While most conversations in the fan community are focused on the last few minutes of the episode, my favorite parts involved Ezra and his journey. Most believe he was being arrogant, selfish, and foolish. Some even wished that he wasn’t involved in the episode at all, missing the point entirely. (Macias, Johnamarie. “Twin Suns” Review. The Wookie Gunner)
Seeing as almost half of this series is focused on the times Ezra isn’t on screen, I’d call myself guilty under that first charge, Ms. Macias. And it is true that most of the reactions surrounding “Twin Suns,” even outside of this close read, have focused on the legacy characters of Maul and Obi-Wan. Trust me, I’ve read a lot of reactions over the past year and a half.
I’ll even admit that I was initially one of those people who just wanted a story centered on Maul and Obi-Wan. But the more I rewatched and began digging into the episode and Rebels as a whole, I came away with an entirely different opinion. Understand, it’s not just that Ezra plays an important role in the story. It’s not just that “Twin Suns” is an essential part of Ezra’s story. It’s that “Twin Suns” as a story loses vital elements if told outside of the context of Ezra Bridger.
(And honestly, go read the whole of Macias’ review for an excellent breakdown of Ezra’s journey leading up to this episode.)
There will always be self-aware movies that give a wink and a nod to the audience. Deadpool is on the extreme end, with fourth wall breaks (and fourth wall breaks inside of fourth wall breaks), but it doesn’t always look like that. The Last Jedi is on the other side with the story itself acting as a commentary on the rest of the franchise, repurposing and repackaging common tropes of the franchise. Falling in-between that is a lot of the self-referential humor that Disney currently employs, especially with its princess line.
Self-aware media is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s tool in a storyteller’s kit that works when deployed effectively. I love The Last Jedi, and Moana is my favorite Disney princess. However, sometimes it feels like people expect the media to be self-aware and have some sort of commentary on the genre for it to be fresh and worthwhile, and when you are inundated with stories that are trying to out-self-aware each other, to make themselves either so meta or so airtight that they are above critique, it stops being fun.
And that makes movies like Venom a breath of fresh air.
Good heavens, I was not expecting to ever write that sentence.
Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe is a newly-released YA prequel novel to the Jurassic World movies. It is also a point-of-view reversal from Crichton’s Jurassic Park and the spiritual successor to Crichton’s The Lost World, while exploring the main question of the franchise.
Spoiler-free for The Evolution of Claire, but contains unmarked spoilers for previous works in the franchise.
When Maul kicks out the fire… you all of a sudden feel the vastness of where they are. (Joel Aron, CG Supervisor – Lighting & FX, “Apprentices to Outcasts”)
Kicking out the fire leaves Ben and Maul lit by only their sabers and the stars, and when the battle is complete, and their sabers go out, they are left in a field of stars.
[The Star Wars movies and shows are] all a connected thing. …They’re not disparate from each other. …They are inclusive of each other. I believe that Star Wars has this grandeur to it; I believe the Force has this infinite space to it.
So I started seeding… this idea of a place where there are stars.
(Dave Filoni – Rebels Recon 4.7)
I was hesitant at first to make this its own installment. One 5,000-word post on 90 seconds of Maul screaming in a desert was certainly a dramatic way to begin this close read. Three posts* and over 15,000 words on 40 seconds of Obi-Wan cradling Maul? Surely that’s just becoming excessive.
And yet, the previous installment’s title, “It All Comes Down to This,” was no exaggeration on my part. This was the exact moment in which I fell in love with Star Wars all over again. This is Luke-throwing-away-his-lightsaber-level of iconic. This is the core theme of the franchise – compassion – distilled down to a single action. This moment deserves examination.
Especially since Maul has become one of the best examples in Star Wars about the power of compassion.
*Yes, Part 9 will be tackling yet another angle of these 40 seconds. There is a lot to unpack here.
About the series: Finding Myself in Fiction
There are plenty of characters in Halo to hate, even to love to hate. The Prophet of Truth, Admiral Margaret Parangosky, the Gravemind, the Master Builder, and countless other, minor villains. All despicable. Yet none of them garners as strong a reaction in me than Corporal Vasily “Vaz” Beloi.
Vaz is actually a hero in his story, one of the core members of the Kilo-Five team in the trilogy of the same name. He is passionate in his hatred of injustice and of the human trafficking that was the Spartan-II program in particular. He is kind and sensitive to the needs of his teammates. But he terrifies me.
Because his ugly side is touted as moral righteousness in the trilogy.
Because his ugly side is mine too.
Modern parables do exist. And here is why Halo’s Vasily Beloi is one of mine:
It sounds like some of my brothers and sisters in Christ are torn on their desire to please the Lord through being lawful citizens and their desire to please the Lord through showing mercy to the immigrants.
My heart hurts a lot in this time, and that’s knowing where I fall on this issue. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you.
Here are some facts about the situation and some evidence of God’s heart that I hope helps you understand what is going on: