Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura Book Review

I really need to loosen up when it comes to YA Star Wars novels. I’ll hold my hands up and own the fact that I always roll my eyes or, even just think to myself that I’ll get around to reading it at some point.

And when I do, I usually kick myself because I have enjoyed all of them so far.

This is the first one I have actively gone for and was lucky enough to get a chance to read a review copy courtesy of the Disney Book Group (thank you).

I was initially excited for this book, the same as I was a few years ago when the ‘Poe Dameron’ series by Charles Soule was announced because I love the character, I always have from the moment he asked Kylo Ren, “Who talks first?” I was hooked.

I have enjoyed him all the way through the Sequel Trilogy, his wit, his character arc and every time his theme comes on in the soundtrack I just love it.

So to get some more backstory about his younger years that ties into his relationship with Zorii Bliss AND his time as a Spice Runner was a thrill for me.

Without going into heavy spoilers, here is a very, very brief rundown of the story.

We meet a 16 year old Poe Dameron who is a bit stir crazy and reckless, he ends up joining with some less than legitimate people, including Zorii with whom Poe develops a close relationship.

They go on a number of adventures, get hunted by the New Republic and after a while end up on Kijimi where everything comes to a head.

What I really loved about the book was how well Segura writes Star Wars. He really knows how to craft a story in the universe and truly gets the characters he writes. I had no difficulty in picturing a young Oscar Isaac whilst reading the book and the same with a younger Keri Russell as Zorii.

The secondary characters are well written and enjoyable, the gang Poe ends up with really feel like a team, even though some don’t get a lot of action they all have their place. One notable new character is the Droid called Eevee who once introduced becomes a welcome member of the team and a great source of comic relief. Even though we know Poe and Zorii will make it out alive, the majority of the characters are fair game.

Segura also gives us to time with a couple of characters introduced in the ‘Shattered Empire’ comics, Poe’s father Kes Dameron and his family friend, L’ulo L’ampar in supporting roles, which help connect all of the Po Dameron stories we have had so far.

I really hope Alex Segura continues to write Star Wars books, he has proven he k led ow to write a great Star Wars book and understands the existing characters and add great new dimensions to them.

The book really flows well, the story is fun and engaging. The adventures the characters go on are thrilling and tense at times, the quieter moments also shine and the interactions between Zorii and Poe all help build up the relationship they had in their youth and gives us an insight to their relationship in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.

‘Free Fall’ is definitely worth a read, it’s fast paced, thoroughly enjoyable and adds some great content to the Star Wars canon.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #26 – The Mandalorian

This episode I get to take a look at a POP! I have been hunting for a few months and now it’s finally in the collection, the one and only, Mandalorian.

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Rey’s Parents. Did We Ask the Wrong Questions?

I was listening to to latest episode of TATOOINE SONS the other day where they were discussing Rey and something clicked in my head, granted, I could just be really slow in thinking this and folks reason this are now thinking “Well duh!” but when has that stopped me in my search for new content?

Through the Sequel Trilogy, the topic of Rey’s parents has been a hot one to say the least. From clutching at any available straw in the aftermath of ‘The Force Awakens’, vehemently proclaiming Kylo to be a liar in ‘The Last Jedi’ to flat out disbelief and scoffing in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ (not me, but there have been many).

But in the run up to the revelation in ‘TROS’ were we asking the wrong question? Rather than ‘who’, shouldn’t we have been asking ‘where’ and ‘why’?

I remember after ‘The Force Awakens’ came out and the speculation was rife on who her parents were, wondering if Rey was a secret daughter of any of the main three heroes, even going as far as having either Han or Leia having an affair. I even read one absurd theory saying that Rey was the child of Luke and Leia (some wierd Force conception).

But taking a look at our main heroes, would Han or Leia ever commit adultery, or even abandon their child? Would Luke be that dead-beat Dad, leaving his daughter on Jakku? No! We know these characters and, if I may be brutally honest here, these theories are utterly ridiculous and the situations we find them in ‘The Force Awakens’ feel completely logical (don’t @ me).

What I rarely seemed to see at the time were the speculations on why she was left, or where her parents had gone? There were some, that she was hidden to keep her safe from Kylo Ren was a popular theory for a while, but of course we found it to be false when we saw ‘The Last Jedi’ and Kylo tells her that her parents are nobodies, that she isn’t connected to the big story.

But in the interim between the second and third installments of the Sequel Trilogy, the speculation continued, the belief that she was the daughter someone important to the Saga (technically she isn’t, and Kylo only saw what she knew).

The fans did seem to realise that, given her age when she is left on Jakku that she should still remember her parents, and her last name, but was she ever really given a last name? Would her parents have burdened her with the name Palpatine? Of course not. And as Kylo says in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, she remebers more than she is letting on, but what exactly was that? We see her remember her parents saying goodbye and flying away on Ochi’s ship.

But why were we so obsessed with who her parents are? Shouldn’t we have been focusing on why she was left and where her parents were? Or even why hadn’t they come back? Of course now we know why and it seems incredibly obvious that they would have been killed, but the why of it all would have still been lingering.

We will always speculate, we will always want answers to our questions, but did was put too much stock in the identities of Rey’s parents too early? I mean the whole set up in ‘The Force Awakens’ meant that the plot thread would be revisited and the overall mystery continue through the trilogy, and i really think we spent too much time focusing on it as a collective fandom, we will always get answers and that was a question too important to ignore.

Perhaps we should have been asking where Snoke got his wardrobe?

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Solo: A Star Wars Story by Mur Lafferty Audiobook Review

Firstly, yes, it has taken me this long to get around to reading/listening to this book. I just never really got around to it, I got it on Kindle a while back but I sometimes struggle with E-Books, I prefer the actual thing than holding a device when I’m reading. But hey, we all have our foibles and when my wife offered me an audiobook I went straight for ‘Solo’.

I am going to break this review in two. First I will tackle the story itself and second I will talk about the audio aspect.

I’m not going to pull any punches here, this is not my favourite novelisation we have had in the Disney era. In fact it’s almost at the bottom of the list (the bottom rank is held by Alan Dean Foster’s ‘The Force Awakens’).

The writing is good, but Lafferty never seems to feel comfortable in the Galaxy far, far away.

The book has the ‘Expanded Edition’ subtitle, which started with ‘The Last Jedi’ and we do get some extra material, starting with the job Han was sent on by Lady Proxima to sell the Coaxium which goes south. Right out of the gate I really didn’t enjoy this part, and whilst we are meant to feel sympathetic towards Han for getting double crossed, after reading this I think he deserves it, turning up late to the meeting because he wanted to play some Sabacc? Really? The fact he stopped to play a game of Sabacc feels like a very heavy handed introduction to the game early on and basically makes me want to punch Han because now I lack the sympathy I have for him when watching the film.

The added scenes of Qi’Ra after her and Han’s attempted escape give us a quick look at her life, first sold to a slaver who “trained” her. She later got sold to Dryden Vos and after a number of escape attempts, her and Dryden come to an understanding and she is allowed to rise in the ranks of his inner circle as his trained assassin and later his right hand in all his dealings.

We get a nice scene between Lando and L3 after the Falcon leaves Savareen, with the two of them having a brief farewell conversation as L3 becomes fully integrated into the Falcon itself. It really shows how deeply Lando cares for his co-pilot and how much the Falcon meant to him. You just know that he never would have gambled his ship had he known that Han had taken the ace up his sleeve.

The big addition, and my favourite has got to be the epilogue where Enfys Nest and the Cloud Riders meet with Saw Gurerra and a young Jyn Erso to hand over the Coaxium that Han gave them. It’s a really nice bit of connective tissue between the two stand-alone Star Wars Stories that I wish had been included in the film.

The characters are well written, the dialogue flows as well as it does in the film and the novel adequately tells the films story, but it just feels lacking, the added material feels almost like fan service, as if Lafferty had searched for the most asked questions on Social Media about the film and gave us some answers.

The audiobook however is a different beast. Having attempted to read the book and failed, getting the audiobook, narrated by the legendary Marc Thompson made it much more digestible.

Thompson plays the character perfectly, his ‘Beckett’ is so spot on to Woody Harrelson’s portrayal that you could almost mistake the two.

My only issue with the audiobook is the music. We get music from the Prequel era films rather than the actual soundtrack from the film, and given the release schedule, surely the producers could have used some of John Powell’s amazing score.

Definitely not my favourite by a long shot, but still not terrible. Problems during the production of the film and the fact they were doing reshoots a couple of months prior to release could have led to a rushed writing schedule, but the end product lacks something that had made other novelisations shine. The audiobook is fun and enjoyable and well acted and makes up for the books shortcomings.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #25 – Mystery Unboxing 4

This month’s mystery POP! has arrived from Pop in a Box, so let’s take a look.

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My Top Star Wars Moments 8

cantideforeverluke

This scene in ‘Return of the Jedi’ is so tense.

Vader searching the shadows for Luke, taunting him, trying to lure him to the Dark Side.

And when he finally touches that nerve after learning about Luke’s sister and threatening to turn her and Luke loses himself to his anger.

The way James Earl Jones perfoms the dialogue here is just perfect, especially the line, “Sister. So, you have a twin Sister?” is pure perfection.

The lighint really sets the tone of the scene, Luke half in the shadows and half lit really shows the audiemce how close he is to turning and as soon as he ignites his lightsaber and attacks his father, we all know what’s happened.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #24 – The Rey Series Part 7

In today’s episode is the seventh part in the Rey series, this time looking at Dark Rey from ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.

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#CollectionCorner – Poe Dameron’s X-Wing Starfighter (2020)

Another year, another X-Wing.

It’s the fourth variation of the same ship since the first Force Friday back in 2015, which was the previous incarnation of Poe’s X-Wing (the black and orange one).

When this was announced/leaked I was disappointed, the majority of the Winter 2020 Wave felt like a bunch of updates with very few new builds.

But, once I build the Sith TIE Dagger, which, at the end of the day is a modified TIE Fighter set, and thoroughly enjoyed building it, I decided to carry on that nostalgia trip and got the new X-Wing.

The box contains six numbered bags, instruction booklet and a small sticker sheet.

The first bag builds the base of the rear end of the ship where he wings and engines connect to, as well as the wing opening mechanics. The front part is the cockpit area and Astromech slot where R2 will sit later.

Bag 1 also includes a Poe Dameron mini-fig with his flight helmet and also his infamous hair which can be swapped with the helmet. The mini-fig is the same version that came with the original Poe’s X-Wing from 2015.

