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January 2020
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Syndication

The video game code-named "Maverick" has been revealed as "Star Wars: Squadrons"! On Monday, a reveal trailer debuted, as well as some promotional images and additional story details. Yes, I said "story"! There's a single-player story narrative to the game, which will see you playing as both a New Republic pilot and as an Imperial pilot. One article I read said that the price point of the game - $39.99 at pre-order - suggests the storyline and associated gameplay will run approximately 15 hours.

But that's not all, of course. There's also a multi-player aspect to it, and it's cross-platform, so you'll be able to play against friends who have different consoles/platforms. The announcement also talked about ships, characters, and worlds, and we'll dig into everything we've learned so far on today's episode of the show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-16-StarWars7x7-2174.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, production on live action movies and television shut down. Thankfully, season 2 of The Mandalorian had already finished principal photography, so it could proceed on schedule for its October 2020 debut.

In the meantime, we've heard that Star Wars animation is also moving full steam ahead, even though we don't know many details about that (yet). And there's another type of storytelling that's also moving forward... or should we say "storyLIVING"?

That's the word used by ILMxLAB's Executive-in-Charge Vicki Dobbs Beck, referring to the idea that "you’re inside a world making consequential choices that drive your experience forward." In other words, virtual reality. On today's show, we'll talk about ILMxLAB's first title, Vader Immortal, getting a wider release; and the first sneak preview of their second VR title, Tales From the Galaxy's Edge. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-15-StarWars7x7-2173.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

You may have heard of "The Volume" before, but what's the deal with it? How does it work, and how was George Lucas thinking about this a decade ago? The "Technology" episode of Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian goes into deeper detail about the revolutionary new studio setup. Jon Favreau talks about the journey from his previous movies and how it all led to The Mandalorian, and the episode features roundtable discussions with the directors, actors, and visual effects professionals who made it all happen.

On today's episode of the show, we'l dig into some of those details, with clips explaining "The Volume" and how it realizes Lucas' vision - which you'll hear from the Maker himself. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-14-StarWars7x7-2172.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mild spoilers in this, our final episode that dives into the novel Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston. I was really surprised when I dug into Wookieepedia and didn't find much in the way of details (in the "Canon" section, at least) about the Royal Handmaidens of Naboo. So that made me doubly happy that we got a *lot* of details about them in Queen's Peril, including their recruitment; the last time they were used extensively; some of the training; and the bonding that happens between these young women (to which I alluded a bit in the non-spoiler review episode earlier this week).

We'll talk about some of those details today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-13-StarWars7x7-2171.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mild spoilers for Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston in this episode! I'm on record as saying that I think the whole taxation of trade routes thing is a perfectly fine entry point for The Phantom Menace. After all, the dispute happens off screen, and we jump right into blockades and invasions and Jedi action.

Well, speaking of off screen ... since the events of Queen's Peril take place in the months leading up to The Phantom Menace, you can see how taxation issues might be brought into play. But lest you think Johnston would avoid them in favor of something more obviously dramatic, I'm here to applaud her for the fact that she committed to the deal, so to speak. Multiple scenes in the book address the topic, and a diplomatic undertaking by Queen Amidala pushes that taxation clash forward.

I'll be talking about those scenes on today's episode, and they feature some surprise guest stars in the book. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-12-StarWars7x7-2170.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We interrupt our regularly scheduled discussion of Queen's Peril to give you an update on the Galaxy's Edge theme park experience at Disneyland in Anaheim. Phased re-opening proposals have been submitted for the parks, Downtown Disney, and two hotels. But there's a bit more to the story that what you're seeing in the headlines.

And by the way, what could this mean for Star Wars Celebration - as we don't have any announcements for that event yet? I've been giving that some additional thought, and I wish I could say I was coming to a happy conclusion about this... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-11-StarWars7x7-2169.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mild spoilers in this episode! The final third of Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston runs concurrently with The Phantom Menace. Apart from a plotline that fills in a backstory hinted at in Queen's Shadow, most of this section serves one of two purposes.

One of these purposes is to give us a look at characters from the movie, in scenes that play like moments from the cutting room floor. Mind you, this isn't a criticism - a scene with Darth Maul scouting Theed Palace prior to the arrival of the Jedi isn't one that was needed for the movie, but is a terrific addition from a novelization perspective.

The other purpose is to complete character arcs that were begun in the pre-Phantom Menace part of the book. That focuses primarily on Sabé, who is Padmé's number one handmaiden, even though Sabé's primary talent has been playing second fiddle - pun intended.

I'll dig into all of the above and more on the show today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-10-StarWars7x7-2168.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Queen's Peril, by E.K. Johnston, is the prequel to last year's Queen's Shadow, and a breezy read best suited for Padme, handmaiden, and prequel fans. It also does something remarkable - delivers a story about teenage girls learning to bond and achieve in positions of influence, and against the backdrop of major galactic events.

That said, from a plot perspective, nothing of major consequence happens until about two-thirds of the way through the book, when the narrative lines up with the events of The Phantom Menace. That section is where almost all the book's drama takes place, and while it's interesting to see some more detailed and occasionally additional perspectives on that chapter of the Skywalker Saga, I do wish Padme and her handmaidens could have had a significant origin-story mission together that didn't rely on an existing chapter in the canon.

But it is fun, and for completists who are interested in the beginning of Padme's reign and how the handmaidens came to be a part of her team, there will be plenty of intriguing details to absorb. The book also dallies with interludes featuring a variety of characters, and their actions prior to The Phantom Menace as well.

On today's show, we'll wrap up the review, and we'll dig into the details on subsequent episodes. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-09-StarWars7x7-2167.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Yes, as Pedro Pascal recently noted, Star Wars succeeds on the strength of its characters and relationships. But...

From the war crimes of the Trade Federation on Naboo, to the Republic's war with the Confederacy of Independent Systems (essentially a false flag secession leading to the fall of the Republic), and later to rebellions less extreme (Mon Mothma) and more extreme (Saw Gerrera), and still later to the outright destruction of the New Republic by the First Order and its subsequent overthrown by the Resistance and "people," the Star Wars stories are almost entirely set against the backdrop of violent revolution.

We'll talk about this today, and about how Star Wars not only draws from real-world history, but also how it may be holding up a mirror to the world in which we live today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-08-StarWars7x7-2166.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Episode 3 of Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian features - as one would expect from the title of the episode, "Cast" - discussions with the big three members of the cast: Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers. As in past episodes, we also hear from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, and we also hear from some of the directors. There are additional voices highlighted as well, and on today's episode, we'll talk about:

--The four different ways by which The Mandalorian's character performance is created, including three different people inside the armor

--How Gina Carano's performance and background go all the way back to the kinds of movie performances that influenced George Lucas back in the day

--How the directors work with The Mandalorian's character to get emotion out of the performance

We'll also talk about how Carl Weathers approaches an offer to be a part of an acting project, which has some bearing on the way Star Wars stories have been made and continue to be made. It's particularly relevant considering what's going on in the world in general, and what's been part of Star Wars-specific discussions in the past few years. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-07-StarWars7x7-2165.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Books delayed and moved up, comics in flux, a clue about that new lightsaber to be revealed, and more casting rumors! It's been a while, so let's catch up on Star Wars story news. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-06-StarWars7x7-2164.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

It's hard to believe that it's only been eleven days since the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer on a Minneapolis street. Since then, America has broken in ways beyond anything we could have imagined - and there's a strong case to be made that it was already broken, and we're finally seeing what it looks like when change can't wait any longer.

But this is a Star Wars podcast, so on today's show, I'm going to turn the focus there. Specifically, we're going to talk about what Lucasfilm and Disney have said and done in the wake of the George Floyd killing, and consider how much further they - and we - have to go.

~*~*~*~*~*~

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Direct download: 2020-06-05-StarWars7x7-2163.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Carrie Fisher was the social conscience of the Original Trilogy, calling attention to women's rights and feminist issues. John Boyega is the social conscience of the Sequel Trilogy, calling attention to racial justice. On today's show, I'm featuring his speech yesterday at a London protest related to the killing of George Floyd. The audio (as recorded and published by the Evening Standard) appears in today's show; but I highly encourage you to watch the video version, for reasons I explain in the podcast.

Here's the video of his speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGXEB25WdyQ

~*~*~*~*~*~

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Direct download: 2020-06-04-StarWars7x7-2162.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, you may recall that I was invited to deliver a talk at an official TEDx event in November 2019. The event was recorded, and I got word late Monday night that the talk had finally gone live on the TEDx YouTube Channel.

Today's episode of the podcast is a short one, with a couple of observations about the timing of the TEDx talk's release; about my older son's reaction to it, since he wasn't able to be there for its live delivery; and the nervousness that flooded me upon re-watching it (which hadn't been there when I'd delivered the talk, funnily enough). Rather than keeping you for the show today, I hope instead you'll think it's worth your time to check out the talk itself...

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Direct download: 2020-06-03-StarWars7x7-2161.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We were going to talk about the launch of Queen's Peril today. A couple months ago, I felt compelled to step out of the stream of our usual Star Wars talk, and we talked about the coronavirus pandemic, when the lockdowns were in their earliest stages. I never planned to make a habit of stepping out of the stream, and I still don't plan to.

But as civil unrest has engulfed dozens of cities across the United States, I've been thinking a lot about Yoda's lines from The Phantom Menace: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." And it seems like they could help us understand a lot of what's going on in America right now.

As I said to a neighbor of mine recently, there will always be people, on all points of the political compass, who see tragedy as an opportunity to advance their own goals by exploiting other people's pain.

I believe our job as humans, at a minimum, is to bear witness to the pain. To listen, to truly and deeply hear what people in pain are trying to tell us. To help heal that pain, and not make it worse or prolong it.

Today's show is about how Yoda's words apply to our lives right now. In the process, I'm going to beg you to consider three things:

1. Please do what you can to keep your family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, and communities safe.

2. Despite all the fearful things happening that must be addressed, please do not lose sight of the inciting incident of the fires this time - the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, by a while police officer, in broad daylight, and the justice that must be done in Floyd's memory.

3. Please consider saying that #BlackLivesMatter. Speaking for myself, I have a wishy-washy history with making that statement. Not that I ever disagreed with it - more that I've had the privilege of living a life where it wasn't a visible issue for me on a daily basis. But that's no excuse. Imagine if hundreds of millions of voices would speak out together, to let the African-American community know that they believe "Black Lives Matter." It wouldn't magically heal things, of course. But maybe it could be a different kind of inciting incident. One based in love, not fear.

I hope the show today speaks to you, and I thank you for being a part of *this* community.

Direct download: 2020-06-02-StarWars7x7-2160.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

From novels to reference books, comics to documentaries, here's what we know is coming for Star Wars in June 2020 - and speculation about movies, live action series. animation, and more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-01-StarWars7x7-2159.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"Legacy" is the second episode of the Disney+ series Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian. A snippet from that episode has been making the rounds on social media, wherein executive producer Dave Filoni talks about the meaning and the stakes of the lightsaber battle in The Phantom Menace. And I thought that's what we'd be talking about today...

But as it turns out, there's also a rather important thing to examine regarding the telling of Star Wars stories with and without George Lucas, and - by sheer coincidence - Dave Filoni also talks about the Vader redemption that we were just talking about on yesterday's show. And it turns out that he and I may have been saying the same thing ... from a certain point of view. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-31-StarWars7x7-2158.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

So here's how this happened...

In looking at The Rise of Skywalker and comparing it to Return of the Jedi over the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about the theme of redemption in Return of the Jedi, and how it's the main theme for that movie, but only a secondary theme for The Rise of Skywalker. Well, the more I started thinking about Vader "redeeming" himself in Return of the Jedi, I got to thinking - is he, though?

I'll explain my well-nigh sacrilegious take on this subject, and how the subsequent 37 years of storytelling supports the case - but you can make the case merely by what happens in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. We'll also speculate as to how this may have made George Lucas decide to have Vader scream "NOOOOOO!" in the Special Edition. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-30-StarWars7x7-2157.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Imagine with me, if you will, a different Return of the Jedi. The primary protagonist/antagonist conflict is not with Luke and Palpatine, it's with Luke and Vader. And yet they don't spend a heck of a lot of time onscreen together. It's only near the end of the second act and into the third that they finally confront each other. Can you imagine what it would have been like if they encountered each other multiple times throughout the movie? Like, for example, if he got word that Luke was back on Tatooine, and headed out there?

Now, contrast that with The Rise of Skywalker. Again, Rey/Palpatine isn't the real conflict here, it's Rey/Kylo. And their issues get a lot more attention... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-29-StarWars7x7-2156.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

When we looked at The Force Awakens, it was remarkable how much it lined up with the events of A New Hope.

Then we looked at The Last Jedi, and while it had elements that lined up with The Empire Strikes Back, it also shook things up.

Today, we look at The Rise of Skywalker. It has a lot in common with Return of the Jedi, but it actually explodes the structure of ROTJ, spreads it out across the movie, and even repeats those structural elements as the movie progresses. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-28-StarWars7x7-2155.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker start their bad guys in similar places. No one walking into Return of the Jedi ever thought that redemption was in the cards for Darth Vader. And - if you pretend you never saw the original trilogy - you would likely say the same thing about Kylo Ren while walking into The Rise of Skywalker.

Thematically, however, Return of the Jedi is very concerned about the idea of redemption. And that shows up not just in the main conflict of the story, but also in smaller ways for Luke, Han, and Lando. (Leia? Not so much. What does she have to redeem herself for, after the events of The Empire Strikes Back? Not much, as it turns out.)

Meanwhile, though The Rise of Skywalker does concern itself with the redemption of Kylo Ren after all, it's a secondary theme when considered in light of what's really going on thematically - a war of identity. I'll explain my thinking on today's episode... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-27-StarWars7x7-2154.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

As we dive deeper into our examination of The Rise of Skywalker, and the comparison of it to Return of the Jedi, structure is where we want to head next. But before we get there, there's a related pair of topics we need to consider.

First is the question of the final boss battles - the "big bads," if you will. Because the primary job of both movies is for the heroes to strike the winning blow, and it needs to be against something that presents the greatest challenge our heroes have seen yet.

And the other thing we need to consider is the timeframe. By an interesting coincidence - if it is, actually, coincidence - both of these final movies in their trilogies take place about a year after the events of the previous movie. There's a very clear reason for that in Return of the Jedi. As for The Rise of Skywalker, the answer is not so clear, but with the application of a couple of thought experiments, it turns out that it had to be closer to a year than the five or ten years we previously discussed on the show.

I'll be addressing both the big bads and the timeframes on today's show... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-26-StarWars7x7-2153.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Last week, we spent time talking about The Last Jedi, and comparing it to The Empire Strikes Back - which is similar to what we did a while ago when we talked about The Force Awakens in relation to A New Hope.

Well, it's time to complete the cycle! On today's episode, we're starting a series of looks at The Rise of Skywalker, in comparison with Return of the Jedi. And in particular, we're going to pick up right where we ended with The Last Jedi - on the concept of recontextualization.

Both Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker offer us changes that are supposed to make us rethink a bunch of things that came before in their respective trilogies. In one sense, they're very different - one of them comes completely out of the clear blue sky, while the other is relentlessly hinted at. And in another sense, they're very similar - the change doesn't add drama so much as it resolves it, and changes the foci of the final fights. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-25-StarWars7x7-2152.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The end of 2019 was remarkable in a lot of ways for Star Wars. One of those reasons was The Mandalorian, the first-ever live-action Star Wars series. It was so remarkable, in fact, that Disney is putting together an eight-part series under the "Disney Gallery" banner to go behind the scenes of the creation of The Mandalorian.

Today, we're following that series with a look at the first episode, "Directing." And we'll cite some notable elements about each of the directors. But as we go through this, we're also going to pay particular attention to Executive Producer Dave Filoni. This time, we'll get to hear him talk about this storytelling and animation background, leading up to his work on The Mandalorian. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-24-StarWars7x7-2151.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The "I am your father" reveal from The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate "recontextualization" in cinema history. Recontextualization is a heavy word, one definition of which is:

To place or view (a work of literature or art, for example) in a new or unfamiliar context, especially in order to suggest a different interpretation.

As we've been comparing The Empire Strikes Back to The Last Jedi this week, we're going to wrap up the conversation with a discussion of recontextualizations. The Last Jedi has more than one of them, and so does Empire, for that matter. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-23-StarWars7x7-2150.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

I hinted at us coming to this episode earlier in the week, about a thematic similarity between The Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi. Well, here we are now: ready to talk about failure.

The Last Jedi wears this theme on its sleeve, so to speak - failure is actively spoken of, and Yoda identifies failure as one of the most important lessons Luke could ever have passed on to Jedi students. Luke, Leia, Rey, Poe, Finn, and Rose all faces failures in particular ways, and their character arcs are built around them learning lessons from those failures in order to succeed when things are at their darkest hour.

As it turns out, The Empire Strikes Back is very much about failure, too. We watch the Rebels suffer their first major onscreen defeat; we watch Luke fail time and again with Yoda on Dagobah; for every heroic deed by Han, the odds against his success get worse and worse until finally it all comes crashing down; and Leia, our take-charge heroine, has all control taken away from her.

We'll talk about this and more on today's episode... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-22-StarWars7x7-2149.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

There was a funny meme going around back in the day, which had two images, which were the same shot of protesters with torches and pitchforks. And one photo depicted people complaining about The Force Awakens for being too much like the Star Wars of old, while the second photo depicted the same people complaining about The Last Jedi for being too different from the Star Wars of old.

Well, as it turns out, The Last Jedi has a lot more in common with The Empire Strikes Back than you might expect. Part of that is because of the setup J.J. Abrams gave Rian Johnson, and we'll explore those similarities (and a few differences) on today's episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-21-StarWars7x7-2148.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Last Friday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the rumor that Timothy Olyphant would be joining the cast of The Mandalorian for season 2, with this additional note:

It is unknown whether the actor will play a new character or a returning favorite in a new guise.

Yesterday, /Film broke the rumor that Olyphant will be wearing Boba Fett's armor on the show. But clearly, he does not look like Temuera Morrison. Here's what they had to say about that:

...Earlier this month it was reported that Temuera Morrison, who originated the role of Jango Fett (Boba’s clone father), had been cast as Boba Fett. So what’s going on here? If Morrison is playing the role of Boba Fett, then Timothy Olyphant is playing an enigmatic character named Cobb Vanth.

Now, in a few recent episodes where rumors have been discussed, I've been able to share that someone reached out to me to share information from another person to confirm/deny media reports like this. Well, that someone let me know a thing or two about this particular set of rumors, and I'm sharing what I've heard on today's show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-20-StarWars7x7-2147.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The May 2017 Vanity Fair cover story on The Last Jedi includes this:

But Johnson, in drawing up his screenplay, decided to raise the stakes further. 'I started by writing the names of each of the characters,' he said, 'and thinking, What’s the hardest thing they could be faced with?'

I think it's fair to assume that he didn't need to think too deeply about that question for certain characters - Threepio, Maz Kanata, Phasma, Snoke, DJ, Hux, Holdo, or Yoda. But I certainly believe he entertained that question, and deeply, for Luke, Leia, Rey, Kylo/Ben, Finn, Poe, and Rose. On today's episode, we'll talk about what The Last Jedi tells us about Rian's answers to that big question for each character. We'll also talk about how The Empire Strikes Back, whether we knew it or not, was doing the same thing to Leia, Luke, and Han all those years ago. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-19-StarWars7x7-2146.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In October 2017 (before the release of The Last Jedi), Rian Johnson spoke at an "Ireland Week" event to talk about the movie. The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying:

"That very last image of The Force Awakens, with Rey holding the lightsaber out to Luke, that was so evocative. In every other case, Star Wars movies jumped forward in leaps of time. I knew I was supposed to do that, but the last image was intriguing. I knew I wanted to know where we were going next."

Later on in the article, there was a direct interview with Johnson, and I wanted to flag this question and answer for you:

Q: Part of [Star Wars] is recontextualizing past movies. How does yours do that?

A: Each new film hopefully recontextualizes what came before it. That’s part of the game. Yes, it’s a continuation of not only The Force Awakens, but also of the legacy leading up to it.

These, along other past comments from Johnson, are going to come into play as we set the stage to discuss how The Last Jedi is similar to and different from The Empire Strikes Back on today's episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-18-StarWars7x7-2145.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

It's time for another episode of Star Wars POP! That's "Podcasters on Podcasting," and for today's episode, I'm joined by Bryan and Chris from Sixth Scale Scavengers. Here's their scoop:

Sixth Scale Scavengers is a Hot Toys collecting podcast with a focus on the Star Wars, Marvel, and DC Comics licenses.

The co-founders Bryan Fontaine and Chris Leddy created the podcast and later this website as resource for collectors of all experience levels to learn and interact with the collecting community. You will find checklists and databases of all the Hot Toys figures released to date with product information, release dates, and helpful links to scavenge your own collecting deals.

Each podcast episode covers news, collecting tips, featured collecting topics, and figure reviews in each episode.

