings in the prequel films. The Skywalker Saga is rife with these re-contextualizations. Watching Revenge of the Sith after the entirety of The Clone Wars is something like a religious experience.

What new thing will we learn that forces us to reevaluate our understanding of the sacred Jedi texts?

Revealed in that metric ton of Star Wars news was an acknowledgement that the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series coming to Disney+ will be set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also dropped some bombshell news: Hayden Christensen would be back in the role of Darth Vader, promising us the “rematch of the century.”

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Mandalorian The Believer Review

Naturally, there are spoilers here.

The penultimate episode of The Mandalorian’s second season, written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa, brings us to the very brink of a confrontation with Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). In order to get a bead on where Gideon’s cruiser might be, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) employs the help of Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), to spring Mayfeld (Bill Burr) out of a New Republic scrap prison. With Mayfeld, they’ll be able to get the coordinates, but to do it, they need to get access to an internal Imperial terminal. 

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Mandalorian The Tragedy Review

Naturally, there are spoilers here.

Robert Rodriguez, renowned action director and digital cinema pioneer, directs the fourteenth chapter of The Mandalorian. “The Tragedy” bears an ominous title and, by the end, portends even more darkness to come.

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(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films and television properties that inspired George Lucas’s iconic universe. In this edition:Princess Mononoke.)

George Lucas often spoke about how anime inspired his decision to create Star Wars: The Clone Wars. During a Q&A at the Siggraph convention, he said about the creation of the animation facility in Singapore that was responsible for a lot of the work on that show: “A lot of (Asia) is still trying to move into the 3D age. I set up a plan to speed up the process and to build up the community there. I also look at this as a way to get my foot into anime.”

One of the chief anime influences on The Clone Wars was Hayao Miyazaki’s landmark animated fantasy film Princess Mononoke. Roger Ebert called it one of the best films of 1999—the year it was released in the United States. The New York Post’s reviewer actually called it “the Star Wars of animated features.”

So, how did this film influence not only The Clone Wars, but serve as a pattern for the recently released thirteenth chapter of The Mandalorian? Let’s dive in.

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The Mandalorian The Jedi Review

Naturally, there are spoilers here.

Dave Filoni, protege of George Lucas and a shepherd of the future of Star Wars, wrote and directed the thirteenth chapter of The Mandalorian. In this episode, Din Djarin finally makes his way to the forest planet of Corvus and the city of Calodan, and it’s there that we meet a familiar face. Read More »