We also get R2-D2 which is the same version that we go with Obi-Wan’s Hut.

Bag 2 adds the nose cone of the ship as well as the landing gears, the cockpit is built and decorated and the rear end has more added to build it all up. It’s here that you start to get a look at the vibrancy of the colour scheme.

Bag 3 completes the build on the main body of the X-Wing as well as adding the final parts to the wing opening mechanism.

Bag 3 also gives us the final two mini-figs. Firstly we get Jannah, the former Stormtrooper who joins with Finn to lead the ‘ground assault’ on the Star Destroyer during the Battle of Exogol. She has amazing printed detailing on the torso, a custom moulded hairpiece that includes her goggles, a bow and arrow weapon and a quiver attached to her back.

The second figure is one of the Knights of Ren which is unique to this set, this one is Vicrul who comes with a buildable scythe and a blaster. Once again it has great printed detailing and the mask looks great.

Bags 4 and 5 construct the four wings and the engine housings. The two lower wings also have missile launchers attached, leaving to top wings without them, a very nice aesthetic choice as those launchers can often look out of place.

The wings open using the lever in the centre of the back and close using the push lever underneath, four rubber bands help keep the wings in the open position and this time they are added to the sides of the wings, one at the front and one at the back on each side.

Bag six finishes the set nicely, adding the blaster cannons, engine details at the front and back and some small greebles on the wings.

Overall, it’s a great set. Visually it’s very striking and stands out against most other Star Wars sets which generally come in black/grey/white so the orange and blue really help it stand out in the crowd.

I feel like this is a much sleeker looking version of the T-70 X-Wing then the previous two versions (which was the same set just different colours) and once again Lego has pushed the X-Wong design forward just a little bit more.

Whilst it is still another X-Wing set, it does look good, it has a decent selection of mini-figs, Vicrul is only available here and adding Jannah gives collectors the chance to get her mini-fig without paying the £150 for a Millennium Falcon.

The set had an RRP of £89.99, I was able to get £10 using Lego VIP codes which made the price a bit more bearable for me, but if you’re after the set then its an ok price but it won’t be long before Amazon starts dropping the prices of the Winter wave in time for the new sets for Summer.

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The Rumour Mill

The rumours coming out in the last few weeks have been almost overwhelming.

And at this point I’m getting sick of hearing them.

Lets go back a few weeks when the news was suddenly dropped that Rosario Dawson was playing Ahsoka in ‘The Mandalorian’ Season Two and the internet exploded, and rightfully so.

Dawson has spoken about wanting to play the character, and she would be a great fit. Her acting range is phenominal, I cant say that I have disliked her in anything I have seen her in and, in all honesty, there is just something about Rosario Dawson that you just know that she would always be the right choice for a live action adult Ahsoka.

But if this is true, and this was meanto to be a big reveal for the second season, boom, it’s gone.

There is a second part to this rumour, that her appearance in the show could be used as a back-door pilot for an Ahsoka spin-off show. Now allow me a moment to be blunt, but no thanks! Ahsoka lives in animation, any series featuring her as a main character should be animation. I know that I’m sounding like a gatekeeper here, and I don’t like the fact that I do, and as great as a live action version of the character would be, there is something almost sacred and her long-term story, I feel should remain in animation.

Then over the last couple of weeks we have been inundated with rumoured casting news for the new season of ‘The Mandalorian’ (I say rumoured because until I see an official announcement from Lucasfilm I’m holding back the excitement). First we have heard that Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) will be playing the live action version of her character Bo Katan who appeared in ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Rebels’.

This rumour has been going around for a while after Sackhoff tweeted last year about working on something she was excited about, right around the time ‘The Mandalorian’ was shooting, but now it seems to be all but confirmed.

It wouldn’t be out of place for the character to show up, when we see her in ‘Rebels’ she is given the Darksaber by Sabine and the Mandalorian clans rallied behind her to fight the Empire, and of course we see Moff Gideon with the Darksaber in the last shot of ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 1.

Her character nicely ties with where the story of the series could be heading, with a focus on Mandalore and maybe, hopefully we could learn more about ‘The Night of a Thousand Tears’ that Gideon mentioned.

And then, to top it all off, we got the “news” that Temura Morrison was returning to play Boba Fett.

Let’s pause for a second.

Yes, Boba is supposedly coming back after his stint in the Sarlaac pit. It only seems right to have Morrison in the role. Boba is a Clone of Jango Fett and Morrison did re-record Boba’s dialogue for the DVD release of the Original Trilogy for their release in 2004. It doesn’t end there though, because after that, a new rumour started to circulate that said that Disney are now considering a Boba Fett series on Disney+.

The Temura Morrison rumours got a bit more traction and other outlets started to say that he was also going to be playing the role of Captain Rex, and will be appearing with Ahsoka in ‘Mandalorian’ as well as Sabine Wren.

I mean, come on folks!

Can we have something to surprise us somewhere?

And I’m not asking for a Baby Yoda type reveal here, just something we aren’t waiting to see happen.

Whenever we get a trailer, it’s basically going to just be a bunch of confirmations rather than big reveals that make fans go wild, I don’t want to sit watching it and ticking a whole bunch of boxes as we see all these rumours become reality.

A lot of these rumours could be legit and their trickle out to the press could very well be more to do with the (as of now still unconfirmed) cancellation/postponement of Celebration in August. Although surely they would want to put something out before then seeing as it would only be a month or so before the series is released.

Of course, we will find out all of this when the series comes out, but I hope that we will get some surprises.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #23 – The Child

In today’s episode I acquire the most precious asset, The Child.

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My Top Star Wars Moments 7

OK, I admit, the destruction of Alderaan in ‘A New Hope’ is an odd one to have in my list of top moments, but a memory of when I watched it one time will always stick with me.

It was in the lead-up to ‘Revenge of the Sith’ arriving in cinemas and I was making my way through the films (as is the way). My folks had just bought an HD Ready TV, 50 inch screen. Almost 50 inch deep as well (doors were removed to get it in the house) and speakers to die for.

So I cranked up the volume to 50% and as Alderaan exploded, it felt like the house shook. I mean seriously shook.

My Dad was upstairs and yelled down, “What was that?”, not angry but massively impressed.

“Alderaan exploding!” I replied, turning it down to a more manageable 35.

“Wow!” came his response.

Another happy Star Wars memory.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #22 – Captain Rex (Rebels)

In today’s episode I take at the Smugglers Bounty Exclusive Captain Rex from ‘Star Wars: Rebels’.

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Speculation! Star Wars Jedi: Franchise Ideas

Recently, during an earnings call, the head of EA Games announced that last years ‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’ will be the beginning of a new franchise of games. Whilst this isnt a big surprise, as Respawn had already been open about the fact they were hiring new staff to work on the inevitable sequel, the fact that its now a franchise opens it up to a whole bunch of opportunities, and of course a whole mess of thoughts rattling around in the old brain-pan as to what we could see in future installments of the series.

Just a reminder, this is purely speculation and things I think would be cool to see in the series, not spoilers or rumours.

More Playable Characters

I’m not saying I want them to introduce a whole batch of new characters into the Mantis family, but I would love a future installment to let us play as Cere and Merrin. Both characters would give the players a chance to use new and different Force skills.

With Merrin we could use her Nightsister magics and abilities in battle. Despite their prominence in ‘The Clone Wars’, we still know very little about the Nightsister’s skillsets and getting the chamce to play as one would be a fantastice opportunity to find out.

Through ‘Fallen Order’, we learn that Cere touched the Dark Side after she found out that Trilla had become one of Vader’s Inquisitors and we see her struggle against the Dark Side during the final level but Cal helps bring her back to the Light. But imagine playing as her, having access to some Dark Side abilities and perhaps add a game mechanic to track her Force alligence throughout the game as you play as her, even make obstacles that require her to use Dark Side powers through missions.

Dark Cere

Following on from that, perhaps have Cere eventually fall to the Dark Side and become a villain in the franchise. Even have her seeming die in a battle during one game and then have her return in a future installment of the franchise.

This could lead to some great story opportunities and challenges, especially for Cal who would always look to Cere as a teacher and friend. She could even become one of the Inquisitors, whilst not leading them (the Grand Inquisitor could even appear though) she could become quite prominent within their ranks, especially seeing as both the Second and Ninth Sisters have been killed in the first game.

More Inquisitors

We don’t have tonnes of information about the Inquisitorium, we have seen a handful of the group in ‘Rebels’ and delved a bit deeper (but not much) in Charles Soule’s ‘Darth Vader’ series but having the games expand on what we already know and introduce more of them into the canon could make them more of a force to be reckoned with.

They could even bring in a fan-favourite Dark Side user from the Legends timeline. Who wouldn’t want to see Starkiller from ‘The Force Unleashed’ make his canon timeline introduction and be a foil for Cal and of course bring back Sam Witwer to play the character. And just to top it all off, Starkiller could be Cere’s companion, much like Cal is in the first game, putting the two of them squarely at odds just based on that alone.

Ship Battles

I love it when we get to fly ships in the games. I love that we got to pilot fighters in the ‘Battlefront 2’ Campaign and I would love to get a chance to experience it again, throw Cal into the cockpit or even play as Greez in the pilots seat.

And to add more to the experience you could play as another character using the weapons, but seeing as The Mantis doesn’t seem to have weapons like the Millennium Falcon’s Quad Laser Turrets, it could get a bit boring just having them sat at a console targeting fighters so probably having the player pilot the ship would be a better choice.

Familiar Planets

Just imagine, infiltrating Vader’s Castle and having that final battle against Cere, or even Vader?

Of course you couldn’t defeat Vader, but what if the final game revolves around the Cal/Cere rivalry and it ends with her death (inevitable) or her redemption (standard). Her redemption could even play into a final Vder fight which of course would end with her dead, but would give Cal a chance to escape (and instantly two levels).

Or how about a return to Coruscant and infiltrating the former Jedi Temple. We’ve seen it happen in the ‘Darth Vader’ comics so who’s to say it couldn’t happen again?

All I ask is they keep the story in the games separate from ones that could be going on concurrently, lets not have the Ghost crew meet up with the Mantis crew. Maybe keep the Mantis crew away from the growing Rebellion. There must be plenty of Force related shennanigans they could be getting involved with and with the upcoming ‘High Republic’ publishing event, more opportunities to tie the timelines together in some way.

This of course is just a handful of things I think would be amazing if they happened in any of the games in this series, but of course it did all speculation and whatever we get, based on ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’, will be great.

