The Minimum Effort Podcast Ep.2: Ghost in the Shell and Obi-Wan?

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Ben and Lewis finally get around to recording the second exciting episode of the new-canon podcast, and boy is it packed with content!

Join them as they talk about movie news, The Walking Dead, Ghost in the Shell, Star Wars Rebels, and the strong rumours about an Obi-Wan movie that have dredged up just a little bitterness…

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!

Star Wars Rebels Mid-Season Trailer Review

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Lewis: Alright, so a trailer for the second-half of Rebels season three dropped out of nowhere this week…

Ben: It was a surprise considering it is starting again on Saturday, but what a trailer.

Lewis: I know right? I don’t think it was as good as the trailer for the first half, but this gave us so much information and stuff that it’s a little difficult to sift through it all.

Ben: There was a lot going on- so many different action sequences that have been thrown together.

Lewis: A ton of characters both new and old as well, and a lot of references. But the action sequences looked absolutely fantastic, especially the scene with the Ghost flying through Star Destroyers.

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Ben: Is it me or does it seem a bit more backs against the wall now? I feel like the tone is beginning to match the grittier Rogue One rather than the kids’ show we had before.

Lewis: For sure, it looks like they’re on the back foot for most of this half-season. Like you said, it does seem to match Rogue One in its tone, which makes sense since the show is getting closer and closer to the film timeline. But then again, trailers don’t always match the final product…

Ben: Yes that is true, but I would really like it to follow the Rogue One pattern and get a bit grittier. At the end of the day it is a kids’ show but it’s going to have to change a bit to match the rest of the canon.

Lewis: I’m sure it will, it’s already been moving in that direction, and since Dave Filoni has said we might be seeing the Battle of Scarif in season four I think it’s going to keep building in terms of grittiness.

Ben: I think we are going to see quite a big leap in time- from memory season 1 of Rebels was set about 4 years before A New Hope and Rogue one ends about 10 minutes before it.

Lewis: I think it was five years but tomato/tomato. As for where it is now, I think it’s 2 years away, but there’s a time jump of at least 1 year between each season, so it’s feasible that we could see Scarif in season 4.

Ben: That’s fair, the second half of this series looks like the rebels are beginning to band together, but as long as they don’t just group together by magic I am fine with it. Rebels does have a tendency to make things just happen.

Lewis: I think Thrawn will attack Chopper base and force the rest of the Rebellion to save the Ghost crew’s cell, or they’ll have to evacuate to Yavin or something.

Ben: I think it will be a while before Thrawn attacks a Rebel Base; he is still waiting and analysing. But what you have said makes sense to me.

Lewis: Shall we talk about some of the reveals?

Ben: That is the next step- which one first? Saw Gerrera?

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Lewis: I think we should start with Saw, considering his importance at the moment

Ben: So we see a Robot leg-less Saw in the trailer with the voice of Forest Whitaker, which is a nice touch for continuity.

Lewis: Forest Whitaker is back, baby. I’m excited to see his relationship with the rest of the Rebellion, and we might get to see what drove him into madness/isolation. It looks like he’ll be around for more than one episode.

Ben: I expect we will see the disagreements he has with the rest of the Rebel leaders, since that would give his Rogue One appearance a bit of context. We get to see a Hologram of Mon Mothma, but you know who I want back- Wedge. It makes sense for him to come back now.

Lewis: Well we get to see Mon Mothma on the bridge of the Ghost too, along with another new guy and someone in a flightsuit who I think is Sato’s nephew. As for Wedge, there’s a short clip of him standing with Hera under a bombardment. I think Saw will definitely be one of the more interesting parts of these episodes.

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Ben: I thought I saw Wedge in the trailer, but I’d forgotten about that kid- didn’t even see him. As for Saw, it might even be the disorganised nature of the Rebellion and their disagreements that give Thrawn his opening.

