There is Peace: Anakin, Ezra and Emotional Support

Yoda: Inside you much anger, much fear.

Ezra: I just want to protect myself and my friends.

Yoda: And this is why you must be Jedi?

Ezra: Yes, and not just them. Everyone. I’ll protect everyone. Before I met Kanan, I only ever thought of myself, but Kanan and the rest, they don’t think like that. They help people, they give everything away, and I see it. I see how it makes people feel.

Yoda: Feel, yes. How?

Ezra: Alive. They feel alive, like I do now.

Rebels S01E09, Path of the Jedi

Anakin at nine: The golden child of the twin suns, given the choice to leave his hard but love-filled slave life behind to become a champion of the galaxy. He is warm, talented, and compassionate, but fear and anger already have firm footholds in his heart.

Ezra at fourteen: A street rat who will help others subjugated by the Empire, as long as it suits him. Trust doesn’t come easy after years of being alone and he is afraid, though he’ll never admit it. Still, there is goodness deep inside him, and Hera and Kanan encourage the light inside him.

Both of these young boys are taken in by a new family at the start of their respective stories, the promise of becoming a Jedi dangled before them. We know where Anakin’s journey takes him—his fall, his redemption at the end—but we don’t know where Ezra’s heading yet. His future is totally open.

star_wars_rebels_ezra_jedi

Source: Lucasfilm.

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Star Wars: Unafraid and Lady Lovin’

Here’s the thing: I am not a movie buff, I am not a film student (anymore), and I almost never have strong feelings about anything. I go into everything with no expectations except cool women and pretty cinematography. You can imagine that a lot of recent films have disappointed me.

The Force Awakens has already given me everything I want, just in the trailers and teasers and TV spots. A female lead, gorgeous shots that are a blend of old and new, and Leia. My God, do I love Leia. I am perfectly content with just the teasers and trailer, and the thought that there is an actual whole movie coming out next week is so overwhelming I can’t even directly acknowledge the thought lest I explode. Or cry. I can’t look directly at the idea, I must tip-toe by the realization that this is actually happening.

But I have no fear (and really, do I ever?) I’m not known for my good taste in films, I unabashedly love terrible or unpopular movies. Can I count the number of times I’ve watched the Prequels? No, but it’s probably a higher number than the OT. The only thing that could legitimately make me dislike The Force Awakens would be awful treatment of the lady characters, but I have such utter faith in the team at Lucasfilm I hardly believe that will happen.

I do have hopes, though. Hopes that Rey and Finn will shine, and will inspire other films to cast women and people of colour in starring roles. Hopes that I will want to watch this movie as often as I crave watching The Hunger Games. I want to fall in love with Rey and Finn and the other characters the same way I have so fallen for their actors, so funny and charming and kind. I want this film to give me feelings so strong I realize I can never love any person as much as I love TFA. Finally, I desperately want to see Han and Leia have sweet moments. I will ship them till my dying breath.

Star Wars has always been an innovator, a leader, an inspirer. As long as I can remember, Star Wars has been in my life—from babysitting me when my parents didn’t want to deal with a bored toddler, to me wanting to be Obi-Wan’s sister with a pink lightsaber when we were pretending to be in Lord of the Rings back in primary. Those orcs didn’t stand a chance.

The OT showed me that I could be a princess and still be in space with cool ships and guns. The PT inspired me in part to take up politics so I could be like Padme, inspiring change in a country I felt so strongly for (a failed venture, that in part lead me back to falling in love with Star Wars.) The Clone Wars gave me Ahsoka, who I love so dearly I am actually astounded by the depths of my feelings. Abrams is wrong, Star Wars has always been for everyone.

I want the new films to give me, and all young girls coming into this fandom, women (note the plural) to look up to and give us hope for our futures, or inspiration for our present. This is really all I am hoping for: a positive force for women and girls of all ages. I don’t care if Rey is a Skywalker or a Solo, I only care that she is everything Star Wars has been needing for over thirty years, and that she’ll be someone for little girls to look up to and love.

I also really want Finn and Rey to hold hands. Romantically. Oh God, please don’t be related.

Star Wars Goes Digital on April 10th

Star_Wars_logoIn news surprising to no one thanks to rumors over the past few days, Disney announced tonight via a commercial during this big deal college basketball game that the six films will be available in Digital HD starting on Friday, April 10th.

“Since the debut of the first film nearly 40 years ago, Star Wars has become a worldwide phenomenon with legions of fans from every generation,” said Alan Bergman, president, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s only fitting that audiences enjoy this legendary saga and its many fascinating behind-the-scenes stories on a wide variety of platforms, and we’re very excited to finally bring all six films to Digital HD for the first time.”

The digital releases will also contain bonus material although that will apparently vary by retailer. You can read the full press release on the official site.

Where’s Hera? (And Sometimes Sabine)

January 4th, 2015 and I’m already tired. Why? Because I am sick of it. Because I’m sick of death of having to constantly fight and ask for female representation in merchandise when there’s absolutely no good reason not to include it. Are you a fan of Star Wars Rebels and love the ENTIRE team? Well good luck finding merchandise that includes Hera or Sabine let alone both.