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Doctor Aphra Vol. 2 – Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit Comic Review

Blessed be Doctor Aphra!

After my recent foray into the Charles Soule ‘Darth Vader’ series and my growing disappointment in those comics, and the recent release of th new ‘Doctor Aphra’ series I have decided to jump back and dive into the first run of ‘Doctor Aphra.’

Of course, I have already started my readthrough of the series, which you can read here, Doctor Aphra Vol. 1 – Aphra.

The second volume starts with the first Annual which tells the backstory of Black Krrrsantan and his time as a Gladiator who had cybernetic hands attached to make him a better fighter.

Of course it loosely ties into the main story, but the connection is quite minor in terms of the overall narriative.

The  main tale is about Aphra trying to sell Rur, the AI that believes itself to be a Jedi. Aphra gathers a number of prospective buyers of differing respectability and holds an auction.

During the auction, BT-1 and 000 decided they have had enough of following Aphra’s rules about killing people and manipulate the situation into an all out fight with Rur posessing a Droid and going on an all out rampage whilst also contacting Vader and telling him about the situation which leads to Aphra letting them leave her service and Black Krrrsantan taking the men who made him what he is and Aphra is left to dodge the Imperial Blockade after evading Vader who takes out Rur.

And in the end she still makes a boat-load of money.

It’s a very fun story, the action is well paced, the look we get at the galactic underworld is interesting and it’s all wrapped in a great package.

Doctor Aphra as a main character is great fun, her squiffy moral compass often leads her in the right direction by way of a few shady deals and more than a few angry mobsters and it’s well written and great fun.

Whilst I was hoping for more 000 and BT action here, they are hardly sidelined and it’s great fun seeing the mayhem they can cause, and now they have been set loose in the Galaxy I look forward to seeing what messes they get into… or make.

An amazing second part to what promises to be a fun series, it gives us a great look at what Indiana Jones would look like in Star Wars, and maybe a bit morally ambiguous of course, but still, she believes these artefacts belong in museums, even if she has to double/triple cross the original owners to make it happen (and get paid in the process).

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My Top Star Wars Moments 6

altaiagffa

It’s a bit of a cop-out really, but anytime I sit down to watch a ‘Star Wars’ and this comes up on screen, no matter how many times I have seen the film, I get a little giddy.

This title card (for me) has always been followed by a couple of hours of pure joy and escapism where the world around me just drifts away and I’m transported to my favourite far, far away Galaxy.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #21 – IG-11

In today’s episode I take at the Bounty Hunter Droid turned Nanny from ‘The Mandalorian’, oh yes, the one and only IG-11.
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Force Collector by Kevin Shinick Book Review

Released as a part of ‘Journey to The Rise of Skywalker’ wave of books and comics, ‘Force Collector’ doesn’t really tie into the latest film at all. I have seen people mention that it would have felt more at home as a part of ‘Journey to The Force Awakens’, given how it follows in the vein of Claudia Grey’s ‘Lost Stars’ where we see events from the Prequel and Original Trilogies from different perspectives and have minor ties to the Sequel Trilogy, the most direct tie to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ being the planet Kijimi.

That being said, the book is enjoyable but certainly not the top of any ‘Best of Star Wars Books’ list (for me anyway).

The story follows a young, Force Sensitive man named Kerr who has the gift of psychometry, where touching certain objects can give him Force visions of the objects history.

He meets Maize, a young woman who’s father works for the First Order and along with Karr’s homemade Droid RZ-7, the three of them head off on an adventure to carry on Karr’s Force education, which started with his now deceased grandmother, J’Hara.

On their travels they visit Utapau, Jakku, Batuu, Kijimi and Takodana, finding Force relics that allow Kerr to piece together the past and the history of the Jedi during the Prequel and Original Trilogy eras.

When one artefact, a broken Inquisitor lightsaber shows Kerr a vision of himself killing another Jedi, he begins to worry that he will turn to the Dark Side, but after finding clues back at home in his Grandmother’s old room as well as his parents, he learns that his Great-Grandfather was a former Jedi who left the Order before the events of the Prequels.

With Maize and RZ-7 along for the ride, they visit the last known location of his Grandfather who clears up the confusion of the vision he had and gives Kerr that connection he has been longing for before they have to leave and return to their regular lives.

For me, the first half of the book dragged, even when they start their adventure, the trips to Utapau and Jakku felt more like fan service fiction than an original story. Once on Batuu though, the adventure seems to find its own footing, giving us Kerr’s vision with the Inquisitor’s lightsaber and throwing him onto a much more personal path rather than hitting the fan favourite locations. Even his time on Takodana with Max Kanata and the vision of the Prequel Era and the Jedi Purge, which took a lot from ‘Revenge of the Sith’ felt like a better fit to the story than the previous locations.

Whilst enjoyable, I really felt like the book could have lost a good 50 pages, whilst Shinick ties the visions and plot together well, the whole time he is finding out about Kenobi on Utapau and Jakku feels like it’s going nowhere other than Kerr learning the name ‘Skywalker’, which I feel could have been done more succinctly.

The two leads fit the mould for YA protagonists, Kerr the outsider and a target for bullies as well as Maize who is the new kid in school who feels her parents don’t have the time for her and so they become friends, it doesn’t become romantic which was a relief, as the story didn’t really warrant a romantic subplot.

Despite criticisms, I will say the book is a fun read and gives a new perspective on Force Users in the Sequel Trilogy Era so give it a go, but probably wait until it’s on offer somewhere.

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Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 2 – Legacy’s End

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Either I am suffering from over-hype when it comes to this series or my expectations are too high after hearing all the praise but I am really not enjoying this series at all so far.

This volume covers two shorter stories, the first follows Vader tracking Jocasta Nu who has infiltrated the Jedi Archives to search for a holocron that contains the locations for potential Force Sensitive children across the Galaxy.

They fight, Vader gets the crystal. He kills her, he destroys the crystal.

One aspect of this story was interesting, which was the encounter between the Grand Inquisitor and Jocasta Nu, who had forbidden him, at the time a Jedi Temple Guard, from accessing certain information but their fight is cut short when Vader arrives.

The second story follows Vader following a lead on a Jedi survivor with the Ninth Sister. It turns out to be a trap and Vader is attacked by mercenaries.

After a chase, Vader gets information out of one of the mercenaries and follows their lead to an exclusive club on Coruscant and finds out that the Order came from the highest echelons of the Empire. After he discusses this with Palpatine, the Emperor gathers the high ranking Imperial Officers and as a show of his power Vader kills a handful of them.

In all honesty, these two stories feel very unoriginal and whilst the second feels like it’s starting to build towards something, it is only going to end one way.

The artwork, however is beautiful, especially in Vader’s dream/vision world which looks like nothing we have seen before in the Saga, and is a brilliant representation of the Dark Side.

I’m definitely feeling pretty negative towards this series right now and won’t be rushing to read volume’s three and four in a hurry, which is disappointing seeing as I was really looking forward to reading this series.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #20 – General Grievous

In today’s episode I take a look at the leader of the Separatist’s Droid Army, the unforgettable General Grievous.

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My Top Star Wars Moments 5

snokdead

“You think you can turn him? Pathetic child… I cannot be betrayed… I cannot be beaten. I see his mind… I see his every intent. Yes… I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true! And now… foolish child… he ignites it… and KILLS HIS TRUE ENEMY!”

Supreme Leader Snoke – The Last Jedi

Who saw this coming?

Anyone?

I thought not.

As I sat in the cinema and Snoke had Rey powerless, commanding Kylo to kill her I I wondered how she would get out of this.

Then you see Kylo moving the lightsaber on Snoke’s Throne. But surely he’d notice, or sense something.

The shock on the Supreme Leader’s face as he was impaled was a look shared by many across the world that day and then it’s quickly followed by another Force Theme Ray moment as the lightsaber flies into her hand as she stands up and looks to Kylo.

And I’m sure we all wondered if he had turned good. Well no he hadn’t but he had just given us a massive WTF moment that changed the course of perceptions across the whole fandom.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #19 – The Rey Series Part 6

In the sixth part of The Rey Series, I take a look at the Funko POP! of Rey from ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.

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Doctor Aphra: Issue 1 – Fortune and Fate Part 1 The Rings of Vaace

After a lengthy delay due to the COVID menace, we are finally able to get our (metaphorical) hands on the first issue of the new ‘Doctor Aphra’ series. Like the relaunches of the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Darth Vader’ titles, the new ‘Aphra’ series is set between ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ and focuses on Aphra and her new team of rogues.

I came into this issue at a bit of a disadvantage as I have only read the first arc of the original ‘Doctor Aphra’ series as well as ‘The Screaming Citadel’ crossover so what knowledge I have is second or third hand at best, however this isn’t me saying I dislike what I have read, it’s just that it came out at the wrong time for me to buy the comics (I am now making an effort to crack on and read the whole series).

This issue works as a reintroduction to Aphra and her partner in crime, Black Krrsantan as well as their new associate Just Lucky as they pull a job stealing from the Empire on Hoth, their loot contains an artefact which grants them a huge payday.

As the three celebrate they are approached by an archaeology student, Detta Yao who wants Aphra’s help finding some relics, the Rings of Vacce, long believed to be a myth. Aphra agrees, knowing that the payday would be huge but before they can go looking they need one other person, Doctor Eustacia Oklahoman’s and her Droid, TA-418 (same model as BD-1 from ‘Fallen Order), Okka has long believed that the Rings were real and has put a lot of effort researching them and joins the crew in an effort to finally finish her life’s work.

Meanwhile, Ronen Tagge, son of General Tagge is also trying to recruit Okka and has a score to settle with Aphra and he won’t stop until he gets what he wants.

As a reintroduction to the character, the issue works and doesn’t work for me. It works in terms of the way it sets up the series, gives us a look at the characters, both old and new and sets up their part in this story quite nicely.

Unfortunately, given the amount of references to characters who may have been involved in the previous run made it a bit of a confusing read for me, seeing as I got one of those references which was about the first storyline.

In terms of the writing, it was well done, excellent pacing, the story didn’t lag whatsoever but I felt that the art wasn’t amazing. There wasn’t a single panel that leapt out at me and made me think “Wow!”, which was unfortunate, but overall the book was enjoyable.

Enjoyable but also underwhelming (for me at least), I’m looking forward to reading this again once I have read the whole of the first run of ‘Doctor Aphra’ so that I can fully understand the context of the new series.

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#CollectionCorner – My Lego Wish List

Since I returned to the Lego collecting at the end of 2015, there have been a handful of sets that I had wanted to see return, really so that I could get them at a more normal and much less inflated price, because that secondary market is a bit steep sometimes.

This post really is a wish list of sets that have been retired or that haven’t been made yet that I would one day love to see made one day so that I may possibly acquire them for my own collection.

I would also like to add that this is not a plea for folks to send me offers or e-bay links, just some hypothetical fun.

The Ghost/Phantom 1

I was absolutely gutted to find out that The Ghost has been retired by the time my collection started. I hadn’t been on the ‘Rebels’ bandwagon when the first wave of sets from the series were released and so I missed out by about a year or so and even though I had plenty of opportunities to pick up ‘The Phantom’ for a reasonable price, I never took the plunge.

Given the ongoing popularity of the series and the fact that The Ghost has appeared on screen in two films (albeit in a cameo), the love of this ship is still there and it’s not only me who’d love it to come back, this is still a very sought after set and Lego would be remiss if they didn’t bring back the first Phantom to go with The Ghost and also make sure that the Phantom 2 set would interface with The Ghost as well.

The Twilight

The stolen freighter from ‘The Clone Wars’ film that Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka use throughout the series, the original set looked too bulky and the wings not screen accurate in proportion to the cockpit, but given the time passed and new building techniques then I think now, especially with the series coming back recently and being a phenomenon unto itself, this could be a welcome set.

B-Wing Starfighter

In the last five years, we have had updated versions of all of the main star fighters with the exception of the B-Wing. In some cases, we’ve had Original and Sequel Trilogy versions but we’re waiting on the return of the B-Wing.

It’s always been my favourite of the fighters, it’s origin story in ‘Rebels’ was one of my favourite episodes and you can’t imagine how happy I was to see B-Wings in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. Even if we got a Sequel Trilogy version I would be ecstatic to finally add one to my collection.

Bestoon Legacy

This would be a great addition to the Lego Star Wars collection, this ship bears so much weight in the Sequel Trilogy and it’s use in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ surely means we’ll see it in brick form at some point, I mean we got a Quadjumper set from ‘The Force Awakens’ and that was onscreen for a few seconds so surely, with a lot more screen time and actually getting used means that at some point we’ll get it.

It could even come with the Speeder which the heroes found in the underground tunnels and mini-figs of Ochi and Rey’s parents (as well as D-O of course).

Duel on …

The two ‘Duel on’ sets have been a pair of stand-out sets for me and the premise is really simple but effective.

I feel like that they have taken the place of the sets like the ‘Carbon Freeze Chamber’ and ‘Darth Vader’s Transformation’ which took scenes and locations from the films and converted them into great affordable sets.

There are plenty of opportunities for Lego to really make them into a whole series with plenty of fights in the Saga to draw inspiration from.

Forget the Maul/Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan duel as we already have a great set based on that, but imagine a Duel on Geonisis which could be the Yoda vs. Dooku in the hanger, Duel in the Senate with Mace Windu and Palpatine battling in the Supreme Chancellor. Or even give us some non-Jedi vs. Sith fights. Duel on Kamino with Obi-Wan and Jango Fett. And these are just ideals from the Prequel Trilogy.

Duel on Cloud City could also be amazing. A pair of Death Star II Duel sets, on from ‘Return of the Jedi’ and one from ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.

Lego could even produce a pair of sets based on the Praetorian fight in ‘The Last Jedi’ which could interlock and create one big set.

And the ideas don’t have to stop there, just think about all the battles we have seen in ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Rebels’. The possibilities are endless.

The Mantis

When ‘The Force Unleashed’ came out, there was so much merchandise it almost rivalled ‘Shadows of the Empire’ back in 1996. This time though, there was Lego and we got ‘The Rogue Shadow’ ship with three mini-figs.

Fast forward to 2019 and Triple Force Friday where we were promised new merch from ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’. And well, we got some stuff, not a lot, but some, but no Lego for ‘Fallen Order’ which was a bit disappointing.

Surely now, given the popularity of the game, The Mantis would be an amazing set, the ship has a fantastic and unique design and the mini-fig selection could be through the roof (just think of the BD-1 mini-fig).

The Corvus

Sticking with the video game theme for now, The Corvus was the ship that transported Iden Versio and the rest of Inferno Squad through the game, on both sides of the war. Again, the mini-fig selection would be great (Shriv anyone?) and it’d be the first time we’d get a Raider II Class Corvette in Lego form.

Republic Gunship

I know that we are getting a UCS version later this year after it won the Fan Vote, but surely it’s time we had another release of this as a standard set too? This year could have been the year for ‘The Clone Wars’, and according to the rumours, the Summers wave will be full of sets from the series (we’ve already seen images of the 501st Set), but the Republic Gunship is the iconic vehicle from the series as a whole and they could use it to give us mini-figs from ‘The Siege of Mandalore’ which would be awesome.

The Mandalorian

OK, so at the time of writing we have had one released set, the ‘AT-ST Raider’ and two sets confirmed for release later this year, ‘The Razorcrest’ and the Brickheadz Two-Pack featuring Mando and The Child. But there are plenty more we could get, even if they were smaller sets.

Inagine, if you will, ‘Battle of the Dune Sea’ which would come with two Speeder Bikes, a Dewback, Mando, Toro, Fennic Shand and a Tusken Raider.

And what about that Outland TIE Fighter, with landing gears and folding wings? With a Moff Gideon mini-fig, complete with Darksaber?

There are plenty of possibilities from that series, we are seriously lacking a Kuiil mini-fig and I wouldn’t be opposed to a Blurrg set.

And why not a new Sandcrawler set? Complete with buildable Mudhorn and a Suka?

I am, however, opposed to a buildable ‘The Child’ set. The buildable Yoda, in my opinion, was pretty poor and so I would really like Lego to make a sub-par figure of everyone’s favourite 50 year old infant.

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Sith TIE Fighter

I’m not going to lie, I was really pleased when we found out about the TIE Dagger in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, the design was originally developed for ‘The Force Awakens’ and can be seen in ‘The Art of The Force Awakens’ book in a space battle with the Millennium Falcon and the fact that they revisited it was a joy.

Sadly, they weren’t featured a great deal. Of course they are all over the place during The Battle of Exogol, but there’s not really many close shots of them, unlike the various TIE Fighter incarcerations in the Original Trilogy.

However, this doesn’t stop Lego from creating a nice looking set.

The Sith TIE Fighter (I can only assume that they hadn’t got the name TIE Dagger with all of the concept art that the set was based on) comes in three sections. Sections 2 and 3 have two bags and each of those will build one wing.

Bag 1 gives us the Cockpit and the stand on which the vehicle can be displayed. The stand is a decent height and just goes to show how large the wings will be.

The Cockpit follows a similar build to most TIE Fighter sets, although it has a smoother look all around.

Bag 1 also gives us all three of the mini-figs for the set, Finn in his Resistance gear, a Knight of Ren (Trudgen) and a First Order TIE Pilot. The Finn and Trudgen mini-figs I get, but as this is part of the Sith Fleet, surely we should have gotten a Sith TIE Pilot. Even though we don’t see any in the film I have to wonder if they were designed, or even had costumes made but cut from the film. Of course, it would look strange without a pilot in the cockpit and of those materials weren’t available then they added a regular mini-fig that was easily produced.

Bags 2 and 3 build both of the Sith TIE Fighter’s wings.

Once fully put together, the Fighter looks very impressive. The red and black wings are striking and unlike most TIE Fighter sets, they don’t feel repetitive because of their look, although I did blitz the second wing once I knew what I was doing.

The missile firing mechanism is nicely disguised and doesn’t interfere with the wing design either which is good.

On the stand, this set looks brilliant, it fits onto the ship very easily and makes displaying the set very easy. I currently have it on display with Obi-Wan’s Hut open between the wings and it doesn’t get in the way of the cockpit. A much easier option than finding somewhere to hang it.

Overall, a great looking set, a great representation of the onscreen version and a really good mix of mini-figs.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #18 – The Rey Series Part 5

In the fifth part of The Rey Series, I take a look at the Funko POP! of Rey from ‘The Last Jedi’.

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My Top Star Wars Moments 4

lifedebtmoment4

 By the time the Finn/Kylo fight was over in ‘The Force Awakens’ I was on the edge of my seat, both excited and exhausted from the past almost two hours. The fast pacing and no-stop story was fantastic and it still wasn’t over.

When Kylo reaches for his Uncle’s lightsaber with the Force and it flew towards him I remember thinking something along the lines of “Oh no!” And it suddenly became a “What the ****!?” As it flew past him and into Rey’s hand as the Force Theme swells.

The pace had slowed just enough for us to understand what was going on and savour the moment where the heroine of the Sequel Trilogy took that mantle and cemented herself as a legend.

It still gives me goosebumps whenever I watch it.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #17 – The Rey Series Part 4

In the fourth part of The Rey Series, I take a look at the Funko POP! of Rey from the final scene of ‘The Force Awakens’.

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General Hux: Mistreated or Misunderstood?

Over the last couple of weeks I have rewatched the entire Star Wars Saga, and as I made my way from ‘The Force Awakens’ and into ‘The Last Jedi’ seeing the treatment of General Hux, something many fans have had an issue with.

When we first met Hux in TFA, he was a snivelling weasel of a man, facing off with Kylo Ren on board ‘The Finalizer’, which when you think about it, is a brave thing to do. Those computers did nothing and look what he does to them.

Once they reach Starkiller Base however, Hux seems to be more in his element. His orders go unquestioned and enacted without haste. Kylo doesn’t do much with Hux on the base, which leads me to believe that once on his own turf, Hux has dominance over whatever authority Kylo has within The First Order. The only time they have any interaction on the base is when speaking with Snoke both times.

Hux’s speech to The First Order before the Starkiller weapon is fired for the first time shows his passion, his unwavering belief in The First Order and their mission to vanquish the Republic. The scene is meant to evoke thoughts of the Nazi rallies in the 1930’s, Hux comes across like Hitler and the troops on the base eat it up.

But all of that goes out of the window. When Starkiller is destroyed, Hux is summoned by Snoke to rejoin The First Order fleet which is where we find him at the beginning of ‘The Last Jedi’.

In ‘The Last Jedi’, Hux seems to have gone through a dramatic character change in the hours between the events of the two films. The fanatical General hell bent on taking over the Galaxy has become a pompous, overconfident fool, as demonstrated when making his speech to Poe Dameron, which, according to the novelisation, he feels is important enough to be written in historical documents. This of course is ruined by Poe’s prank call which has to be revealed by Captain Peavey.