Lewis: Our friend Pete thinks Kallus will end up giving up the location of the base somehow. Whether it’s deliberately or by accident, I think that’s a pretty safe theory, since Thrawn was keen to exploit the spy rather than silence them.

Ben: That is a pretty solid shout, I’m not sure he would do it accidentally- he is too smart for that, but I think Thrawn could trick him by giving him a false lead or torture it out of him… Torture might be a bit dark for a kids show though.

Lewis: I think Thrawn could definitely out-smart Kallus like you said, but I think his confidence in his abilities will be what eventually leads to his defeat. Unless of course the Rebels have someone who is even more capable (which is unlikely). Anyway, so we’ve seen the return of Saw Gerrera, Wedge Antilles, Mon Mothma, Tarkin, and a few other minor characters, I suppose apart from Sabine’s story arc with the Darksaber, there’s just one more thing to discuss…

Ben: Indeed, shall we start with the Darksaber stuff first though?

Lewis: We can, I mean there isn’t too much to be said. Looks like Sabine is being trained in swordsmanship by Kanan, and they’re trying to get Mandalore to join the Rebellion under Sabine’s rule?

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Ben: Looks like she is going to have to sort her Mum out along the way, but it could make for an interesting side story that supports the Thrawn and Maul stories.

Lewis: Indeed, nice bit of characterisation. I’m gonna throw a theory out here- Maul kills Sabine, and Ezra kills Maul.

Ben: Do you think so? I am not sure, but it does make sense because we don’t see any Mandalorians in episodes 4, 5 or 6 (excluding Boba Fett).

Lewis: Exactly, and I think the loss of Sabine would a) give Ezra a boot over to the Darkside-ish, b) cause the Mandalorians to distance themselves from the rebellion, c) provide a really interesting conclusion to Maul and Ezra’s story. I think it’ll all go down on Tatooine, and she’ll be fighting Maul with the Darksaber and it won’t go well. But yeah, that’s my prediction for the day.

Ben: I buy into that, you have convinced me, well done sir. Speaking of Tatooine, we get one more character reveal- Obi Wan/Ben Kenobi is back. This isn’t exactly a shock because it has been hinted at a few times, but what do you think about the old Ben?

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Lewis: Hell yeah he is! “You’re in the wrong place…” What a guy.
He looks frickin’ sweet to be honest, the voice is great, he looks a bit old and worn down, but he can still do the pose. I’m very excited for his appearance.

Ben: I got goosebumps a few times during this trailer, but Ben coming back was the major one. And because of the position in terms of the timeline we still have room for the Obi-Wan solo film.

Lewis: I think it’s what the fans have been waiting for. Everybody loves Obi-Wan, and if the rumours about his appearance in episode 8 are true, then this and that could be an attempt on Disney’s part to gauge interest in a solo film before officially announcing it, as well as giving some of the newer fans a refresher on his character.

Ben: Exciting times ahead- I am really looking forward to the next half of this series.

Lewis: It does look like it’s going to be a good one, I wonder if we’ll see Luke at all? Maybe in the distance?

Ben: I think by this point Ben has had to distance himself, perhaps we will see the domed roof and the twin suns, but that might be a bit too contrived.

Lewis: I’m sure we’ll get a glimpse of him one way or another. Well, apart from saying how awesome this all looked, again, I don’t think there’s much else to talk about? (Apart from Thrawn kicking some butt)

Ben: It looks a training scene with him kicking the crap out of some droids. Speaking of droids we do see a fair few old Clone Wars clankers.

Lewis: We do, looks like there is going to be a lot of Easter eggs and fan service in these next few episodes.

Ben: I will no doubt like pretty much all of it.

Lewis: Shall we wrap up there?

Ben: I think we have covered everything, it basically looks like the Rebels get a kicking at the hands of Thrawn, the Darksaber is used, Mandalore hangs in the balance and Obi-Wan is back.

Lewis: I think that’s a decent summary, and I’m sure there are tales of daring-do in between all this as usual.

