So is Kanan a Jedi now?

Copyright Lucasfilm

One of the more significant mysteries of the Star Wars mythos is how someone becomes an official Jedi.  There are several references to it throughout the original trilogy and the prequels:

“Only a fully-trained Jedi Knight will conquer Vader and his Emperor.” ~ Yoda, ESB

“Obi-wan is ready.  He is head strong and has much to learn about the Living Force, but he is capable.  There is little more he can learn from me.” ~ Qui-Gon Jinn, TPM

“Already know you that which you need…One thing remains.  Vader.  You must confront Vader.  And confront him you will.”  ~ Yoda, ESB

But there’s a lot of confusion as to how someone becomes a full Jedi.  And Yoda keeps his own council on these kinds of things.  But Yoda is just a character.  And fans need a bit more to go on.

We could say that defeating a Sith Lord with most of your limbs intact gets you automatic entry.  But since Sith are in such short supply I think that’s not a very practical measure.

The Expanded Universe did come up with its own mythos on the Jedi Trials.   According to the Expanded Universe / Legends, there are five trials: Skill, Courage, Spirit, Flesh (great suffering or physical sacrifice), and Insight.  I won’t go into these very deeply as the link above does a good job of it.  These are interesting to contemplate and are pretty consistent with what we’ve seen in the movies.

When we apply the basis for the five trials to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi (really the only ones we’ve seen become full Jedi), they seem to hold up (including their failures):

Luke Skywalker (ANH, ESB, RoTJ)

Lukevaderesb

Courage: Leading attack on the first Death Star after most of the Rebel fighters had been destroyed

Insight: Figuring out Leia was his sister; Not using his computer when destroying the Death Star

Skill: Fighting Vader on Cloud City.  Defeating Vader on the second Death Star.

Flesh: Losing his hand to Vader in Cloud City

Spirit:  Failed his test in the Cave on Degobah.  Didn’t kill Vader in anger after he defeated him on the Second Death Star

Obi-Wan Kenobi (All from TPM)

kenobi_maul

Courage:  Escaping Federation forces during negotiations to end the Naboo blockade

Insight: Knowing that the messages from Naboo while crashed on Tatooine were false

Skill: Defeating Darth Maul on Naboo; Escaping Federation forces during negotiations to end the Naboo blockade

Flesh: Defeating Darth Maul on Naboo after losing his Light Saber

Spirit:  Defeating Darth Maul on Naboo after seeing Qui-Gonn mortally injured

Not bad.

But you could do the same analysis when evaluating Kanan’s actions in A New Dawn and the first season of Rebels.

Kanan Jarrus

Copyright Lucasfilm

Courage: Defeating the Inquisitor, rescuing the Wookies, etc.

Insight:  Failed to see that Master Luminara imprisonment was a trap;

Skill: Defeating the Inquisitor (also lost the Inquisitor… a lot);

Flesh: Surviving torture by The Inquisitor and Tarkin without disclosing any information

Spirit: Defeating the Inquisitor after being tortured and after seeing Ezra harmed.  Committing to training Ezra;

Not bad either, but also feels insufficient.  The biggest limitation for Kanan is his lack of Insight.  Kanan carries many insecurities and unresolved issues regarding losing his Master to Order 66.  He also seems to lack some of the insight into the nature of The Force that one might expect for someone to have before they are able to take on an apprentice (this is alluded to in the Episode Path of the Jedi).  We could also raise some questions about Kanan’s skill level as we haven’t seen him perform to the level that we’ve seen, say, Ahsoka perform in The Clone Wars as a Padowan.  But perhaps that’s just being hyper critical – Kanan has performed admirably when fighting the Empire.

So this isn’t necessarily a bad framework for understanding the Jedi path.  Just casually thinking about how this would apply to Ezra, he certainly wouldn’t pass trials of Skill, Flesh (maybe, he does have a scar now), or Insight, but perhaps would pass on Spirit and Courage.  We should get the opportunity to see him grow in all of these areas as Rebels continues.

So it’s not bad.  It’s not canon, but these five trials it helps us to think about who ought to be a Jedi or not (by this logic, any of the Rebels crew should be Jedi).

Right now, there’s a good case for Kanan, but no he’s not a Jedi.  There’s also some very specific elements that he clearly needs more development (Insight in particular).  There are some indications with the Season 2 trailer may address some of his issues  – fighting along-side soldiers, confronting Clone Troopers (Rex), new Inquisitors; training Ezra, and a confrontation with Vader.

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Star Wars Rogue One: Panel & Teaser

Star Wars Celebration brought many new trailers to fans.  One that has gotten less press has been for the new Anthology Series Film, Rogue One.  There isn’t very much known about Rogue One, but it takes place just before Episode IV A New Hope and is about a group of rebels who steal the Death Star plans (lots of questions).  There was a panel discussion at the event where the trailer was shown (twice actually).  See for yourself (Trailer is at 10:13).

The panel goes to pretty good lengths to describe Rogue One as having a different feel and focus than the traditional Star Wars films that we know.   Rogue One’s aim is to be more of a war movie and has attracted talent from films such as Zero Dark Thirty.  It’s objective is to be different than a typical Star Wars movie (or adventure movies in general) where the good guys and bad guys are clearly defined.

This takes a lot of courage.  Could you imagine a spin off of, say, Game of Thrones, that’s a comedy?

We fans should be encouraged by this.  We’ve seen what larger studios will do with large character properties.  We may have enjoyed having movies like Spider Man, Transformers, X-Men, Iron Man / Avengers, and Batman get their due attention, there’s nothing really epic about these films.  I never stood in line for hours for any of them.  I don’t anxiously await the next releases.  I don’t tell my friends “I know everything there is to know about [insert corporate character here].  The fact that Disney is so willing to continue to develop not just a new Star Wars trilogy (or whatever), but also enable and encourage story experimentation with important events and characters in the saga should be seen as the proper stewardship that we were hoping for post-George Lucas.

 

Science of Star Wars: Imperial Walkers

Copyright Lucasfilm

Although Star Wars is more of a space fantasy than science fiction, there are many scientific elements to its universe.  Star Wars has inspired several generations now of Engineers, Artists, and Story tellers.  Being an Engineer, I was inspired by many of the technology displayed that play such a big part of the story.  There are many interesting elements and wanted to present some of them on this blog.

The first subject I want to discuss are Imperial Walkers.

Continue reading “Science of Star Wars: Imperial Walkers”

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Trailer [UPDATED]

This. Looks. Awesome!

 

Notes:

A Noble Cause

Apparently, our Rebels undertake a new We rob from the Empire. .. give to the needy.  A noble cause.

 

Vader

Vader_Calous

“We will squeeze Lothal until someone reveals the whereabouts of these traitors.” ~ Vader

Apparently, this is the Vader we’ve been looking for.  From a few clips, we see Vader leading storm troopers, destroying rebel ships in his TIE, and facing off against Ezra and Kanan(!).  We want this of course, but we also know this is a mismatch.  So what’s really going on here?  We could be seeing clips of the season finale.  And it looks like it might be worth the wait.

Kanan_Vader_lightsabers

Ezra_Vader

One of the things we never really got from the original Star Wars Trilogy was a real, full dose of Vader being evil.  We see his obsession with Luke and we see him fighting X-Wings from this TIE.  But it all felt a tad fleeting, albeit amazing (don’t get me wrong).  Rebels is an excellent venue to see more prime-time Vader through more story arcs than afforded by the original films.

 

 

More Inquisitors

Rebels_Inquisitors

We also get a few more glimpses of Inquisitors with the same type of fold-out/spinning light sabers.  From this trailer, it appears to be two: a male and a female.  It even looked like there was a brief clip of Ahsoka fighting one of them.  Given their apparent ages, these inquisitors could be “children of the Force” trained by the Emperor to serve him.  There will be continued speculation as to who they are, but I won’t do that this time.  We’ll just enjoy it when we see it.

 

More Space

Vader_TIE_explosion

It also looks from these clips that we get more space battles.  We don’t see much of Lothal from these clips, though it appears to still be at the heart of the plot.  But it appears we may get lots more space battles (some with Vader).

“For the good of Lothal, we have to leave.” ~ Hera

More Clones

Rebels_Rex

Captain Rex and the 501st will make an apperance.  It’s not clear that it’s for more than one episode (if they’re smart, it’ll be like 4), but it’ll be great to see this team in action.  There are lots of questions around the presence of clones as well: don’t they live shorter lives?  How are they still alive?  Did they participate in Order66?

This is also clearly pandering to the various 501st Legion fan clubs around the world.  But I don’t think Star Wars should be above pandering to fans.  For all of the shortcomings of the Star Wars films over the years, it’s really the fans who lay at the heart of this franchise.  So pander away!

 

Panel

Here’s a great panel discussion with the Rebels cast at SWCelebration2015

New Trailer! [Updated]

 

UPDATE 4/20/2015 – 8:50 AM PST

Since the release of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer premiered, it has been viewed more than 45 Million times on YouTube.  The StarWars account shows 39,161,879 views and the MovieClips account shows 6,646,792 views.

SWTFA_Trailer_Views_April20

I’m sure there have been more viral videos, but this is about as good free advertising as you can get for an upcoming blockbuster.

Notes: The Force Awakens Panel at Star Wars Celebration

Star Wars Celebration is here and there’s a panel discussion on The Force Awakens.  Who’s on this panel?

  • JJ Abrams, Director & Producer STar Wars TFA
  • Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm

But here are some notes:

 

 Using Real Sets

JJ spoke of setting a standard for the visuals for TFA.  They used as many real sets rather than full CGI.  While there will be a lot of effects, “you can just watch the  movie” and know what’s going on.

 

A New Desert

The desert landscape is not Tatooine, it’s a new planet named Jaku.

 

The Droid Mechanics

Kathleen described their hiring of two Star Wars fans, Lee & Oliver.  These two had built a realistic R2-D2 that they were asked to build the new R2-D2 and other Astromech domes for X-Wings that were in The Force Awakens.  (Again, not CGI’d – built by a couple of fans).

There was also a live appearance by a functioning BB8.  Yes – rolling ball with an upright dome.  This robot/puppet was also used in TFA (again…not CGI).  (Just as another note, the live BB8 looks amazing.  There’s some really interesting tech powering that thing).

 

The new leads

Celebration_newcast

There are three new lead characters: Oscar  Isaac (Po Dameron),  Daisy Ridley (Ray),  John Boyega (Finn),.  They were there on stage.

Ray is a scavenger in a ship graveyard on Jaku.  The adventure begins when Ray runs into Finn.

Finn… is in the Storm Trooper uniform.  And his life is changed forever.

Po Dameron – He’s the X-Wing pilot. “The best frickin pilot in the galaxy”.  He’s been sent on a mission by a “princess” and comes across Fin and their “fates are forever intertwined”.

John Boyega also did a Harrison Ford impression.  My rating: 2.5/5.

 

More Women!

Kathleen confirmed that the future of Star Wars will include many more interesting roles for women.

 

Pending Horror

JJ notes a particular point of “Horror” that will be part of this next movie.  My guess is that this has to do with the death of Luke Skywalker.  That is horrible, but also… expected.  My hope is that we at least get a glimpse of Luke being wise and powerful before his transition (if that is the case).  Could also be the death of any of the other cast members.

 

New Storm Troopers

Celebration_newstormtroopers

Old Cast

We got an appearance by original cast members Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Anthony Daniels.

Celebration_oldcast

New Teaser!!!

 

Starwars.com will Live Stream Star Wars Celebration

For those of you who won’t be able to go to Star Wars Celebration this year, fear not! Starwars.com is live streaming (most of) the event through its web site.

“The live streaming begins at 10:00 a.m. PST, Thursday, April 16, on StarWars.com with the Celebration kickoff panel and continues with 30-plus hours of coverage through the closing ceremony on Sunday, April 19, beginning at 3:30 p.m. PST. Watch exclusive highlights and on-demand clips from Verizon on Twitter,@VerizonWireless, and at Facebook.com/Verizon.” ~ Starwars.com

The SW Force Awakens Panel will be the first panel discussion (April 16 at 10 AM PST).  That’s probably the one you don’t want to miss.  I’ll be taking notes.

Read the press release.