In fact, whenever Hux is on the bridge of a ship, his inexperience shines through. Whilst not the youngest member of the crew in the room, he is the youngest member of the Command Crew, all of whole have experience from the Galactic Civil War in service to the Empire and would all be much more suited to Hux’s role.

After the Dreadnought was destroyed, knowing he would be reprimanded he tries to escape to his quarters rather than suffer Snoke’s wrath in front of the assembled crew. It’s only when he’s before the Supreme Leader and later in the hanger with Phasma, away for the veterans of the Empire, that his confidence grows and we see Hux as we did in ‘The Force Awakens’ and again in the aftermath of Snoke’s death and the Praetorian Guard battle when Kylo is unconscious, Hux has the opportunity to vanquish his competition for the Throne but misses his opportunity as Ren wakes up and forcibly takes command.

During the Battle of Crait, we see Hux trying to maintain his control of the First Order Army, which he would have had were Snoke alive, and operating from his chambers on board the Supremacy but Kylo isn’t like Snoke and goes down to the planet, Hux’s control is all but gone, he manages to deliver orders to his forces but it doesn’t take long for his authority to be thrown (pun intended) away as Kylo begins to become annoyed and essentially put Hux in his place, even when Hux is actually right at the time about Ren being focused and not distracted by Luke’s diversion which effectively leads to the Resistance surviving and we see Hux’s determination to be rid of Kylo.

Given the animosity of their relationship, it’s not a surprise that Ren essentially demoted Hux before ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and elevating Pryde to the rank of Allegiant General. This could have been after the destruction of Ren’s flagship during the Battle of Batuu which is part of the ‘Rise of the Resistance’ rise at the Galaxy’s Edge parks. The Steadfast, Pryde’s ship becomes the new First Order flagship and Hux becomes Pryde’s underling.

In terms of the story, we needed and older First Order leader from the Empire who would be allied with Palpatine and Pryde fits that bill, by in doing so it also pushes Hux’s hand into doing something that, on the surface feels completely out of character, but in reality it’s not. He doesn’t have the power he once held, he is seen as a joke by the Supreme Leader and the older members of The First Order command and needs to find a way to pull his way back up to the top, and so he acts as a spy, feeding information to The Resistance which would lead them to attempting to foil Ren’s plans. His motivation is t to save the Galaxy, it’s to be rid of Kylo Ren.

Of course, this plan leads to his demise. As much as he would have loathed it, he would have been much safer leaving on the Millennium Falcon with Poe, Finn and Chewie as a hostage. His whole plan of having a blaster wound and being forced into helping the heroes escape is foolish and obvious, he essentially brought about his own demise.

Hux’s arc over the Sequel Trilogy, in my opinion gets a bad reputation, his arc doesn’t show character growth, but shows the audience how his peers and superiors perceive him and how out of his depth he can be in certain situations. His quest for power overrides everything in his mind, which we learn more about in the books and comics, being the son of an Imperial General who was crucial in the formation of The First Order, Hux had a lot to live up to and only does so in his mind. He hasn’t earned his position but rather inherited it and that could also be why he is looked down upon by most of the older First Order Officers.

I really think, after this rewatch, that Hux is misunderstood by audiences. There has been so much mud flung at the Sequel Trilogy that the flingers have latched onto anything that could be perceived as negative and run with it, but if we really took the time to appreciate the nuances of the Trilogy we may see some gold (or in my opinion more gold seeing as I love the Sequel Trilogy).

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Obi-Wan’s Hut

Continuing the fantastic (unofficial) series of ‘home’ sets which started with ‘Ahch-To Training’ and followed by the latest version of ‘Yoda’s Hut’, we now have a new set based on ‘Obi-Wan’s Hut’ from ‘A New Hope’.

The box contains two numbered bags and the instructions. There are no stickers included in the set, there only uses would have been for the Training Remote and a single keypad for a doorway but both are printed.

Bag 1 builds the central part of the Hut, featuring a few seats, a small kitchen and a pair of tables. The roof area is nicely detailed across the top and the interior nicely recreates the areas of Obi-Wan’s home we get to see in the film.

We also get the first two of four mini-figs, Obi-Wan Kenobi and a Tusken Raider. Now I get why we have an Obi-Wan mini-fig here, honestly the set would be somewhat redundant without him, but the Tusken? I get the connection, they have a moment together (sort of) but really it feels like they were trying to fill space.

The second bag add the two sides of the Hut. Both sides are used as small storage areas. One for parts that make up the Training Remote and the other side holds the chest that Obi-Wan was keeping Anakin’s lightsaber to give to Luke (and the Training Remote itself).

One brilliant piece that is added in the section is the mini-hologram of Leia that stands on top of one of the tables. Despite its small size you get enough detail to know is who it is and it’s a wonderful addition.

When the Hut is closed, it feels mildly disappointing. It’s quite small, which isn’t an issue but the exterior really isn’t very screen accurate, especially where you see the crate half outside and the kitchen units that are so exposed it’s a wonder how his home hasn’t been raided continually. It really feels like this is a set to be displayed open, which could have been the intention of the designers but it doesn’t really give collectors much of a choice.

This bag also gives us the Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 mini-figs. I like how they gave us a Luke figure even though the sister set, the revamped Landspeeder already comes with one as it gives us a choice to buy one or both (although that poncho would look good in the collection). The R2 mini-fig looks like it’s had some new details added to the print, but I would have to do a more in-depth comparison before I could be sure.

Overall, a decent little set that recreates an iconic scene from the Saga. Not without its flaws, but well priced and an enjoyable build.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #16 – Mystery POP! Unboxing 3

I have recently signed back up to Pop In A Box and this is the first to arrives. Let’s see who’s arrives this month.

If you have enjoyed this blog/podcast, please like/share/comment/follow.If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page at http://www.patreon.com/mystarwarslifedebt .Please visit the new My Star Wars Life Debt Merch store https://www.redbubble.com/people/lifedebtpodcast.

Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #15 – The Rey Series Part 3

This is the third part in an ongoing series where I take a look at the Rey Funko POP! Vinyl figures in my collection. If you have enjoyed this blog/podcast, please like/share/comment/follow.

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Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi Book Review

Written by Kevin Hearne, ‘Heir to the Jedi’ follows Luke Skywalker as he goes on a pair of missions for the Rebellion, firstly to Rodia where he is meant to set up a contact with some arms dealers, the second to rescue a Slicer who is working (under duress) for the Empire and reunite her with her family. Luke is joined on the second mission by Nakari, a fantastic sharpshooter/pilot/daughter of the owner a wealthy tech company.

The two of them hit it off and end up in the early stages of a relationship as their mission unfolds but at the end, after being chased by bounty hunters, Nakari is killed.

This was one of the first books released after the Canon reset in 2014 after ‘A New Dawn’ and was originally meant to be released as part of an ongoing series of books set in the now ‘Legends’ timeline set between ‘A New Hope’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, but it got reworked slightly to incorporate some new details.

Written in the first person, from Luke’s point-of-view, we get to learn his mindset, his thoughts on the Force and his growing understanding of that mystical energy field, even learning to use the Force in a variety of basic ways that, with further development would lead to his understanding of it by the time he wakes up in the Wampa’s lair.

Set roughly at a similar time to the first run of Marvel’s ‘Star Wars’ series, my big concern is the timeline as we don’t get any definitive details on how long after ‘A New Hope’ either this book or the Comic series takes place. Although my head canon puts this as early in this period as by the time the comics get going, Luke doesn’t seem to have any romantic feelings towards Leia, which he admits to having in the book. If the book occurs between issues of the series then it would have to be before Volume 10 – ‘The Escape’ due to his feelings towards Nakari in the book and the fledgling romance with Tula in the comics.

In the fan community, this book gets put down a lot. I don’t really understand why though. The story is solid, a great adventure with Luke and some fun new characters. Maybe the writing style feels strange being in the first person but honestly it never really bothered me any time I have read it. In the overall collection of the Canon Novels, it’s not in my Top 5 but it’s enjoyable, the legacy characters are written well and the new characters are well crafted and fit in the universe believably.

Definitely one to read for some good Luke Skywalker content and fun adventure. It contains enough of the Star Wars tropes, such as weird monsters (brain sucking bugs), aliens, action and adventure to feel like a part of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Duel on Mustafar

There is something about these ‘Duel on…’ sets that I just love. The ‘Starkiller Base’ one was so well done that as soon as I heard about one based on the Anakin/Obi-Wan duel I knew it was a sure-thing for the collection.

Luckily, in this early part of the year I generally don’t have to worry about getting some of these smaller sets as I can normally request them for Valentines Day/Wedding Anniversary in February. But it’s taken me quite some time to get around to building it as the Death Star set took quite a while.

And what was even better, we got Disney+ and as I built it I watched ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and finished as the duel was going on.

The box contains two bags and the instructions. There are understandably a lot of red, yellow and orange pieces which is a stark difference to most Star Wars sets.

The first bag builds the base of the set with a lot of the red and yellow bricks making this part of the set up, to look like the lava river the two former allies fight on during the last part of their duel.

The whole base can fold together and is held together by handles/clips that latch together in both the long and folded forms of the set.

Each side has a rail system which will form the basis of the main play feature of the set.

Bag 1 also gives us a ‘Revenge of the Sith’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, his tunic is beautifully printed to depict the wear and tear of the fight, including burn marks from lava showers. He has a double printed head, one side is grim concentration whilst the other looks to be akin to his face as he shouts “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.”.

Bag Two builds the two moveable platforms on which Anakin and Obi-Wan duel before Obi-Wan takes the high ground. Both are really well designed and incredibly accurate. Obi-Wan’s platform, whilst looking rather sparse actually looks spot on with the lone control stand, whilst the other platform looks just like the Droid that Anakin lands on, including its eyes and arms.

This bag also build the large structure that they fight on that falls into the lava river and subsequently down the lava-fall. It’s scaled down here and can flip to face the opposite direction. Having one half use a transparent orange piece to look like it’s covered in lava is pretty cool.

The Anakin mini-fig again looks spot-on. The burn details on his… tunic (this isn’t the immolation scene folks) looks great and his face designs really ring true to the character at this point of the film. One side angry, the other has his full-on Sith eyes and very angry-shouty face (probably from the immolation scene) when he shouts “I hate you!” to Obi-Wan.

Overall, a really great little set, fun to build, brilliant detail and once finished, a great set for kids to play with. With an added play feature of transparent orange studs that can be flicked out of a crevasse and of course, the moveable platforms to allow the two figures to fight.