Ben: I look forward to it.

 

Carrie Fisher- a Tribute

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In a year that had already taken Gordon Henley (Garven Dreis), Ian Liston (Wes Janson) and even Kenny Baker (R2-D2) from us, 2016 then left the biggest kick in the gut until the very end- Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia. After suffering a cardiac arrest while on a flight to Los Angeles, she was rushed to intensive care, and unfortunately passed away yesterday afternoon.

As one of only three women with speaking roles in the original trilogy (the others being little more than cameos), Leia was often the sole female presence in a cast dominated by men. Furthermore, unlike Luke’s iconic green lightsaber or Han’s hairy sidekick, Leia had no instantly recognisable “gimmick” to fall back on. Despite this, Leia stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her male co-stars, proving an inspiration to a generation of fans, and providing a role model to millions of young girls across the world. Leia managed to subvert many clichés throughout the original trilogy; she may have held the title of Princess, but she never once acted as a damsel in distress- as much as Han Solo would have liked to believe otherwise. In the Death Star she resisted torture and the destruction of her home planet, and on Tatooine, in spite of her now infamous attire, it was Leia who killed the crime-lord Jabba. Finally, years later, it was Leia who led the Resistance against the First Order.

In real life, Carrie Fisher had her demons. Her addictions and afflictions are well-documented, and so I feel little need to dwell on that again. Instead, what is more important is despite all of these problems, she never gave up, and dragged herself out from her own personal hell. She never shied away from the truth, often speaking candidly about her problems, culminating in her being awarded an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Cultural Humanism by Harvard earlier this year. Her own struggles helped her understand those of others- including the PTSD of musician and former soldier James Blunt. Instead of letting her demons engulf her, Carrie decided to use them to better the lives of others- and that is what I believe her legacy will really be.

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In more recent times, Fisher had moved into a role similar to that of Leia in the Force Awakens. Using her unique life experiences, she mentored the aforementioned Blunt, as well as taking Star Wars’ new star Daisy Ridley under her wing. Even in the brief glimpses of their relationship from interviews, it is obvious that Carrie used her wisdom to try and prevent the new star from making the same mistakes that she herself had, advising Daisy on fame and fighting for the right to her own wardrobe, among others.

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Carrie Fisher lived a remarkable life. Her roles as Leia Organa and the “Mystery Woman” in the Blues Brothers make her the equal of Hollywood royalty. Her struggles with addiction, and her subsequent recovery, with all the infamy that surrounded it, made her a tragic figure. Her self-reinvention as a role model, using those experiences to make the lives of luckier people better, made her a caring, empathetic person. All of these things make her passing all the more poignant, the timing being just the icing on a very bitter cake.

In the end, whether you choose to remember Carrie Fisher as a feminist icon, a troubled actor, or simply as the person who played a badass character on a film you like, it is undoubtable that the world is a worse place for her loss. Moreover, at only 60 years of age, it is one that has been felt far too soon. Though, if I had to choose a way to go, drowning in moonlight while being strangled by my own bra would probably be up there.

RIP Carrie Fisher

 

By Pete

Rebels Review: S3E7 “Imperial Supercommandos”

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Lewis: Alright, where do you want to start? Overall impressions?

Ben: Yeah, I thought it was a pretty strong episode all in all; a nice call back to previous episodes.

Lewis: I quite enjoyed it, like you said it was a nice continuation of Fenn Rau’s story since we haven’t seen him in quite a while. It was also cool to see Sabine’s heritage being explored a bit more.

Ben: To be honest I completely forgot that he was involved in the series until this episode. The Mandalorians are pretty intriguing part of the universe, I would like to see a bit more of them though.

Lewis: I hadn’t forgotten about him but I didn’t really know where he was or what he was doing- apparently just playing board games in a prison cell.

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I’ll agree with you on that, they are still a little mysterious in terms of their character, but maybe that’s their appeal? What did you think of the conflict between Sabine and Rau? Believable?