If this is sounding familiar, it’s because we’ve been through this before. We wondered where Black Widow was in all the Avengers gear after the film came out in May 2012 and then we asked again in August 2014 when Gamora was almost nowhere to be found. (Amy Ratcliffe detailed the latter over at her blog.) At this point, it’s an easy choice to call it a pattern of marketing (especially Disney in this situation) purposefully eliminating female characters from their products. This is hardly also a new battle for Star Wars. Those in the fandom will likely recall the uproar when Daisy Ridley was originally the only new woman in the Episode VII cast and then again when Hera and Sabine were not announced with the first wave of Rebels action figures. (And hey, that’s just the highlights from 2014.) Unfortunately, it looks like it’s time to start up a hashtag for #WheresHera.

Let’s take a look at some of the Star Wars Rebels merchandise out there. Over the weekend, I found myself at the Disney Store, a calendar mall stand, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. While this is not a comprehensive listing of places that sell Star Wars gear, I found the products there to be fairly representative of what I’ve seen other times.

I found this set of kids’ PJs in the Disney Store. Notice who’s missing?IMG_1411I don’t recall seeing anything with either lady on anything in the store but I DID see a girl of perhaps five eagerly grabbing for a Star Wars lunch box. Much of the rest of the items featured Darth Vader, clone troopers, and the Inquisitor. (It took effort not to explain the Inquisitor’s lightsaber to the confused dad holding it.)

 

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Disney CFO: Star Wars to follow the Marvel model

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 1.09.21 PMFrom THR, Disney CFO Jay Rasulo says that Star Wars will be looking to Star Wars as it markets itself going forward.

Walt Disney, the parent of Lucasfilm, intends on doing for Star Wars what it did for its Marvel superheroes — including broadening the appeal to female and international audiences and moving lots of toys and other products, said CFO Jay Rasulo on Wednesday.

“We are doing what we do for our Disney franchises … with Star Wars, and it is mirroring Marvel, but we already know the path, so it’s going to go faster, smoother, with the same goals,” Rasulo said.

Emphasis added. It’s certainly nice to see a high level Disney exec at least pay lip service to reaching out to the female demo in its marketing and content creation. However, with the lack of Marvel products geared towards the female audience currently on the shelves (where’s Gamora?), one wonders if anyone told marketing and merchandising that this was the plan.

Disney: Star Wars toys for girls are coming

You may have missed the #WeWantLeia protest that cropped up in response to the lack of (and seeming disinterest in providing) Star Wars toys for girls. Disney, however, did not miss it. In an exclusive to Time, Disney promises that toys for the non-boy demographic are coming.

Disney told TIME on Wednesday that it would add Princess Leia toys to its existing Star Wars merchandise line soon, following recent criticism from parents and bloggers about the lack of products for girls.

“The current assortment of Star Warsproducts at the Disney Store launched earlier this year, and is just the beginning of what is to come,” Disney spokeswoman Margita Thompson told TIME. “We’re excited to be rolling out new products in the coming months, including several items that will feature Princess Leia, one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars galaxy.”

Now it’s worth pointing out that toys for girls and Princess Leia shouldn’t be synonymous and there should be more than that in the pipeline, but for now this is a good start. This, folks, is why it’s important to bang the drum for diversity.

Disney and Paramount reach Indiana Jones agreement

Indiana-JonesPer Variety, Disney and Paramount have reached an agreement involving the Indiana Jones franchise.

Under the arrangement, Disney gains distribution and marketing rights to future films, in addition to retaining its current ownership rights which it secured when it acquired Lucasfilm.

Paramount will continue to be responsible for distribution of the first four films in the franchise and will receive a financial participation on any future films that are produced and released.

There’s currently no announcement that a fifth Indiana Jones installment, just a whole bunch of rumors. This deal would suggest that Disney is at least considering the possibility of another film to get Harrison Ford back in the fedora.

One Year Ago Today…

holy

The above conversation was probably representative of a number of conversations you all had with your peers. Except you probably didn’t bother to black out the expletives.

One year ago today, the entire fandom was blindsided by the news that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas. That was wild enough, but shortly after those rumbling began trickling out onto the Internet something even wilder happened. Disney confirmed the sale and announced that the one thing that was never going to happen was about to become a reality: The Sequel Trilogy.

At the time of the announcement, I was in a Taco Bell in Moses Lake, Washington having just finished up a work trip. Nanci sent me the above text message alerting me to the news and a few hours later Dunc from Club Jade joined us for the first and only emergency podcast episode we have ever done.

And here we were worried we’d have nothing to talk about after Celebration VI. What are your memories from the day Disney bought Lucasfilm?

ABC discussing Star Wars television series

IGN’s Eric Goldman recently had the chance to sit down with ABC president Paul Lee during the Television Critics Association’s press tour. One of the questions asked: Is a live-action Star Wars television series a possibility?

At the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour today, I asked Disney president Paul Lee about the possibility of Star Wars on ABC. While Lee wouldn’t give any specifics, he did say, “I certainly have a glint in my eye. They have a lot on their plate when you look at the features that they’re planning on rolling out for the next few years, but we’ve started conversations with them.”

Nothing’s a guarantee, but it’s certainly not outside of the realm of possibility now that Disney has a stake in the franchise. If they’ve figured out a way to turn the Marvel film universe into a TV series, it’s certainly possible Star Wars could make the medium leap as well. Will this be the McCallum series that’s been in flux since 2005? I doubt it, especially given that he left Lucasfilm earlier this year. Still, more Star Wars is an exciting possibility.