And honestly, I’m looking forward to more ‘Duel on…’ sets.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #14 – The Rey Series Part 2

This is the first part in an ongoing series where I take a look at the Rey Funko POP! Vinyl figures in my collection.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #13 – The Rey Series Part 1

This is the first part in an ongoing series where I take a look at the Rey Funko POP! Vinyl figures in my collection.

If you have enjoyed this blog/podcast, please like/share/comment/follow.

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What Differences Should We Expect Between the High Republic Jedi and the Jedi of the Prequel Era?

Something I have been contemplating for a while, which I started thinking about more after we got the descriptions of the main ‘High Republic’ characters is what will the state of the Jedi Order be in comparison to the Order during the Prequel Era?

We can already see the differences in the visual style of their clothing. The monk-like attire we have been used to since ‘A New Hope’ is gone, replaced with ornately decorated robes that seem to display their status within the Order.

Like their Prequel Era counterparts, they have an armoured version to their attire, this time as part of their exploration gear rather than the armoured Jedi of the Clone Wars.

Other than the aesthetic of the Jedi of the High Republic, I’m wondering about what the Jedi Order will be like in terms of how they operate. One thing we know is that they will operate as the “guardians of peace and justice” as Obi-Wan once told Luke, and as we learned from the High Republic launch event, they will act like the Texas Rangers, patrolling the borders of the known galaxy as well as exploring beyond those borders.

But will they work as closely with the Republic Senate as the Jedi of the Prequels? Hopefully not, as it was that close relationship that was detrimental to the values the Order were meant to uphold, but as the Jedi grew closer to the Senate itself, like Dooku in ‘Dooku: Jedi Lost’ actively speaking before the Senate and becoming kore and more like the Senate’s own Galactic Police Force brought the Jedi more and more into the Political realm.

I hope we will get to see the Jedi frequenting other Temples rather than being solely based in the Coruscant Temple. I think that we could see the Coruscant Temple becoming more and more prominent as the series goes on, seeing as the High Republic Era could span the full 200 years leading up to The Skywalker Saga, but what events would lead the Jedi closing in? Perhaps throughout the series we will begin to see the politicisation of the Order and as that occurs, more and more Temples fall into disuse, becoming relics like the ones we see on Lothal in ‘Rebels’, or the one Luke, Ben and Lor San Tekka visit in ‘The Rise of Kylo Ren’ issue 2.

In terms of how they deal with the main villains of the series, I feel like the Jedi of the High Republic will respond much better and more proactively towards the Nihil, rather than the blind arrogance displayed by the Jedi of the Prequel Era when even the thought of the return of the Sith is mentioned.

My final thought about the differences (and I am sure there will be many, many more) is about the lightsabers. I’ve never been one to hold to the theories about what different lightsaber colours meant about the type of Jedi someone is in the past, but we have been presented with images of the new Jedi characters wielding various colours of lightsabers. Of course there were the usual blue and green, and even a purple, but there are even yellow, white and one with a “darksaber” type blade. Of course we have seen these colours before, Ahsoka has white blades in ‘Rebels’, Rey has a yellow blade at the end of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and of course, the Darksaber is a relic passed throughout Mandalorian history, but you can argue that Ahsoka isn’t a Jedi when she purifies the crystals she takes from the Inquisitor in ‘Ahsoka’, yes Rey is a Jedi, but she’s the beginning of a new era for the Order and whilst a Mandalorian Jedi created the Darksaber, it hasn’t been possessed by a Jedi for thousands of years. Will these colours of lightsabers be an important aspect of the Jedi Order of the High Republic?

No matter what, the Jedi of both eras will be different, there’s no doubt and I’m looking forward to seeing how different and what leads the Order to evolve into what we see in the Prequels.

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Death Star: Section 10

And then it was built. After two months (of intermittent) building I completed this immeasurable Lego set.

First up is the Conference Room where the Imperial leaders meet to discuss the missing plans as well as two of the dividing walls.

The table doesn’t secure to the base but can be used as a storage compartment for accessories.

Next up is the Droid Maintenance area. The area is filled up with a raising bed, a chair, a desk and a tool area that holds a wide array of gear for techs to use on Droids.

Another part of this section is where you build a lift that can go up and down the central shaft of the Battle Station which you can operate using the handle on the wall.

The third and final part is the Super Weapon control room where Tarkin and Vader made Leia watch as the destroyed Alderaan.

It features two consoles, one rotates 360 degrees and the other sides to side as that’s the one that rotates the Super Weapon. A handle is added to this one which allows the laser to raise up and down.

It also features a console with a changeable screen thanks to two stickers of the read outs we see in the aforementioned scene.

This section has three mini-figs, two Death Star Troopers and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Death Star Troopers look great, the helmets are well detailed and each comes with a blaster. Tarkin looks great, the hair piece is on point, the only things it’s missing are Peter Cushing’s fluffy slippers.

All done and it looks amazing. I won’t lie, I was filled with a great sense of accomplishment and also a bit of sadness that it was over. My holy grail of Star Wars Lego is now a complete part of my collection. It was a fantastic build and it’ll be a hard one to top.

Before I go, I would like to thank Sara for orchestrating this amazing Christmas gift and also thank both my parents and her family who contributed towards it. To say I was overwhelmed on Christmas Day when I opened it is an understatement.

And now, as they say, “The show must go on.” And there are two new Lego sets waiting to be built.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #12 – Mystery Unboxing 2 (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I unbox a Mystery Star Wars Funko POP! Vinyl figure.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #11 – Mystery Unboxing 1 (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I unbox a Mystery Star Wars Funko POP! Vinyl figure.

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Star Wars Vol. 10 – The Escape

Kieron Gillen starts moving the pieces across the board ready for the endgame in this story arc.

With the help of Sana Starros, Han, Luke and Leia land on the supposedly uninhabited planet, Hubin whilst the Smuggler heads off to try to find somewhere for the Rebel leaders to hide.

After learning of a settlement after being attacked by the local wildlife, they are welcomed into the home of Thane Markona.

After learning that they will be stuck on the planet for months if Sana doesn’t show up, Han adjusts to life on the planet whilst Leia locks herself away in her room and Luke starts to learn saber techniques from Markona who is the descendent of a Jedi.

Han and Leia’s relationship starts to grow and Leia reveals she has been plotting an attack on Queen Trios and Shu-Torin. A possible romance blossoms for Luke and Markona’s daughter, Tula but tensions rise when Luke makes a transmitter to get help and activates it against her wishes.

Later, they learn that the transmitter wouldn’t have worked anyway but an Imperial Transport arrives, crewed by SCAR Squadron who tortured Sana to get their location.

Luke duels with Sergeant Kreel as a distraction to the settlers to escape. Markona then aids Luke’s escape, allowing him, Han, Leia, Tula, the Droids and the citizens of Hubin to escape on the Imperial ship, leaving SCAR Squadron stranded. They start work on making a transmitter and find Leia’s plans for the Shu-Torin attack.

Sana takes Han, Leia, Luke and the Droids to find the Rebel Alliance, and when they reach Ackbar on Home One, Leia’s tells him her plan.

We finally know what Gillen has been building towards since his ‘Darth Vader’ run started and we are fast approaching the endgame with the ‘Scourge of Shu-Torin’ in the next volume, which allows this volume to give the characters a chance, if only for a short time, space to breathe after the fast pace of the previous volumes.

The settlement on Hubin is a nice change for our heroes, a quiet and peaceful community, that despite the residents pasts as mercenaries, they have built a solid community, their past is just that, in the past and it’s a great change of scenery.

The budding romance between Tula and Luke seems a little forced, especially given his feelings towards the character Nakari from ‘Heir to the Jedi’, and how he felt at the end of that story and given that he obviously has romantic inclinations towards Leia (see ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and yes, ewww) it just feels a bit not right at this point.

Luke does however, continue developing his Jedi skills, being taught lightsaber combat by Thane Markona lets us see where he got those skills prior to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ because we never see that side of his training with Yoda, and he is able to hold his own to a degree against Vader during the climactic duel.

I’m pleased that, by the end, the heroes were reunited with, at least some of the Rebel Alliance. Had they been separate for another run of issues it could have dragged, and we get to see a fantastic moment sequence where Han is reunited with Chewie and the Falcon which has been patched together after the battle with Vader in the previous volume, but obviously not in its fully operational state.

Leia’s obsession with revenge against Trios feels a little out of character, but given the fact that Leia trusted Trios and was then betrayed gives us a good reason, but we never really see that vengeful side of her in the films. Even her killing Jabba in ‘Return of the Jedi’ was more out of necessity than revenge for enslaving her.

Overall, a nice change of pace for Kieron Gillen’s run on the series and a fun story despite my minor qualms. I’m really looking forward to the next volume, which will end Gillen’s pretty successful run on the series and tie up a story he’s been telling for quite a while.

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Death Star: Section 9

Here we go, the penultimate entry into the the Death Star build. I imagine this was how Krennic felt close to the events of ‘Rogue One’.

This section is essentially the floor of the top section with a few added bits here and there.

The first part is the floor that covers the Super Weapon area, securing it in place by housing the top of the mechanism so it won’t fall over.

Part 2 of the section lays the foundation for the meeting room where Vader chokes Motti for having a lack of faith. So far we have the beginnings of the table and spinners for the chairs.

This section also has an addition underneath (on the ceiling of the Detention Block) which is one of the camera’s that Han, Luke and Chewie destroy when they start their rescue of Leia.

Part three of this section really is the juiciest part of the whole section with two Turbo Lasers that move side to side and the cannons lift up and down. They are controlled simultaneously by a rod that is underneath the floor (the ceiling of the Emperor’s Throne Room) and the cannons are controlled by gears on the sides of them.

Part 4 builds the floor of the Droid Maintenance area and also had the landing claw that hold Vader’s TIE Advanced that hangs in the Hanger Bay which can be rotated by the gear that is in the middle of the grated area.

A solid start for the top level, great details and play features added for the lower level and a surprising sense of dread that soon the build will be over.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #10 – Rio Durant (Video)

 

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the Rio Durant Funko POP! figure.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #9 – Val (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the Val Funko POP! figure.

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My Pre-Prequels Head Canon

Watching the Original Trilogy in the early 90’s, there was very little information on what happened before. All we really knew was what Obi-Wan told Luke. The Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice. When Obi-Wan met Anakin he was already a great pilot, was strong in the Force and they were best friends. Yoda taught Obi-Wan to be a Jedi. Oh and that Obi-Wan and Anakin fought in the Clone Wars.