Ben: You have a better memory than I do then. I think it is- she changed sides a couple of times and the Mandolorians never really supported the Republic or the Separatist before and are really only out for themselves during the Galactic civil war. So yeah, I buy it.

Lewis: I liked that story-line- it’s interesting to see a faction that doesn’t have an affiliation with either side, and the conflict between Rau and Sabine was cool.

Ben: I think we have a bit of a thing for characters that sit in the middle and don’t affiliate with the light or the dark sides…

Lewis: I do love a good grey area, and since Star Wars is heavily based around the battle between the light and dark sides it’s cool to explore other area of the universe.
How about the villain of this episode?

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Ben: I didn’t mind him, but he was a classic villain of week character- it needed a bit of development.

Lewis: I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing that chap again though, since he seemed pretty keen to kill Rau and Sabine

Ben: We will definitely see him again, especially now Rau has joined the Rebels. He also had links to Sabine’s mother so perhaps we will explore her background a bit more.

Lewis: Well if the sneak-peek we saw at SWCE is anything to go by, (potential spoilers ahead), the Mandalorians might be featured quite a bit this season. We saw Sabine holding the Darksaber after all, so maybe one episode will take us to Mandalore itself in order for her to see her family and somehow acquire the Darksaber?

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Ben: That’s true, they need to get hold of the Darksaber first though. I thought Maul had it but we shall see. I am quite looking forward to seeing Mandalore properly again though, especially without the politics we saw in the Clone Wars.

Lewis: I thought he lost it? Here’s where my limited knowledge of the Clone Wars comes back to haunt me… I’ll certainly be interested to see what they end up doing with the storyline, but I honestly thought we’d see the Darksaber in this episode.

Ben: I’m pretty sure Maul had it, we shall have to wait and see where it appears next. I thought that too, but perhaps it come back in an episode that allows us to see its full back story.

Lewis: Indeed, and I suppose it is a big enough plot-device that it would be a little rushed if it were crammed into this episode. As you said, it needs its own episode, especially if they’re going to Mandalore and Sabine’s mother is involved.
So how about Ezra in this episode?

Ben: I didn’t mind Ezra, he had enough to do to make sure he wasn’t wasted but he didn’t get in the way of the bigger story.

Lewis: Yeah, sometimes they just throw him into the other crew members’ storylines because he’s the lead (cough- The Antilles Extraction- cough) but this time they wrote him in fairly well, without it being clumsy or unnecessary.

Ben: I couldn’t agree more.
The little jetpack action scene was pretty sweet too.

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Lewis: The action in this was really fun- the Jetpack scene was a lot better than I remember it being when we saw it at SWCE, and I loved the hand-to-hand.

Ben: It was a pretty fun sequence- was it longer than it was at SWCE? The hand-to-hand was a pretty intense fight… the best matched one we have had.
What did you make of the Fenn-Rau-fake-out?

Lewis: I think we saw more than they showed us at SWCE, which is understandable since you want to avoid spoilers. As for the fake out, it’s a pretty cliched move at this point in terms of plots, but I didn’t mind it to be honest. Everybody likes a redemption/the cavalry coming to the rescue.

Ben: Yeah I didn’t really mind it- it is a bit overused, but it’s kids show- they need to build the tension somehow.

Lewis: Exactly, and while we’ve seen it a thousand times the kids who watch it might not have. So, do you reckon that’s about it?

Ben: I think so, I can’t remember anything else happening…

Lewis: Awesome, so that was a decent episode, I’m not sure what’s coming up next though?

Ben: No I have no idea what’s next, I imagine Maul will have to come back soon.

 

Well you’ve seen what we had to say about this episode of Star Wars Rebels, but what about your opinion? It’s probably infinitely more interesting than our own, so why not leave a comment below? And if you’re feeling particularly generous, there’s a like button around here somewhere…