#SWRepMatters: Mental Health

Content warning for discussion of suicide

This was originally going to be a part of “Twin Suns” series, but with #SWRepMatters trending, I felt it was appropriate as its own piece: a conversation-starter regarding the representation of mental disabilities/mental illness in Star Wars.

 

The Issue

As I have been working on my close read of the Star Wars Rebels episode “Twin Suns,” I have been skirting around using certain language. In part one, I talked about the mask Maul slips over his “obsession.” In all parts, I have mentioned a regression of his “state.” However, as I near a particular scene, which will prompt me to talk in-depth about The Clone Wars episode “Brothers,” there is something that I cannot avoid.

Ableism.

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels: “Twin Suns” – Part 3 – Departure & Arrival

In between my final edits of Part 2 and the outlining of Part 3 here, Star Wars Rebels Season 3 came out on Blu-Ray, which meant we got “Twin Suns” commentary by Dave Filoni himself. In that commentary, Filoni expands on a cut scene that leads into our next scene on the Atollon airfield.

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The Star Trek Episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

“Voyage of Temptation” is the most Star Trek I’ve seen in Star Wars.

Granted, Trek and Wars are always going to be borrowing from each other; they’re the two biggest science fiction franchises out there, and there are plenty of other moments and stories in both that I can notice similar themes and do some comparing and contrasting. But with “Voyage of Temptation,” it’s not just the subject matter but also the execution of it that makes it feel like an episode right out of the Original Series.

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels: “Twin Suns” – Part 2 – Atollon

Part 2 – Atollon

At the beginning of the episode, the use of Maul’s POV established him as a primary viewpoint character. Now with another sight-based shot – an extreme close-up of Ezra’s eye opening – the status of viewpoint character is passed to the young Jedi.

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels: “Twin Suns” – Part 1 – Cold Open

FOREWORD

The best stories are the ones that encourage exploration.

Exploration of stories takes many forms: fan art, fanfic, cosplay, discussions, celebrations, make-believe play, or ridiculously long essays. Sometimes the exploration is a conscious act, something actively pursued. Sometimes it’s a journey you don’t realize you had until you look back on your steps.

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Good Science Fiction: An Examination Through the Lens of ODST

A rewrite of an old, old blog post of mine when I was but a wee blogger.


To me, Halo 3: ODST doesn’t feel like Halo.

Let me rephrase: the story of ODST doesn’t feel like Halo.

The audio drama embedded within the game – Sadie’s Story – feels like Halo. The missions with the Rookie at night feel like Halo. But what our primary emotional hook to the game is supposed to be – Buck and Dare’s relationship – does not feel like Halo.

Now the word “feel” gets tossed about quite a bit in terms of changes or new installments to a franchise. Does the soundtrack to Halo 4 “feel” like Halo, now that it’s no longer Marty O’Donnell’s work? Or what of the new armor styles in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Or the way the story is told? Or the mechanics of the games? Or the presence of key, underlying themes? Or…

There are a thousand different ways something could “feel” like Halo or any other franchise, and barring morally-objectionable reasons, all of those are valid, if subject to disagreement. The feel of a franchise can be as slippery a topic as genre; there’s no hard and fast rule, and lines often blur between definitions.

So what do I mean by something not “feeling” like Halo, and why, as a result, I don’t think the story of ODST is an example of good science fiction?


Sorry Buck. The Nathan Fillion Charm only goes so far.

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War for the Planet of the Apes: Bleakness without Cynicism

The quiet moments in War for Planet of the Apes surprised me.

Bleak stories like this movie can easily veer very sharply off into cynicism. Moments of joy or hope get cut horrifically short because it’s “realistic.” To quote a fantastic video essay by MrBtongue on Game of Thrones, which critiques the translation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to the popular tv show:

“All those moments in the river lands at the quiet isle on the wall… they’re gone, unnecessary, extraneous to the proceedings. We’re in the world… where cynicism is nothing less than wisdom, and pacifism is nothing more than naivete.”

Spoilers below.

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