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December 2019
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The second weekend of The Rise of Skywalker's release is behind us, and in some cases, the numbers are promising. Its closing the gap between it and The Last Jedi, its second-weekend drop was lower percentage-wise, and even the most conservative estimates for the total domestic box office have it matching TLJ's "multiple" (2.82, meaning that the total box office was/will be 2.82 times the opening weekend numbers). But that would still leave it below TLJ's dollar amount by more than $120 million.

So ... what does that MEAN???

On today's episode, a disclaimer about how I'm approaching these Jedi Business episodes, what we can learn from how the other top-10 movies of 2019 have been performing, and how their CinemaScore ratings may (or may not) correspond to their box office results. Punch it!

***I'm listener supported! Join the community at http://Patreon.com/sw7x7 to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.*** 

Direct download: 2019-12-31-StarWars7x7-2006.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

2005 is, of course, the year that saw the release of the final movie in the Prequel Trilogy, Revenge of the Sith. And to continue our series of looks at family and its related dynamics in the Star Wars movies, we're talking about Revenge of the Sith from that certain point of view.

Seen through the lens of family, this movie is when things really get bad for Anakin. Yes, you don't have to look at it that way to see the same thing, but play along, will ya? ;-) It's one thing to have a super-secret and exciting thing going on with your spouse, and you have no other responsibilities - except for that whole Clone Wars business, of course. But then a baby comes along, and now how are Anakin and Padme going to keep this thing going on a secret?

Somewhere in here, there's an idea for a sitcom, where they have to hide the baby, and the madness ensues. "No, Obi-Wan, that noise is just R2-D2 whistling to himself in the other room." But I digress...

On today's episode, we'll be talking about Anakin getting forced to the sticking point, what other options he might have had, how Padme adjusts so much better to this turn of events, what's possibly the best monologue in all of the Star Wars movies, and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-30-StarWars7x7-2005.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

From a daringly lengthy comedic opening to an action-packed resolution and a shock of a final scene, "Redemption" saved The Mandalorian's Season 1 best for last. Just about every setup was fulfilled, meaningful moments were well-planned, the mythology was advanced, and we've got a cliffhanger that can possibly open the doors to a whole host of interesting possibilities for Season 2.

On today's spoiler-filled episode of the show, I'm also flagging a few things I forgot to mention that were notable in Chapter 7 (Force-choking!), reviewing the highlights of Chapter 8, explaining the significance of *that* final scene, and more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-29-StarWars7x7-2004.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Yay! We're back to the main story arc in "The Reckoning," Chapter 7 from Season 1 of The Mandalorian. And we're catching up on it finally, since we've been talking about this little thing called The Rise of Skywalker for a while. This episode of The Mandalorian actually dropped a week and a half ago...

On today's episode, we'll be talking about the surprises, the funniest moment of the season so far (and the most emotional one, too), plus the first live-action appearance of a vehicle first introduced as a Sears department store toy exclusive, additional appreciation for Werner Herzog, and the whole "Strand-Cast" business. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-28-StarWars7x7-2003.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

From a family dynamics view, Attack of the Clones is an especially difficult movie for Anakin Skywalker. Not only is he dealing with a life-or-death crisis in his biological family, he's also forced to deal with a life-or-death crisis for his surrogate family as well. In fact, you could argue that the reason why he chooses to marry Padme in secret - and not leave the Jedi Order - is because of the death of his mother. He loses his link to one family in the movie, and so it's highly unlikely he would walk away from the only family he has left.

Or he could become a moisture farmer with his stepdad, and start a new family with Padme. Unlikely, perhaps, but it's not like he didn't have options. We'll be talking about all of this and more, including a potential link between this movie and The Last Jedi as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-27-StarWars7x7-2002.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

You may notice a bit of a jump in this episode - that's because it was initially recorded right on the heels of me seeing The Rise of Skywalker for the first time. But being that it's the evening of Christmas Day when it came time to pull this episode together, and (on a personal note) we still have family visiting with us, the easiest solution was for me to re-record the introduction to this episode, which is focused on Resistance Reborn.

