The Minimum Effort Ep.18: Infinity War and Rebels

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Join Ben and Lewis for a high-energy, in-your-face, rollercoaster-ride of a podcast, that definitely wasn’t recorded at 11pm on a Friday night… A belated review of Star Wars Rebels season 4 and a good ol’ trailer talk about Infinity War await within…

 

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The Minimum Effort Ep.16: 2018, baby!

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Join Ben and Lewis for a belated look forward to the glamorous gifts of film and TV that are coming our way in 2018- both the good and the bad…

The Last Jedi- Who? What? Why?

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So the title for Star Wars episode eight was released yesterday, and the internet, unsurprisingly, went wild with speculation and anticipation for what already sounds like a very brooding chapter of the new Star Wars trilogy.

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‘The Last Jedi’… What does it mean? Who is the last Jedi? Why are they the last? All these incredibly obvious questions have been asked and answered all over the inter-web, and many, many people have come forward with their ideas. But here’s mine, for what it’s worth.

We learned in The Force Awakens that, after the defeat of the Empire, and his final battle with Vader and the Emperor, Luke attempted to create a new Jedi Order. We don’t yet know much about what this Order was like, whether it was as blindly stupid/arrogant as the old Jedi Order, or whether this was a new-age of the Jedi with new teachings and new beliefs. However, something obviously wasn’t all too right with the way things were going, because Kylo Ren decided he should slaughter everyone and everything. Great right? Imagine you’re Luke Skywalker; you’ve restored peace to the galaxy, and you’ve brought “balance” to the force, and now your bratty little padawan-nephew decides that “balance” is overrated and that black leather is a really cool look.

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I imagine you’d be pretty gutted after seeing everything you’ve rebuilt destroyed, and all your pupils slaughtered, just because you went wrong somewhere with Ben Solo. And so Luke’s self-exile does seem fairly reasonable when you consider the carnage that his nephew caused.

This blame that Luke’s placed upon himself, and the similarity between Kylo-Ren and Anakin Skywalker’s turns to the darkside, makes me think that Luke tried to rebuild the old Jedi order we saw in the prequels. This was the order that taught its members to swallow their emotions and discouraged romantic attachments, which was precisely what pushed Anakin over to the darkside; the users of which are consumed by their emotions rather than controlling them. I think Luke believed that this was the way the Jedi order was supposed to be, probably thanks to the knowledge provided to him by Lor San Tekka (You know… the old guy at the start of TFA), but obviously he made a mistake and history ended up repeating itself in Kylo Ren’s betrayal.

So he gave it all up and retreated to the first Jedi Temple, which is where Rey finds him at the end of The Force Awakens.

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Now, after all that preamble I can explain where I think the title “The Last Jedi” comes into it.

Luke Skywalker is the last Jedi. Yes I’m aware that it might mean Rey, and that Jedi can be used as a plural, but in my theory Luke is the referred-to Jedi.

At this point he’s had enough of everything, and he’s spent the last 6 years trying to figure out what went wrong, what he can do, and what is going to happen now. When Rey finds him, I think he’s going to be very reluctant to train her, and to begin with I think he’s going to flat-out refuse, but eventually something will change his mind. Maybe learning about the death of Han will be the trigger, or maybe he might be visited by his old mentors Obi-Wan and Yoda in the form of Force Ghosts? Perhaps we may even see the return of Qui-Gon Jinn? Anyway, whatever convinces him to train her, he won’t train her in the traditional philosophies of the Jedi, and I think that together they’ll learn what balance truly means when it comes to the force.

An example of this is the journey that the character of Kanan is currently on in Star Wars Rebels– he is realising that to follow the light and dark sides of the force exclusively brings unbalance, and that to be truly in tune with the force you have to walk the line between the two.

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This isn’t a new concept, in the old expanded universe there was a group known as the Grey Jedi, who did essentially the same thing, but this appears to be the direction that the writers are taking when it comes to force-wielding characters in the canon.

So Luke won’t train Rey to be a Jedi (they’re overrated anyway), he’ll train her to be the first in a new order of force users; an order that focuses less on the clinical approach to the force that the old Jedi had, and instead a more spiritual connection, like Maz Kanata (hint-hint) and The Bendu (Star Wars Rebels). It will be this balance that will allow Rey and Luke to overcome Kylo and the Knights of Ren (great band name), because while Ben Solo is passionately dedicated to the dark-side now that he’s committed patricide, Rey will be able to tap into her emotions but not let them consume her. Luke did the same thing at the end of Return of the Jedi, allowing him to defeat the evil in his father and destroy the Emperor.

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So anyway that’s my two cents, take it or leave it, but I really do hope that this is the direction they’re headed in, because it addresses a lot of the Jedi Order’s flaws, explains why Luke allowed another fall of the Jedi, and also prevents history from repeating itself… again.

(On a side note, I now really want The Bendu to make an appearance as Luke’s new mentor, just to have more Tom Baker and that fantastic character)

But what do you think? Am I right? Is the meaning of the title either so simple it doesn’t need explaining or so obtuse that mere mortals couldn’t deduce its true symbolism? Have I thought about this too much?
(Yes, you have. I like it and it would be interesting to see, but I think you have over-thought it. The two of them will be the “Last Jedi”…. at least for a while- Ben)

Please let us know!

Rebels Review: S3E6 “The Last Battle”

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Lewis: So another week, another Rebels episode. This time we were thrown back into the Clone Wars when Rex, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, and Chopper find an army of droids that weren’t shut down.
Getting a Rex episode was pretty cool, shall we talk about that first?

Ben: Yeah I suppose- it does expand his story, but I wasn’t a big fan of this episode to be honest.

Lewis: No? I quite enjoyed this one. It was a fun little adventure that, while it didn’t really have much of an impact in the grand scheme of things, gave Rex a bit of limelight that was sorely missing. What didn’t you like about it?

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Ben: I didn’t mind Rex and the crew, and you are right it was a nice little side quest, but I really hate what happened to the battle droids. I don’t like how they’ve become the comic relief of Star Wars, and the stupid bit about the Jedi blocking the laser shots into the proton bombs because the droids aren’t accurate enough was annoying. All of it just undermines them as villains.

Lewis: Well to be fair, the droids have been comic relief since the prequels introduced them, and the way they were portrayed in this episode was the same way they were portrayed in the Clone Wars. However, I totally agree about Jedi blocking bit. I know droids aren’t known for their accuracy, but that was just silly…

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Ben: They weren’t mocked so much so in the Phantom Menace. And I didn’t like it in the Clone Wars either, it was just a bit too much for my liking.

Lewis: That’s fair, although I think your stout devotion to British humour probably didn’t help.

Ben: That is probably true. I’m not going to change though.

Lewis: We wouldn’t expect you to. Anyway, apart from the droids, did you like the plot?

Ben: Yeah it was a nice idea- finishing the Clone Wars for good, and not by killing each other but by working together.

Lewis: A nice, optimistic ending. I did like that they addressed the whole “Oh the droids were all deactivated just forget about them” thing. It makes sense that not all of them would just disappear into thin air.

Ben: The ending was a bit corny for me; I appreciated the idea but not the execution.

Lewis: I can understand that. How about the Super-tactical droid? I didn’t watch the Clone Wars very frequently so I don’t know if they were in it, but I thought it makes sense that the droids would have intelligent leaders.

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Ben: They did use them a fair amount. It was fairly imaginative for a droid, and it made sense to include a Super Tactical Droids rather than a Separatist general that survived.

Lewis: Although that would’ve been interesting too… I don’t really know what else to say about this episode? I mean, it was pretty much just a nostalgia trip for all the old Clone Wars fans, which isn’t a bad thing, but it did mean that there wasn’t a lot to it in terms of plot development.

Ben: I know what you mean. To me this felt like the first filler episode of the series- it didn’t really serve a purpose. It was fine and all but definitely not my favourite.

Lewis: I hate describing things as “filler”, but if someone had a gun to my head I would admit that, despite Rex’s character development, this was pretty much a… “filler”… episode.

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Ben: I think it’s because it is such a standalone episode compared to the previous four, which seemed to be building towards something in their respective storylines.

Lewis: Indeed, but hey-ho, I thought it was still an interesting episode. And I did enjoy the war games between the droids and Rex and Co. purely for nostalgic reasons.

Ben: Hopefully there is a bit more going on in the next episode.

Lewis: Indeed. We shall see…

Well that was a little shorter than usual, but I think I speak for both of us when I say this episode was a bit lacking, but still enjoyable. Are we wrong? Right? Please let us know in the comments below; we crave attention.