Not a lot of information to go on based on the films. There was an interview that George Lucas did where he told the story of an epic duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin that resulted in Anakin falling into fire/lava which was why he was in the Vader suit.

There were also rumours that Lucas was going to start making the Prequel Trilogy in the late 80’s and Mark Hamill was going to return to play Anakin Skywalker.

Of course none of this happened, so until 1999 we were left to our own devices in terms of what that period of time was like.

So where my head went was somewhere completely different in terms of what we would see.

Firstly, I took into account the ages of both Obi-Wan and Anakin from the Original Trilogy and thought that the Prequels would have happened years before they actually did. I always assumed they were around the same age, based on their friendship, and that because of that friendship Obi-Wan taught Anakin. I also believed that the Jedi were more like wandering guardians, going from planet to planet, stopping trouble and helping those in need, not the regimented organisation we actually got. Perhaps, if one Jedi found someone to be trained, they would send them to Dagobah for Yoda to train.

Also, Anakin already being a great pilot. Who would have ever thought that a child would ever be seen as a great pilot?

Imagine my surprise when I found out there was at least 10 years between Anakin and Obi-Wan. I couldn’t fathom the concept of having friends that much older than me back then.

At one point in my childhood, I remember my Sister telling me that George Lucas had written ‘The Clone Wars’. At this point I had started reading the ‘EU’, and so began a mad hunt for a book about ‘The Clone Wars’ but obviously I was mistaken, much to my youthful disappointment.

What I really took away from my preconceptions as a youth was that no matter what I could think up when it came to Star Wars, my ideas would never live up to those of The Maker (or Makers nowadays). And whilst I would have loved to see my 8 year old head-canon, I really don’t think that it would have been any good.

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Death Star: Section 8

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Well, the Death Star weapon is now fully operational. If the construction of the super weapon went as easily as this then the Empire would have done more damage much quicker.

The first part of the section is the base of the weapon, the middle is full of gears and rods. One side has a set of computer consoles.

Once it’s installed, you need to work carefully as its not incredibly secure at this point, but we get a good idea of how this weapon can move. Of course it moves side-to-side but there is the ability to move up and down using the gears that made up the first part of this build, but they don’t connect to anything at this point.

I love how this was made. It’s actually a really simple design but it’s incredibly effective in its detail and, for some reason it really struck a chord with me.

Once in place, you add the laser blast which, at first when I saw the box, I didn’t think I would like much but once I had it built and attached I really like how it looks.

Finishing off the third level feels like a great accomplishment, I absolutely love how this set is coming together, and it’s freaking huge, but I am a bit gutted that it’ll be coming to an end soon with only two sections to go.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #8 – TLJ Rose Tico

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the TLJ Rose Tico Funko POP! figure.

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The COVID-19 Menace

Doesn’t have the same ring to it really does it?

I have done some thinking in regards to the Blog and the extra content on Patreon and all of the people stuck in Isolation.

And so, I have decided to set up a brand new tier on the Life Debt Patreon which will run for as long as this madness is going on.

‘The COVID-19 Menace’ Tier will include ALL of the current AND future bonus content, which includes:

  • ‘Rebels Revisited: A Life Debt Podcast’ – Bite-Sized reviews of all episodes of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ (currently on Season 3).
  • ‘The Life Debt Lego VLog’ Video reviews of Star Wars Lego sets.
  • 24 hour early access to all Monday and Friday Blog Posts.
  • When the Podcast returns, a thank you at the end of each episode, a shout on on an episode and guaranteed E-Mail reads.
  • And more to come in the near future!

And all of this for $1 per month.

All you have to do is head on over to the Life Debt Patreon Page and sign up to ‘The COVID-19 Menace’ Tier and all that content will be at your fingertips (if you’re using a Smart Phone).

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #7 – Sad Porg (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the Sad Porg Funko POP! figure.

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“The Jedi Knights of the Round Table”

If you weren’t intrigued by ‘Project Luminous’ before, hearing the concept of ‘the Jedi Knights of the Round Table’ certainly should have piqued your interest.

For the record, I was intrigued by the whole ‘Project Luminous’ idea. All of those great authors coming together for this grand project, then the rumours of ‘The High Republic’ only managed to get me more and more excited for the whole thing.

Once we got the Press Event and the promotional images I was all in, hook, line and sinker. This was something I had been wanting to see from the new Canon for a while, a whole new era, an ongoing series of sorts, huge crossovers. The waters had been tested last year with the ‘Alphabet Squadron’/’TIE Fighter’ crossover between Del Rey and Marvel and it seemed to be successful, so why not try it on a much larger scale, a publishing MCU so to speak.

Of course, the Press Event didn’t give much away, essentially an announcement of the concept, cover art, promotional art and release dates, and of course the four minute trailer showing a lot of behind l-the-scenes stuff and some great sound bites.

I remember watching the Special Features on the ‘Attack of the Clones’ DVD and George Lucas saying that we were seeing the heyday of the Jedi, but I honestly don’t believe that, I think he was saying it as misdirection so that we would believe we were, but the events of ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and later ‘The Clone Wars’ really show that the entire Prequel era, right back to ‘The Phantom Menace’ was actually the story of how the Jedi failed, and that failure led to their downfall.

But now, with ‘The High Republic’ I really do believe that we will be seeing the true heyday of the Jedi Order.

Just look at them. There is something about them that feels special, they feel powerful but not in a way that feels threatening, in fact they come across completely the opposite. Right there they look like true protectors, real Knights, unlike the monk-like aesthetic the Jedi of the Prequel era have.

Another point of interest is the lightsabers in this time. In the picture above, we get to see a selection of different styles, including new cross guard lightsabers where the guard is part of the hilt rather than quillion blades like Kylo Ren’s saber, or the one that Ezra found on Malachor. We also get a double blades lightsaber and the variety of colours is the same as what we get in the Prequel Trilogy.

However, this picture gives us another look and there are a few lightsabers of note here. Firstly, let’s start from the left hand side, the character in a white robe with a double bladed lightsaber but made to look like a barbecue fork. Almost like Dark Rey in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ before she unfolds it to a more standard double blade configuration. Not to mention how the blades are white like Ahsoka’s in ‘Rebels’.

Let’s jump across to the Twi’Lek with the orange blade. An interesting colour which was introduced into canon in ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’.

Then jump again to the Umbaran looking fellow whose double bladed weapon looks more cyan in colour.

Then there is the character on the far right, wielding what looks like a Darksaber, which we have only seen one of before, made by Tarre Viszla and wielded by Pre Viszla, Maul, Sabine Wren and now Moff Gideon. Could this be Tarre Viszla or has it been stolen back by the Mandalorians by this point.

The one thing their lightsabers all have in common is the ornate look of the weapons. These aren’t generally weapons to the Jedi of the High Republic. Perhaps for those who patrol the borders of the known Galaxy, but for many they would be more a symbol, a rite of passage for Padawan’s to go through on their way to Jedi Knighthood. Each one looks completely individual and designed based on the needs of the wielder, just look at the Trandoshan, their hilt looks more like a fun and it’s probably due to the species physiology. The Twi’Lek’s hilt looks like a fencing rapier and Zabrak’s weapon has a long claw or tooth attached to it. These designs really show off the individuality of the Jedi here, I like those during the Prequel Era which all look relatively similar, I think the only one with a bit of flair is Mace Windu’s.

It’s safe to say that the Jedi of the High Republic will be different from those we meet in the Prequel Era and I hope that through the stories we will start to learn how the Jedi lost their way. Perhaps the events that we will be learning about will bring about those changes. Of course this is all speculation and we won’t know much until August, and I really can’t wait to find out.

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#CollectionCorner – Lego Death Star: Section 7

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This section shocked me. Honestly, I sat down to start building and thought to myself, ‘Do one section tonight, will take about an hour.’

Wrong!

Took two hours, which wouldn’t be a problem, but I started at about 11pm. So yeah, I was knackered the next day, thank the Maker it was a weekend.

The first half of the build was mostly the two remaining walls as well as the control room that will look over the Super Laser weapon. The control room is also sat on top of a sliding door which is controlled by a gear in the control room.

The second half of the build is the Detention Block. This part of the build really showcases the Lego Designers ability to build just about anything.

The play features here are quite fun. You can remove the back wall of Leia’s cell to place mini-figs inside and there are two gears that open two doors. One into the cell from the corridor and the other opens the grate which leads to a hole in the floor which lets you drop mini-figs into the Trash Compactor.

The excellent use of a sticker makes the corridor look longer, which gives the area some extra detail.

The computer consoles look great and the the added Torture Droid looks really accurate and the clear rod gives it the illusion of hovering.

We also get five mini-figs in this section. Stormtrooper Han, Chewie with Bowcaster, R2-D2, C-3PO and an Imperial Officer.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #6 – TLJ Finn (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the TLJ Finn Funko POP! figure.

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Star Wars: Issue 4 – The Destiny Path Part 4

Following on from the last issue, which, as I said in my review, felt like a set up for this issue (and I feel I was right to a degree), we find our heroes in respective spots of bother.

Lando is locked in the core of Cloud City with Lobot who is hooked up to the central computer and a squad of Stormtroopers trying to blow their way in.

Leia is frozen in Carbonite and being escorted to a hanger bay and Luke is trying to find his lightsaber way in the Cloud City junk pile.

Lobot saves Lando who frees his friend whilst Luke has a vision as he attempts to use the Force to find his post weapon in which he sees Leia frozen and a mysterious woman on a distant planet who seems to be calling to him.

Luke meets up with Lando and Lobot, using the Force to throw a bunch of Stormtroopers out of a window and ultimately into the aforementioned junk pile.

They rescue Leia and a group of other Carbon Frozen Cloud City citizens who fight off the Stormtroopers in the hanger. Leia, Lando, Lobot and the freed citizens steal a Landing Craft and leave to find the Rebel Alliance whilst Luke retrieves his X-Wing and together with R2, heads off to follow his vision.

My feeling whilst reading this issue was that we are still in the set-up phase of the storytelling. The heroes seem to escape or resolve their problems from the previous issue rather quickly and move on to the next thing with very little time to breathe.

I feel that the Leia frozen in Carbonite could have been a really fun ongoing story for a few issues that would Force Luke and Lando to work together, allowing their relationship to grow and develop into what we see in ‘Return of the Jedi’.