Resistance Reborn is the primary novel in the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker publishing initiative, and tells us about the Resistance's activities in the days and weeks following the events of The Last Jedi. As for what it does, or doesn't, set up and prepare you for when you ultimately see The Rise of Skywalker - well, that's what I'm going to talk about on this episode. I'm also going to trace a couple connections to other Star Wars stories while I'm at it... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-26-StarWars7x7-2001.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

By a weird fluke of the calendar, and maybe of fate as well, the 2,000th episode of Star Wars 7x7 falls on Christmas Day! So this episode is going to be a quieter, more personal celebration. It starts off with gratitude for you (yes, you!) for making the show possible and getting me excited to be in front of the microphone every day. Thank you for supporting me and Star Wars 7x7, whether you've been with me the whole way or you're just joining the fun!

From there, I'll be taking a look back at some of the unexpected things that have come about as a result of starting and continuing the podcast; sharing the make-up of the top ten most downloaded episodes of the show; looking ahead to (yes, I'm going to say it) the next thousand episodes; and taking a moment to be humbly awed by what we've created over these 5+ years. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-25-StarWars7x7-2000.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We've hit another episode number that corresponds to the year of a Star Wars movie release, so we're going to stop with The Rise of Skywalker talk for the day and have a look at The Phantom Menace!

Just like the previous year/episode number matches for 1977, 1980, and 1983, we're exploring the themes and complications of family as presented in the Star Wars movies, focused this time on the first movie in the Prequel Trilogy. It's an interesting comparison to A New Hope, the first of the Original Trilogy. In that movie, people from families broken out of their control banded together to deal a blow to a Galactic Empire - and as a result, created their own new family. From a certain point of view. :-)

Meanwhile, in The Phantom Menace, people have left their families on purpose, to join the Jedi Order. And they have free will! If they decide that the Jedi Order isn't for them, they can leave and go back to their own lives.

But things are not all as rosy and blissful as they seem. Because it's easy to be the master of your emotions when you're just hanging out in a temple all day. Then the Sith come along, and Obi-Wan is definitely not using the Force against Darth Maul only for knowledge and defense ... we'll be talking about that today, and how family matters are so much easier when there's no drama. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-24-StarWars7x7-1999.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The "Jedi Business" segment returns! Every Monday for the next few weeks, I'll be talking about the performance of The Rise of Skywalker at the box office, though this time around the focus is going to be a little bit different.

There's been an assertion floating around for the last two years that dissatisfaction from some quarters with The Last Jedi would have a negative effect on the box office of all Star Wars movies going forward. When Solo: A Star Wars Story came out, I spent a lot of time looking at the numbers and the extenuating circumstances, and concluded that there were a lot more significant reasons for Solo's showing at the box office than any Last-Jedi effect.

Well, if The Rise of Skywalker had received better critics' reviews than it did, then this discussion would be a whole lot easier. As it is, the movie (at recording time) is on track for a $175-$180 million opening, which is below both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but above Rogue One. The sequel Saga movies declined in successive opening weekends, but for the comparative, the prequel Saga movies each outperformed the previous one released, so that Revenge of the Sith had the biggest opening weekend of the three.

Also, the movie received a B+ from CinemaScore, while its predecessors all scored A and A- grades. And PostTrak has The Rise of Skywalker at 4 out of 5 stars and 81% positive overall - which is behind The Force Awakens (90% positive overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars), Rogue One (91% positive overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars), and The Last Jedi (89% positive overall, 5 out of 5 stars). These aren't exactly hopeful numbers for The Rise of Skywalker beating The Last Jedi at the box office, which it was expected to do based on prequel history.

But there are signs of hope, which I'll talk about on the podcast today, as well as discuss the reveal about something Finn said (or didn't say) in the film (mild spoiler, with ample warning in the recording). Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-23-StarWars7x7-1998.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We talked about some story choices Rian Johnson made in The Last Jedi that were supported by J.J. Abrams in The Rise of Skywalker. But we didn't talk about the biggest story choice of all - the one about Rey's parents. J.J. told us there would be "more to the story," and there was, but did it support or subvert what came before?