Rebels Review: S3E1 “Steps into Shadow”

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Lewis: Ok, so we saw this episode of Rebels at the Star Wars Celebration Europe panel, but in all honesty I couldn’t remember a lot of the details from that screening… Now though, season 3 has officially kicked off and it starts with a bit of a bang.

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Ben: I wouldn’t say it was the most exciting episode of the show, that may just be because I had already seen it, but it is definitely one of the most interesting episodes in terms of the lore.

Lewis: No it definitely wasn’t the most exciting, but it did throw us straight back into the action, rather than dithering about. And “interesting” is probably the most apt word to describe it- we are introduced to one of the most loved villains of the Star Wars EU (or legends), as well as a completely new character voiced by none other than Tom Baker.

Ben: Dave Filoni does seem determined to keep the legends alive through Rebels. The episode gave us a lot of things to talk about, starting with the much stronger Ezra with his brand new green lightsaber…

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Lewis: He’s also very good at picking and choosing the best parts of those stories to include, rather than just throwing needless references into the show. All the elements he brings in are important to the plot and character development.
Anyway, yes, a more mature Ezra and his green lightsaber (which has a very similar design to Luke and Obi-Wan’s hilts by the way). One thing they highlighted in particular this episode was that he was happy to kill stormtroopers with no hesitation at all now.

Ben: I suppose that would be a result of using the Sith holocron that he has kept. It will be interesting to see how it develops now that Kanan is back in the picture.

Lewis: Will Ezra get a grip on his emotions and stick to the light side or will he be even more corrupted over time?

Ben: There are a few theories floating about that Maul is the first Knight of Ren, and we know he is involved this series so we could see Ezra turn from the light side. You never know, Ezra could be Snoke.

Lewis: I could definitely buy Maul being the first Knight of Ren, and maybe have Ezra be involved in that order too (possibly played by Benicio Del Toro in episode 8), but I can’t see him being Snoke. I do like that Maul theory though…

Ben: I like the idea of Ezra turning, I think it would be a fresh approach to the show and the characters. The loss of Ezra and the fallout surrounding it would be a really interesting story line.reb_ia_15848-copy1-625x352

Lewis: I hope they’re heading down that route too, although that’d probably mean Kanan will either die or go missing permanently. Anyway, shall we talk about what happened this episode?

Ben: I think we should, so it all kicks off straight away with the Ezra leading the group in a mission to save Hondo Ohnaka.

Lewis: Yes, and his Ugnaught friend whose name escapes me- this prison break is in exchange for information about Republic starfighters that may be of some use to the Rebellion.

Ben: The Ugnaught panics and screws everything up, and so Ezra steps up and we see a demonstration of his darker powers, as he takes control of the AT-ST driver.

Lewis: Remember, that’s something we haven’t really seen before in Star Wars I mean, we’ve seen mind tricks and what not, but we haven’t actually seen someone controlling someone’s actions

Ben: It was quite impressive, and a little disturbing to see Ezra not even bat an eye while doing it. So after the fairly successful prison break the Rebels make their escape, and Ezra gets a bit of a talking to about the botched escape plan.

Lewis: Yeah, but also a promotion for some reason? Which sees a fair bit of responsibility placed on him as he’s supposed to lead a recon mission to scout the location of the Starfighters.

Ben: The promotion does come a bit out of the blue for me.

Lewis: It is out of the blue, but I suppose it sets up the plot of the rest of the episode as well as showing that Ezra has grown up a bit.

Ben: I think that is one criticism of Rebels, a lot of things just magically happen. We get that Ezra is growing up but it seemed so out of place.

Lewis: Anyway, when they’re back at base we get reintroduced to Kanan who’s, understandably, a little broken up after the events of last season’s finale.

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Ben: I can imagine you would be after being blinded by a guy you thought was dead and then thought was helping you out and then revealed that he was going to betray you all along.

Lewis: I think it’s reasonable that he’d be upset, yeah.
I’ll be honest, Kanan has always been my favourite character in Rebels, and the path they’re putting him on is probably the most interesting plotline they’re giving us at the moment for me.

Ben: I am really enjoying it aswell, I want to see more of the Bendu. I like the grey mystic area in which it resides. Also I want more Tom Baker.