The lightsaber plot line felt rushed. He obviously won’t find it in the junk, but suddenly he can use the Force again, has a vision which, if you remember last time that happened, Luke rushed off and failed, what does he do now? Rushes off to follow his vision again. It’s almost like he hasn’t learned that valuable lesson from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Granted this is only set a few days after that but to throw caution to the wind again that soon would be insane. Part of me is feeling a bit wary that we won’t get much growth in Luke’s character until quite late on in this run and it could feel quite sudden as the story approaches ‘Return of the Jedi’. Or I could be completely wrong and that he will end up following a bunch of visions that will lead to the character growth and it will be gradual.

The convenient moments continue in the Hanger where Luke and Lando free Leia and the Cloud City citizens and the moment they have blasters and fight off the Stormtroopers, Leia asks if anyone wants to join the Rebellion. Well you’d imagine one or two would scoff at that but no, everyone comes along and then celebrate Lando for rescuing them. I get the feeling that we will be seeing a bunch of stuff happening to Lando that will bite him on the backside later on which will make him more humble and see him become a Rebel leader.

Honestly, whilst it has some great moments, this issue just seems rushed and full of conveniently placed plot devices to speed the story along. I hope that Charles Soule has some magic up those sleeves of his because right now I’m really not feeling this run, and seeing as Comixology has upped the prices on digital comics I’m not going to carry on reading an ongoing series I’m not really enjoying.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #5 – Galen Erso (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the Galen Erso Funko POP! figure.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Novelisation by Rae Carson (Spoiler Free) Review

Let me get this off my chest.

We don’t deserve this book.

After all the vitriol that has spread through the fandom since ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, we are now getting spoiled by getting this fantastic novelisation.

Now, as the title of this post states, this is a Spoiler Free review. By that I mean I won’t be spoiling the book, and I will write candidly about the film.

Firstly, Rae Carson has written the perfect novelisation of the film. Not only does she follow the film’s narrative perfectly (with a few scenes moved around but that’s probably down to the final edit of the film) she also dives into the character’s thoughts and feelings giving us readers a chance to better understand motivations and decisions that they make on their journey.

Carson does make some additions to the story, at least one known deleted scene appears in the book, we also get some extra moments with some characters which help to flesh out storylines and also give us some insight. There is one moment in particular that is so powerfully written that it makes a brilliant moment in the film even better, and I won’t lie, almost reduced me to a bawling wreck.

Carson shows that she understands the characters and really draws their storylines out more, her handling of Poe is superb, I loved every moment of him in the novel and never once thought he wasn’t being portrayed correctly. In fact I never thought that about any of the characters.

The novel does give us answers to some of the questions that we had after seeing the film, some clarifications in parts which I would have liked to see in the film but got cut either for time or pacing, we get here and for me it enriches the story, much like Jason Fry did for ‘The Last Jedi’ with is novelisation, especially the scene of Luke running to the village on Ahch-To to tell Rey he was going to go with them only on encounter Rey and Kylo doing the hand thing. Thanks to that book, that scene resonates more with me now than before and Carson gives us so much more insight to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ that I can’t wait to rewatch it with all of the extra knowledge gained from this book.

I can’t recommend this book enough, to fans and non-fans of the film. Not only because the added details really do help to answer some of those questions that many of us had after seeing the film, but because Rae Carson has given us a superb novel that works on many levels.

I’ll be doing some more Spoiler-Filled content on the novel in the near future so keep an eye out for that coming up, and I’ll be talking about the novel on the next episode of the ‘Life Debt Podcast’.

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#CollectionCorner – Mandalorian Battle Pack (2020)

When this set was first announced late last year, I, and possibly many others thought this set would have something to do with ‘The Mandalorian’ series. But when the images were first released and I found out my hopes were not quite on the ball, I was not disappointed.

Why?

Because these mini-figs look amazing.

Like all Battle Packs (a phrase that will be often repeated in this post) the box contains two smallish bags and an instruction booklet.

We get four Mandalorian mini-figs in this set, two male and two female (based on the helmet designs), each one has a coloured cape and a stud-shooter blaster.

Each mini-fig has a unique colour scheme which makes each one stand out and they all look great. I especially like the green and blue mini-figs as the colours just pop out at me.

The builds are quite good, firstly we get a Speeder Bike, which at first glance seems to be a Lego creation but it is in fact featured in a few episodes of ‘The Clone Wars’ that focuses on the Mandalorians. It can seat one mini-fig and has two stud launchers, one on either side of the vehicle.

The second part of the set is a gun emplacement that looks like it’s been built in a rocky area. It has a space to place one of the stud-launcher blasters and room for a Mandalorian to operate it.

In terms of Battle Packs I can safely say this has been one of my favourites to get, the mini-figs are fantastic and the vehicle and scenery look great. Definitely one I would recommend getting.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #4 – Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker Funko POP! figure.

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Darth Vader Issue 2 – Dark Heart of the Sith Part 2

Vader remembers back to the Battle of Geonosis, to the moment where Padmé confesses her love to him and the moments in the battle where they fought together whilst he tries to talk to the woman who looks like his dead wife in front of him.

She attacks him and he Force Chokes her but becomes distracted and lets her go. She manages to escape whilst the attack creatures reach Vader who wipes them out.

Vader chases her down and it is revealed that the Padmé lookalike is actually Sabé, Padmé’s former Handmaiden who acted as her double during ‘The Phantom Menace’ and acted as a secret operative for Senator Amidala during ‘Queen’s Shadow’ and beyond.

They talk about how she knew Padmé’s death meant more, she believed that Palpatine had her killed whilst Vader claims he wants for find the ones who hid her before she died.

The two come to an agreement to work together to get the answers they both seek.

This issue was fairly dialogue heavy with bits of action added to break up the chatter, and whilst this isn’t really the medium for lengthy conversations, Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco really keep the story flowing well.

The revelation that the doppelgänger is in fact Sabé wasn’t much of a surprise, but that may be because I have read ‘Queen’s Shadow’ and know the nature of their relationship after Padmé becomes the Naboo Senator. It’s really interesting to see all of the little details that Vader’s forensics Droid points out about Sabé that gave her away, to the Droid. Even Vader was convinced it was Padmé.

Now that the two of them are working together to discover the secrets behind Padmé’s death, I’m super intrigued to see where this story will go. What will they find out? Other than the Medical Droids on Polis Massa, they won’t be able to find those present, Obi-Wan and Bail Organa are dead, Yoda in hiding and R2 is off with the Rebellion so wherever they end up will give us some interesting new takes on her death.

I’m also interested in seeing how Vader continues to react working with Sabé when she looks almost identical to the woman he has obsessed over for most of his life.

Pak is definitely taking Vader in a great direction and the next issue just can’t come quick enough.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren Issue 4

And with that, the series rights itself.

After last months lacklustre issue, Soule really ties the story together the bring ‘The Rise of Kylo Ren’ to a quick but satisfying conclusion.

Ben uses his Mind Invasion technique to stop Ren and the Knights from murdering innocent beings but they do it anyway. Once they reach their objective, the locals are joined by Voe and Tai.

Ren and the Knights fight Voe whilst Tai battles Ben and tries to bring him back to the Light Side. Ben disarms him but Tainis then killed by Ren who challenges Ben, not believing the former Jedi is actually as great and Dark as Snoke believes him to be.

As they fight, Ben’s fall to the Dark Side is felt across the Galaxy, Leia, Rey, Snoke and evening Palpatine feel his growing Darkness.

Ben kills Ren before using Ren’s lightsaber to kill Voe. The rest of the Knights bow to Ben. They leave on the Night Buzzard where Ben attempts to bleed his Kyber Crystal. Something goes wrong and he breaks it in two.

He places them in his lightsaber but the energy is too powerful so he modifies the hilt, making it into the cross guard lightsaber we all know and he is asked for his name.

The focus of the issue is really the final leg of Ben’s fall which is the fight with Ren. It’s in that sequence we get to see so much, Leia sensing his turn whilst Snoke pushes him, egging him on. Rey sensing a cold feeling on Jakku, probably her first real feeling of the Force, showing the Dyad connection between her and Ben, and finally, the true power behind Ben’s turn, Palpatine on Exogol.

Seeing the Knights in action was cool, despite being brief, but we get to see how they operate more, brutal killers who are more effective against the weak and unarmed, but when facing a trained foe they are pretty useless, getting beaten by Voe, who Ren describes as nothing more than a child. I think it’s safe to describe them as nothing more than the Star Wars equivalent of a Biker Gang, which may sound like an insult but I don’t mean it that way at all.

Ben’s fight with Kai also reveals that Ben has felt the pull to both sides since he was a child and he feels that the Dark is his only choice after what happened at Luke’s Academy, despite his friends attempts to bring him home. It’s sad to see how little Ben thinks of himself, other than a name and part of a legacy that, rather than a sense of pride, he senses pressure to live up to that legacy.

A definite improvement from Issue 3,!but still not on par with the first two issues. It’s a satisfying conclusion but the wrap-up at the end where he forged his weapon feels rushed. I would have liked to have seen him forge the mask as well, perhaps a fifth issue would have been beneficial, unless Soule has something planned, a sequel series perhaps?

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Some Housekeeping

As you may know, the Life Debt Podcast is approaching it’s 100th Episode (YAY)!

However, Episode 100 will be the final episode of the Podcast for a while as I take a break. I have been disappointed with the Podcast recently, I’ve been getting frustrated with the not-so-great quality and now the news is starting to dry up I feel that now is a good enough time to sit back, take a break and try to come up with some ideas on how to shake things up and improve the show, so this isn’t the end of the show, just a hiatus.

As you may have noticed, I have recently started posting things on YouTube, this will continue, I will be posting some content that would have previously been on the Podcast, i.e. ‘The Clone Wars’ reactions, so some content will still be available.

I’d like to thank all of the listeners of the Podcast, inparticular the Patreon Members for their support and fear not, the Patreon Content won’t be affected by any of this at all. In fact I have some ideas for new Patreon Content.

Of course, this hiatus will be temporary. I want to be back in full swing by the time Celebration comes around with ‘Season Two’ of the ‘Life Debt Podcast’ so watch this space, and until then, who knows, there could be some content hitting the feed in the meantime.

And please, if you are reading this, then send in an E-Mail/Voicemail to lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com to be a part of Episode 100, ‘The Season Finale’.

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Funko Pop! Vinyl Review #3 – SWCO Exclusive Grand Admiral Thrawn (Video)

Formerly a Patreon Exclusive Video, its now out for general release.

This episode I take a look at the SWCO Exclusive Grand Admiral Thrawn Funko POP! figure.

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