You could certainly make the case that it undoes what Johnson did, but I actually think it upholds what he did. In fact, I think the situation also echoes a similar story beat from another Star Wars movie. This is a full-spoiler episode, and in addition to explaining my point, I'll also talk about what Abrams did - or rather, didn't - do with Kelly Marie Tran in The Rise of Skywalker. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-22-StarWars7x7-1997.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The debate has already begun online about whether the story choices made by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio for The Rise of Skywalker enhance or undo the events of Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi. Personally, after my first viewing, I think it's pretty clear that what Abrams and company did is perfectly in line with what Johnson and company did.

So on today's episode, I'm going to talk about four of the most ardently discussed aspects of The Last Jedi - the death of Supreme Leader Snoke, Luke's lighsaber toss, Luke's self-exile, and Leia's Force use to get back on the Raddus - that were ultimately supported and reinforced by the events of The Rise of Skywalker. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-21-StarWars7x7-1996.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The end is nigh! The Rise of Skywalker debuted last night, and I was lucky enough to see it with the whole family at one of the first showings. Honestly, none of us ever know what's going to happen in life - it's entirely possible that neither you nor I might have lived long enough to see Lucasfilm bring the Skywalker Saga to an end. Not everyone has. Aside from getting to see the movie itself, that aspect of seeing it with my family was wonderful.

I'll be posting a bonus episode with reactions that do delve into spoiler territory, but this one is totally clean in that regard. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-20-StarWars7x7-1995.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

It is amazing how I feel lighter and happier now that I've seen The Rise of Skywalker for the first time! And I do think much of what the film critics have been saying were right - great performances by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, action-packed, visually dazzling, and I'll also add "funny," too. As for the rest - well, on today's episode, we're just getting started. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-20-StarWars7x7-bonus.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 2:05am EST

I wish someone had said to me, before the full critics' reviews started to come online Wednesday, "This is not going to go the way you think!" And I wish I'd thought to say that in this episode of the podcast, too, but I only had the inspiration as I was writing this post to introduce this episode.

So the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus continues to fluctuate, but it's been in the fifties for most of the day Wednesday, topping out at 59% as of the recording of the show (10:00pm Eastern on Wednesday). The "Top Critics" subgroup has it at 49%. I've seen a couple of headlines claiming it's the "worst Star Wars movie ever made," but that's currently inaccurate. The Top Critics scores for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are both lower than The Rise of Skywalker's, though I understand full well the implications of that statement.

And yet... And yet... Even across the negative reviews, I'm seeing some consistent positives - the performances of Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, the music from John Williams, how action-packed and visually dazzling the film is, to name a few - and I'm holding on to the reactions of some specific folks as a lifeline to the (very real) possibility that I will enjoy the heck out of it regardless of the critics' reviews.

We'll be talking about all of that, as well as why I'm on camera with a stain on my shirt. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-19-StarWars7x7-1994.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Well, it's out there now... The Rise of Skywalker world premiere happened in Hollywood on Monday night, and now John Boyega's lost script isn't the only source of information about the movie anymore!

We're still in the "SAFE ZONE" here on the podcast, which means you can listen or watch without worrying about learning something about the movie that you're not yet ready to know. But that still gives us room to talk about the premiere, about the audience for it, the experience of looking at the feedback on Twitter so far, the knowledge that there are now spoilers-for-real out there and people aiming to drop them on unsuspecting fans, and what's missing from the conversation so far. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-18-StarWars7x7-1993.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

And here's the second half of my interview with Christian Blauvert! It's also a SAFE ZONE episode, so you can listen or watch without fear of hearing something about The Rise of Skywalker that you're not ready to learn.

But speaking of learning, you'll do a lot of it when you check out How Not to Get Eaten by Ewoks (and Other Galactic Survival Skills), the guide to staying alive in a galaxy far, far away. On today's episode, I'll be talking with Christian about the creation of the book (part of which was completed from a hospital bed!), and exploring how Legends information gets brought into the book, how tidbits from future Star Wars stories could make it into a book like this, and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-17-StarWars7x7-1992.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Welcome to our latest Resistance Briefing! This is also a SAFE ZONE episode, so you can watch or listen without fear of hearing something about The Rise of Skywalker that you're not ready to know just.

This episode was also recorded in the midst of a power outage, which occurred due to high winds across multiple New Hampshire counties. But the show must go on, and as long as a local cell tower stays active, today's episode will arrive right on schedule.

"Station to Station" is episode 11 from season 2 of Star Wars Resistance, and for me at least, this is hands down the best episode of the series so far. The script moves so fast that Larry Kasdan himself would be proud of it. It's got tension, intrigue, drama, comedy, the whole shebang. And that's what we'll be talking about on the show... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-16-StarWars7x7-1991.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Be More Lando and Be More Leia came out earlier this year from DK Books, and on today's show, I'm talking to the man behind these two titles, Christian Blauvert! Christian also wrote Be More Vader and Be More Yoda, the latter of which has skyrocketed to the top of Amazon sales thanks to the "Baby Yoda Bounce."

We'll be talking about that, plus the challenges of writing books like these; what he admires about Leia; what he learned from Lando; and much more. This is also a "SAFE ZONE" episode, so you can listen or watch without fear of hearing anything about The Rise of Skywalker that you're not ready to learn just yet. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-15-StarWars7x7-1990.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Welcome to another Mandalorian Briefing! (And yes, this also counts as being within the SAFE ZONE, so you can listen or watch without fear of encountering anything about The Rise of Skywalker that you're not ready to hear.)

On today's show, we're talking about Chapter 6, "The Prisoner." It's now the fourth out of six total episodes that doesn't advance the main story arc, and while I'm enjoying the episodes, I have to say I'm starting to feel restless at this point.

I really, REALLY want to get back to Nevarro and see what happens next with Mando and Greef Karga, the remains of the bounty hunter's guild, the Mandalorian covert, Werner Herzog's "Client," how Moff Gideon is going to get involved, and what the deal is with Baby Yoda and what the ultimate plans were for this cute little being...

We'll also talk about the log lines for the final two chapters, the actor Easter eggs throughout this chapter, and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-14-StarWars7x7-1989.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Are you emotionally invested in Star Wars? If so, you may be excited for the upcoming release of The Rise of Skywalker. But maybe you're also feeling something more. Excitement, sure, but also nervousness? Sadness? Hope? All of the above, and more, and more complex?

Speaking for myself, at least, it's all starting to hit me now, now that we're a week away from the release of the final movie in the Skywalker Saga. So on today's episode, I thought I'd do something a little different, and talk through some of the emotions I've been feeling and experiences I've been reflecting upon as we all come together for one final ride. Punch it!

***I'm listener supported! Join the community at http://Patreon.com/sw7x7 to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.*** 

Direct download: 2019-12-13-StarWars7x7-1988.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We've been told over and over again that The Rise of Skywalker is the end of not just the sequel movies, but the end of a trilogy of trilogies - the end of the "Skywalker Saga." But what does that actually mean?

In a new interview, Kathleen Kennedy says:

...'the saga' really references the Skywalker family. And that's what we're bringing to a conclusion. There is an inevitability with that because of the actors and the characters they're playing. So that's really what we're looking at more than anything. At least in my lifetime, there's never going to be an end to Star Wars. So this isn't the end of Star Wars, it's the end of that family saga.

I would take that a couple of very logical steps further, which I do on today's episode of the show. Also, it turns out that when you look up the definition of "rise," there are a lot of meanings you might not have expected. One of them made the full title of the movie click into place for me in a way that it hadn't before, so we'll talk about that, too. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-12-StarWars7x7-1987.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The Safe Zone continues! You can listen to or watch the podcast knowing that no rumors, leaks, or spoilers about The Rise of Skywalker will be discussed on the show during these final days before the movie debuts.

Yesterday, we explored what we already know from trailers and interviews about The Rise of Skywalker, and how certain elements seem to be similar to things found in Return of the Jedi. Today, we're looking at the things that are different! The list isn't as long - yet - but there are still some significant entries. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-11-StarWars7x7-1986.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Welcome to the Safe Zone! The Rise of Skywalker is just 10 days away, and you can listen to or watch Star Wars 7x7 without fear. No spoilers will be shared on the show, but we will be talking about what we already know in this final run up to the end of the Skywalker Saga.

On today's show: If The Force Awakens was at all similar to A New Hope (and, I would argue, also did the job of the whole prequel trilogy as well), and if The Last Jedi did similar work to The Empire Strikes Back (albeit in entirely different ways), then how might The Rise of Skywalker mirror Return of the Jedi? Based on the footage we've already seen, and interviews with J.J. Abrams, I'm flagging all the similarities between the two movies that I've spotted so far. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-10-StarWars7x7-1985.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

It's Resistance Briefing time! The Guavian Death Gang makes another sinister return to the Star Wars Resistance festivities in "Kaz's Curse," episode 10 from season 2 of the Star Wars animated series. Things start off innocently and comically enough, with Kaz getting into a new kind of trouble with the pirates on the Colossus. The timing of that trouble is worse because it coincides with our heroes having to maneuver through an asteroid field in order to pass through Guavian Death Space unnoticed.

Well, you can imagine how well *that* goes. And we'll be talking about that on today's episode, plus we'll take a closer look at the Guavian Death Gang itself. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-09-StarWars7x7-1984.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Continuing our series of looks at family dynamics in the Star Wars movies, on the days where the episode numbers coincide with the years of their release dates! As you might guess, Return of the Jedi is going under the microscope today, and things get really awkward at moments in the movie.

Not only that, but there's also some familial connections that *don't* get made during the course of the movie, and one beautiful one that seems to have happened off screen at some point. And there's about a half hour of Return of the Jedi where, based solely on what we know from the movies, the audience can logically believe that in A New Hope, Princess Leia was coming to Tatooine to get Obi-Wan and deliver him to Darth Vader. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-08-StarWars7x7-1983.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Fill your Star Wars "bingo" card with "The Gunslinger," chapter 5 of The Mandalorian, with lots of Easter eggs and a new theory about those boots. On today's Mandalorian Briefing, I'll be running down the key details of the episode, which includes the planetary name reveal of the Bounty Hunter Guild's homeworld; another hint at the state of the galaxy; the continued fascinating casting of comedians; and a character who looks like he was separated from Hayden Christensen at birth. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-07-StarWars7x7-1982.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The juxtaposition of new armor being forged for The Mandalorian, with flashbacks to his traumatic childhood moment, is a powerful visual metaphor. I'm exploring that today, and it also got me thinking about The Mandalorian's cinematic influences, and whether the template of the Hero's Journey applies to the story we're being told so far. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-06-StarWars7x7-1981.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We've hit the episode number that matches the year of The Empire Strikes Back's release! On today's show, I'll be talking about how this mostly isn't a movie about family, until it's suddenly ALL about family. Along the way, we'll also talk about how the franchise earned the right to be called a "space opera," how this was basically a revenge flick until the big reveal, and how it's that *one moment* which causes the conversation about the proper order in which to watch the movies. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-05-StarWars7x7-1980.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The Mandalorian is a rather mysterious character. But with all this talk about foundlings, you have to wonder - is our Mando an actual Mandalorian? On today's show, we'll explore the evidence, which will also include a breezy trip through Mandalorian history and society. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-04-StarWars7x7-1979.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What does "The Voxx Vortex 5000" have in common with some episodes of The Mandalorian? Or even The X-Files? I'll explain during the Resistance Briefing on episode 9 from season 2 of Star Wars Resistance. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-03-StarWars7x7-1978.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We've talked about hope in Star Wars - aka "A New Hope," but we haven't talked about one of the other strong themes of the movie: family. Since it's episode 1977 (the year A New Hope came out!), I thought we'd talk about the very unusual family dynamic of Star Wars - and what it has in common with the Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock movie Speed. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-02-StarWars7x7-1977.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The Rise of Skywalker is, of course, the headline news in Star Wars for the month of December. And there's so much more Star Wars happening this month, too! From TV to animation, books to comics, video games and retrospectives, it's shaping up to be a huge finale in 2019. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2019-12-01-StarWars7x7-1976.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

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