Lewis: They’ve done an interesting job of bringing in the middle-ground, which was previously occupied by the “Grey Jedi”
He was such a cool character, I loved the creature design and the gravitas Tom Baker gave to the role was awesome- I would bet on him being a major player in both Ezra and Kanan’s stories this season.

Ben: I think he needs to come back, it is such a waste if this is his only appearance. Could Kanan and Ezra leave the order entirely and practice under the Bendu’s teachings?

Lewis: I don’t know, I could see Kanan perhaps becoming less concerned with the Jedi order in its strictest sense, and maybe when he tries to pass this idea on to Ezra he begins to fall further from the light? I think the Bendu will most likely act as a mediator for Kanan, rather than Kanan going full Grey-Jedi.

Ben: I would quite like to see him develop as a character and potentially step away from the Jedi order- it is something we haven’t really seen before (other than the brief bits of Ahsoka from series 2)

Lewis: But what do you think of the Bendu in terms of his motivations? He seems like the kind of guy to just do something because he wants to see what’ll happen, which is a little worrying since he has that Holocron now…

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Ben: By the characters nature it is the embodiment of balance within the force, but that doesn’t really let us in on his motivations. You would like to think that in the name of balance he would work towards the Sith losing some of their power… then again he did seem pretty pleased with the Holocron.

Lewis: That’s the thing, if he’s truly balanced then he would likely have no allegiance towards Jedi or Sith- so he wouldn’t really care what happens to either of them. And yeah, that chuckle when Kanan gave him the Holocron was only a little bit menacing… Anyway, while Kanan is receiving some advice from the Bendu, Ezra and the others are all off to scout the salvage yard Hondo told them about

Ben: And the scouting mission very quickly becomes a salvage one.

Lewis: Where it quickly becomes apparent that maybe Ezra isn’t ready for this kind of responsibility just yet. While they are at the salvage station, the new villain of the series shows off his deductive skills and figures out exactly where they are and what they’re doing.

Ben: We haven’t spoken much about Thrawn, he seems impressive but he wasn’t interested in engaging with the Rebels on this occasion.

Lewis: He’s definitely menacing, and it’s nice to see them come up against a villain who isn’t all about the action (like the Inquisitors of the second season), but rather uses his intelligence to out-think them. It’s interesting to see that this faction of Rebels isn’t the only one out there, and Thrawn isn’t concerned with individual factions- he’s after the big catch

Ben: He is incredibly calculating and, pairing that with the ice cold voice, you can tell something big is going to happen.

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Lewis: Indeed, and I don’t think it’ll end very well for our merry band of Rebels. Do you think we might actually lose one or two of them this season?

Ben: I am not sure to be honest, it isn’t the sort of show to kill of the main characters; a few secondary ones may bite the dust though.

Lewis: But now that the characters are growing up (and the audience too), maybe they’ll venture into that area? I mean, we had something similar happen in the finale of season 2.

Ben: I suppose that is true, but the death in series 2 wasn’t of one of the main characters.

Lewis: It’s not even clear whether Ashoka is dead or not, I just feel like the stakes are being raised as time goes on- and if they want a good pay off they might have to kill someone…

Ben: I suppose you are right there; it would be the next step. But who would they kill off?

Lewis: I have no idea, and I don’t think I could say until later in the season. Anyway, as for what else happens in the episode, there’s not much else apart from Kanan and Ezra reconciling their differences and getting back to being master and apprentice.

Ben: They’re all made up now, but from what we see in the trailer it looks like we can expect further strain on the relationship caused by Maul.

Lewis: Indeed, which happens to be the subject of the next episode. I’m surprised they’re doing that in episode two/three, I thought Maul would come back much later in the season.

Ben: He’s a fairly important character again now, I would expect him to appear early, then again later in the series

Lewis: I’m sure next episode will be an interesting one at any rate- he’s always a good character. So all in all, what did you think of this one? A good start to the season?

Ben: Undoubtedly a good start. I can’t wait to see where season 3 takes us.

Lewis: It should be an interesting season, and hopefully the other members of the Ghost’s crew will get some good amounts of screen time too.

Ben: Let’s hope so, we know that there are more Mandalorians that will appear so Sabine will have an episode at least.

Lewis: Should be one to look forward to!

Thank you for reading, or if you didn’t read t

he piece thanks for reading what I’ve written here… I guess? Anyway, if you think we’re right, wrong, or even just plain stupid, please feel free to comment below- we’d love to hear your opinions on Rebels season three!