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March 2020
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Syndication

On this month's installment of the Patreon Q&A session, I'm answering questions from Patrons of the show that address all corners of the Star Wars experience. One of the questions has to do with Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, and how it may or may not be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Another question takes us back to International Women's Day, where I mentioned my interest in a female-character-led Star Wars story, and asks me for specifics. And a third question has to do with the impending arrival of a new bundle of joy (congratulations, Bobby!) and how/when to introduce her to the galaxy far, far away. 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: 2020-03-30-StarWars7x7-2096.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

I have a reputation for being a positive person, and in particular to this podcast, finding the best in what I'm talking about when I'm talking about Star Wars. I also believe there's a distinct line between complaining versus critiquing. So when I approach the mid-season review of Clone Wars season 7, the final season of the show, I feel like I need to establish those two things as a foundation for what I'm going to say on the show today.

Because, in point of fact, there's been a lot to enjoy about season 7 of the Clone Wars. It may just be my own preconceived notions here. When I heard that season 7 was coming, and with the talk about how Dave Filoni - and he's said this for many years, mind you - never got to finish Clone Wars, and now he finally gets to give it the finish he wanted, I went into this season thinking that they would be making exceptional and remarkable choices in the story arcs they revealed in this final season.

Unfortunately, that's not the experience I've had, and I'll explain my rationale in today's episode. Again, I think there's a lot to enjoy about what they've done so far, and very likely for what they still have to reveal! I also think that, from a narrative choice standpoint, the arcs they chose are puzzling, for me at least. I do want to hear your thoughts as well - whether you agree to any degree, or why you might think I'm off-base about this... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-29-StarWars7x7-2095.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Deal No Deal" is the sixth episode from season 7 of the Clone Wars, and the second of the four-part "Ahsoka's Walkabout" story arc, and also the midway point of the final season of the show. Man, that's a lot happening all at once!

Today's episode of the show features the Clone Wars Briefing for this episode, where we'll recap the detail, and talk about how in one sense this episode is similar to the first one in the Bad Batch story arc; but taken together along with episode 5, these two episodes (5 and 6) also have something in common with the second and third episodes of the Bad Batch arc. We'll also talk about a scene that mirrors one from Return of the Jedi, and how that scene may be telegraphing the bridge between this story arc and the final one of the season. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-28-StarWars7x7-2094.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A couple of years ago, I launched a feature on the show called Star Wars POP! The "POP" stands for "Podcasters on Podcasting," so it's "Star Wars Podcasters on Podcasting," but "Star Wars POP!" sounded so much more fun, so I went with that.

I did two episodes of that feature - one with Tim McMahon of The Expanded Fandomverse and Less Than 12 Parsecs, and another with Amy Ratcliffe of Lattes With Leia. And I have no idea why I stopped after two of them! It wasn't like it was getting out of hand... (That's a Neimoidian joke for you.)

So as of today, I'm rebooting the feature, and I'm pleased to welcome Jay and Dennis from Podcast Stardust to the microphones. There's a standard seven questions I'll be asking them and every other podcast guest for this feature, and I've already got three more recorded so far. But first, Jay and Dennis... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-27-StarWars7x7-2093.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The fine folks over at Podcast Stardust have embarked upon a series of episodes celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and for their third installment, they invited me on the show! It was great fun to dig into scenes before and during the Battle of Hoth with Dennis and Jay, the co-hosts of Podcast Stardust, and on today's episode of Star Wars 7x7, I'm sharing an excerpt from that much-longer conversation.

The link to the full episode on their website is right here, or just search for Podcast Stardust on your favorite podcast app. And if the spirit moves you, let 'em know you like the show with a rating or review... 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: 2020-03-26-StarWars7x7-2092.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Mandalorian ended season one with a lot of storylines to pursue - some more obvious than others, of course. On today's episode of the show, I'll start by exploring the not-so-obvious ones, and then leading into the most obvious ones of all.

Along the way, we'll also be exploring the possibility of appearances by other characters not named Ahsoka Tano (since we've kind of gone there already). Yes, Luke Skywalker himself is on this list, but the chances are slim. Better odds? How about Shara Bey - aka, Poe Dameron's mother. Best odds? Bo-Katan Kryze, the last known owner of the Darksaber before we see Moff Gideon with it at the end of season 1. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-25-StarWars7x7-2091.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Mandalorian season 2 is due to arrive on Disney+ in October 2020. We were talking yesterday about how Star Wars productions might be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and we briefly mentioned The Mandalorian as part of that discussion. On today's episode, we'll get Mandalorian specific, and also talk about the directors who will likely be working behind the camera on the new season - and two who won't be.

A third one who likely won't be, but wasn't mentioned in the show today, is Deborah Chow. Even though she directed multiple episodes of season 1, she's unlikely to return to season 2 because of her duties as showrunner of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series currently in pre-production. That seemed like an obvious one to me, which is why it didn't come up. The other two, however, are a bit of a different story. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-24-StarWars7x7-2090.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Yes, a Star Wars podcast might seem like a comparatively frivolous pursuit these days, as the coronavirus pandemic takes an increasing toll on our health and economic welfare. But even now, there are many reasons to keep doing something like this.

On today's episode of the show, I'll be starting off by looking at what's going on in the world of Star Wars storytelling, and how it is or isn't being affected by COVID-19. From there, I'm going to get a bit personal, a bit spiritual, and a bit practical with you...

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Direct download: 2020-03-23-StarWars7x7-2089.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Gone With a Trace" is the first episode of the second story arc of Clone Wars season 7 (and fifth episode overall), but it doesn't feel like the start of a story arc. It feels more like a one-off episode. Thinking back to the first of the Bad Batch episodes, at the end of that arc's first episode, we knew that Echo was alive - or, at least, that Rex believed it to be true. That served as an inciting incident for the remaining three episodes of the story arc.

This time, Ahsoka has her adventure, but at the end, tells her newly-met underworld friends that she's gonna be movin' on. There's nothing about this adventure or its resolution to suggest what the rest of this arc will be about. As a result, it feels like we're going to see more of an unmoored Ahsoka. Maybe that's what's going to drive her back to the Jedi?

Ultimately, we know that's what needs to happen, since we're getting the Siege of Mandalore story arc for the final episodes of season 7, and Ahsoka's a big part of that. So we're left to intuit that maybe this middle arc will serve as the bridge for getting her there ... maybe? Either way, we'll talk more about this on today's Clone Wars Briefing, and add a postscript to the Rosario Dawson news from yesterday, thanks to one of our astute Patrons. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-22-StarWars7x7-2088.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, in theory, we were supposed to be talking about the next episode of Clone Wars season 7 today. But then SlashFilm got the Friday Star Wars rumor mill rolling with the scoop that Rosario Dawson would be appearing in season 2 of The Mandalorian ... as Ahsoka Tano.

Naturally, the gears all started grinding and other reporters started checking their own sources, and - of all the crazy things - someone reached out to me with some insider knowledge about this situation! So on today's show, we'll talk about it, and we'll spend some time dealing with the idea that Ashley Eckstein may not be playing the character she so successfully brought to life. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-21-StarWars7x7-2087.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In The Last Jedi, we learned about the sacred Jedi texts that Luke Skywalker had collected in his galactic travels, which he kept safe on Ahch-to despite threatening to burn the library down every so often. Well, as we know, Rey took them before Luke ever followed through on his many threats, and - with the help of C-3PO, Beaumont Kin, and her own Force-sensitive intuition - began to learn their secrets.

But what have you and I learned about them? Previously, we only knew the names of two of them, thanks to The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition, the novelization by Jason Fry. Now, thanks to The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, we know a bit more. (And thanks again to DK Publishing for sending me a review copy!)

On today's episode, I'll sum up what we know and what we've now learned, plus I'll share a beautiful story about a tribute to a real-life Star Wars fan woven into the story of the sacred Jedi texts. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-20-StarWars7x7-2086.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Months before the release of The Rise of Skywalker, Georgetown physics profession Patrick Johnson joined me on the show to talk about some of the more remarkable images we saw in teasers and trailers for the movie. In specific, we talked about the Sinta Glacier Colony; the Death Star wreckage; and the orbaks running on the Star Destroyer.

Now that the movie is out, and now that we have additional information thanks to the Visual Dictionary (and thanks to DK Publishing for gifting me a review copy), I'm using today's episode to revisit those particular physics topics. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-19-StarWars7x7-2085.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Ochi of Bestoon is quite the mystery character in The Rise of Skywalker. He turns out to be the missing link between the mysterious and unreachable Sith fortress at Exegol, and a wayfinder to reach it. We don't learn a heck of a lot about Ochi in the movie, and the Visual Dictionary does tells a bit more - though it tells us nothing in particular about the link between Rey, her parents, Ochi, and Palpatine, and it also leaves one other mystery unanswered. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-18-StarWars7x7-2084.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

We likely see more planets in Revenge of the Sith than in another movie in the Skywalker Saga, thanks to the montage of Jedi deaths shown during the execution (pun intended) of Order 66. But The Rise of Skywalker gives Revenge of the Sith a run for its money, taking us to Ajan Kloss, Mustafar, Exegol, Kijimi, Pasaana, the Sinta Glacier Colony, and Kef Bir - and that's not even including the places we saw when Poe Dameron took the Falcon lightspeed-skipping.