On today's episode of the show, I'll be talking to them about their podcasting history, inspirations, and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-17-StarWars7x7-2144.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

While we were spending the last couple of days talking about the question of whether Boba Fett is an actual Mandalorian, and going down all sorts of Legends rabbit holes and so forth, a couple of news items related to season 2 of The Mandalorian hit the airwaves. One of them was great news from Disney CEO Bob Chapek on the status of post-production for the hit Disney+ series. The other - a casting rumor about Katee Sackhoff reprising her animation role in live action as Bo-Katan Kryze from The Clone Wars, which could be great news if it happens - seems not to be getting the same kind of juice that previous casting rumors have gotten. I'll explain on today's show... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-16-StarWars7x7-2143.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

I got a lot of feedback about my episode yesterday, exploring the idea of whether Boba Fett is, in fact, a Mandalorian. Turns out I got a little too narrow with my focus on a couple of things! So on today's episode of the show, I'll be handling some corrections (the clan signet doesn't have to be on the right shoulder, for example). I'll also be getting into a few elaborations - specifically about the Mandalorian icon on Boba Fett's left shoulder, and the emblem on the right side of his chest plate.

And after all of that, which will dig deeply into Legends territory, I'll dig my heels in and assert that I still don't think Boba Fett is a Mandalorian in the "practicing" sense of the word. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-15-StarWars7x7-2142.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

It may seem an odd question to consider at first. After all, I think the segment of the Star Wars audience that cares about such things has generally accepted the idea that Boba Fett is a Mandalorian. But as I did my research for yesterday's episode about whether Boba Fett survived the sarlacc pit, and how his potential appearance in The Mandalorian could be as much about the armor as it is about the person within the armor, I also got to thinking about Boba Fett's history himself.

Which led me to Jango Fett, and to questions of citizenship, and birth versus cloning, and pauldrons, and I promise you this will make sense in the episode itself. Ultimately, it seems there are two primary ways of answering the question of whether Boba Fett is a Mandalorian. One way, the answer (with certain caveats in place, so as not to go too far into the weeds) is a yes.

The other way - arguably, the more important way of considering the question - the answer is a hard no. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-14-StarWars7x7-2141.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Ahh, Boba Fett, the Schrödinger's cat of Star Wars. Is he alive or dead? No canon story has anything to say about him after his last appearance, tumbling down into the mouth of the sarlacc in Return of the Jedi. So like the famous quantum physics thought experiment, he is both alive AND dead until we actually observe him in one state or the other.

There's another complicating factor to all of this. Boba Fett was a person, but as we saw with Boushh in Return of the Jedi, bounty hunters can be impersonated - or mistakenly identified. In other words, people could see someone show up in Boba Fett's armor and think, "Hey, that's Boba Fett!" when in reality it isn't.

So on today's show, we're going to separate the man from the armor, and tell you what we know about both. In addition, Wookieepedia has gathered some VERY interesting information about what George Lucas considers Boba's fate to be. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-13-StarWars7x7-2140.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

On Friday - why is it always Friday? - The Hollywood Reporter broke the rumor that Temuera Morrison has been cast in The Mandalorian for season 2, and that he'll be playing Boba Fett. The other trades followed up with their own sources and said they were hearing the same thing. (One wonders - do they all have the same sources? And if so, that doesn't make it any more real, does it?)

Meanwhile, Jordan from Cinelinx is saying that he's heard Morrison - who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones and has voiced a variety of clones in other Star Wars projects - may not *only* be playing Boba Fett.

So, one of three things could be happening:

Morrison is only playing Boba Fett
Morrison is playing Boba Fett AND one or more clones
OR - I've got a third theory, which lines up with what I'm hearing from a source of a source, and brings another person connected with Boba Fett into play

We'll talk about it all today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-12-StarWars7x7-2139.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Star Wars POP! - Podcasters on Podcasting - is the segment on our show where I interview other Star Wars podcasters about their influences, insights, and the details of their Star Wars shows. On today's installment, I'm welcoming Brews and Blasters to the show. Here's their scoop:

Born from the discussions between two friends at a local pub in the historic town of Salem, Massachusetts, this Star Wars podcast is your chance to kick back and enjoy everything about that galaxy far, far away.

Each episode, hosts Chris Salton and Joe Tavano sit down every week to do what they would be doing anyway — talk about all things Star Wars, tell some stories, and have a good time. Join them as they share their love for Star Wars, the most obscure Star Wars characters, Boston’s North Shore, 1980s pop culture and delicious food, and occasionally talk to fascinating people - and friends, like an anthropomorphic packet of crystallized lime.

Not sure about that last bit! Sadly, I didn't ask them about it, but we did cover a lot of ground on this episode, and I hope you enjoy. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-11-StarWars7x7-2138.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

I think it's safe to say - as in, there's little argument over this point - that as far as parents in Star Wars stories go, the stories are much more focused on fathers than mothers. But mothers are certainly represented in Star Wars, and since today is Mother's Day, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the types of mothers we meet in Star Wars.

Some of them we'll flag for the type (i.e., immaculate, surrogate, adoptive); others for the relationship with their child or children (i.e., influential, disowning, idealized); and still others for their actions (i.e., abandoning, sacrificing, unconditionally loving). All too often, mothers serves as plot devices for the story arcs of their children in Star Wars, but there are exceptions to that rule. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-10-StarWars7x7-2137.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

At Celebration Orlando in 2017, Dave Filoni talked about the then-upcoming season 4 of Star Wars Rebels, saying that it would be the final season, and that he would get to end the series the way he wanted to, which was an opportunity he didn't have with the Clone Wars.

Well, here we are, three years later, and Dave Filoni got the "happy" ending he wanted. I'm putting "happy" in quotes only because the end of the story includes the advent of Order 66 and the fall of the Galactic Republic, but I think you take my meaning, right? Clone Wars Season 7, the final season, concluded on Monday, May 4 with "Victory and Death," the conclusion of the "Siege of Mandalore" story arc, the capstone to three in-universe years of epic storytelling.

On today's episode of the show, we'll have one last review of the final story arc as a whole, including an exploration of whether the arc was about the Siege of Mandalore in name only; extra notes of appreciation for Ahsoka's stunt double; Mace Windu having had it up to here with everyone and taking it out on Ahsoka for no good reason; and the cliffhangers/unanswered questions left by the ending. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-09-StarWars7x7-2136.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

There's been a lot going on in the GFFA this week! On Star Wars Day, the final episode of the Clone Wars dropped, as did the first episode of the documentary series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, and The Rise of Skywalker made an early debut on Disney+.

But that wasn't all! StarWars.com made a couple of big announcements - mostly confirming rumors that had already been reported in the Hollywood trades, but with one new detail about the Taika Waititi feature film project.

I'll be talking about both creative project confirmations today, as well as non-spoiler rumors about The Mandalorian, and whether Lucasfilm Animation still has something cooking for the fall of 2020. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-08-StarWars7x7-2135.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 5:00am EST

It's been eight years since Dave Filoni brought Maul back from the dead for The Clone Wars series. And as fans, it was 13 years that we thought he was dead, until he wasn't! But why did they do it? Pamela, one of our awesome Patrons, asked me to explore the reasons why, and I've done it as part of our latest Patreon Q&A session.

Also, Tim asked what I thought various Star Wars characters might be doing while in quarantine, and Jarrod wanted to know about any differences in the generations of Stormtroopers, as well as how many different types there are now. I'm going to explore all of these on today's show. Thanks go to them, and to Bobby, Pioter, Emily, Leah, and Samantha for their questions that we discussed on yesterday's show, and to all the Patrons who have helped me bring this show to you!

If you'd like to support me in delivering this daily dose of Star Wars joy around the world, I hope you'll consider checking out Patreon.com/sw7x7. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-07-StarWars7x7-2134.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

I asked Patrons of the show from the Vader's Fist level and above to send their questions in for this month's Q&A session, but because of the way the final days of April and the first days of May played out, I haven't been able to get to answering them until now! So today on the show, part 1 of 2 in the Q&A session, where I address these topics:

Pioter asked about the popularity/fan base of Star Wars in countries outside the United States

Emily, Leah, and Samantha asked why three of the four female Jedi voices weren't named in the closed captioning for The Rise of Skywalker, but almost all the male Jedi voices were named (except for "Old" Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Bobby asked me to name my favorite character design, and why

That's what's on tap for the show today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-06-StarWars7x7-2133.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"Victory and Death," Clone Wars season 7/episode 12, completes the story arc, the season, and the series, game, set, and match. It also features a surprise epilogue, and packs as much action in to the episode as any you've ever seen in the series.

Even with that, they also manage to fit in an incredibly emotional moment with Ahsoka and Rex talking about the clones, and their sadness and frustration in the face of seeing their comrades fall unwittingly and tragically under the control of the greatest evil in the galaxy.

On today's episode, I'll be breaking down the final beats, and addressing a question about whether Order 66 is going to apply to Force-sensitive people regardless of their affiliation (or lack thereof) with the Jedi Order. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-05-StarWars7x7-2132.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you, and I hope you feel the Force all day long today (and every day, really, but especially today).

For this episode of the show, I thought I'd look back at interviews I've been able to bring you from Lucasfilm folks over the years - some from folks who have since promoted into new positions, others from folks who weren't even with Lucasfilm when I interviewed them but who later joined the company, and one who isn't with Lucasfilm but is with the parent company (and happens to be very into Star Wars himself).

You'll get to hear eight total interviews on today's show (in order of appearance):

Matt Martin
Justin Bolger
A.J. Camarillo
Michael Siglain
Taylor Gray
Lorne Peterson
Clayton Sandell
Rob Bredow

I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-04-StarWars7x7-2131.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

On this latest episode of Star Wars POP! - that's "Podcasters on Podcasting," if you're new to the feature - I'm interviewing the three co-hosts of the Followers of the Force podcast. Here's the scoop on their show:

David Triana, Gwendy Ren and Jason Williams, your hosts of the Followers of the Force podcast! Each week, we discuss the latest news in the Star Wars galaxy in detail, have tons of fun, and above all, CELEBRATE all that Star Wars has to offer. Want to delve into themes? Gwendy has you covered. Want organization and weird things memorized? David's got ya. Want to laugh, learn and listen to some awesome Star Wars opinion? Jason's your guy? We all have our strengths, but most importantly, we're friends who love Star Wars. Join us and become a Follower of the Force!

This is the first time I've interviewed three co-hosts at once, and with a great recommendation from Gwendy near the start, things go swimmingly (if I do say so myself). Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-03-StarWars7x7-2130.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"Shattered" is the 11th and penultimate episode of season 7 of the Clone Wars, and of the series itself. And oh my Force ghost, what an episode. It picks up right where we left off with "The Phantom Apprentice," and as with previous episodes in this arc, it lays directly over the timeline of Revenge of the Sith. In this case, it corresponds with the most impactful events of that movie: the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the execution of Order 66.

Now that Maul has been captured (in a way that doesn't quite correspond with what we know from other Star Wars storytelling), and since we know that Ahsoka and Rex survive the events of Order 66, much of the suspense in this and the final episode has be around HOW they survive. And the creators do it in style. I'd like to give special props to Kevin Kiner, whose score for these final episodes has been spectacular. It feels like he's taken inspiration from Vangelis and Blade Runner, mixing that sensibility in with the epic Star Wars motifs.

We'll talk about all of this and much more, including some of the other overlaps with Revenge of the Sith; Mace's unnecessary clapback to Ahsoka; the foresahdowing that wasn't; and the echoes of lines from other characters and even other Star Wars movies. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-02-StarWars7x7-2129.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Rebelthon 2020 starts May 3rd at 12pm Eastern! Here's the scoop on it, from The Rebel Legion's Facebook page:

Rebel Legion presents Rebelthon 2020! A celebration of Community, Giving, and Hope.

Rebelthon 2020 Facebook LIVE 12-hour long webathon to raise money for UNICEF and their efforts to fight the COVID-19 virus. Rebelthon will feature interviews, special guests from the Star Wars Universe and original content created by Rebel Legion members.

Log on to the Rebel Legion Facebook page May 3rd, 2020, from 12pm to 12am est. to join us in raising money for the battle against COVID-19.

Together we can be the spark that will burn this virus down.

DONATE TO #UNICEF HERE: Bit.ly/Rebelthon2020

On today's show, I'm thrilled to interview Rubin Polizzi, Assistant Legion Public Relations Officer for The Rebel Legion, and a driving force behind this event. You'll be amazed to hear how quickly this huge event came together... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-05-01-StarWars7x7-2128.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

From movies to live action, animation to comics, novels to reference books and much more, here's what's happening in the galaxy far, far away for May 2020. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-30-StarWars7x7-2127.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

As far as television goes, "The Lawless" is the final appearance of Maul in the Clone Wars - it's episode 16 from season 5, and the final episode in this story arc as well. We've seen how Maul assembled his criminal syndicate, and we've seen how he took over Mandalore and installed a puppet government. Now, in this final installment, we'll see his attempt to revenge himself upon Obi-Wan Kenobi! He'll also get a surprise visit from his old master, Darth Sidious - and man, that doesn't go well at all for him and Savage Opress. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-29-StarWars7x7-2126.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

With Maul and Mandalore being the focus of the final story arc of the Clone Wars, we're taking some time to look back at how Maul came to power. Today, that means we're doing a Clone Wars Briefing on "Shades of Reason," episode 15 from season 5 of the Clone Wars and the second of a three-part story arc.

In the first episode, Maul and Savage Opress were rescued by Death Watch, and proceeded to use their surprise Mandalorian saviors to strong-arm the Pykes, Black Sun, and the Hutts to help them. Now, with an army and ample supplies, they hatch the plot - make it look like criminals are overrunning the now-peaceful Mandalore, and then have Death Watch arrive to "save the day."

Well, the Duchess Satine sees right through this, accusing Pre Vizsla immediately upon his arrival of being behind the criminal attacks. For all the good it did her. We'll talk about all of that, plus the race to see who can double-cross whom first, and how it all shakes out. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-28-StarWars7x7-2125.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Season 7, episode 10 of the Clone Wars, "The Phantom Apprentice," has seen the capture of Maul and the end of his reign on Mandalore - or has it? Well, while we wait for episode 11 to see how that shakes out, we're going back in time to look at just how Maul came to power.

The last time we saw him, he and Savage Opress were much the worse for wear - the events of "Revival" (episode 1 from season 5) had him without a leg, Savage without an arm, and floating adrift in space. Well, they didn't show up again in the series until episode 14, "Eminence." Lucky for them, too, as they were on the edge of death when the Mandalorian Pre Viszla and members of Death Watch stumbled upon them. And it seemed lucky for Death Watch as well. They made a deal with Maul and Savage, to overthrow the Duchess Satine and destroy Obi-Wan Kenobi in the process.

Well, if there's one thing we know about making deals with Sith lords, it's that the deals get worse all the time. And we'll talk about that, as well as the beginnings of Maul's "Shadow Collective" crime syndicate, as we discuss "Eminence," which is the first of a three-part story arc. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-27-StarWars7x7-2124.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

For this week's Sunday conversation, it's a new edition of Star Wars POP! That's "Podcasters on Podcasting," and this time we're featuring Andy and Josh from Holochronicles. Here's the official deal about their show:

"The Holochronicles Podcast is devoted to the collecting of Star Wars memorabilia and toys, old and new. Hosts Josh Most and Andy Lemiere share their 20+ years of experience collecting all things Star Wars, as well as discuss topics ranging from the movies, books, fan theories, and what's next for Disney and Lucasfilm."

I had the pleasure of appearing on their show a while back to talk about my own collecting experience, and I was very happy when they both said yes to joining me on my show to talk about their podcasting experiences... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-26-StarWars7x7-2123.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"The Phantom Apprentice" is the 10th episode from season 7 of the Clone Wars, and is indeed the crowning achievement for the series. The writing is top notch - especially the monologues of Maul, and Sam Witwer does a tremendous job with them. The lightsaber battles are a cut above anything else - and in fact, they are, as the credits list Ray Park as "Maul Performance" and Lauren Mary Kim as "Ahsoka Tano Performance." So this was more than animation - it seems it was closer to motion capture.

There's so much to talk about in this episode, and in all honesty, I'm probably going to do a second one because even now, having recorded it already, there's still so much to tell. But this is a good start, and includes notes about how some of the best Star Wars storytelling rhymes with itself, and this one rhymes with both Original Trilogy and Sequel Trilogy moments... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-25-StarWars7x7-2122.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Did you hear the rumors? On Wednesday, Variety reported that "Russian Doll" co-creator and showrunner Leslye Headland had signed a deal to create a "female-centric" Star Wars series for Disney+. The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood reached out to their own sources, and reported that they were hearing the same thing - although Deadline added that it would action focused and with martial arts elements, and happen in an "alternate" timeline (as opposed to the "different" timeline reported by Variety and THR, but likely meaning the same thing - not happening in the time period of the Skywalker Saga movies).

Well, as it turns out, I've had some additional information about this shared with me, and I'll share that with you on today's episode! I've also looked back at the main Star Wars rumor/leak/spoiler sites I trust to see what kind of live-action series possibilities they've posted, to add to the conversation. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-24-StarWars7x7-2121.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

So, "Brothers" and "Revenge" ended the fourth season of the Clone Wars, and "Revival" kicked off the fifth season. You could be forgiven for thinking that Maul was going to be a huge antagonist in season 5, but it turned out not to be the case.

He certainly does cause his share of problems in this first episode, though, and not just for the Jedi and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This time, Maul and Savage are starting to reveal their goals, by declaring themselves "lords ... crime lords." And to fulfill this, they start by trying to take over a band of pirates led by none other than Hondo Ohnaka. As Hondo notes, these aren't the first crazy laser sword wielding people he's dealt with, and he's always come out on top.

Chaos ensues, we see how Obi-Wan ignored that business about being overmatched from last episode, and he gets a fellow Jedi (Adi Gallia) killed as a result. Later: more amazing lightsaber battles, two limbs lost, and Hondo again comes out on top. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-23-StarWars7x7-2120.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"Revenge" is the second part of a three-part story arc, and the final episode of the fourth season of the Clone Wars (episode 22, if you're in to such things). Among the lessons Obi-Wan learns: not everything you slice in half is dead; Yoda keeps secrets from you that will be to your later benefit; watch out for kicks from cybernetic legs; and he and Asajj Ventress could star in a buddy cop comedy together with all their bantering.

Meanwhile, Mother Talzin works some pretty impressive magick to strip Maul of his spider legs, assemble new bipedal ones from the pieces of wrecked battle droids on the desolate surface of Dathomir, and clear his mind of the kind of craziness that otherwise keeps him from functioning like a civilized Sith. Now, instead of spouting nursery rhymes, he's thinking clearly as he indulges in his pure, unfettered hatred. We'll talk about it all, and his first shot at revenge on Kenobi, in this episode. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-22-StarWars7x7-2119.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We're about to spend time with Darth Maul again! Somehow that rascal managed to survive getting cut in half at the end of The Phantom Menace, and - overachiever that he is - wound up in control of Mandalore! But how did it happen?

There are three Clone Wars story arcs that deal specifically with Maul between those two points in time, and as we head into the final stretch with the series, I'm going to go back and explore those arcs in between the final episodes. Today, we're looking at "Brothers," which is the 21st episode from season 4 of the series, and the first of a three part story arc.

This is the episode where - spoiler alert - Savage Opress finally finds Maul, after being sent on the hunt for him way back in the middle of season 3. And Maul has been losing his mind, not in a good way, but meeting Savage brings a sharp focus to Maul that reverberates throughout the galaxy. Literally. Multiple characters feel something "sinister" happening, and all the foreshadowing finally comes to pass. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-21-StarWars7x7-2118.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

So we don't bury the lede: There's been no new announcement one way or the other about Star Wars Celebration since our last update. For all intents and purposes, ReedPOP is still proceeding as though it's going to happen, and that it's going to happen as scheduled, August 27-30, 2020.

To that point, there have been application periods related to Star Wars Celebration that are still happening, and Reed Exhibitions (the parent company of Reed POP) said in their most recent update (4/14/20) that "Currently, no federal restrictions are in place" that would prevent events like Star Wars Celebration from happening. And the news you may have heard about Los Angeles concerts and sports events isn't the official death knell you might have feared it to be.

That said, as much as I want to be as positive and optimistic as possible about the possibility of Star Wars Celebration happening as planned, I have to say that, since the last time we talked about it on the show, there are other things happening that are tipping the hope scales for me in a less than optimistic direction. We'll discuss all of this on today's show... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-20-StarWars7x7-2117.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Our Sunday conversation this week is a new installment of our Star Wars POP! series - that's "Podcasters on Podcasting," in case it's new to you. I had a bit of a bittersweet moment thinking about the introduction to this, because the one in-person time I met Laura from Force Toast: A Star Wars Happy Hour was at Star Wars Celebration Chicago last year. I was introduced to her by Steve Kirk, the podcaster and co-founder of San Diego Sabers, who passed away only a few months after that very fun evening.

The meeting with Laura was a quick one - she and Alyce were among a group of podcasters doing live recordings of their shows at an after-hours event that evening. But we've traded tweets here and there since then, and they were kind enough to say "Yes!" and join me for joint POP! interview.

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Direct download: 2020-04-19-StarWars7x7-2116.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

This is what we've all been waiting for, and Dave Filoni and company do treat it as a special event. "Old Friends Not Forgotten" kicks off the final story arc of the final season of the Clone Wars, the Siege of Mandalore story arc, the one that connects the TV series with Revenge of the Sith, and also launches Ahsoka Tano into her post-Clone-Wars adventures.

From the moment we got the "Lucasfilm Ltd." opening to the red text "Part I" title screen, and the jump into the narrator's opening without a moral/fortune cookie before it, we know we're in different territory. And as the episode progresses, we can see the cinematic scope and scale to which this arc is rising.

I will say - and I'll say it in detail in today's episode - that I'm having a bit of a challenge with the moment that is supposed to be the BIG emotional moment in this episode. It's based on reasons we've discussed in previous episodes, but let's talk about it and see whether it's just me, or whether you were feeling the same way. That said, as usual, there's a lot to recommend the episode. The action is great, and there's nothing in the episode that feels like it didn't need to be there to tell the story. And that includes the opening sequence, which doesn't bear on the story arc itself (at least, as far as we can guess), but certainly re-grounds us in the nature of this war and its Jedi players. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-18-StarWars7x7-2115.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In this, the final formal installment in our series of looks at the Star Wars movies through the lens of hope, we're talking about the last movie in the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker. It's interesting to note that, similar to Return of the Jedi, the movie starts off in a very reversals-of-fortune way, which is the kind of storytelling form prescribed by screenwriting guru Robert McKee in his popular book Story and his famous seminars.

From there, it continues to bear a resemblance to Return of the Jedi, structurally speaking - it keeps the heroes together until it separates the Force users from the non-Force users, and then it separates the non-Force users into a spaceship battle and a mission-specific battle. (ROTJ=destroy the shield generator; TROS=destroy the navigational beacon)

From the hope perspective, it bears a closer resemblance to Rogue One. The odds of success are so slim, and the task is so massive, that the only way to keep hope alive is to focus on the next task, and the next, until they succeed. As we talk about this on today's episode, we'll also talk about the difference between hope and its related but comparatively selfish cousin, ambition; the innate hopefulness of heroes, and how that hopefulness is necessary to "light the spark" in good people who don't internally generate that attribute; and a big-bang hope moment that sets The Rise of Skywalker apart from every other Star Wars movie. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-17-StarWars7x7-2114.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In doing my research for these "Hyperspacing Hope" episodes, Solo: A Star Wars Story caught me off guard. Of all the movies I've examined so far, Solo is the one in which I got most caught up. I barely stopped the movie at all to take notes, and the notes I took were the least of any of the movies we've discussed to date. I kept getting sucked into the movie and forgetting what I was there for!

And there's a lot of hope to be discussed in the movie - although it doesn't go by that name, if it's even named at all. Instead, when these scoundrels talk about "luck," they're really talking about hope. When Lando says, "I'm a lucky guy," he's talking about an ingrained sense of hopefulness. And when Han pulls out a rock and pretends it's a thermal detonator, or when he convinces Chewbacca that his "very good friends" are in that AT-hauler, the force of his belief - his hope - is so strong that you could make a case for Han as the most hopeful major character in the franchise.

Today, we'll talk more about luck and hope, how being lucky or unlucky overlays the spectrum of hopefulness, how this movie made me want to re-watch the Original Trilogy and The Force Awakens in a new light (because these ones have Han and/or Lando in them), and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-16-StarWars7x7-2113.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

This the 9th of 11 episodes focused on the nature of hope as it's depicted in the Star Wars movies, and the 8th out of the nine Skywalker Saga movies we're covering as part of this "Hyperspacing Hope" series related to the TEDx talk I gave in November 2019. (For those of you asking - none of the videos from that event have been released yet. When I hear more, you'll hear more!)

Today: The Last Jedi. This movie does something that we haven't really seen since The Empire Strikes Back, keeping our heroes on the run for much of the movie. It also illustrates the range of the scale from hopeful to hopeless, but also helps define a couple of polar opposite experiences, apathy and desperation. And it also plays on the spiritual level with hope being tied to the Jedi, and the secular with Leia's down-to-earth comparison of hope to the sun. We'll discuss it all and more on today's show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-15-StarWars7x7-2112.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

This is the eighth episode in a series of looks at how the nature of hope is depicted in the Star Wars movies. Previous episodes focused on the movies in order of theatrical release, so we've already gone through the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, and The Force Awakens to date.

Today, we look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. From the morally good and hopeful center of the movie (Galen Erso) to immoral and hopeful (Cassian), moral yet hopeless (much of the Alliance leadership), immoral and increasingly hopeless (Saw Gerrera), and finally to the person who goes from the deepest depths of hopelessness to acting on hope with the razor-thinnest of margins (Jyn), Rogue One is quite possibly the Star Wars movie that's more thoroughly driven by hope than any other. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-14-StarWars7x7-2111.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The second story arc Clone Wars season 7 - which had been known as "Ahsoka's Walkabout" when it was first introduced to fans at Star Wars Celebration Europe (London) in 2016 - is now complete. On today's episode, I'll be diving back into the "Ahsoka's Untold Tales" panel from that event to see how the original version (or, at least, what we knew about it back then) differed from the final version we saw on Disney+. And we'll also talk about what's next. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-13-StarWars7x7-2110.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

If you've listened at all to Star Wars audiobooks, you've heard Marc Thompson's voice. His *many* voices, as it were, as he typically performs dozens of characters in each novel's narration. And if you've been listening to the podcast this past week, you've heard snippets of his performances as Leia, Luke, Rey, Kylo, Palpatine, and others in The Rise of Skywalker Expanded Edition audiobook. (Thanks once again to Penguin Random House Audio for sending me a review copy to dissect and share with you...)

On today's show, a special Sunday conversation treat. Marc Thompson joins me on the podcast to talk about what it was like to read the novel for the first time after having seen The Rise of Skywalker in theaters; what the recording sessions were like; the fun and challenging aspects of the project; what it's like as the sole voice actor to record scenes where multiple characters are speaking; what it was like to perform the characters of Luke, Leia, and Han one last time; and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-12-StarWars7x7-2109.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"Together Again" is episode 8 from season 7 of the Clone Wars, and the final episode of the story arc that's been known as "Ahsoka's Walkabout" since details of it were shared at Celebrations past. You know what generally needs to happen by the end of the episode - Ahsoka and the Martez sisters need to escape from the Pykes, and the Martez sisters likely need to be able to get away in a manner that will keep them out of trouble with the Pykes for the foreseeable future.

The key for whether it turns out to be a good episode is whether the way it happens is surprising, and as it turns out, there are multiple surprises in the episode. I'll talk about the unexpected things that happen along the way; the dramatic character reveal that's going to take us into the final story arc; and the creative team's first steps toward resolving the fact that there was going to be a story arc that took place in between this one and the Siege of Mandalore. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-11-StarWars7x7-2108.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In our final deep-dive episode for The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition (the novelization and audiobook, and thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for sending me a review copy), we're going to reveal the answer to the biggest question of them all - how did Palpatine survive his fall at the end of Return of the Jedi?

On top of that, we're going to address the issue of how that factors into Rey's parentage; how the process may give you flashbacks to an episode of The Mandalorian; and cover some odds and ends, including ships named in the Battle of Exegol, what Ben said to Rey as a Force ghost after he died, the holo Chewie had stored in his quarters, how the "Jedi voices" scene lacks details but includes a line that may mean Ahsoka Tano is still alive in this era, and a mystery that isn't solved by either the movie or the novelization. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-10-StarWars7x7-2107.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition, we're treated to some of Ben Solo's childhood memories. Funny thing is, the memories aren't *his*, per se. They're other people's memories of him as a boy. On today's episode of the podcast, we'll listen to excerpts from the audiobook version of the novelization (thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for sending me a copy of it!) that reveal those memories.

Along the way, we'll also talk about Luke reaching out to Leia as a Force ghost - and which other Force ghosts have done the same - a more detailed explanation for why Rey tires out during her Kef Bir battle with Kylo Ren, the symmetry of Luke's and Leia's final outreach, and Kylo's/Ben's reflections on the truth of his existence after Rey stabs, heals, and ditches him. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-09-StarWars7x7-2106.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Yes, Rey is a Palpatine. Yes, Rey is a very powerful Force user. And yet, it comes as a surprise when she suddenly manifests Force lightning while she's battling with Kylo Ren for control of the First Order transport on Pasaana - you know, the one in which she thinks Chewie's being held prisoner.

Well, one of the great things that The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition novelization does is take us inside Rey's head during that confrontation. (Thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for sharing a copy of the audiobook with me for review purposes.) What Rae Carson does with this scene will absolutely enhance your next viewing of the movie, and we'll talk about why today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-08-StarWars7x7-2105.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Anthony Daniels once described The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio as someone deeply steeped in Star Wars lore (I'm paraphrasing, but that's certainly the gist of it). Well, to explain how Palpatine managed to survive the events of Return of the Jedi, they had to go back about 4,000 years into Expanded Universe (now known as "Legends") history to come up with one of the tools of the Sith lord's continued existence.

On today's episode, we'll talk about Kylo's first encounter with Palpatine as depicted in the "Expanded Edition" novelization (and thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for sending me a copy to explore with you), which is a big deal, because at this point - as we'll talk about in this episode - there's currently no other source of information on Palpatine in the time of the sequel movies. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-07-StarWars7x7-2104.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Remember that briefest of brief scenes in The Rise of Skywalker where we get to see Luke training Leia on Ajan Kloss? Well, the "Expanded Edition" novelization gives us more details about Leia's time training with Luke - lessons she learned that she still uses decades later, as well as one specific training session that bears a resemblance to Luke's own training with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio, who kindly sent me a copy of the audiobook version to review and discuss with you, I'll be sharing clips of those moments on the show today. Punch it!

And if you want in on the free audiobook deal we have with Audible, head to http://sw7x7.com/audible to get it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-06-StarWars7x7-2103.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

When I was researching what other Star Wars podcasters were doing as I was preparing to launch my own, one of the ones I particularly admired was Coffee With Kenobi. And so it was a particularly special moment to finally meet host and co-founder Dan Zehr - better known as "Dan Z" to his listeners and fans - at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

He was kind enough to say yes to the one-question interview last year, and this year he said yes to answering a handful of questions as part of the Star Wars POP! feature here on the show. In case you need the refresher, "POP" stands for "Podcasters on Podcasting," and in today's episode, Dan opens up about his podcasting history, his inspirations, and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-05-StarWars7x7-2102.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

"Dangerous Debt" is season 7, episode 7 of the Clone Wars series, and the third of a four-part story arc. Interestingly enough, the main thrust of this third part is much the same as the thrust of the third episode in the Bad Batch arc - having been pinned down by the enemy in one fashion or another, our heroes need to escape.

And although the escape goes better for Anakin, Rex, Echo, and the Bad Batch than it does for Ahsoka and the Martez sisters, "Dangerous Debt" turns out to be the more compelling of the two. On today's episode, I'll explain why, and also explain how my feelings in that regard have nothing to do with THAT scene - you know the one I'm talking about. If it hadn't been in the episode, I still would have thought it to be deeper, more emotionally layered and nuanced. But with the addition of our surprise guests, the story got even richer and deeper.

And now that those characters have been introduced, it makes one wonder whether the "Together Again" title for next week's episode refers to Anakin and Ahsoka, as we'd previously thought, or if something else big is going to happen... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-04-StarWars7x7-2101.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Still not confirmed by Disney or Lucasfilm or anyone else, but Variety is hearing from multiple sources that Joby Harold has been selected as the new writer for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series at Disney+. Indie Wire is hearing the same thing from their sources - but we never know if Indie Wire's sources are different from Variety's sources, do we? But I digress...

On today's episode, we'll talk about this choice, because it does seem like an unusual one. Based on his career, it seems as though Harold has more experience in a producer/executive producer role than as a writer. And the series already has an executive producer in Deborah Chow (she's more than just the director for all the episodes). We'll also talk about the status of the production, because Variety's report mentioned something I didn't recall seeing anywhere before.

And lastly, we'll take a moment to honor Andrew Jack, the British dialect coach who also appeared as General Ematt in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. He passed away earlier this week at the age of 76, due to complications from the coronavirus.

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Direct download: 2020-04-03-StarWars7x7-2100.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We've covered the Rosario Dawson/Ahsoka Tano news in depth, and as of today, there's nothing new to report. But there have been a couple of other casting rumors for The Mandalorian season 2 out there - some well sourced and some less so, some featuring characters returning from season 1 and some brand new to the show. On today's episode, I'll dig into all of them, and evaluate how likely these new bits of news are going to wind up true. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-04-02-StarWars7x7-2099.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Remember when Disney reset the Star Wars canon storyline in April 2014? Well, the High Republic publishing initiative - formerly known as Project Luminous - is set to do it again. The clues have been in front of us for years, with the reveal about the "World Between Worlds" in season 4 of Star Wars Rebels, and most recently with the reference to it (also called a "Vergence Scatter") in The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary.

We also know that the bad guys in Project Luminous, the Nihil, can manipulate hyperspace, and the whole storyline begins with a big hyperspace-related event. What I can reveal to you today is that the hyperspace event cracks open the World Between Worlds, which leads to all sorts of chaos - and even an alternate reality spilling out into the galaxy far, far away!

As a result, different versions of the heroes will emerge, and these versions aren't very nice. In fact, I've managed to get concept art for these sort-of "mirror image" characters, which I show in the video version of the show, and on the show notes page for this episode.

You can learn more about this shocking development, and what it means for the Star Wars canon timeline, on today's episode. Punch it!

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Oh, and ... HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY!!! :-)

Direct download: 2020-04-01-StarWars7x7-2098.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

I've had the luxury - read: no one that I know of who's contracted the coronavirus - to have time and space to think about the anger I've been experiencing. And it's got me thinking differently about our reactions to Star Wars stories. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-03-31-StarWars7x7-2097.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

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!

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Direct download: 2020-03-30-StarWars7x7-2096.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

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 EST

"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 EST

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 EST

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!

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Direct download: 2020-03-26-StarWars7x7-2092.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

"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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

"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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST