Rebels Review: The Call

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The Call introduces the new best creatures to inhabit the GFFA: the Purrgil, strange space whale-cephalopods that interrupt the Ghost crew’s mission to steal fuel that is meant for the Empire, fuel that is desperately needed. 

Low on fuel, Hera is forced to redirect any non-essential systems, including heat and the lights. This gives the ship a very enclosed and almost claustrophobic atmosphere throughout the episode, as well as some pretty high stakes: they fail this mission, and the Ghost may never leave the ground again. The entire episode is quite dark aesthetically, not being set on any planets, but the overall tone is of hope and wonder.

Something that Rebels can do well—and The Clone Wars did well—is expand the universe in more mystical ways because of the animated medium. The Call shows how this can be done well, developing the ancient mythology of Star Wars through the Purrgil and their connection to hyperspace travel and the origin of hyperdrives. Star Wars has such an old galaxy that spans a few millennia, that any glimpses into the way things came to be are always quite interesting and refreshing. 

Not only does this episode expand on the lore of the universe, but it also broadens Ezra’s understanding of the Force and of his abilities, showing how much he has changed and grown since Rebels first began. No longer is he the bitter, selfish child on Lothal, but a calm, compassionate boy who has a deepening connection with nature and others around him, a connection that even Kanan doesn’t seem to have.

There’s something almost beautiful about seeing the way Ezra interacts with the Purrgil, and especially so when he finally understands what they’re doing. While the others are quick to either dismiss the Purrgil or consider them a threat, he wants to learn what causes them to act as they do and help them with their distress.

Hera and Ezra have rather subtle development in this episode, though Ezra’s is more obvious. Over the course of The Call, Hera seems to gain the sense of wonder that Ezra has to begin with, a kind of childlike curiosity at the mysteries of the world. Vanessa Marshall’s acting is, as always, amazing. Kanan, for some reason, seems even snarkier than usual, though he still stops to let Ezra explain himself.

The whole crew has grown a lot since the beginning, and it’s clearer in each episode how much they’ve learned to help each other. They banter, but they plainly care for each other, which is one of the strengths of the show. Though an episode not based around their ensemble so much, The Call still shows this in little ways.

Filled with great visuals and absolutely stunning shots, The Call is largely a mystical episode that ends on good feelings—something that is likely needed during this time in the season. Though it may not be a plot-heavy episode, it’s a gorgeous one that is a welcome moment of peace before the storm the rest of the season is bound to be. The Purrgil are a great addition to the GFFA, and this episode will probably make a good standalone in the same way many of the lore-expanding episodes of The Clone Wars did.

I am personally keen to see how Ezra develops further over the rest of the season, as The Call has definitely shown him as a wiser character than he once was. He’s a good kid, and he’s only getting better.

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Review: Darth Vader #16

Have we all recovered from Vader Down yet? No? It’s okay, me neither. This week, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca take us on a brand new adventure to the planet Shu-Torun where the ore barons are rebelling and being very inconvenient for the Empire. Who else would the Emperor dispatch to deal with the situation but Darth Vader?

While it’s probably not completely mandatory, I strongly suggest picking up and reading the Darth Vader Annual before delving into this arc as it provides all of the backstory. The dynamics between Vader and Queen Trios are what really make this issue stand out to me. In a way, it’s like a mirror to the dynamic between Vader and Palpatine in that you have an individual who is used to having power and to having their orders obeyed who is then faced with a stronger individual that they must defer to. I’m curious to see how far it’s taken and how far Trios and Vader can push each other before one of them snaps.

The shift from Skywalkers to royalty is certainly a welcome one at this point in the series. It’s a nice change of pace in the book’s second year before that storyline became stale. Plus, Shu-Torun also gives the creative team a chance to expand the universe and create another monarchy for a particular brand of Star Wars nerd to geek out of.

Of course, this review wouldn’t be complete without expressing A LOT OF CONCERN IN REGARDS TO THE SAFETY AND WELL BEING OF DOCTOR APHRA. (I’ve got my eye on you, Gillen. I’ve read too many of your comics to think she’s safe!)

Oh and also? The cover of this issue by Mark Brooks along with the one teased at the end of the issue is drop death gorgeous.

Darth Vader #16 is a worthwhile follow up to Vader Down and I’m excited to see where the story goes!

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Millicent the Cat Has a Secret

Millicent the Cat

Despite dozens of people saying otherwise, the theory that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis continues to live on even though so many of us wish it would just die. Fear not! I come before you with a new theory… one far younger and more powerful. Per interviews with Andy Serkis, we know that Snoke is actually a brand new character for the Sequel Trilogy. Thus far, most of the Snoke Theories have ignored this.

Star Wars fans were recently alerted to the existence of a new character this weekend… Millicent the Cat. Millicent is a bit of an oddity. Not only does she belong to General Hux but she also has a litter box in Kylo Ren’s torture room. This is no mere kitty. She is Millicent, Daughter of… some other cat. You owe her your allegiance. Therefore, I feel that it is my obligation and my sworn duty to present to you a theory backed by what I consider to be irrefutable evidence: Snoke is actually Millicent the Cat.

Fact: No one has ever seen Millicent and Snoke in the same room.
This is indisputable. Throughout the entire film, Snoke and Millicent the Cat never appear in frame together. Now, of course, one might argue that Millicent never appears in The Force Awakens period but that certainly does not take away from the fact that you never see them together. There’s definitely a reason why.

Fact: We’ve only see Snoke as a hologram.
Millicent is one smart kitty. She knew that she’d never have a chance for galactic domination as herself so she found another plan of action. The giant Snoke hologram on a throne is merely a digital projection created entirely by computers that Millicent is clearly controlling. (Pay no attention to the cat behind the curtain.)

Fact: Cats are assholes. Just like Snoke.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cat, when given the opportunity, must be in want of being an asshole. What could be more asshole-ish than corrupting a kid to the dark side and encouraging him to kill his father?

Fact: Kylo Ren puts his helmet in Millicent’s litterbox.
Do you think the Master of the Knights of Ren would put his helmet just anywhere? Of course not. Obviously Millicent is no mere cat and Kylo should feel lucky to temporarily place his helmet where Millicent’s *ahem* business also goes. And honestly, do you think that any mere cat, even one owned by General Hux, would have a litterbox in such an important place?  (Although I suppose there’s room for an argument that this is just another way for Millicent-Snoke to exert her dominance over Kylo.)

Fact: Neither Hux nor Kylo appear to have any cat hair on them.
As anyone who owns a pet or has spent any time around hairy mammals can tell you, this is impossible. I don’t care how many lint rollers you have or how religiously you use one, some hair will always escape your efforts. Millicent must have supernatural powers if she’s able to keep her two humans and their very dark clothing from perpetually having orange hair on it.

Fact: Snoke intends to complete Kylo Ren’s training.
This entire line is a bit of misdirection on Millicent’s part. She orders Hux to go collect Ren from the blood and snow heap because she wants her humans in one piece but she also tells them to come to her. She doesn’t want to let them on the secret just yet so this is her keeping up the charade. The hologram can still be used wherever Hux and Ren have to go. She’s clearly very serious about training Ren though. His temper tantrums keep destroying computer consoles and do you know what warm and lovely spots those are for sleeping? Especially in freezing cold space? He must be trained to stop such destruction. Plus, every credit redirected towards repairs is another credit that won’t be buying her treats or catnip which is just rude.

Fact: Supreme Leader is exactly the smug sort of title a cat would come up with.
“Emperor” is just so three decades ago. Also, Supreme Leader is gender neutral and Millicent is all about gender equality. Species equality will be at the top of her list once she achieves galactic domination.

You may laugh but prepare yourself to be astounded and amazed when this theory is revealed as fact in Episode VIII or Episode IX. Or perhaps Pablo’s Twitter. The ramifications of something like this may be too dangerous and blow theatregoers’ minds if seen on the big screen. Just wait.

Hail Supreme Leader Millicent!

Art by coattailsofdoom on tumblr. That is the face of a cat with an evil plan and a mission.

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Sneak peak at Lego’s summer 2016 Star Wars sets!

The lovely human beings over at The Brothers Brick have posted an image from either the London or Nuremburg Toy Fair (which one isn’t made clear in the post), giving us a look at some of the Lego Star Wars sets we can expect this summer. Hop behind the break for a look (as well as my — ahem — expert analysis).

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Tosche Station Radio #141: The New Republic Flies Again

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Coming up on this episode of Tosche Station Radio: Brian and Nanci are going on a boat, The Expanse is awesome, John Boyega is ripped, and the New Republic flies again!

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

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Rebels Review: Legends of the Lasat

This week on Star Wars Rebels, we finally got some backstory about our favorite grouchy muscle guy on the Ghost, Garazeb Orrelios. We also got a return of fan-favorite scoundrel with indeterminate loyalties, Hondo Ohnaka!

“Legends of the Lasat” features the crew’s mission to rescue two refugees, who turn out to be Lasat, aka Zeb’s species. Only thing is, Zeb thought he was the last of his species. So why isn’t he overjoyed to see more of his people still alive?

Turns out the two Lasats are kind of wacky, and you can’t fault Zeb for thinking they’re kind of crazy. They want Zeb’s help finding their new homeworld. Zeb hesitates at first; then the other Lasats defer to him as part of the honor guard, and refer to him as captain. That made me sit back and go, “aw, Zeb, you’re important!” I really need to know more about his history.

In the end Zeb uses his apparently magical bowrifle to send the Ghost into a sea of black holes to find the new home of the Lasat. Yes, you read that correctly: a sea of black holes. This is definitely one of those stories that puts Star Wars firmly in the “space fantasy” genre.

There’s a lot of mysticism in this episode, which can sometimes (*cough* Mortis *cough*) make me roll my eyes, but here it didn’t bother me. I like the idea of people other than the Jedi and Force users being spiritual and respecting the Force. To go along with the mysticism, the Rebels team really overdid itself with the episode’s visuals. The scene of the Ghost approaching the cluster of black holes was absolutely gorgeous (and I’m not the only person who thought of the Maw at first glance, right?). I’ll never grow tired of seeing crazy hyperspace shots, whether it be in Rebels or in The Force Awakens.  And the music…wow, the music was just incredible. Why is that not in my earholes yet?

We got a lot of nice character moments with Zeb in this episode, seeing him as a reluctant hero and then accepting his destiny to help his people find a new home. Turns out that there are already Lasats living on the planet when they arrive, which makes it easier for Zeb to return to the Ghost. He’s already found his new home with Kanan and crew, but he’s more than willing to help other Lasats they may come across find their way to the new homeworld. After all, they have the hyperspace coordinates now and don’t have to black hole diving again! (This also makes me hopeful that, maybe, perhaps Zeb can survive the Galactic Civil War and live in peace afterwards?)

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more Zeb episodes in the future. He’s a funny character, but with a lot of depth, and Steve Blum plays him wonderfully. I’m also dying to know what happens to Hondo! Last we saw him, he was with the Imperials, having sold out the Ghost crew. Does he get away? Do they kill him? They can’t kill Hondo, despite his questionable loyalties! Inquiring minds need to know what happens, Dave Filoni!

“Legends of the Lasat” was a solid episode, and I hope this trend of character-focused episodes continues into the second half of Season 2.

If you haven’t already, check out Rebels Recon for the best Pablo Hidalgo question yet.

 

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Lego Winter 2016 sets coming to U.S. in March

Gird your wallets, fellow U.S.-based Lego fans! The Winter 2016 wave of Star Wars sets — already available in other parts of the world, grumble grumble — are finally coming to our beleaguered shores in March, according to reports from The Brick Fan and AZ Central. This wave features the sets we previously reported were coming, including an updated ETA Interceptor for Obi-Wan, a Bespin carbon-freezing chamber, and an updated version of the droids’ escape pod from the original Star Wars film. Have a look at the box art below, and let us know in the comments which sets you’re planning on picking up.

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