On today's episode of the show, thanks to The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary (and thanks to DK Publishing sending me a copy to review!), we're going to learn a lot more about those worlds together. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-17-StarWars7x7-2083.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary (thanks DK Publishing for sending me a copy to review) includes a sidebar called "Timeline" in a variety of places throughout the book, and also a very large one at the front of the book which lays out all the events in the Skywalker Saga timeline.

What's new this time around - aside from all the new details - is that the time isn't referred to as BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) in the book. Instead, it's referred to as BSI/ASI, or Before/After the Starkiller Incident from The Force Awakens.

On today's episode of the show, I'll gather the important, unique, and remarkable timeline moments into one episode, and covert them into the old school BBY/ABY for ease of reference. I'll probably flag their relationships to Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-16-StarWars7x7-2082.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The "Bad Batch" story arc is complete! It was the first story arc from season 7 of the Clone Wars, and based on story reels that had been previously released. On today's episode of the show, I'm reviewing the story arc overall, recapping some of the notable differences between the original and final versions of the episodes, and exploring the "what might have been" with another Bad Batch story arc that was previously in development. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-15-StarWars7x7-2081.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Unfinished Business" is episode 4 from season 7 of the Clone Wars, and finishes the first story arc of the season in epic fashion.

I mentioned this on the episode, but among the differences between the story reel version and this final version is the opening narration. You can watch the episode to hear the final, and compare it to this, the original:

War rages on! With ARC trooper Echo rescued from the Techno Union, the Republic returns its attention to the battle for Anaxes, where without Echo's strategic intel, Admiral Trench and the Separatists have lost the upper hand.

But the question remains: can Echo's newfound ability to access Separatist computers help the Republic regain control of their vital shipyards?

As you'll see, this original version doesn't start to cast doubt in where Echo's loyalties now lie, but the final version for Disney+ sets up that possibility.

On this episode, we'll talk about how things get wrapped up, and flag other differences between the story reel version and the final version. We'll also talk about three particular scenes of note in this episode: 1) in which Mace Windu does one of the most Jedi-like things we've ever seen him do; 2) in which Anakin, without witnesses, is shown leaning in to his darker impulses; and 3) the epilogue of the episode, which is entirely different from the story reel version and packs an emotional wallop that's played just right. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-14-StarWars7x7-2080.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

On Thursday, Disney made statements related to the coronavirus pandemic, announcing the temporary closures of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, and Disneyland Paris Resort.

Based on the announcements, it sounds like the Downtown Disney locations in Florida and California will remain open for the time being. It also reads like the hotels in Florida will remain open but the ones in California will close - either way, please reach out directly to them if you have travel arrangements that could be affected during the month of March, which is how long the closures will last, at least for now.

As for Disney Cruise lines, they will be suspending new departures starting March 14, and through the end of the month. In a very welcome note, cast members will continue to be paid during the closures, which is a wonderful and humane thing to do.

Meanwhile, on behalf of everyone here at Star Wars 7x7, please be safe, and take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your community. If you're looking for information you can trust about the coronavirus, I highly recommend the Coronavirus Research Center at Johns Hopkins University (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/) as a source for updates, answers to questions, and emergency preparedness. There's a lot of information out there - some of it confusing, some of it contradictory, and some of it unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst. I'm finding that the more I read from JHU, the better situated I am to handle what's happening, and what's coming.

Direct download: 2020-03-13-StarWars7x7-2079.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Thanks to DK Publishing for sending me a copy of The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary to review and share with you! In fact, as with The Galactic Guide we discussed previously, I've also got an extra copy of this book to give away, which I'll be doing next month.

In the meantime, today's episode focuses on a review of the book, as well as some of the details author Pablo Hidalgo has taken with inspiration from the story of The Rise of Skywalker and blended in to the backgrounds of the stories for both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi - further enriching the experience of those movies as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-12-StarWars7x7-2078.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

ere was the headline that we haven't gotten to talk about yet:

Star Wars: Rogue One Prequel Actor Diego Luna Says Lucasfilm Doesn't Trust Him

And here's the problem with it. 90% or more of people who see that headline are not going to click through to read the article. That's not a criticism, that's just web statistics. So 90%+ of the thousands of people who see that are going to think to themselves, "WTF, Lucasfilm? Diego's a nice guy! There's more problems at Lucasfilm! And Disney!" And $*&%#$(*&$*(&%()&#$% and so on and so forth.

There are already enough strident and conflicting voices opining about Star Wars right now. We don't need media outlets to through gas on the fire to create fake controversies in order to get clicks.

And yes, it's fake. It's blandly misleading at best, and intentionally inflammatory at worst. On today's episode of the show, I'm going to share the basis of that headline with you - the appearance of Diego Luna on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. You can hear it exactly the way Luna tells it, and when you do, you'll see the latest example of exactly why we don't need people trying to start trouble where none exists. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-11-StarWars7x7-2077.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Max von Sydow kicked off the Sequel Trilogy with the gravitas and ease that comes with such an incredibly prolific filmography. He passed away on Sunday, and today, we're looking back at his storied career.

Direct download: 2020-03-10-StarWars7x7-2076.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and I got to thinking. Yes, it was a big deal that the character of Princess Leia debuted in 1997. And yes, they made Padme Amidala a strong character in the prequels. But I think:

A) It's fair to say that the Original Trilogy is very much about Luke more than anyone else

B) The Prequel Trilogy is very much about Anakin more than anyone else

C) You could successfully make a case that the OT is more concerned with Han's character arc than Leia's

D) You could successfully make the case that the PT is more concerned with Obi-Wan's character arc than Padme's

Now, there may have been great strides made for leading female characters in the old Expanded Universe (I hope so!), but the fact of the matter is, most people experience Star Wars through movies and television. And it looks as though Lucasfilm didn't set out to tell a Star Wars story in film or TV with a significant female character until the Clone Wars in 2008 - more than three decades after the debut of A New Hope.

I'm going to be talking about this on today's episode, speaking in support of more leading female characters, and a female-led Star Wars movie for the 2022 date. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-09-StarWars7x7-2075.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Thanks again to DK Publishing for sending me a review copy of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Galactic Guide to check out and share with you! On Friday, we covered a bunch of new things you can learn from the book about the heroes the final movie in the Skywalker Saga. On today's episode, I'm switching the focus to the bad guys, starting with what seems to be a startling omission at first. But upon reflection, you can imagine this must be because of a big secret they wanted to be sure to keep...

And we'll also go over a couple of quick bits of trivia about Kef Bir, Kijimi, and that smooth-talking scoundrel Lando Calrissian. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-08-StarWars7x7-2074.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

"On the Wings of Keeradaks" is the third episode of the final season, season 7 of the Clone Wars. It's also the third in a four-part story arc, and as much as I hate to say it, it's the weakest one so far - so much so that it's almost unnecessary.

That's not to say the episode is without merit. There are exciting action sequences, a bit of Wrecker comedy, and a moment at the end that's heavy with emotion. But as we'll discuss on today's Clone Wars Briefing, there's nothing about this episode that advances the story of this final season. They got to Echo in the last episode. We knew they'd get him off planet after that. Did we learn anything new in the process, or add depth or complexity to the storyline? Unfortunately, no.

There were some missed opportunities that could have made this episode more necessary - at least one of which was hinted at in the original story-reel version of this episode. We'll talk about that, and about other changes to the episode from the story reels to the final Disney+ version. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-07-StarWars7x7-2073.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

DK Publishing was kind enough to send me a review copy of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Galactic Guide when it was released. On today's episode, I'm sharing as many fast facts as possible that I learned about the backstory of The Rise of Skywalker from this book, as well as some fun facts about the book itself - including places where it shares information that ties into other Star Wars media, including animation, novels, and comics. Today's episode focuses on what we learn about the good guys and their circumstances, and we'll be talking about the bad guys soon enough, as well as an upcoming giveaway!

It's a full-color, 96-page book that's almost like a mini Visual Dictionary, for younger readers. DK refers to it as "illustrated with action-packed images from the movie, accompanied by fun, easy-to-read text." And that's exactly right. Matt Jones does great, energetic, and breezy work with the writing Also, in place of cross-sections, they have fun features like little quizzes. Turns out I'm most like General Leia Organa as far as heroes go, and my ideal vacation spot would be Kef Bir! Time to pack my bags... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-06-StarWars7x7-2072.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Here's what Lucasfilm said at the top of their official press release/announcement for the mystery formerly known as Project Luminous - now revealed as Star Wars: The High Republic:

This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap any of the filmed features or series currently planned for production, giving creators and partners a vast amount of room to tell Star Wars stories with new adventures and original characters.

Okay, yeah, okay, but... what's "currently planned for production"? Mandalorian Season 2, the Cassian Andor series, and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. That's it, as far as we know. There still hasn't been any announcement about what's in the works for the dates on Disney's release calendar - December 2022, December 2024, and December 2026. And everything in the rumor mill has been vague, categorized as "in talks" (no contract signed and not in development), or in the very early stages of development (see: Kevin Feige).

So, that official statement doesn't exactly preclude The High Republic from making the jump out of publishing, does it? And wait, there's more! On today's episode, I'll be picking out quotes from a variety of people that seem to point at the possibility of The High Republic serving as a testing ground that could - *could* - evolve into live-action stories. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-05-StarWars7x7-2071.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Wookiee Hunt" is the 22nd and final episode from season 3 of the Clone Wars, and it features an instance of stunt casting! The Trandoshans have captured a Wookiee to hunt, and it's none other than Chewbacca. This is his first in-universe appearance, from a timeline perspective, and he'd have to be around 180 years old at this point.

He gets to showcase both his brains and brawn on this episode, and for our Clone Wars Briefing, we'll get into all those details - including a very funny assist with a Jedi mind trick, and one of the most touching scenes with Anakin and Ahsoka to date. Plus, how Chewie is mentioned in the credits, and what it means for his performance in the episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-04-StarWars7x7-2070.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Padawan Lost" is episode 21 from season 3 of the Clone Wars series, and it's the first of a two-part story arc. Why are we talking about this episode today, you might ask? Well, it's the only remaining story arc that we haven't covered here on the show from season 3, and since it also happens that its featured player - Ahsoka Tano - figures prominently in the upcoming second and third story arcs of season 7, I thought it might be fun to look back at her earlier days, and finish off the season 3 Clone Wars Briefings at the same time.

So we'll talk about this episode, which requires you to invent your own reasoning for why a Trandoshan is randomly skulking around a Separatist base on Felucia, and demonstrates the growing emotional attachment Anakin feels for his Padawan. She's kidnapped without a trace, brought to a Trandoshan moon where she's hunted for sport (and for a youth's rite of passage, which goes very badly for said youth).

This episode also got me thinking about the animation in season 7; how it compares to season 3; what people were saying about the Clone Wars animation at the start of the show; how far we've come since then; and a little wistfulness over what could have been if Star Wars Resistance had a chance to run for more seasons. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-03-StarWars7x7-2069.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Rise of Skywalker has been in theaters for more than 70 days now, but for all intents and purposes, the run is complete. Last weekend, it was only playing on about 400 screens domestically, and on the Friday (2/28), it took in an estimated $84,000. At this rate, it's pretty safe to say that these final weeks at the box office won't even have much of a rounding effect on the totals...

So on this, the last Jedi Business episode for the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, I'll share where the numbers stand domestically and worldwide; where it ranked in 2019 and all-time; how it compared to Rogue One at the box office (its nearest Star Wars competitor by box office); and the one possible jump in ranking it could still make.

I'll also talk about what's next for Star Wars movies, and how the recent Project Luminous publishing announcement relates (if at all) to the future of Star Wars on the big screen. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-02-StarWars7x7-2068.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Happy March 2020! On today's episode of the show, I'll be running down all the major events - that we know about so far - in Star Wars storytelling for the month. From The Rise of Skywalker's foray into your home in various formats, to the latest hints at the second story arc of Clone Wars Season 7, and much more, we'll explore all of it here. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-01-StarWars7x7-2067.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"A Distant Echo," episode 2 from season 7 of the Clone Wars, is also the second of a four-part story arc, and picks up not long after where we left off in the previous episode. Rex and the Bad Batch have returned to base, and the Jedi Council has the discoveries of the previous mission under consideration. The gang, along with Anakin, are awaiting the final go-ahead to leave for Skako Minor, but Anakin has a thing... You know, a *thing*...

Which leads to us learning that Anakin uses Rex's quarters to make calls to Padme on the regular. Which means that Rex knows something. And Obi-Wan suspects it, telling Anakin that he hopes Ani said hi to Padme for him. Ani doesn't take the bait, but it does seem like his relationship with her is becoming an open secret, at some level.

But, on to the business at hand. Anakin, Rex, and the Bad Batch head to Skako Minor, and on today's episode, we'll sum up the mission, get to the big reveal, and also talk about some of the differences between the story reel version and the final finished episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-29-StarWars7x7-2066.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Citadel Rescue," episode 20 from season 3 of the Clone Wars series, is the final episode in a three-part story arc that also happens to serve as a prequel of sorts to the first story arc of the new season 7 of the Clone Wars.

The fate of Echo - who was caught in an explosion at the end of the previous episode, "Counterattack" - is not mentioned at all in "Citadel Rescue," so we're left to believe that he was killed in action. But there will be other casualties during "Citadel Rescue," including more clones, more of Even Piell's command crew, and most surprising of all, Even Piell himself. The battlefield funeral scene, for me, was one of the most emotional moments I've encountered in the Clone Wars so far.

In fact, this episode touched on a full range of emotions, and felt longer than it actually was - in a good way! They packed so much into it, it's hard to believe it all happened in twenty-odd minutes. I'll be going over the important details in today's episode, including a crucial exchange at the end between Tarkin and Anakin, and then Obi-Wan and Anakin, that lays out yet another stone in Anakin's path to the dark side of the Force. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-28-StarWars7x7-2065.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Counterattack" is episode 19 from season 3 of the Clone Wars, and the second of a three-part story arc. And *this* is the episode where clone trooper Echo gets caught in an explosion - an event which has major ramifications for the first story arc of the new season 7 of the Clone Wars.

All we see of Echo is him getting thrown by the blast as their escape shuttle is destroyed, and he's at the foot of the ramp when it happens. As our heroes retreat off the landing platform, there's ominous music and a pan down to Echo's helmet, which came off as a result of the explosion. As for his body? Well, we don't see it again in this episode. I'm hinting around the spoiler alert for episode 1 for season 7 at this point, but I won't add any more until we talk about the final episode in the arc.

On today's episode, though, we'll run down all the major details of this one, and - in a side note - talk about the Indiana Jones 5 news, with Steven Spielberg deciding not to direct the movie after all. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-27-StarWars7x7-2064.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Yes, Bob Iger has been thinking about his retirement for a while. He's been asked to stay by Disney for much longer than his initial contract limits were, and had signed multiple extensions. On the other hand, it does seem odd that on a random Tuesday afternoon at the end of February, Disney makes the announcement that Iger is stepping down as CEO effective immediately, and will be replaced by Bob Chapek. Chapek most recently served as chairman of Parks, Experiences, and Products - which means the creation of Galaxy's Edge happened under his watch.

The unusual timing necessitated a hastily arranged call with Wall Street investors - one of whom sounded like he was calling in from a bar! - to ask what everyone wanted to know: Why now? And what does this mean for the future of Disney?

On today's episode, I'm sharing Iger's answers to these questions, and introducing you to Chapek. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-26-StarWars7x7-2063.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

It begins! The Project Luminous kickoff event was held last night, and the contributions of all five authors (so far) have been revealed:

Charles Soule: the adult novel, Light of the Jedi
Claudia Gray: the YA novel, Into the Dark
Justina Ireland: the middle grade novel, A Test of Courage
Cavan Scott: the Marvel series, The High Republic
Daniel José Older: the IDW series, The High Republic Adventures

The massive publishing initiative will take place during the High Republic, an era 200 years prior to the events of the Skywalker Saga. I'll go over all the major details Lucasfilm shared at the event last night, including some behind-the-scenes information you'll find VERY intriguing... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-25-StarWars7x7-2062.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"The Bad Batch," episode 1 from season 7 of the Clone Wars, features Captain Rex making a shocking discovery by the end of the episode. To understand the history behind that discovery, we have to go back in time a bit - to a story arc that began with episode 18 from season 3, "The Citadel."

It's the first of three episodes that deals with the capture of Even Piell, a Jedi with knowledge of a secret hyperspace lane called the Nexus Route, which connects both Separatist and Republic homeworlds. That means it has some very serious military potential, and the Separatists want to get that information out of him in any way possible. On the other hand, the Jedi want to get Piell back before he breaks. That will require them breaking into The Citadel, a prison designed specifically to hold Jedi, and from which no one has ever escaped.

It turns out that this was the last Clone Wars Briefing I had done, prior to the recent series to prep for season 7. So this episode is also a bit of a blast from the past, since it features content from nearly 1,000 episodes ago! And we'll talk about the mission, about R2-D2's rank promotion, the first appearance of a famous OT villain, and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-24-StarWars7x7-2061.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

First it was Taika Waititi in January. Now, in February, J.D. Dillard is in the spotlight, being rumored as in early development talks for a Star Wars movie along with writer Matt Owens.

Lucasfilm, of course, hasn't said a word about this. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story, and Variety and Deadline Hollywood followed up with their own confirmations. But I should be clear that those "confirmations" are only confirmations that they're hearing the same rumors THR is reporting. That doesn't mean the story is true - yet - it's just that different people's sources are saying similar things.

So we'll talk about all the details out there so far, and tell you a little bit about Dillard's background from a profile in Fast Company last year. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-23-StarWars7x7-2060.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"The Bad Batch" is episode 1 from season 7 of the Clone Wars - yes, it's finally here! And in a development that shouldn't come as a surprise, there are a couple of differences between the version previously presented as story reels/unfinished animation, and the final version that debuted on Disney+ yesterday.

The main differences are in the setup - a different fortune cookie, a variation on the explanation for why the Republic is losing the fight on Anaxes, a different origin for the mission idea, and a new scene with Rex and Cody in the barracks. And that's within the first few minutes of the episode!

The rest more or less falls in line with what we already know, and in this full-spoiler Clone Wars Briefing, I'll walk you through it all. We'll also talk about the significance of Rex's theory for their losses, the big ending reveal, and who inspired the naming of Clone Force 99. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-22-StarWars7x7-2059.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Today's the day! First announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2018, Clone Wars Season 7 is finally here, with the first episode dropping on Disney+ earlier today. And tomorrow, we'll have the official Clone Wars Briefing for the episode, "The Bad Batch."

For today, however: We know that the Bad Batch story arc is going to kick off the season, and it's a fair bet that the Siege of Mandalore story arc will end the season. But what will happen in those middle episodes?

Well, we know that Ahsoka is going to be back in touch with the Jedi Order, but here's the thing - she needs a reason to get back in touch with them. So, why would she? Well, the answers may already be out there...

I'm taking a look back at some footage from the trailer for the new season, combined with some recent interview comments from Dave Filoni, and the epic "Ahsoka's Untold Tales" panel from Star Wars Celebration London in 2016 - in particular, the "Ahsoka's Walkabout" and "Return to the Jedi" arcs - to consider what that might mean for episodes 5-8 of the new season. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-21-StarWars7x7-2058.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Sacrifice" is episode 13 from season 6 of the Clone Wars - what we thought would be the last episode ever, until fan campaigns, the advent of Disney+, and the desire of Dave Filoni to finish what he started all combined to result in the season 7 that debuts tomorrow.

For now, though, we're focused on resolving the final story arc from season 6, which features Yoda flying to Moraband, the Sith homeworld. There, he will face his final tests in order for the Force Priestesses to believe that Yoda may be trained in the means of maintaining his identity after death, and being able to commune with the living as a Force ghost.

Well, the Force Priestesses pull out all the stops on these final tests, but the very last one subjects Yoda - and unwittingly, I might add - to the machinations of Darth Sidious and Count Dooku, both of whom realize that Yoda is on Moraband, and act to take advantage of the situation and destroy him.

We'll talk about all of this on today's episode, as well as the "other path" of which Yoda speaks to Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a different read on the "There is another Skywalker" line that appears in this episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-20-StarWars7x7-2057.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Destiny" is season 6, episode 12 from the Clone Wars, the third part of a four-episode story are, and the penultimate episode of the Clone Wars - at least, until season 7 debuts on Friday.

From what we know about season 7 so far, it doesn't initially seem like this final season 6 story arc will affect the events of season 7 very much. And we know two of the three story arcs so far - the Bad Batch arc, and the Siege of Mandalore arc. What the third one is, is still a mystery at this point.

Meanwhile, speaking of mysteries, "Destiny" dives deeply into the mysteries of the Living Force and the Cosmic Force, as Yoda travels to one of the purported wellsprings of life to learn how to preserve his identity after death. There, he encounters the five Force Priestesses - Confusion, Anger, Sadness, Joy, and Serenity. (Makes you wonder if the Pixar movie Inside Out took any inspiration from this!) And even though they argue about whether to train Yoda, the fact remains that his destiny is already set, and he is supposed to teach someone who will eventually save the universe from a great imbalance.

You could argue that this is a reference to Luke Skywalker, and you could also argue that Yoda did it twice with him. Which I will, in fact, argue in this episode, as well as break down the details you need to know before the finale. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-19-StarWars7x7-2056.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Voices" is episode 11 from season 6 of the Clone Wars, and aside from the Clone Wars Briefing that takes place on this show, we could be doing a whole separate episode about the nature of the Force - this episode reveals things that even the Jedi didn't know about it, and that deeply enhance our own understanding of it.

But there's also more pressing matters to consider, like the fact that the leader of the Separatists is the same person who is responsible for the creation of a clone army for the Republic. Yoda meditates deeply and here's the voice of a long-gone Jedi: Qui-Gon Jinn, voiced (pun intended) in a triumphant return by Liam Neeson. And the ghost of Jinn blows out candles and levitates Yoda himself to prove he's legit.

But Yoda's concerned that it's just a voice in his head or - more darkly considered by Ki-Adi-Mundi - that he's come under the sway of the dark side of the Force in some unknown fashion. And group meditation, sensory deprivation, and bed rest do nothing to help matters.

So Yoda instead follows the voice of Qui-Gon's instructions to go to Dagobah, alone, to find out just WTF (what the Force) is going on. We'll talk about all of that in today's episode... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-18-StarWars7x7-2055.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The urge to start this post with the big line from Yoda at the end of "The Lost One" is almost too much to bear. This episode of the show is a full spoiler Clone Wars Briefing for episode 10 from season 6, which also begins the final story arc of "The Lost Missions" episodes. So you'll hear me say it on the show, and revel in the magnitude of it for a time as well.

But I'll keep it out of here, just in case. What you need to know in the run-up to it: The episode kicks off with the Jedi receiving a distress signal from a ship long missing. Why did it suddenly start broadcasting now, more than a decade after its disappearance? That's never answered, but what Plo Koon discovers at the source sets a terrible chain of events in motion. The ship contains the lightsaber of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas - yes, that Sifo-Dyas, the one who ordered the creation of the clone army.

Well, the thought was that Sifo-Dyas had died while helping warring tribes on Felucia negotiate a truce. But the rest of his file was sealed by the Office of the Supreme Chancellor. Is this a plot by Palpatine? Well, no, but he certainly managed to take advantage of a sticky political situation involving the Pyke Syndicate ...

I'll dig into all the details you need to know on today's episode, including the shocking discovery Obi-Wan and Anakin make on the Pyke home planet, and how that leads to the even more shocking conclusion with Yoda and the Jedi Council at the end of the episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-17-StarWars7x7-2054.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"The Disappeared, Part 2" is season 6, episode 9 of the Clone Wars series, and this briefing is going to go quickly. That's because most of the plot was set up in Part 1 of this two-part story arc, and Part 2 is all about how Jar Jar and Mace are going to pull off the rescue of Queen Julia. The only big new deal of the episode is the detail behind the prophecy about chaos and destruction coming to the galaxy if the Frangawl cult pulls off their shenanigans.

We'll talk about that new news, and we'll also talk about the new preview video released for season 7 of the Clone Wars, featuring the Bad Batch - clones with "desirable mutations." It turns out that, along with titles for the first two episodes of season 7, that we've already heard a lot more about the first story arc of season 7 than we may have guessed. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-16-StarWars7x7-2053.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"The Disappeared, Part 1" is season six, episode 8 of the Clone Wars, and the first of a two-parter. And it's remarkable for a strange juxtaposition.

On the one hand, the story is about the fact that various spiritual leaders on the neutral planet Bardotta have mysteriously disappeared. And it turns out this is a particular set of Force-sensitive mystics called the Dagoyan Masters. As Yoda notes, they're not warriors - their connection with the Force is about intuition, knowledge, and the harmonies of the universe. But they think the Jedi are kidnappers, and so relations between the two groups aren't so hot.

So it turns out that another group of Bardottan mystics - the Frangawl cult - is kidnapping the Dagoayn Masters to sacrifice to an ancient demon, Malmourral. And their cult temple is built, surprise surprise, deep below the Dagoyan Masters temple. (Why do cultures keep doing this? It seems like the worst idea every time.)

But meanwhile, Queen Julia of Bardotta requests help from the Republic, but will only accept one emissary - Jar Jar Binks, who is triumphantly voiced by Ahmed Best. Why Binks, you might ask? Because apparently he and Queen Julia have a thing going on. (Mace Windu, after finally reconnecting with Jar Jar on Bardotta - "Where were you last night?" With the clear implication that Jar Jar and Queen Julia were ... well, perhaps it's best left to the imagination. Or not.

We'll talk about *most* of this on today's episode, plus a surprising fact about the writer of this two-part episode. Punch it!

Direct download: 2020-02-15-StarWars7x7-2052.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Crisis at the Heart" is the seventh episode from season six of the Clone Wars, and concludes the Banking Clan/Clovis story arc. Honestly, this is a plot following the formula of The Phantom Menace, in its way. Instead of the taxation of trade routes driving the action, this time we're talking about the interest on bank loans driving the action!

Specifically, Count Dooku has the leverage to entrap Clovis, just as Darth Sidious intended. Clovis wants to remain impartial in the Separatist/Republic conflict, but Dooku has the goods on Clovis. Where did Clovis get the information that caused the Banking Clan's Core Five to get arrested, which resulted in Clovis' own elevation to run the banks? Why, from the Separatists! That won't make him look good in the eyes of the Republic.

And neither will raising interest rates on loans to the Republic, which Clovis does, or else Dooku will stop paying interest on Separatist loans and collapse the banks. I suppose it's the Republic's own fault for agreeing to variable rate loan terms, but I digress.

It may seem like it's all about numbers, but that's until the Separatists arrive with an invasion fleet, triggering a military response from the Republic, and then it's all about the action! We'll break it down in this Clone Wars Briefing, as well as the final showdown between Anakin and Clovis. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-14-StarWars7x7-2051.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"The Rise of Clovis" is episode 6 from season 6 of the Clone Wars, and (according to Wookieepedia), was once part of a larger story arc that included "A Friend in Need," which ultimately was split off and became episode 14 from season 4 of the show. Which fits it into the four-episode story arc structure business about which we've talked previously on the show...

So Palpatine is at his manipulative worst in this episode, and I mean that in a good way (from a storytelling standpoint). He positions Padme to continue working with Clovis, and he HAS to be able to tell how mad that makes Anakin. Certainly Yoda picks up on it, and Clovis does, too. Yoda even shares his concerns with Obi-Wan, who comes to talk to his Padawan about clouded judgment, about romantic attachments, and even about Obi-Wan's feelings for the Duchess Satine of Mandalore.

We'll talk about all of this on the show today, as well as how "The Rise of Clovis" got me thinking about "The Rise of Skywalker," and what that title actually means... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-13-StarWars7x7-2050.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"An Old Friend" is the fifth episode from season six of the Clone Wars, and starts a three-episode story arc that's cut from the mold of The Phantom Menace in terms of its setup. Here's the opening narration:

As the war between the Republic and the Separatists intensifies, many are driven from their home planets, and it is up to Senator Amidala to secure aid for them.

All eyes turn to the Banking Clan and the planet Scipio. In an effort to remain independent from the Republic and the Separatists, all operations are divided, and money transactions are performed in a neutral zone surrounding the main vault. For operations to continue, there must be no war on Scipio.

However, worry about the stability of the Banking Clan is brewing within the Republic as the wellspring of money may be in jeopardy....

Taxation of trade routes? Neutral zone banking transactions? Wow! But things get very personal, very fast, when Padme comes face-to-face with the Banking Clan's top negotiator - Rush Clovis, a known Separatist collaborator, and someone who didn't do much of anything to try and save her when she'd been poisoned during their last encounter.

To complicate matters, there's a bounty hunter named Embo on Scipio, and while at first it seems like he's after Padme, later he appears to be shooting at Clovis. That's because Clovis claims to know that the Banking Clan is about to be bankrupt, and needs help exposing them.

We'll talk about all of this in today's Clone Wars Briefing, and also about story-arc structure in these final episodes. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-12-StarWars7x7-2049.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Orders" is episode 4 from season 6 of the Clone Wars series, and the final episode of the season-opening story arc. Unfortunately - for our characters, that is - it ends about as badly as you would expect it to, if you've already seen Revenge of the Sith.

Fives has been brought to Coruscant to present his discoveries to Chancellor Palpatine himself, but before that happens, Kaminoan collaborator Nala Se injects Fives with an unknown substance. Surprise surprise, when Fives is left alone in a room with Palpatine and his guard, Fives goes nuts and tries to kill everyone. Shaak Ti saves Palpatine and Fives goes on the run, and from there, well, let's just say that this Clone Wars Briefing is a full-spoiler show, and leave it at that.

We'll talk about the rest today, and also thrown in a wee book review for R2-D2 Is Lost! Thanks to Disney Lucasfilm Press for sending me a review copy - it's out wherever you buy books as of today, and it's a fun ride for your younger readers. There are plenty of references to Return of the Jedi, a story that covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time, and also features Artoo throwing shade at Threepio, which is always good fun. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-11-StarWars7x7-2048.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Fugitive" is episode 3 from season 6 of the Clone Wars, and we're now going from battlefield action to medical investigation to sci-fi thriller in our genre-busting first story arc of the season. It's a wild ride, and it works fantastically well.

Fives is supposed to be undergoing one last test before he's shipped back to the 501st, but medical droid AZI-3 says he's heard Fives is going to be reprogrammed and kept on Kamino as a sanitation worker. That, obviously, doesn't go over well with Fives, who overpowers his escort and goes on the run with AZI-3.

During the course of the episode, Fives learns that the rabbit hole related to Tup's "tumor" goes very, very deep indeed, and leads to a shocking revelation - one thqt can't end well in any way, shape, or form, unfortunately. And it also raised the question for me about viewing order. We all like to discuss the best order in which to view the Star Wars movies, but this series of episodes makes a strong case for recommending that they be seen before Revenge of the Sith.

I'll be talking about all of that and more in today's Clone Wars Briefing, but settling the matter of the proper pronunciation of "Kaminoan." Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-10-StarWars7x7-2047.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"Conspiracy" is the second episode from season 6 of the Clone Wars, and the second of a four-episode arc. Instead of being a sort of fog-of-war episode with lots of action like the last one, this episode is more of a medical investigation drama. That in itself is remarkable - it goes to show how flexible the Star Wars storytelling universe can be, and it also goes to show how unusual this is for a supposed kids cartoon. This really seems more like young adult storytelling and above.

Also, the sense of dread that you may have started to feel about the situation in the previous episode is only going to get worse in this one. Rex and Fives accompany Tup to Kamino, but while Rex is sent back to fight, Fives is kept in quarantine, in case he has the same problem that Tup does. (Why they didn't keep Rex also, since he was exposed, doesn't make sense to me.)

Tup and Fives both come up negative for any virus, and a debate over Tup's fate develops between Jedi General Shaak Ti, who wants Tup to undergo an atomic brain scan, and the Kaminoans, who want to "terminate" Tup and investigate after the fact. But we find out that the reason why the Kaminoans don't want Tup to undergo an atomic brain scan is because of what it will reveal...

We'll talk about that today, and about a change to the model of how these seasons are released. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-09-StarWars7x7-2046.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Now we move into the Lost Missions! That's how Lucasfilm referred to season 6 of the Clone Wars. It was originally intended to be a 22-episode season, but then it was pulled from the Cartoon Network lineup as of the end of season 5, in March 2013. But - good news! Production was still ongoing, and they ultimately completed 13 episodes, which were first released in Germany and later via Netflix in the US and Canada in early 2014.

On today's Clone Wars Briefing, we'll examine "The Unknown," episode 1 and the first of a four-part story arc. It's a story that, if you've already seen Revenge of the Sith, might fill you with a certain kind of dread. A clone named Tup has a mental breakdown and shoots a Jedi dead at point-blank range. When Count Dooku hears about it, he realizes that one of the big plans he has with Darth Sidious is in danger of being discovered. (Today I learned: Count Dooku knew about Order 66. I knew he knew about the creation of the clone army, but I didn't know he knew that particular secret about it.)

Thus begins a cat-and-mouse game for possession of Tup, which we'll talk about in today's episode, as well as the stunning visuals, and also a bit of Star Wars news I never got to in yesterday's roundup episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-08-StarWars7x7-2045.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

There have been a few decent-sized bits of news about Star Wars recently, not the least of which was the Disney earnings call earlier this week, when Bob Iger spoke about the future of Star Wars storytelling. I'll share the clip of him talking about that on today's show, and we'll talk about a few other things, too, including Rian Johnson, Project Luminous, and two names you might never have heard of - one who played a number of onscreen Star Wars roles, and one who helped the original Star Wars succeed from behind the scenes. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-07-StarWars7x7-2044.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

And now, we come to the end of the Jedi Temple bombing story arc, and the end of season 5 of the Clone Wars, and the end of episodes of the Star Wars animated series on Cartoon Network. "The Wrong Jedi" - a title inspired, yet again, by an Alfred Hitchcock movie title, and yet again with not much to do with the actual content of the episode - features the final fate of Ahsoka Tano (at least, as depicted in the Clone Wars to date).

On today's Clone Wars Briefing, we'll explore the events of the finale, including a little moment or two that make all the difference in the emotional storytelling; the question of what rank Ahsoka would have had if she'd rejoined the Jedi Order; Barriss Offee's shocking confession; and whether Ahsoka already knows Anakin's deepest secret. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-06-StarWars7x7-2043.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Again with the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired titling! But To Catch a Thief doesn't offer any clues to the events of "To Catch a Jedi," which is episode 19 from season 5 of the Clone Wars animated series, and the third of a four-episode story arc that will conclude the season (after episode 20, "The Wrong Jedi").

Ahsoka is on the run, and the murders for which she's been framed - plus the presumption that she has something to do with the Jedi Temple bombing herself - are being described as an act of "sedition" by *that* Admiral Tarkin. And man, "sedition" is a pretty big word for a kid's cartoon show, which this increasingly seems not to be...

Anakin and Plo Koon are assigned to track Ahsoka down and bring her back to the Jedi Temple, both very logical choices. Ahsoka is Anakin's padawan, of course, but Plo is the Jedi who found a young, Force-sensitive toddler Ahsoka all those years ago and brought her to the Jedi Temple to become a Jedi. So they have a long-standing bond as well.

Now, if you thought things weren't complicated enough, Asajj Ventress decides to work her way into this whole business. Barriss Offee passes on a clue to Ahsoka that doesn't quite work out as intended - or does it? And the episode also plays around on levels above and below 1313, the infamous level that was supposed to appear in a previously partially developed Star Wars story project. We'll talk about all of this and more on the show today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-05-StarWars7x7-2042.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"The Jedi Who Knew Too Much" is the second of a four-part story arc that concludes season 5 of the Clone Wars cartoon series. Today, it's a Clone Wars Briefing on this episode, episode 18 from season 5.

Influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and Richard Kimble, this episode finds Ahsoka unwittingly maneuvered into a very bad position. Letta Turmond, the prime suspect in the Jedi Temple bombing plot, has been remanded into Republic military custody, but she'll only talk to Ahsoka. When Ahsoka arrives, Letta will only talk to Ahsoka alone, and tells Ahsoka that she (Letta) was told to reach out to Ahsoka if she (Letta) ever needed help. Do you sense the trouble brewing already?

Letta reveals that a Jedi is actually behind the bombing, because there are unhappy Jedi who don't like how they've become weapons of war in the conflict with the Separatists. But before Letta can reveal the true culprit, she's Force choked to death by an unknown assailant.

Perfect timing for a smarmy Admiral Tarkin (yes, *that* Tarkin) to arrive, and how convenient, there's video of the murder, but no audio. So Ahsoka is taken into custody. And later, when she finds a key card has been left behind for her to escape, she REALLY steps into it. Dead clone troopers and her lightsabers at hand, right when more clone troopers arrive? Now she's framed for multiple murders! She goes on the run, and even Anakin can't convince her to stop and help sort everything out.

We'll talk about all of this on today's episode, and explain the Hitchcock and Kimble references, too. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-04-StarWars7x7-2041.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

With season 7 of The Clone Wars coming to Disney+ starting February 21, I thought it would be a good time to catch you up on some of the stories that you may want to be aware of, or be refreshed about, prior to the debut of the final season. So we're starting with the final story arc of season 5, and the first episode thereof, which is "Sabotage." That's episode 17 from season 5, to be specific.

Personally, I haven't seen an episode of The Clone Wars since the middle of season 3, so I'm dropping in a bit ahead of where I was - like, two full season's worth of episodes - and I have to say, I'm super-impressed. The complexity of the animation for the opening space battle, even for the few seconds it's onscreen, rivals the complexity and fill-your-screen madness of the opening battle in Revenge of the Sith.

Additionally, the types of issues they address - either head-on, or with a side comment to let you know they're thinking about these things - is also rather complex, too. I know this was intended for an older audience than, say, Star Wars Resistance, but it was still intended to be for kids. And yet, we're getting nods to the poverty on Coruscant, the ethics of war and the Jedi's involvement in it, and holographic re-creations of a bombing crime scene. This is pretty heady stuff.

So we'll run the Clone Wars Briefing on this episode today, and we'll also talk about what genre Star Wars actually is, or could be. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-03-StarWars7x7-2040.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

There won't be a new episode of Star Wars Resistance tonight, because the season has ended, and the series has ended. And in the opinion of your humble Star Wars 7x7 host, the ending has come far too soon. On today's episode of the show, I'm going to be highlighting a lot of the positives from the show, especially those that came in the second half of the second season.

I'll also talk about the timeline of Star Wars Resistance, from the announcement of its second season renewal to the announcement that the second season would be its last, and related points in between and since. Mix in a dash of speculation, and a round of kudos to the cast and other creatives, and you have a eulogy of sorts for Star Wars Resistance. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-02-StarWars7x7-2039.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Happy February! On today's episode of the show, we're going to look ahead at this month about talk about Star Wars storytelling in movies, live-action TV, animation, books, comics, and more. What's going to be released? What can we expect announcements about? And what is the deal with Project Luminous??? We'll cover it all today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-02-01-StarWars7x7-2038.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

We had some seriously in-depth questions from Patrons of Star Wars 7x7 this month! So in this, the second of two podcast episodes dedicated to answering those questions, we're going examine prophecies from the novel Master & Apprentice, and see whether they predicted Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker; consider whether Luke's green lightsaber should have been buried with the Anakin blue lightsaber on Tatooine instead of Leia's lightsaber; and talk about John Boyega's comments about Disney+ and the potential of appearing in future Star Wars projects. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-31-StarWars7x7-2037.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

This month on the Patreon Q&A episode, there will have to be two episodes! Why, you ask? Because the questions our Patrons sent in are awesome, and there are enough of them that go deep enough with the answer that I won't be able to get to them all on this episode.

So, today: An exploration of how Chewie's family, first introduced in the Star Wars Holiday Special, has been re-canonized over the last few years; the story about the possibility of splitting The Rise of Skywalker into two films, and whether Disney/Lucasfilm made the right choice in keeping it as one movie; exploring the reveal of Finn's Force sensitivity and the potential of it being fodder for future Star Wars stories; and the deal with the giant multi-colored hula hoop you see in the background of the video version of the show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-30-StarWars7x7-2036.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The 20+ minutes that make up part two of "The Escape" are also the final moments from the series run of Star Wars Resistance. When we broke for the first half, the Colossus was waiting in the Barabesh system, hoping to get word from Kaz or Yeager about their mission to help Tam defect from the First Order. Torra was ready to lead the other Aces on a follow-up mission to investigate, but Captain Doza wasn't ready to act, and remained unaware of the danger headed their way...

...thanks to Jace Rucklin, who managed to gain consciousness just in time to get that info on the Colossus' location, before being taken into First Order custody as a presumed accomplice to Tam's defection attempt. Not that the First Order will believe him. And Kaz, Yeager, and CB-23 are on the run inside the Star Destroyer (which, curiously, still hasn't been named for us in the series).

So, the task at hand - Kaz, Yeager, and CB-23 have to somehow escape the Star Destroyer with Tam, and the Colossus has to escape yet again from the approaching Star Destroyer. How that unfolds is what we'll be talking about on today's (final!) Resistance Briefing. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-29-StarWars7x7-2035.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The series finale for Star Wars Resistance kicks off with the first of a two-part adventure, "The Escape." Since the ending of season one, the big question has been about Tam Ryvora: Would she stay with the First Order and help them destroy the Colossus, or would she have a change of heart and try to rejoin her friends?

Well, I think we all anticipated what the final answer would be - the only unknown was how season 2 would navigate us to that result. And the final straw happens in the opening moments of this episode, as the First Order returns en masse to Aeos (last seen in "The New World" and "No Place Safe" two weeks ago) and bombards the planet for their role in assisting the crew of the Colossus. It's similar to First Order behavior we've seen in other media (books, comics), and it's very satisfying for Jace Rucklin (Elijah Wood, who's played this perfectly awful character to perfection). But for Tam, it's the breaking point. She can't be a part of this any longer.

On today's Resistance Briefing, we'll talk about what happens next, including the disturbing appearance of a major Sequel Trilogy villain. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-28-StarWars7x7-2034.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Rise of Skywalker just concluded its sixth weekend in theaters, and though the numbers have gone down again - as they do for every movie - the movie crossed a new milestone threshold on Saturday, and may overtake another Star Wars movie on the global grosses list within another week or so.

On today's episode - which will be the last weekly edition of the Jedi Business feature related to The Rise of Skywalker - we'll go over the numbers to date, where it could end up, and talk about how much money it could make between now and the end of its theatrical run. Which, incidentally, is much farther away than you might guess. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-27-StarWars7x7-2033.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Star Wars Celebration takes place August 27-30, 2020 in Anaheim this time around, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to attend again.

Today, I'm starting a series of monthly looks at what we know about the event so far. They haven't announced any guests as of yet, but we do know a lot of the stage elements, and the open applications give us more information as well. And even though they haven't announced the hours for the Exhibit Hall, they've given us a very good indication based on another element of the show... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-26-StarWars7x7-2032.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Here we are, a couple of days after the venerable Hollywood trade publications announced the rumors about a delay on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, and there's been exactly one new development - and it's a pretty big one.

No, there's still no statement at press time from Lucasfilm or Disney about the stories published earlier this week, and rumored the week prior. But Ewan McGregor was at the premiere for Birds of Prey, and you know how it is with actors in Star Wars - it doesn't matter what press they're doing, they're going to be asked about Star Wars. So you could consider this perfect timing!

On today's show, I'm going to highlight three interview clips with Ewan from the premiere, and as a last little thing, I'm going to flag a surprise cameo from The Clone Wars trailer the other day that we haven't yet talked about. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-25-StarWars7x7-2031.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, it's one thing when a website you've never heard of before say they hear the Obi-Wan Kenobi series has been canceled, and after a storm erupts on social media, they update the story to say the Kenobi series has only been "delayed." But then when the big-time Hollywood publications start looking into it ... let's just say that things totally start to get real. Like, executive-level realness.

Collider first reported yesterday they were hearing from sources that production on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series had been put on hold indefinitely, and people at Pinewood Studios had been sent home. Then The Hollywood Reporter got involved, and their sources not only confirmed* what Collider's sources were saying, but added a few more important details to the story.

*Confirmed meaning that The Hollywood Reporter heard what Collider heard. That doesn't mean this delay, hold, whatever you want to call it, has been officially confirmed by Lucasfilm or Disney - at the time of recording for this episode of the show, they hadn't commented at all.

On today's episode, I'll recap all the details from last week as well as what's changed this week, and we'll also talk about Lucasfilm's track record for these kinds of creative changes. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-24-StarWars7x7-2030.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

It's finally here! The final trailer for the final season of The Clone Wars dropped on Wednesday, and it's a doozy. Action-packed, to be sure, but also including some very thought-provoking moments as well. I'll be talking today about some of those highlights, as well as what story arcs we might be seeing (or not seeing) in this final season, the release schedule for the episodes, and more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-23-StarWars7x7-2029.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, the fifth weekend is in the books for The Rise of Skywalker, and the results are showing the beginning of the end of the box office run. That's not pessimism talking, necessarily - that's a reflection of a couple of facts that are showing up in the numbers.

For a start, TROS lost about 1200 screens this past weekend, meaning fewer opportunities to be making money at the box office. That said, the reason why it loses screens is because it's not making enough money to keep it on all of those screens. It's all about efficiency, you know, and movie houses want to make as much off of their screens as possible.

So TROS went down to about 3000 screens this weekend, and also dropped from second to fifth place at the box office. $21.5 million over the weekend is nothing to sneeze at, and not only has it crossed the $1 billion mark overall, it's also cracked the top 15 of domestic box office earners. As far as beating Rogue One or The Last Jedi, we'll talk about that and more on today's show... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-22-StarWars7x7-2028.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Since Kaz couldn't get to the Resistance in the previous episode of Star Wars Resistance, the Resistance is coming to him - sort of! In "Rebuilding the Resistance," Captain Doza's wife Venisa returns, along with the rest of her Jade Squadron Resistance fighters. They're hoping to evacuate some new Resistance recruits from - wait for it - Dantooine! And stash them on the Colossus for a few days. But Captain Doza has other plans, as does the First Order. They're taken over the planet and blockaded it, so this evacuation is going to be dangerous...

Featuring more starfighter battles (another recent strength of the series), this 17th episode from season 2 also features the second showdown in as many weeks between Kaz and Tam Ryvora. For the second time, she gets a target lock on him, and for the second time, she doesn't take him down. But we'll get to all of that and more in today's Resistance Briefing. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-21-StarWars7x7-2027.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

"No Place Safe" concludes a two-part story arc for Star Wars Resistance, and today's Resistance Briefing digs into this episode, which is number 16 in season two of the Star Wars animated series. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-20-StarWars7x7-2026.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The countdown to the final episodes of Star Wars Resistance begins! Today, it's a Resistance Briefing for "The New World," episode 15 from season 2 of the Star Wars animated series. The Colossus has been on the run from the First Order and survived a mutiny attempt staged by the pirates on board, but have they finally found a place they can call home?

Aeos Prime sure looks pretty sweet - and it's tucked away on the edge of the Outer Rim, far from prying eyes. But there's evidence that the First Order has been there recently, and possibly because the planet used to house an old Rebellion outpost. Uh-oh...

If you remember the "Martha!" moment from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, you might find (like I did) that someone in the writer's room (or the designers or animators or *someone*) had a similar realization about Griff Halloran's pilot helmet. It's a detail that's been kicking around for a season and a half, and there's finally been a plot point payoff for it. And we'll have a few more things to talk about, too... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-19-StarWars7x7-2025.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

You can't leave the Internet alone for a few hours without people losing their minds over unsourced rumors these days!

The most recent case happened yesterday, when a Twitter account and a website each reported (not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg, so to speak) that the Obi-Wan Kenobi series had been canceled in the wake of Ewan McGregor's departure over "creative differences."

So I thought we were going to be talking about Star Wars Resistance today, but instead we need to take a moment and set the story straight. The tl;dr is that the Twitter account is a fake one, the website is one I've never heard of until yesterday, and a bunch of industry people have been coming out to confirm that the story is false. As we get into the details of the situation on today's show, we'll also talk about what we do know for sure about the upcoming show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-18-StarWars7x7-2024.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

As first announced by The Hollywood Reporter, Taika Waititi is in early talks to helm an upcoming Star Wars movie. That news broke yesterday, and Variety and Deadline Hollywood later "confirmed" the story.

But what does that "confirmation" "actually" mean? I'm going to dig into that on today's episode. For now, I can tell you that, as of the time of the recording of the show, everyone else seems to be referencing one of those three publications, and no one else is breaking news on it. Neither Lucasfilm nor Waititi have responded to the stories, but Waititi did post a picture of the cover of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album on Twitter late yesterday, without further comment. So make of that what you will.

If it does turn out to be true, then I can tell you when it which previously announced Star Wars film date it can hit at the earliest, and - as a result of that, plus a few other things we'll discuss - we can make some guesses about the 2022 and 2026 movies as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-17-StarWars7x7-2023.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

We've done four 2020 preview episodes so far - for movies, live action series, animated series, and books - and now it's time to take a look at the comics!

2019 was a big transitional year for the Star Wars brand. Not only was it the year that saw the end of the Skywalker Saga, it also saw the end of a couple of long-running comic series. The flagship Star Wars title ended its first series, set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. And the wildly popular Doctor Aphra series that spun off from the first Darth Vader series also ended. Yikes!

On today's episode, we'll talk about what's coming next for Star Wars, Aphra, and Vader, as well as other existing series and miniseries. Also, there's even more time with announced situations than there is for the books! But based on past history, I can make some guesses - some reasonable, some less so - about what's to come. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-16-StarWars7x7-2022.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Academy Award nominations were announced on Monday, and The Rise of Skywalker has been nominated in three categories: Visual Effects, Original Score, and Sound Editing. Intriguingly - at least to me! - all the nominees for Sound Mixing are the same as for Sound Editing, with the lone exception being that Ad Astra was nominated instead of The Rise of Skywalker.

On today's show, we'll see how this compares to the rest of the Sequel Trilogy movies, the other Disney-era movies, and the rest of the Skywalker Saga as well. We'll also talk about how long it's been since a Star Wars movie won an Oscar in these main TV-broadcast categories (not counting "Special Achievement Awards," but acknowledging them while we're at it). And finally, we'll celebrate the work of one very special person who's been nominated for his work on six of the nine Skywalker Saga movies - and examine why he wasn't nominated for the other three. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-15-StarWars7x7-2021.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, it was going to happen sometime, it was only a matter of when. The Rise of Skywalker did not top the box office during its fourth weekend of release. That honor went to 1917, the World War I movie from Sam Mendes, which won a couple of Golden Globes two weekends ago, and opened "wide" for the first time this past weekend. (As in, it had ben in limited release previously and before the end of 2019, so it could qualify for the Academy Awards this year.)

On today's episode, we'll talk about how long the four previous Star Wars movies commanded the top of the box office by way of comparison, plus of course we'll go over the numbers so far, and talk about when The Rise of Skywalker will reach its next box office milestones - $1 billion global, and $500 million domestic.

Also - it's early yet, but I'm already thinking about it - a brief thought or two about whether any of the reactions to The Last Jedi had a noticeable impact on the performance of The Rise of Skywalker. Then finally, a moment of gratitude about the comments on the family mini-series of episodes that concluded yesterday, along with time-traveling thoughts about episode 2,022. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-14-StarWars7x7-2020.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

With it being the end of the "Skywalker Saga," and with it being called The Rise of Skywalker, it's probably no surprise that this whole movie hinges on family dynamics. And as we've done for the other 10 Star Wars movies whose release years coincided with our episode numbers, the final episode of that mini-series has arrived.

One of the fascinating things, though, is that the movie's dynamic is driven much more by the Palpatine family line than it is the Skywalker line. Sure, there are squad goals for the Skywalker lineage - like dealing with Ben Solo's descent to the dark side, and how any other Skywalkers (Luke, Leia, Anakin) would factor into the resolution of that character arc. But really, this is all driven by the Palpatine story, which kind of a dark mirror of the Skywalker story.

To wit: Palpatine uses a dark side acolyte to try to destroy the most powerful/only light side acolyte out there. If said light sider can't be destroyed, perhaps they can be turned instead. Thus, Palpatine is up to his old tricks, pitting light against dark, and all he cares about is who's stronger. But this time, he tries the seduction route a bit more. He offers the might of the Sith fleet to Kylo Ren in exchange for killing Rey. When that doesn't work, he tells Rey to strike him down so she can save her friends at Exogol. When Palpatine was egging Luke on to strike him down, he never dangled the carrot of saving his friends at Endor.

We'll talk about this and lots more, plus we'll address - as conclusively as it can be addressed right now - the Lando/Jannah father/daughter rumors. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-13-StarWars7x7-2019.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this series of episodes looking at family dynamics in the Star Wars movies, one of the main things upon which I've been keeping an eye is how family becomes a driving force for the story of a movie, or of a specific character's story, story arc, and/or development.

Yesterday, I said that The Last Jedi was one of the movies with the least amount of its story driven by family dynamics, and that was true. In fact, it's driven to a large degree by a lack of family - Rey finally admitting out loud that she has no family left to go home to or to come back for her, and Kylo/Ben having killed his father, allowed his mother to nearly be killed, ready to kill his uncle, and having his affinity for his grandfather ridiculed to the point that he destroys his own mask.

Well, Solo, by comparison, has none of those dynamics at all. It's the Star Wars movie with the least amount of story driven by family dynamics, hands-down. But there are brief conversations about parents, which I'll explore in today's episode, and I'll also share a fun fact I learned about Warwick Davis' character in Solo that would make for a great trivia question down the road. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-12-StarWars7x7-2018.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

This episode didn't quite go the way I thought. It's the episode number that matches the year of release for The Last Jedi, so we're exploring family themes (as with previous number/year matchups). But my first instinct was to say that family was less of a driver in this Star Wars movie than any other Star Wars movie we've discussed so far.

And in a sense, that's right. Rey has accepted, somewhere inside of her, that her family isn't coming back for her, so she's forging ahead with the Resistance and training (hopefully) with Luke. Meanwhile, Kylo is still reeling from having killed his dad, and instead of it solidifying his journey to the dark side, it's split his soul, and Snoke is using it to drag Kylo about his adoration of his grandfather.

Well, Kylo gets a shot at redemption, so to speak - literally and figuratively. But he can't do it, he can't kill his mother. But he won't save her, either, which means that he, too, is totally alone in this galaxy.

Except that he isn't. And that's where family suddenly comes into the whole equation in an unexpected way - and it's the kind of family we've talked about in previous episodes, though it's usually a good-guy phenomenon. That's the part I wasn't initially thinking about when I started the episode, but that's where it's going to go today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-11-StarWars7x7-2017.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

2016 is the year of Rogue One's release, so we're going to talk about that movie here on episode number 2,016 as well! As with our previous year/episode number matchups, family is the topic of the show, and in the case of Rogue One, family is a key driver of the action. Sure, you can make the case that family is important in most, if not all, of the Star Wars movies. But in this case, the father/daughter relationship between Galen and Jyn Erso is at the heart of the movie.

I noticed some parallels and follow-ups looking at the movie through this lens that I hadn't before. For example, Krennic calls Galen a terrible liar in the opening. Later, in Galen's hologram message (which Jyn hears in Saw Gerrera's hideout), Galen reveals that he learned to lie, in order to hide the flaw in the Death Star.

And Jyn telling the Rebel leaders in her initial briefing that it's easier for her to think of Galen as being dead, juxtaposed with Galen saying in his hologram that he tries to only think of Jyn when he's "strong enough"? Beautifully connected.

We'll be talking about this, and how Jyn's relationship (or connection, or lack thereof at times) drives her journey in the movie on today's episode. We'll also touch on the family situations only hinted at for three other characters as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-10-StarWars7x7-2016.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

And here we go! As with the episodes that corresponded to the years of release for the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy movies, we're now about to enter the final run of episodes focused on the theme of family in the Star Wars movies. Today, The Force Awakens is on tap.

We've talked on the podcast before about how many, MANY of the story beats from The Force Awakens mirror those from A New Hope. Well, it turns out that, seen through the lens of family, there's a similarity between the two as well. Both movies feature people from broken families banding together to achieve one great victory against a galaxy-threatening evil.

The primary difference is that The Force Awakens is much more overt about putting family front and center as a driving element of the story and its character arcs. The most significant reference to family you get in A New Hope is Obi-Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed Luke's father. Meanwhile, Rey's waiting for her family to return to Jakku, flagging the possibility that her lineage will prove significant; Kylo Ren is the estranged child of Han and Leia; Han and Leia themselves are estranged; and Leia has spent years searching desperately for her missing brother.

We'll discuss the finer points on today's show, including two other cast members for whom family plays a significant role. Ultimately, this is the most brutal Star Wars movie to all of its characters, as seen through the lens of family. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-09-StarWars7x7-2015.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Time to get back to our series of looks at what's to come in Star Wars storytelling for 2020! This is our fourth in the series - we've already covered movies, live action series, and animation. Now, we're on to novels, short stories, and children's books. On today's episode, I'll be going through the announcement we have so far, in chronological order, and sharing what we know about the titles announced so far.

I'll also talk about what's NOT on the calendar as of yet, since nothing has been announced for September and beyond. That includes one potential title that seems logical, when you look back at the 2017 Star Wars releases, and one very large project that's still quite mysterious... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-08-StarWars7x7-2014.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Welcome to another Resistance Briefing! With this one, we're all caught up on Star Wars Resistance, as today's episode of the podcast breaks down "The Mutiny." I have to say, I'm wondering if there was more to this episode - the log line at Disney's website says Ax Tagrin (Joe Manganiello) and Norath Kev (Daveed Diggs) were also supposed to appear in this episode, but they did not after all. I've got a theory about how they could have been involved, which I'll be sharing on the show.

We'll also talk about the cameo appearance of a cameo character from The Force Awakens, a confusing bit about the Colossus lockdown, and what's coming up next for the show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-07-StarWars7x7-2013.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The third weekend is complete, and The Rise of Skywalker is on track to easily clear a billion dollars at the global box office. That said, it's still tracking behind The Last Jedi's numbers, which could be a function of the better reviews received by TLJ as compared to TROS ... at least in part.

We'll talk about this today, as well as other factors that could and will affect TROS's final box office totals, including how well the counter-programming by other studios worked out this time around, and what's coming up at the box office that could potentially draw attention away from TROS.

Also, if you were anywhere near social media last week, you may have seen calls for an "Abrams Cut" of TROS trending. The deal is that a user on Reddit claimed to have access to a source with intimate knowledge of the TROS production, who said (in summary) that Disney undermined Abrams by increasing degrees, to the point that he was "blindsided" by the version of TROS that arrived in theaters. Further, the source alleges that Disney did this in part to ruin Abrams' reputation as he moves on to his nine-figure deal with Warner Brothers (home of DC, a potential direct rival to Disney's Marvel).

Well, there's some truth to what was posted, but some of that truth was already out there, to borrow from another franchise. So we'll talk about all of that today, too. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-06-StarWars7x7-2012.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, here's the cliffhanger that could easily also have been a mid-season premiere if it had been held for a few weeks more. "Breakout" is the 13th episode from season 2 of Star Wars Resistance, and as I noted in yesterday's show, this is now three episodes in a row that are at the peak of Resistance episodes overall. They really seem to be hitting their stride with the show - more's the pity that it's going to end with this season...

When we last left our heroes, Yeager, Synara, and CB-23 had been captured and would be turned over to Commander Pyre, Agent Tierney, and the First Order's tender ministrations. (Ironically stated - they actually show all three being tortured with electricity in this episode, which seems like a step older from their previously-stated younger audience perspective.) Kaz and the other Resistance spy Norath Kev have to figure out how to rescue them - and do it before the First Order finds and destroys the Colossus hiding nearby.

This podcast features a full-spoiler breakdown, and also looks ahead at episode 14 - because apparently we're not done with the bounty hunter Ax Tagrin just yet. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-05-StarWars7x7-2011.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, with all the hoopla around The Rise of Skywalker, our Star Wars Resistance coverage had to take a back seat for a bit, I'm sorry to say. The good news is that we're catching up this weekend, starting with a Resistance Briefing for "The Missing Agent." This is episode 12 from season 2.

I praised the previous episode, "Station to Station," as the best of the series to date. While I wouldn't dethrone that episode, I will say that "The Missing Agent" (and "Breakout" following it) are turning this into a very strong run of shows. Action-packed, exciting, suspenseful, surprising, and funny - everything you could want from a Star Wars story!

That said, there is something strange going on that I've talked about on previous episodes related to Resistance. It was just a sense I had, but I've done a little digging and confirmed my suspicions, which we'll talk about on today's show as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-04-StarWars7x7-2010.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Fans lobbied tirelessly for it, and Lucasfilm answered the call! Clone Wars season 7 is coming to Disney+ in February, with 12 episodes to let creator Dave Filoni finish the series and give it the kind of send-off that he always wanted - the kind he got to do with Star Wars Rebels.

Meanwhile, Star Wars Resistance is going to end its run in 2020, and after that ... what's next? A new season of a Star Wars animated series has begun in the fall of every year since 2008! (With the exception of 2013, but for that year, the "Lost Missions" episodes of Clone Wars, which would have been season 6, debuted a little later, in February 2014.) So, does that mean we have a new series to look forward to in the Fall of 2020? I'll be talking about all of the above on today's show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-03-StarWars7x7-2009.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Well, this is new! In previous years of previewing what's to come in Star Wars storytelling, live-action TV never had its own episode on the podcast. But now we've got not one, not two, but at least three shows in production in 2020! The Mandalorian is gearing up for season 2, and the Cassian Andor series and the Obi-Wan series are both in pre-production, at different stages of development. Today, I'll be talking about where we stand on all three of them right now, when to expect new news from each of the productions, and more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-02-StarWars7x7-2008.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Happy New Year! To kick off 2020, I'm starting a series of looks at the different kinds of Star Wars media, with a quick look back at 2019 for each, and a deeper look ahead at what's coming in 2020.

Today, movies are on tap. We're covering a lot of the "look back" stuff with the Jedi Business posts, so there won't be a lot of time spent on The Rise of Skywalker. And no, of course there are no Star Wars movies being released in 2020. But if you think that means nothing will be happening with Star Wars movies this year, my friend, I have good news on the show for you.

I'll be discussing an interview Kathleen Kennedy gave to the Los Angeles Times on December 15th, the fact that Disney is still holding the December 16th, 2022 date on their release calendar for Star Wars, and the production schedule of The Force Awakens to explain why 2020 is going to be a big deal for the galaxy far, far away. And one thing I didn't mention in the show: Star Wars Celebration in August is perfectly timed for a big movie announcement. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-01-01-StarWars7x7-2007.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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!

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT