‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 13

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

Another day, another mini-Build and today’s is…

The Imperial Troop Transport.

This vehicle was originally designed by staff at Kenner Toys to help flesh out their toy line in the late 70’s and it finally made its way on screen in Season One of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’.

Lego released a Battle Pack of this vehicle a long with four Stormtroopers in 2015 and this is the first time it has appeared in an Advent Calendar.

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How I’ve Ruined The First Episode IX Trailer For Myself.

I was listening to some Star Wars Podcasts and they were talking about the rumoured Episode IX teaser we may be getting this month and my head went on a bit of a roller coaster of ‘What If’, and honestly I gave myself chills!

Imagine, it would be much like the 2014 ‘Force Awakens’ teaser we got with Snoke’s voice-over with various clips and finishing with The Falcon flying overhead, think that kind of length and style.

We get shots of Rey and Rose doing their thing. Finn, Poe and Chewie on the Grassland planet with Horses. Kyle’s new mask. Maybe Hux looking annoyed, all with this voice over, re-recorded lines from ‘Empire Strikes Back’.

Vader: Luke

Luke: Father

Anakin: Son, come with me.

We then get a shot of Force Ghost Luke in Force Ghost limbo and a hand rests on his shoulder revealing Force Ghost Anakin.

Luke opens his eyes and Anakin fades.

Luke: Ben, why didn’t you tell me?

Title Card.

It’s more the thought of using that dialogue with a a new context, maybe we find out Force Ghost Anakin has tried to contact Ben in the past before he turned on Luke and never told his Master.

So, yeah, thought I would just throw that out there.

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‘Tis The Season to Build Lego – Day 12

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And today’s big reveal is…

Anakin’s Jedi Starfighter from The Clone Wars!

This is fantastically recognisable, right down the the 1×1 round white brick that represents R2-D2.

As a mini-Build version of THIS SET HERE it looks great and seeing as we are getting new Clone Wars next year it feels very fitting to get some Clone Wars appreciation in this Advent Calendar. I have always been a fan of these Starfighters from their initial release in 2002 with ‘Attack of the Clones’. I just wish that we could get a new Obi-Wan version without a Hyperdrive ring.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XXVII – Where The Best Laid Plans Do Go Wrong

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I try to talk my way through the last three episodes of Star Wars: Resistance as I deal with the aftermath of a cold and can barely string a sentence together.

Don’t forget you can purchase The Life Debt Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) from http://mystarwarslifedebt.bandcamp.com

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

And if you are a member of Anchor.fm you can leave a voice message for the podcast. Just search for My Star Wars Life Debt and click the ‘Leave Message’ button.

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page HERE.

‘Tis The Season to Build Lego – Day 11

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And today’s big reveal is…

Rowan Freemaker from Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.

As I stated in Day 3 of the Advent Calendar posts, when we got The Arrowhead, I’m not very well versed in the Freemaker Adventures. I have only seen a handful of episodes so far but from what I do know, Rowan is the Force Sensitive member of the Freemaker family and his main Force ability is to build things using the Force.

I really like the detail on his torso and the hair piece looks great and different from other, more typical hair pieces.

Whilst it’s not enough to get me to want to rush out and buy up a bunch of the ‘Freemaker Adventure’ Lego sets, it’s great fun to get a character from a different part of the Star Wars franchise.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Mission 5: Outcasts

As I have recently gotten back into gaming after getting a new XBox One S this past week I’ve gone and gotten back into Battlefront 2 in a big bad way.

There will be spoilers for the game so be warned if you haven’t played it yet.

The result of this is I will now do some writing about each of the levels as I make my way through the game. This time I will go through Mission 5 – Outcasts

The Premise – In the opening of this episode of The West Wing… wait, sorry, I got confused with the walking and talking aspect of the level. Del and Iden have decided to surrender to the New Republic forces and after being interrogated, General Lando Calrissian meets with you to offer two X-Wings to just fly away and not be bothered by either side again but that all changes when a distress signal comes from Naboo. Operation Cinder has arrived.

Iden and Del join the fight with Shriv as Danger Squadron to help the three N1 Starfighters against the Star Destroyer and the Operation Cinder satellites.

Danger Squadron destroy the satellites and the provide cover for the Y-Wings as they take out the Star Destroyer’s shields, giving the New Republic Capital Ship the opening it needs to destroy the Imperial Vessel.

The Gameplay – This is your first mission flying an X-Wing. Whilst the controls are the same when flying any of the ships they all feel different, which is a testament to the game developers and their attention to detail. The mission does start with another slow walk and talk dialogue sequence where you walk through the Capital Ship. It’s tedious but if you want you can have a look at the design of the ships interior.

Easter Eggs – The whole mission is one long Easter Egg and it’s great. When you arrive at Naboo you are right in the middle of the third issue of ‘Shattered Empire’ the three N1 Starfighters are being piloted by Princess Leia, Shara Bey (lead character in the mini-series and Poe Dameron’s mum) and Naboo’s Queen Soruna. Dialogue between Leia and Lando is lifted from the comic. The mission expands on the battle slightly but it doesn’t effect the overall story being told.

This mission is a prime example of the Star Wars Story Group doing what they do best, making everything fit together to make the whole of the Star Wars Universe timeline come together neatly.

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‘Tis The Season to Build Lego – Day 10

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

Drumroll please… today’s little gift is…

A Blaster Turret. It moves up and down and fires the transparent red stud.

It’s a Blaster Turret.

Yeah…

So let’s see what tomorrow brings shall we?

It does look cool though, with the piece on the side that looks like a sight.

The handles are too wide for a mini-fig to hold.

OK, I’ll admit, I’m a bit underwhelmed with today’s offering. Roll on tomorrow.

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#Collection Corner – Rebels Pop! Vinyl Ghost Crew

When it was announced that we would be getting Star Wars: Rebels Pop! Vinyl figures I was ecstatic. I wouldn’t say I was a Rebels fan from day one but once I finally started watching it around the time Season One finished I was hooked.

It was one of the few times I ever pre-ordered a set all in one go but I had to make sure I got them all (like Pokemon). I had them shipped to my work and I think that was the happiest I had looked in the office in a long time. Of course, as soon as I got them home they came out of the box and got put on the shelves.

Kanan Jarrus has his Season 1 and 2 look, with goatee and cool armour on his arm. I would like to see a Season 3 or 4 look with the full beard and mask. The lightsaber hilt is perfectly detailed as well as his shoulder plate.

They have used a variation of the usual hero pose that we got with the early Pop! figures.

The Hera figure is incredibly detailed, the outfit looks great and the colour around her eyes really adds depth to the paint job. My only complaint is that the figure is too top heavy. I used to display my Pop! figures without the bases to maximise space but when I got this one out of the box and it couldn’t stand up so I had to rearrange the collection.

Ezra is in an action pose, wielding his lightsaber and using the force. He is, like Kanan, in his Season 1 and 2 outfit. The details on which look great, with all of the details visible on all the different parts of the costume. The lightsaber looks really good. The only problem I can see is the way the legs/ankles are posed, to me the stance looks a bit off.

Call me a fake fan if you like but I can’t tell if this Sabine outfit is from Season 1 or 2. Oops. But the detail looks great, the colour on her armour and hair looks great, the hair especially is so vivid and stands out on my shelf. Her pose is very character accurate and the blasters look great. Again though, the pose doesn’t lend itself to being displayed without the base.

I have to say that out of the whole Ghost Crew Pop! collection, this is the most disappointing. I’m really not so keen on the face sculpt, I know it’s been Funko-fied but it doesn’t ring home for me. The rest of the figure looks great with all of the detail and colour.

Chopper! I have a Dave Filoni Pop! Vinyl!!! This figure is so detailed it’s amazing. Every bit of it looks brilliant and it’s become a favourite of my 19 month old daughter. Almost every night she has to hug and kiss a handful of my Pop! figures and Chopper is one of the usual suspects.

Like I said, I was excited for this set and even though I’m not keen on the Zeb sculpt I love having the whole crew together. They really show off the exceptional level of detail Funko give their figures which makes them a pleasure to collect.

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‘Tis the Season to Build Lego – Day 9

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

Drumroll please… today’s little gift is…

A fantastic representation of General Grievous’s Starfighter. This was seen in ‘The Clone Wars’ and in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and it’s the ship that Obi-Wan used to escape Kashyyyk after Order 66.

It looks great and is, like most of these mini-sets, very accurate for its size. It is the second time this has been featured in an Advent Calendar, the last time was 2012 and it has been seriously improved since then.

Very pleased with this one, been on a bit of a Prequel-Era roll the last few days. I wonder what we will get next.

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

If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page here.

If you would like to hear the ‘Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) please visit the Bandcamp Page HERE.

‘Tis the Season to Build Lego – Day 8

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And on the eighth day of Christmas, Lego gave to me…

A Prequel-Era B1 Battle Droid with Blaster.

Back when The Phantom Menace came out I got a few of these, and I had a couple of complaints. The blasters were held sideways and the blasters just looked awful. They were black megaphones with a red stud at the front. The second complaint was they weren’t sturdy at all, the connections got loose very quickly and soon the mini-figs were bent double or their heads were flopping down, and they could barely keep the blaster up.

This new one however seems a lot sturdier, the mini-fig itself looks very similar to the 1999 design with the exception of the blast hand being moulded to hold the blaster correctly. And the blaster, whilst being generic, looks good with this figure.

It’s nice to be getting more Prequel-Era stuff from this Advent Calendar and I’m being tempted to pick up some Prequel-Era sets in the future. Beside that, I’m looking forward to what’s behind Door Number 9 tomorrow…

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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‘Tis the Season to Build Lego – Day 7

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And today’s buildable bundle of joy is…

The N1 Starfighter from ‘The Phantom Menace’. More Prequel love! This makes me happy.

This mini-build has been in a previous Advent Calendar back in 2012 with no changes to its design, which is a credit to the original designer, especially since there have been five different versions between 1999 and 2015. Not as many as the X-Wing or TIE Fighter but still considerable.

A solid little build and again instantly recognisable which is good, maybe because of the colours used but the ship itself is well known.

Check back tomorrow to find out what lies behind Door Number 8.

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews -The Clone Wars: Season 2 Disc 1 Part 2

Rather than write about The Clone Wars episodes individually or by story-arc, I have decided to review it by disc as they are in the Blu-Ray Box Set releases.

In this post the episodes I will be talking about are Senate Spy, Landing at Point Rain, Weapons Factory, Legacy of Terror and Brain Invaders.

Senate Spy puts Padme and Anakin’s relationship in the forefront of the episode. Padme is asked by the Jedi Council to spy on the representative of the Banking Clan, Rush Clovis, whom is suspected to be working with the Separatists. Anakin finds out that she was asked because of her and Clovis having a previous relationship. She begins to ‘rekindle’ their romance and joins Clovis on a trip to Cato Nemoidia where Clovis is meeting with the Nemoidian Senator Lott Dodd (secretly a meeting of the Separatist Leaders). Anakin disguises himself as Padme’s pilot to protect her. Padme is poisoned after Lott Dodd is displeased of her being around, but she is able to steal Separatist secrets and get them to Anakin before fainting due to the poison. Clovis tries to blackmail Dodd to get her the antidote and resorts to threatening his life, they get the antidote and Anakin is allowed to take Padme from Cato Nemoidia for medical attention.

After the Holocron story arc this episode is a bit of a slump in terms of story quality but it gives more insight to the relationship between Anakin and Padme. Padme becomes jealous when Anakin is called away to the Jedi Council, even though she understands that duty sometimes has to come first, no matter what, which she comes to realise during her mission. I do like that we get to see Padme getting more screen time. She was sorely underused in Revenge of the Sith once the Rebellion storyline was cut from the film but episodes like this and last seasons Blue Shadow Virus arc really gives us the opportunity to get more insight into her character and some history of what she was doing between Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. I also love that she is becoming a go-to spy for the Jedi Council, putting them at odds with Anakin.

Landing at Point Rain takes us back to Geonosis where Poggle the Lesser has restarted production on the Separatist Battle Droids and its up to a Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi Mundi to lead an invasion to shut down production once and for all.

The Jedi make a plan to land forces at three points and meet near the Droid Factory which is under a heavy duty shield.

Once the drop ships are launched they fall under attack from all fronts and are overwhelmed and the Gunships are either destroyed, crash land or are forced to land, leaving the Republic Army far from their target.

Obi-Wan is injured, and their forces severely depleted, all requests for reinforcements are denied until they are close enough to the target.

Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex and their team come across a large fortification and after a few losses they are able to infiltrate and destroy it before making it to Obi-Wan’s position and the Republic fighters are able to break through and give air support.

Ki-Adi Mundi’s team have to make their way through dark tunnels full of Geonosian soldiers, it takes time but they make it.

This is a tense episode. There are real stakes with the Republic forces being completely overwhelmed by the Geonosians. The one thing that would have made it that bit more tense is that rather than Ki-Adi Mundi, another known Jedi who we don’t see in Revenge of the Sith could have been used to up the stakes for the audience.

Weapons Factory continues the Geonosis story arc, whilst briefing the Troopers, Ahsoka is constantly interrupted by Anakin who thinks he his helping, leading them to argue. The argument is witnessed by Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her Padawan Bariss Offee who have a much more ‘traditional’ Master/Apprentice relationship. They plan a coordinated attack where Anakin and Luminara will divert the Droid Armies attention whilst Ahsoka and Bariss sneak through the catacombs beneath the Droid Factory and destroy it from the inside.

Bariss leads Ahsoka through the catacombs and into the power chamber for the Droid Factory as Anakin, Luminara and the Clones take on the Droids. The Separatists unleash their new ‘Heavy Tanks’ which are impervious to blaster-fire. Anakin and Luminara decide to blow up the bridge that the tanks have stopped on, between their position and the Factory.

Inside, Ahsoka and Bariss have set bombs around the power core but a Geonosian spots the and informs Poggle the Lesser who leads a battalion of Droids and a Heavy Tank into the chamber and getting rid of the explosives. Poggle leaves and their Padawans battle the Droids and commandeer the Tank. They use the tank to destroy the power core which causes the factory to fall apart but also traps Ahsoka and Bariss in the tank under the rubble, injured and with limited air.

Anakin and Luminara search for their apprentices and they finally get a breakthrough when Ahsoka uses Star Wars Morse Code to give their location. Luminara and Anakin raise the rubble allowing Ahsoka and Bariss to get free.

This, for me is the last good episode of the Geonosis storylines in this season. It really develops the relationship between Anakin and Ashoka and his growing trust and confidence in her skills as a leader and a Jedi.

It’s also interesting to see the difference in the teaching methods and relationship between a more conventional Jedi Master and their apprentice in Luminara and Bariss than that of Anakin and Ahsoka, and we come to understand that Anakin’s training was vastly different under Obi-Wan, probably because of Anakin’s advanced age when joining the Jedi Order. Anakin’s inability to let go of someone he cares about is highlighted when he refuses to leave the area until Ahsoka is found, even if it compromises their mission or the safety of his troops.

And then we get to the final two episodes on the disc. I’ll be honest they are not my favourites by far. In ‘Legacy of Terror’ Poggle the Lesser is still on the run and a sandstorm arrives. Luminara takes her Clone Commander into the sandstorm on Speeder Bikes. They reach a Genosian hive and whilst communicating with Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi Mundi Luminara is attacked.

When the storm passes Anakin and Obi-Wan arrive with Rex, Cody and some troopers and search for Master Luminara. They are attacked by Zombie Geonosians. Yes, you read that right. Zombie Geonosians. They can’t be stopped by blasters. They only stop when cut down by lightsabers. Zombie Geonosians.

After escaping the first hoard they manage to locate Luminara, Poggle the Lesser, more Zombies and a Geonosian Queen. The Queen wants to infect Luminara with a brain worm (the cause of the Zombification). Obi-Wan want to study it, Anakin wants to fight and escape. They fight and escape, Obi-Wan tries to take a worm but Anakin kills it. They capture Poggle the Lesser and destroy the Queen’s underground chamber and presumably the Queen as well.

Fricking Zombie Geonosians!!!

‘Brain Invaders’ follows on directly, Mace Windu needs supplies and Anakin offers that Ahsoka and Bariss take a medical ship to meet Kit Fiston to pick up the supplies and then meet Mace Windu whilst Anakin, Obi-Wan, Luminara and Ki-Adi Mundi take Poggle the Lesser to Coruscant.

Before leaving with Ahsoka and Bariss, a Clone Trooper is infected by a surviving brain worm.

You see where this is going right?

Brain worms take over the Clones and eventually Bariss whilst Ahsoka hides and survives. Yeah… big shock.

Anakin tries to find out how to stop the worms and interrogates Poggle who is defiant until Anakin unleashes his darker tendencies and starts to force choke the Geonosian Leader. He finds out that the worms can stand the cold.

Ahsoka turns on the air conditioner and sets it to sub-zero whilst the ship is about to dock with the supply station. Zombie Bariss attack’s her as it gets colder and colder.

The ship docks, Master Fisto boards the ship rescuing the crew, the worms are dead and the supply mission is a success.

Fricking Zombie Worms!

Now, there are some really good parts to these episodes and I understand what Lucas and Filoni had in mind, wanting to introduce different genres into the franchise, so my disliking of this storyline is purely because it just isn’t my cup of tea. Everything in ‘Legacy of Terror’ up until the brain worms is good. I like the idea behind the brain worms and the hive mind but the whole Zombie aspect just doesn’t play well with me. Even then it gives us some fun moments with Obi-Wan and Anakin as they try to decide where the brain worm enters the host as Poggle approaches Luminara with a freshy hatched Zombie maker.

However, ‘Brain Invaders’, for me at least, has one good moment, when Anakin interrogates Poggle using force choke. It’s really just one of those small moments which we get through The Clone Wars that just shows Anakin’s turn is gradual and not just Palpatine’s machinations in ‘Revenge of the Sith’. Aside from that I can take-or-leave this episode.

A mixed bag of episodes that round out the second half of the first disc of this season but in all my years of watching TV I don’t think I have seen one season of 22 episodes where they have all been fantastic, and as I have said the qualms aren’t about the quality of those episodes but really just my own preferences.

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‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 6

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And today’s mini bundle of buildable joy is…

A mini-Cloud City with Cloud Car.

What’s great about this build it that it’s instantly recognisable and, despite the major scale differences between the Cloud Car and Cloud City itself the set looks really, really good.

What I am loving about these mini-builds is that the designers have used parts you’d never have thought of putting together and made some great mini Star Wars sets.

The Cloud Car looks great and it’s built out of three parts, two of which are clear 1×1 studs that act as windows.

And now I want the ‘Betrayal at Cloud City’ set even more now… so help me out by visiting Patreon or Bandcamp using the links below.

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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

If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page here.

If you would like to hear the ‘Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) please visit the Bandcamp Page HERE.

‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 5

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And today’s mystery build is…

The Droid Bounty Hunter IG-88 from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ who featured in the infamous scene where Vader sends the Bounty Hunters after the Millennium Falcon.

IG-88 was last featured in the 2017 set ‘Bounty Hunters Battle Pack’ the only difference between the two mini-figs is that the Advent Calendar figure features a standard model blaster where the Battle Pack version has a Stud Launcher blaster.

I do like the buildable Droid mini-figs. The first I ever encountered was in 1999, the Pit Droid that came in the ‘Anakin’s Podracer’ set from the first wave of sets from The Phantom Menace.

Will tomorrow bring us another mini-fig or a mini-build. Either way I can’t wait to find out.

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If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page here.

If you would like to hear the ‘Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) please visit the Bandcamp Page HERE.

Life Debt Podcast Episode XXVI – Where All Good Plans Go Wrong… Sort Of.

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I talk my way through an hour and fifty minutes of The Last Jedi but only recorded an hour (oops). The second part of the Commentary will be available in next weeks episode (I promise). Don’t forget you can purchase The Life Debt Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) from http://mystarwarslifedebt.bandcamp.com

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

And if you are a member of Anchor.fm you can leave a voice message for the podcast. Just search for My Star Wars Life Debt and click the ‘Leave Message’ button.

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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

If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page HERE.

‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 4

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

And behind door number four…

Finally some Prequel Era love with the Republic Fighter Tank. This is a mini-version of a set that was released in 2017 and included the recent Aayla Secura mini-fig.

It wasn’t a set I was vastly interested in, there were other sets I was after in the same price range and then more sets came out so it got pushed further and further down my list.

That being said I may have to pick it up soon seeing as it is being retired next year.

Anyway, this mini-version looks really good and is instantly recognisable and makes great use of its limited size and parts to still have some good details.

Now we’ve had some love for all era’s of Star Wars I wonder who or what we will be getting next. Check back tomorrow to find out.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Mission 4: The Storm

As I have recently gotten back into gaming after getting a new XBox One S this past week I’ve gone and gotten back into Battlefront 2 in a big bad way.

There will be spoilers for the game so be warned if you haven’t played it yet.

The result of this is I will now do some writing about each of the levels as I make my way through the game. This time I will go through Mission 4 – The Storm.

The Premise – Inferno Squad have been sent to Iden’s homeworld of Vardos to extract Protectorate Gleb, who taught both Iden and Hask in their youth.

When they arrive at Vardos they find ‘The Dauntless’ and the Operation Cinder satellites. Iden goes to her father who orders that Operation Cinder start and orders Iden to do her mission.

On Vardos, Iden, Del and Hask go to the Archive all the whole discussing the effect of Operation Cinder whilst watching Stormtroopers round up civilians.

When they reach Gleb the team falls apart. Iden and Del want to save as many as possible, Hask is determined to follow the Admiral’s orders and extract only Gleb. Iden shoots Hask in the leg and free the rest of the survivors, leaving Hask and Gleb.

Del and Iden encounter Imperials in their way back to the Corvus, having to fight their way through the Imperial soldiers, eventually hijacking an AT-AT.

After a last stand at the landing platform, Iden, Del, the survivors and the crew of the Corvus escape.

Agent Hask extracts Gleb and the Admiral promotes him to Commander, Iden’s former rank.

Gameplay – The opening part of the mission is slow paced to allow for the exposition as you walk through the streets on Vardos towards the Archive where you meet Gleb and all in a third-person view. After the cutscene you can return to playing in first-person if you want.

Later in the level you are able to control the cannons on the AT-AT which is true to the films and moves slowly but has tremendous firepower. Once in the vehicle you are nigh indestructible and can happily blow Stormtroopers, AT-ST’s, AA Canons and even another AT-AT to kingdom come. Which is fun and oddly cathartic.

Easter Eggs – Again we witness Operation Cinder from the ‘Shattered Empire’ comics. The character of Protectorate Gleb was featured in the tie-in novel ‘Star Wars: Battlefront – Inferno Squadron.

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‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 3

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

Today’s buildable treat was…

The Arrowhead Starship from ‘Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures’.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I have very little knowledge about this series. I have seen a handful from Season 1 and one episode of Season 2, which ironically was the episode where the lead character (Rowan) visits a lost Jedi city and has a vision of the ‘Arrowhead’ which at some point he has to build before the Emperor can get his hands on it. I may be wrong but those are my impressions.

At some point I will get around to watching the series and doing some posts about them, like the current Clone Wars reviews I am doing.

But yet again no Prequel Love, seeing as Freemakers is set between Empire and Jedi. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Mission 3: The Observatory

As I have recently gotten back into gaming after getting a new XBox One S this past week I’ve gone and gotten back into Battlefront 2 in a big bad way.

There will be spoilers for the game so be warned if you haven’t played it yet.

The result of this is I will now do some writing about each of the levels as I make my way through the game. This time I will go through Mission 3 – The Observatory.

The Premise – Del is sent to Pilio, where a building called ‘The Observatory’ that had some importance to The Emperor is locates. Del’s mission is to destroy it.

On Pilio, a familiar R2 unit watches as the Empire arrives on the planet, a few beeps and boils and Luke Skywalker steps forward.

From here you play as Luke Skywalker, making his way across the planet, taking out Stormtroopers using your lightsaber and force abilities until you come across Del who is encased in some weird bug slime that hardens like concrete.

Once Del is free the two work together to reach the Observatory, at time when Del is working on some mechanical doohickey it’s your job as Luke to protect him from the onslaught of bugs that attack.

Once in the Observatory, Del realised that, after the door can only be opened using the Force that the Emperor was in fact a Force user and before he blows the place up according to his orders, Luke asks if he can take a compass he has been drawn to by the Force. Del allows it and they go their separate ways.

The Gameplay – To allow the player to fully enjoy playing as a hero character the vantage point is set as 3rd person, like when using heroes in the multiplayer levels. Aside from that the gameplay is the same as the rest of the levels.

Easter Eggs – This mission has a lot of them which is great fun. Firstly, this is set around the time of the Shattered Empire mini-series which has Luke travelling to various Imperial installations looking for Jedi Artefacts, the compass he picks up in this level is later shown in The Last Jedi in Luke’s hut on Ahch-To.

The bugs you encounter are very similar, if not the same as the ones that Thrawn and Vader encounter on Battu in ‘Thrawn Alliances’ which manage to slow Vader down during a fight in a bar.

Del also talks about that as a youngster the Imperials taught children that the Jedi were evil and is shocked to learn that Palpatine was in fact a Force user.

It’s a fun level, running around killing stuff with a Lightsaber and full of stuff for fans but I have issues. I’m not a fan of the Luke model and the voice actor could do a better job. I would have liked to get Mark Hamill back for it. He voiced an episode of Forces of Destiny, couldn’t he have done this too?

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‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 2

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

Today’s buildable treat was…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mini-fig, Rose Tico.

This is the second time this Rose mini-fig has been released, the first was last years The Last Jedi set ‘Resistance Transport Pod’ which was part of the first wave released on last years Force Friday.

It’s a good mini-fig, the details on her overalls are good, with lots of pouches on her belt and a custom hair-piece rounds off the look with a nicely accurate mini-fig. She even comes with a blaster and reversible head with alternate expression.

So far we have had both the Original Trilogy and Sequel Trilogies be represented with this years Advent Calendar, will tomorrow bring us some Prequel Trilogy love? Check back tomorrow to find out.

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If you would like to hear the ‘Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) please visit the Bandcamp Page HERE.

‘Tis The Season To Build Lego – Day 1

The run-up to Christmas has arrived and with it the all important Advent Calendar.

This year, my Wife, the Saint, the Expert Gifter, the Gift-Giving Goddess has bought me the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and with it she has also given all of you dear readers 24 days of Blog Posts.

Today’s Lego Surprise was…

Luke’s Landspeeder from ‘A New Hope’.

It’s an impressive little build with nice little details using the 1×1 round bricks to add the red tones and the 4×4 round piece to make up the grille at the front.

As the first gift of the month it’s one that all fans will recognise, and I’m especially happy with it because I love the Landspeeder Lego. It’s my third one after the original version in 1999 and then the more recent one from 2017.

Like I said, a great start to the Advent Calendar and I can’t wait to find out what tomorrow brings.

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If you would like to hear the ‘Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) please visit the Bandcamp Page HERE.

#Collection Corner – Cloud Rider Swoop Bikes Lego Review

The Saint has done it again.

My wife was doing an online Tesco shop and asked if I wanted anything. Me being me, I know what Star Wars Lego our local branch has in stock so I casually threw out Yoda’s Hut.

Later on, she turned up at my work and asked me to pick the shopping up after work and hands me her card and said that I could go in and buy the set. I pondered this but then said there was another set I would prefer at the same price on Amazon. I sent her the link and the next day it arrived.

Now, going back a few months I wrote a #SoloSunday post about potential Lego sets that I would have liked to see (HERE) which I got mostly spot on, one of those sets was essentially this one.

Anyways.

The Cloud-Rider Swoop Bikes set comes with 355 pieces, which isn’t bad for a £25.99 price. Granted most of them are small pieces but we are also getting some very customised pieces for the mini-figures so the price, in my opinion, is justified.

Inside the box is three bags of pieces, two instruction booklets and a sheet of 14 stickers.

The first instruction booklet is Weazel’s Swoop which is split into two bags. The second booklet covers Bag 3 which is Enfys Nest’s Swoop.

Bag 1 contains the Weazel mini-fig, his Swoop Bike and a Coaxium container. Having built a couple of Speeder Bike sets this one was quite refreshing to have such great detail and interesting building techniques. The engine at the back looks amazing and it’s such a simple idea but done in a new and visually stunning way. And for a Swoop bike the size is pretty good, it’s quite long which makes it very screen accurate.

The Weazel mini-fig looks great. The helmet design is spot on and very well detailed. The head inside is solid black which gives the visor some depth. He comes with a large blaster which was previously used for the Shoretrooper figures with the Rogue One sets and it nicely attaches to the side of his Swoop so it’s not loose during play. The figure has the short ‘child’ legs which fit the character because he was played by Warwick Davies.

Bag 2 consists of the ‘side car’ to Weazel’s Swoop which come with some man looking blasters. I happened to be watching ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ as I built this and did notice this during the Conveyex heist scene, it’s the Swoop that goes under the AT-Hauler, allowing the passenger to get on the ship and attacks Rio (may he rest in peace).

When connected to the Swoop Bike it makes it look incredibly intimidating as a vehicle, forget Moloch’s Speeder, I wouldn’t want to get chased by this.

Bag 2 also gives us the second Tobias Beckett mini-fig, this time in his usual outfit and two blasters. My favourite part of this figure has got to be the hair-piece. That looks so spot on to the characters hair from the film.

Bag 3 gives us the icing on the cake, Enfys Nest’s Swoop, again it is incredibly detailed and well put together, but the biggest draw for this Bag, or even the whole set is the Enfys Nest mini-fig.

The mini-fig is, yet again, brilliantly detailed. The head under the mask is a solid black head which is my biggest gripe, I would have liked to see the characters face under there with a separate hair piece like the Kylo Ren mini-fig from the Maz’s Castle set. Her weapon is nicely put together using pre-existing weapons from other collections but it looks pretty accurate.

Enfys’s mask is glorious. The little details like the Aurabesh poem and ridges on the crest make it stand out. The mask is made of softer material, most likely to avoid people stabbing themselves on it.

Overall, this is a great little set with interesting builds and fantastic mini-figs and I’m really pleased I got it. I’m usually opposed to buying the £25(ish) sets because they can be quite hit-or-miss in terms of piece content or size but this time around I’m more than happy that I payed full price. Like I mentioned earlier, I wish we got Enfys Nest’s unmasked face as well but hey, maybe in another wave.

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The Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan)

Today’s the day ladies and gents.

The bonus episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now available to the public.

Listen as I watch and comment on the Star Wars Holiday Special and try to comprehend what I am seeing.

All you have to do is visit the BANDCAMP page and for the low price of £3 / $3.85 you can listen to my pain.

If this is successful then I will produce more bonus content.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XXV – The Quarter Century Celebration

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I talk about my thoughts on the future of The Clone Wars after Season 7. I discuss Resistance Episode 7 ‘Synara’s Score’. I go back to the Collection Corner with an overpriced book and I reveal a clip of the Life Debt Holiday Special (aka The Breaking of a Fan) available from http://mystarwarslifedebt.bandcamp.com on Friday 30th November.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

And if you are a member of Anchor.fm you can leave a voice message for the podcast. Just search for My Star Wars Life Debt and click the ‘Leave Message’ button.

Thank you for visiting My Star Wars Life Debt.

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

If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of the blog please visit the Patreon page HERE.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Mission 2: The Dauntless

As I have recently gotten back into gaming after getting a new XBox One S this past week I’ve gone and gotten back into Battlefront 2 in a big bad way.

There will be spoilers for the game so be warned if you haven’t played it yet.

The result of this is I will now do some writing about each of the levels as I make my way through the game. This time I will go through Mission 2 – The Dauntless.

The Premise – Your mission is to protect the Fondor Shipyards where the Star Destroyer ‘The Dauntless’ is docked. The Dauntless is integral to Operation Conder, a contingency plan the Emperor has put in place in the event of his death, but the Shipyards have been targeted by the New Republic.

Iden and Hask take TIE Fighters and engage the Republic forces before Iden manages to board the Mon Calamari Capital Ship and makes her way through to the Ion Cannon control room where she is joined by Hask and they hold of Republic troops whilst the Droid slices the controls and ejects the canons power cores which Iden and Hask destroy.

Once they have sabotaged the Ion Canons they escape the ship and The Dauntless escapes into hyperspace and with it the satellites for Operation Cinder.

The Gameplay – Much like the previous levels really, it alternates between piloting a fighter and ground combat and we don’t have much difference in gameplay at this point other than when controlling the Hero characters (Luke, Leia, Han and Lando).

Easter Eggs – Operation Cinder is the biggest Easter Egg in the Mission, it is one of the Emperor’s contingency plans that was introduced in the Shattered Empire comic series by Greg Rucka and will feature heavily in a few more levels.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews -The Clone Wars: Season 2 Disc 1 Part 1

Rather than write about The Clone Wars episodes individually or by story-arc, I have decided to review it by disc as they are in the Blu-Ray Box Set releases.

In this post the episodes I will be talking about are Holocron Heist, Cargo of Doom and Children of the Force

The first three episodes make up the first arc of the second season.In Holocron Heist Ahsoka is made to work in the Jedi Temple library as a security office after disobeying both Anakin and Obi-Wan during a battle on Felicia, endangering her life and the lives of her soldiers. Meanwhile Darth Sidious hires Cad Bane (YAY!!!) to break into the Jedi Temple and steal a Jedi Holocron. Bane hires another bounty hunter, a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a Jedi who infiltrates the Temple and give Bane the directions he needs to get himself and his droid TODO into the ventilation shaft. Yoda senses the intruders and sends Obi-Wan and Anakin after them. From there it becomes a game of cat and mouse. Ahsoka discovers the shapeshifter after she disguises herself as Madame Jocasta Nu. Cad Bane escapes with a Holocron and his associate names the next target, a Jedi Master with a data crystal that contains the names of the Force Sensitive children across the galaxy.

Cargo of Doom is set not long after, Bane is in control of a Separatist Cruiser after capturing the Jedi Master with the data crystal, with Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan in pursuit in their Republic Venator cruiser. They incapacitate Bane’s ship and, against Admiral Yularin’s advice Anakin comes up with a plan to board the ship. Once on board the game of cat-and-mouse continues. Bane has killed the Jedi Master and and after splitting the heroes up manages to take Ahsoka hostage and threatens to kill her if Anakin doesn’t unlock the Holocron. Anakin relents and gives the bounty hunter what he wants. The ship is starting to break apart and the race to escape begins, with only a handful of clones left, Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan escape the ship just in time, believing that Cad Bane and the Holocron were destroyed in the explosion.

Children of the Force begins immediately after, Anakin and Rex discover alien blood on the shuttle on which they escaped in the previous episode and find out the Cad Bane had stolen a dead Clone’s armour. They realise this too late and Bane escapes in a Republic Fighter. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu and Yoda use the force to determine which of the children are in most danger, a Nautillian child who’s fate is unknown, a Rodian child and a Gungan child are being targeted.

Anakin and Ahsoka go to Naboo whilst Obi-Wan goes to Rodia. Kenobi is too late, Bane has just kidnapped the child. Anakin and Ahsoka are able to save the Gungan child however and capture Bane’s Starfighter and then Bane himself. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Mace Windu interrogate him by relentlessly bombarding him with Jedi Mind Tricks but are only able to determine the location of the stolen Holocron when Bane gives them the location of his own free will.

Anakin and Ahsoka find out that Bane has been taking the children to Mustafar using his Starfighters fuel logs. Bane takes Obi-Wan and Mace to retrieve the Holocron but the Jedi are caught in a trap whilst Anakin and Ahsoka go to Mustafar where Darth Sidious is planning on turning the children into Dark Side spies. The two Jedi rescue the children and the base self-destructs around them. Bane escapes and Sidious’s plot is never fully revealed but the future of the Jedi is safe… for now.

This is a fantastic story arc and an amazingly strong opening for the second season.

It really shows the sinister depths of Sidious’s plot for galactic domination and is touched upon again in Rebels Season Two. It also gives us a great look at Cad Bane’s skills as a bounty hunter and mercenary.

One big thing we can take from this episode is that the way of the Jedi is becoming darker than they would like to admit during the war, the way Obi-Wan, Mace and Anakin essentially torture Cad Bane is disturbing, especially when they are the heroes. And finally, we get to see some tension between Anakin and Yularen, something which will come into play later in the series.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Return of the Jedi

I finally got around to my Return of the Jedi rewatch and I realised how much I had missed this film.

It’s so fun and exciting.

I had to watch it over multiple sessions, most of which between 6.15 – 6.45 AM when I wake up and lay in bed contemplating the day ahead, which is more fun when Star Wars is on, so it took a while.

I don’t fully remember my first time watching the film when I was younger but as a child I remember I enjoyed this one the most for the action. As I got older I moved more to the Empire Strikes Back camp. The one this I do remember about that first viewing was that during the Battle of Endor when the Ewoks are under attack from the AT-ST’s a pair of Ewoks are caught in an explosion. One survives and tries to wake the other up and the cries when they realise the other is dead. That broke me as a kid and I wept. What made it worse was that I thought the dead Ewok was Wicket! I mean dude! Talk about the relief I felt when he came back later on.

Another time I watched it, when I was a bit older, I was watching it in bed and when Vader asks Like to take off his mask I started to well up. Something about it just hit me, Vader had returned to being Anakin Skywalker and he was good and loved his children. Boy did that do a number on me that night.

Return of the Jedi always captured my attention, all of the creatures in Jabba’s Palace just fascinated me and I wanted to know as much about them as possible. When I read ‘The Essential Guide to Characters’ I dove right in to Jabba’s goons. I have no clue why but I really liked Ephant Mon.

I was the right age to enjoy the Ewoks, and still do. In get that the concept of these little Teddy Bear creatures taking down the Empire is far-fetched but come on, it’s Star Wars not real life. Plus the Woklings are adorable.

As a child I was in absolute awe of the whole third act. The ground battle was like nothing I had ever seen before and then the space battle took that awe and ramped it up to 11 and finally the Luke/Vader/Palpatine had me on edge. I was honestly afraid for Luke. Would he turn? Would he die? And in that moment where Vader threatens to turn Leia and Luke gives in to his anger, everything from the choreography of the dual to the music filled me with wonder and dread. Could Luke really turn? But of course hope returns when he throws his weapon down and defies the Emperor.

The story isn’t just about Luke at this point and when Vader saves his son and kills his master you know you can finally relax… for a moment that is because Lando and the Falcon are still in danger.

The great thing about all three parts of the final act is that anything could happen to any of the main characters. It feels like Lando’s death and the destruction of the Falcon is being set up from the scene in the Home One hanger bay between Han and Lando. And in the ground battle Leia and R2 are both shot by Stormtroopers (now those two Stormtroopers deserve medals for actually hitting something). It is only by sheer dumb luck (and Chewie stealing an AT-ST with a couple of Ewoks) that the Rebels got in the Shield Generator Bunker at all.

Of course the film isn’t all action. We get some very important scenes which really showcase the acting talent of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in a way that we don’t really get from the previous two films.

Again Hamill kills it whilst acting with a puppet in the Yoda death scene which confirms Vader’s revelation from Empire Strikes Back which leads to Luke and Obi-Wan talking about Anakin/Vader which also reveals Luke and Leia to be twins. This leads to a beautiful scene between Luke and Leia on Endor which is so touching and heartfelt it really hits you in the feels and gives Carrie Fisher a brilliant moment to shine.

The creature work is amazing too, a massive step up from the already brilliant Cantina scene from A New Hope, this time we get Jabba’s Palace and in it we are introduced to a whole myriad of creatures all are people in outfits or large puppets. Jabba’s himself if an impressive feat of puppetry, with seven people inside to operate him. The Rancor again a puppet, filmed at high speed to simulate a large living monster. And then, to top it off we have Admiral Ackbar and the rest of the Mon Cala race on board Home One and Lando’s co-pilot Nein Numb.

Of course, like A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back we have had a few revisions to the film made by George Lucas through the years. Jedi Rocks, the new music from Jabba’s Palace is a bit much especially with the new CGI version of Sy Snootles the singer, the addition of Joh Yowzah the other singer and a brand new song and dance number… not the best really.

The beak that now comes out of the Sarlaac Pit makes the whole sequence not work, it felt a lot scarier when it was just an open mouth in the desert.

For the Blu-Ray editions Lucas had blinking eyelids added to the Ewoks… utterly pointless.

Lucas had the original final musical number changed from Yub Nub to a much more melodic tune and had scenes of celebration from around the Galaxy added, including Bespin, Tatooine and Coruscant. Naboo was added in the DVD releases in 2004 as was the Senate and Jedi Temple buildings to the Coruscant skyline. This was the one change I could understand, it makes the Rebels victory feel much bigger and shows the Empire’s grip on the Galaxy begin to crumble.

And finally… Hayden Christensen as Force Ghost Anakin. He looks incredibly uncomfortable and out of place, which after a few years of harsh criticism it came to light that there was very little direction given to him for this moment. Should it have been added? I can’t decide. It’s not like Luke would recognise the younger Anakin but at the same time it brings the two trilogies together.

Return of the Jedi beautifully closes the Original Trilogy and leaves enough story untold that we could get new stories in the future, which of course we have many times over with the Expanded Universe/Legends stories, the new Canon novels and of course the Sequel Trilogy.

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#Collection Corner – Lego Anakin’s Starfighter

The Saint Strikes Back!!!

I made a hint at the fact that Amazon.co.uk had some deals on Lego, I put it forward that U was interested in this set and lo-and-behold the following day… ta-daaaa.

Yes my wife got me another set. This time it was Anakin’s Jedi Starfighter from The Clone Wars.

With an RRP of £25.99 we got it on amazon for around £18 (the price has now gone back up to £24).

The set features 247 pieces, an instruction booklet and a sheet of seven stickers.

Bag 1 gives us the Anakin mini-fig and the central core of the ship. It uses a nice mix of light and dark greys and yellow pieces which makes it a fun build with the extra colour. When built the core feels quite long (for a set of this size) which is good.

The Anakin figure is depicted in his Clone Wars outfit and he is wearing a comm-unit on his head which is featured on both sides. The hair piece looks accurate with the characters hair from the series. In the previous version of this set, the Anakin mini-fig looked more cartoony but Lego have decided to avoid that this time around so the mini-fig won’t look out of place in a larger collection.

Bag 2 builds the details for the core, including the slot for R2-D2, the cockpit as well as the rear fin and one of the wings. The details made from smaller bricks really give this set a realistic vibe and a huge improvement on the very first iteration of the Jedi Starfighter Lego from 2002’s Attack of the Clones line of sets.

One thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the printed console for the cockpit, which reminded me of the sets from 1999 which all had printed pieces rather than stickers.

Bag 3 completes the ship with the other wing, engines and R2-D2!!!

The completed set looks great, it’s swooshable, a good size for the price and very screen accurate. A much better looking set than the recent ‘Jedi Starfighter with Hyperspace Ring’ that just really rubs me up the wrong way, but I’ll stop talking about that now.

The engines are nicely detailed with green blocks made to look like the engines are working which I think works really well.

And I absolutely love the fact that the designer gave us somewhere to store the lightsaber.

And of course, R2-D2. The design had changed since first released in 1999 and the recent version (which also came with Yoda’s Starfighter) looks so much better, although now he is a staple on all Lego collectors displays, he’s such a lovable character I say the more the merrier… and the fact that if the Astromech Droids aren’t displayed in the ships they just look wrong.

Definitely a great set and even at the RRP of £25 well worth it, and seeing as ‘The Clone Wars’ is coming back to our screens, this is the herald for a few more TCW themed sets, anyone up for a new version of ‘The Twilight’?

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XXIV – Lego My Reylo

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I talk Mandalorian news, I throw my hat in the ring over #Reylo, I commiserate the upcoming retirement of a lot of Star Wars Lego and I make an announcement.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

And if you are a member of Anchor.fm you can leave a voice message for the podcast. Just search for My Star Wars Life Debt and click the ‘Leave Message’ button.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Mission 1: The Battle of Endor

As I have recently gotten back into gaming after getting a new XBox One S this past week I’ve gone and gotten back into Battlefront 2 in a big bad way.

There will be spoilers for the game so be warned if you haven’t played it yet.

The result of this is I will now do some writing about each of the levels as I make my way through the game. This time I will go through Mission 1 – The Battle of Endor.

The Premise – Above Endor the Executor has crashed into the Death Star. On the planet the mission starts with Inferno Squad in the aftermath of the destruction of the shield generator, picking off the Rebels who are lingering. After confirming that there is no chance of repairing the shields they see the Death Star explode. The team get the order to evacuate the planet and rendezvous with the fleet at Vice-Admiral Sloane’s orders.

Inferno Squad makes their way through the forest and take out Rebel squads, helping their fellow Imperials and heading for Landing Pad 4.

The Landing Pad is overrun by Rebels who have stolen an AT-ST which you have to dispatch using a rocket launcher (sweet). Once on the Pad, more Rebels are in your way. The team leaves via TIE Fighters after clearing the area.

Hask reaches the teams ship, The Corvus first but it’s been damaged so it’s up to you and Del Meeko, after navigating the wreckage from the Death Star’s destruction to protect the ship from an onslaught of X-Wings and Y-Wings as Hask and the crew repair the engines. Once the ship is repaired Iden is called away to Admiral Versio’s Star Destroyer, The Eviscerator to receive new orders for the team.

The Gameplay – Players get to see the fantastic looking environment of the Forest Moon of Endor and it looks great. The main addition to the gameplay is the piloting of the TIE Fighter which is great fun. The controls are easy to get to grips with and once you know what you are doing you can fly through the debris at top speeds, just don’t crash, it’s embarrassing.

Easter Eggs – U-Wings!!! The troop transports from Rogue One make another appearance (after the opening cut-scene from the first Mission). Aside from that there are no real Easter eggs to report, that I have noticed anyway.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Star Wars: Empire’s End (Aftermath Trilogy 3) by Chuck Wendig

The final part of Wendig’s Aftermath Trilogy, Empire’s End builds on everything established in the previous two books.

The characters entire arcs come to very pleasing (to the readers) ends, some which we expect and others we don’t.

Storylines come together, for the main characters and those featured in the Interludes, giving us a greater perspective of life a year after the fall of the Emperor.

This book has a lot, action, drama, politics and enough Easter eggs to make that infernal bunny hang around for months.

The main focus of the book is Jakku and the Imperial occupation of the planet and what the heroes of the trilogy are doing in the time leading to, during and after. The team is split up for the majority of the novel, with Norra, Mister Bones and Jas teamed up on Jakku hunting for Rae Sloane who in turn, with Nora’s husband Brentin, is looking for Gallius Rax so she can murder him and regain control of the remnants of the Empire. Temmin and Sinjir are on their own adventure full of political intrigue and espionage.

We also get arcs featuring OT characters. Han and Leia return and help Sinjir and Temmin uncover a plot within the Senate to not go to Jakku to defeat the Empire. Which ties in to a storyline featuring Mon Mothma. Essentially all of the threads weaved in the past two books all come to fruition here.

After the tram go on a mission to extract information about Sloane from Bounty Hunter Mercurial Swift they head to Jakku only to find it under Imperial occupation. When they are attacked, Temmin evades the Imperial forces as Norra and Jas get into an escape pod and head for the planet. Temmin commands Bones to follow them, and barely in the nick of time Temmin and Sinjir jump into hyperspace, narrowly avoiding destruction.

On Jakku, after a heated argument, Jas and Norra agree to hunt down Sloane. On Chandrilla, Temmin and Sinjir go to Leia and Han for help, who in turn go to Mon Mothma, who is angry that Leia has sanctioned the teams actions without Senate permission but agrees that the New Republic should take on the Empire at Jakku.

On Jakku, Norra and Jas are captured by Stormtroopers whilst Sloane and Brentin are taken by Niima the Hutt and Jas is brought to Niima’s base by Swift and his crew. She escapes by breaking her horns and uses them to break her restraints and then as weapons against Swift before stealing his ship. Mister Bones rescues Norra from an Imperial work camp and they meet up with Jas in her new ship. They make a plan to stop Sloane who is part of Niima’s convoy, heading towards an Imperial base where Rax is located.

Sinjir and Temmin are given permission by Han Solo to take the Falcon to Jakku but they are stopped by Senate security, at the order of Mon Mothma’s political opponent, Tolwar Wortol who announces that Mothma had information on the Empire’s occupation of Jakku and held it back from the Senate. Sinjir smells a rat and goes to his former partner, Condor, a well renowned slicer, to help find out if there are any listening devices at Leia and Han’s apartment. It turns out to be in their Protocol Droid T-2LC.

Temmin, Han, Condor, Sinjir and Jom Burrell go on a mission to spy on a group of Senators who vote against attacking Jakku, after Mon Mothma pleads the case to do so before the Senate, to find out if they are being bribed (they are) whilst Mon Mothma causes a stir with Tolwar Wortol above Nakadia and he admits to manipulating the vote against Mon Mothma and bugging Leia and Han’s apartment. Once back with the Senate Mon Mothma pleads their case again and this time it goes through after the team manage to persuade the bribed Senators to vote to fight and also get rid of the criminals who are bribing them.

The Republic goes to war. Temmin guilts Wedge when he gets back to Coruscant to get Phantom Squadron, the pilots who joined Leia and Ackbar in aiding the liberation of Kashyyyk, back together to go to Jakku, using Wedge’s feelings for Norra to do so. Wedge gets them together, including Temmin who flies under the name ‘Snap’.

On Jakku, Niima’s convoy is obliterated, with the exception of Niima, Sloane and Brentin. Sloane and Brentin are picked up by Rax and taken to the Imperial base to watch the Emperors ‘contingency’ come to fruition. Niima helps Norra by giving her a uniform, access codes and an Imperial Shuttle. Jas stays with Niima and convinces Mercurial Swift’s crew to leave him and join her before killing the bounty hunter.

The Republic Fleet arrives, led by Admiral Ackbar and Commodore Agate and the Battle of Jakku begins. Phantom Squadron arrives and goes to the planet to provide air support for the ground forces. Temmin intercepts an Imperial Shuttle, but a quick thinking Mister Bones contacts his master, as it is the Droid and Norra on the shuttle.

Above the planet, Agate’s ship is damaged severely and as it begins to fall to the planet, the Commodore orders the fighters to attack the Super Star Destroyers engines. They do so and Agate uses her ships tractor beam to drag the Ravager down to the planet.

Norra arrives at the Imperial stronghold, and she finds Sloane and Brentin as they attempt to stop Rax’s plan, the Emperor’s contingency plan, to destroy the Empire and Rebel fleets in the event of his death which Rax alone was tasked to complete. They manage to kill Rax and stop the planets destruction but Brentin is killed.

Before he dies, Rax tell Sloane to take the surviving Imperials on his ship and meet with the remnants of the fleet in the Unknown Regions and gives her the co-ordinates.

On Chandrila, Sinjir goes to Mon Mothma to get permission for himself and Condor to go to Jakku but she forbids it, instead she hires Sinjir as her new advisor. His first task to deliver a message to Wortol. He does and as he leaves the Senator an explosion is heard, the target, Mon Mothma’s office. Luckily she was not in there at the time.

After the battle is won and the team all return to Chandrila we learn that Jom Barell also went to Jakku, on board a U-Wing. A missile was launched to destroy the ship but Jom leaked out of the side into the missiles path, saving all aboard. They gather one last time to celebrate, Norra and Temmin are leaving for the Republic’s new flight academy on Hosnian Prime where Wedge is in charge, Norra will be a teacher and Temmin a student. Jas is going off with her new crew, for whom she managed to get full pardons. Sinjir and Condor are together and enjoying their new lives. All seems to be good as they all say their farewells.

Leia and Han welcome Ben Solo into the Galaxy, Han worries he won’t be able to connect with him as well as Leia who encourages him to pick up his screaming son and hold him. Han does and Ben’s cries stop.

In the Unknown Regions, the Imperialis, piloted by Sloane arrives at the co-ordinates, her passengers, Brendol Hux, his son, Armitage and Rax’s army of Jakku’s children, and ahead of them, the Emporer’s personal Super Star Destroyer, The Eclipse, as well as the final remains of the Empire.

Empire’s End finishes the Aftermath Trilogy perfectly. Us fans had been eagerly awaiting a full account of the Battle of Jakku, we had gotten snippets in ‘Lost Stars’ by Claudia Grey and in one of the bonus maps in Star Wars: Battlefront which showed the Ravager crashing into the planet, but not much else.

Wendig really puts the characters through the ringer, splitting the team up who have worked so well together up until now. We lose two of the team, Jom Barell who went to Jakku to follow Jas and everyone’s favourite murder Droid bites the dust one last time and Temmin mourns him by burying the last piece of the Droid with his father on their home planet Akiva.

This is the best paced of the three novels and the interludes give us more insights to the Galaxy, we get more from Cobb Vanth on Tatooine, the Acolytes of Beyond become a serious threat, Chewbacca is reunited with his son on Kashyyyk and we find out the fate of Jar-Jar Binks in a surprisingly heart breaking scene.

I especially love the political intrigue in this book and having Sinjir becoming Mon Mothma’s adviser is a stroke of genius and I can only hope we get more of Sinjir in future novels, I really found myself rooting for him and Condor as they go from being uncomfortable ex-partners having to work together to Sinjir almost losing the plot when he finds out Condor has been captured by Black Sun, the criminal organisation working with Wortol against the Chancellor.

I really hope Wendig gets the opportunity to write more novels in the Star Wars universe, along with Claudia Grey, he can do no wrong in terms of the books written for the franchise and between them they have written my favourites in the new Canon books.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XXIII – Cassian’s streaming services the Resistance’s Lego addiction and the loss of legends.

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

In this episode I discuss ‘Signal From Sector Six’, add more to the #CollectionCorner, give my two cents on the newly announced Cassian Andor series, go on a tangent about voice actors and mourn the loss of a legend.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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#Collection Corner – The Force Awakens Rey Black Series

As I stated in the #Collection Corner – SWCE Exclusive Unmasked Kylo Ren Black Series post, I don’t collect the ‘Black Series’ due to space and the fact that there are so many now I wouldn’t know where to even start, but I always thought that the Kylo Ren looked a bit lonely on the wall.

A week or so after my daughter was born, my friend Andrew (who guested on THIS Life Debt Podcast Episode) got in touch to tell me he had found a bunch of Black Series figures for £5. I asked which ones and he gave me a list which included Rey… I asked a couple more questions. After some back and forth he picked one up for me. When I finally picked it up… it was sweet.

She is now nicely displayed next to the Kylo box, hung on the wall, still in the box. I’m not a big ‘keep them in the box’ collector but these look pretty nice in their boxes so I don’t feel bad about tearing open the packaging. Plus the ‘Black Series’ is more for display that playing, in my opinion and the boxes lend themselves to that.

First up, BB-8, the little guy looks great. Excellent detail and the weathering looks like he’s just been taken from Jakku. I never got a 3.75 inch BB-8 figure, I didn’t want to spend £16 on a BB-8 and two minor characters and never found nothin a sale so it was nice to get one in some form.

The artwork on the packaging looks great. Both characters look spot-on. Hasbro have a great team of artists who always do amazing work on the packaging (even if the figures look awful).

Rey comes with the Skywalker Lightsaber and her staff. I may be wrong but I have a feeling that Rey originally didn’t have the saber as an accessory until after the film was released to avoid spoilers, but I’m pretty glad this one had it. The accessories are of course well detailed but they kind of have to be when Hasbro know that the figures will be put through arduous scrutiny by fans and collectors.

The face and hair sculpt is really good, you can tell it’s Rey even at a passing glance, unlike the ‘Power of the Force 2’ Princess Leia who looks like a butch extra from Planet of the Apes. I may not collect them but I do have a look when I get chance and sometimes the sculpts on the action figures looks terrible. Just look at the Director Krennic figures that came out with ‘Rogue One’. Damn that looked bad.

The detail on the clothing is also great, the folds and creases in the clothes look great, even down to the buckles on the straps on her wrists and belt.

Overall this is a gorgeous figure and when I look at this and the Kylo figure I often wonder if a ‘Black Series’ collection is feasible, especially when they are half price at the nearest toy shop.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Star Wars: Life Debt (Aftermath Trilogy 2) by Chuck Wendig

For all those who wanted more out of ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’, be it more action, more classic characters or a faster paced story well you got what you wanted with ‘Star Wars: Life Debt’.

Chuck Wendig’s follow-up to the bestselling ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ fires on all cylinders and delivers the book that I think fans were expecting from the first part.

Like any (planned) trilogy the first part always acts as a setting up. We meet characters, we discover the world (or Galaxy in this case) and we get the general lay-of-the-land. This allows the second part, the bulk of the trilogies overall story to be told without too much back story clogging up the proceedings.

Set three months after the previous book (roughly) we are now (again, roughly) nine months after Return of the Jedi and the pieces are starting to come together towards a climactic endgame. Norra and her crew, Sinjir Rath Velus, Jas Emari, Jom Barell, her son Temmin and his droid Mister Bones have been working for the New Republic hunting high powered Imperials and bringing them to justice.

Grand Admiral Rae Sloane of the Imperial Navy is working to bring the Empire back to its full glory with the help (or rather the manipulations) of Gallius Rax, a mysterious but influential member of the Empire who had a close personal relationship with Emperor, who is using her to fulfill Palpatine’s last wish.

The team are approached by Princess Leia who is concerned that her husband, Han Solo is in trouble and asks the team to track him down and bring him home. The team manage to find him and join him on his mission to save Chewbacca who has been captured by the Empire.

Their adventure takes them to Kashyyyk and in their mission they end up freeing hundreds of Imperial prisoners, including Chewie and Nora’s husband/Temmin’s father, Brentin.

The story splits between Chandrilla and Kashyyyk for the rest of the novel, Han and Chewie lead the freed Wookiees and freed prisoners in liberating Kashyyyk whilst on Chandrilla Norra, Brentin and Temmin need to adjust to their life together as Chancellor Mon Mothma invites Sloane to peace talks which devolve into a mass assassination attempt where the freed prisoners have been programmed to attack the New Republic leaders. Sloane realises this was Rax’s plan all along and that she has been thrown to the wolves. She is severely injured but escapes with Brentin’s help. They land on Jakku in time for the full Imperial Remnant to arrive, led by Gallius Rax.

This novel gives us the first proper look at what the classic heroes are doing post-Return of the Jedi after the events of Shattered Empire and Battlefront 2, the latter of which ties into the events of this book, the Han Solo level is set in the months between Aftermath and Life Debt when Han has grown the beard.

Leia is the counterpart to Sloane, both are the faces of their faction and in the end both are rejected by their factions. Sloane is left out to die by Rax and Leia becomes a political pariah after she goes on a personal mission to rescue Han on Kashyyyk and takes Wedge and Ackbar with her.

This book gives the team some great character development throughout.

Nora’s crew becomes divided but comes together again with the exception of Jom who stays on Kashyyyk to aid the liberation. The thing that brings them back together, apprehending Sloane.

Temmin has received the nickname ‘Snap’ by Wedge who is teaching him how to pilot X-Wings and Mister Bones is starting to develop a stronger love of violence.

Sinjir is required to threaten to torture some Imperials for information, something he would have to do in his former role as an Imperial Loyalty Officer but now it makes him feel ashamed, he wants to forget that life and move on, except when he is faced with someone who hurt and upset his friends, something the Sinjir of the Empire probably would never have said.

Jas Emari is the Bounty Hunter who is starting to fight for the cause rather than the paycheque and her time with the crew has begun to ware her hard exterior down, especially with the New Republic Special Forces soldier Jom Barell who had a small role in the previous book and gets more time to shine here.

There is a lot of weight to this book, and by that I am talking ‘the feels’. Relief and happiness that Norra and Temmin are reunited with Brentin and we completely feel for them both and get what they’re going through when Temmin is angry that things are not ok between his Mum and Dad, and given the circumstances it’s understandable, they have been apart for years, he was believed to be dead and he has come back from an extended induced coma to find that the war he was fighting in secret has been won.

The characters we feel the most for, if only because they are the most familiar are Han, Leia and Chewie. Leia because she is essentially alone and going through her pregnancy whilst working with the Senate and getting nowhere. She finally takes action by breaking away from her political duties and doing what she feels is right by running off to save Han.

Han starts out completely lost. Chewie is missing and he’s trying to find him. He reluctantly accepts help from the team and together they rescue the prisoners on Kashyyyk and start to liberate the planet. Once the attack on Chandrilla occurs Han knows that he has to go back with Leia whilst Chewie has his own job to do on his own home world. Their ‘goodbye’ moment is beautifully written and is played out exactly as it should be. Not prolonged and drawn out but serves as both a testament to Wendig’s skill as a writer and the power of the two characters involved. Not one beat in this scene felt out of place for either Han or Chewie. As fans we know this isn’t the last time they see each other but it’s heartbreaking nonetheless seeing our favourite smuggling duo break up.

At the end of the novel all of the pieces are set for the inevitable conclusion of the trilogy, the Battle of Jakku and as an audience we awaited the conclusion of this trilogy with baited breath.

I remember feeling conflicted when I bought this book. It came out just before Celebration Europe and it had been announced that there would be a convention exclusive cover BUT my local bookshop has a habit of having some of the Star Wars books on sale early… what to do? In the end I bought it early and took it to the convention with me and was reading it in the queue for the Rebels Season 3 wristbands which led to a conversation about the books with a guy called Craig.

I must say, in addition, that this book has a lot more resonance now after the release of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, where we not only see the origins of Han and Chewie’s partnership, but the fireside conversation where Chewie talks about looking for his tribe/family and then the moment between Chewie and Sagwa on Kessel. It all makes those tugs on the old heartstrings all the more tear inducing.

I have started my reread of Empire’s End so look out for my review soon.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XXII – The Resistance, Clone Wars, Podcast and Collection Catch-Up

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

In this episode I discuss the fourth and fifth episodes of Star Wars: Resistance. I add to the collection on Collectors Corner. I throw my hat in the ring over the Clone Wars Cancellation reasons from when Disney took over and I wax lyrically over another Star Wars Podcast.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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#Collection Corner – SWCE Exclusive Unmasked Kylo Ren Black Series

I never got into the Black Series when I returned to the Star Wars fandom in 2014. They looked great but I was never able to find them, and if I did I wasn’t keen on the price tag of £20. I am quite possibly living in the past when I say this but when I was younger, action figures cost £5. By the time Revenge of the Sith came out I paid £6 per figure. But £20? It’s a bit much for me.

Then of course I went to Celebration Europe in 2016 and they had a Con Exclusive Unmasked Kylo Ren in a collectors box. To get it you had to queue up for a ticket which gave you a time to pick it up. At first I wasn’t bothered but then I saw pictures and it looked great.

My mind was finally made up on the Saturday morning in the line for the Rebels Season 3 panel wristbands and a guy I was talking to had bought and swayed my mind as well as the minds of a couple of our queue buddies.

Once we got our Rebels wristbands we ran (well walked briskly) to the Kylo Ren queue and got our tickets.

Skip to a few hours later, I had shopped and been to a couple of panels and finally made my way to the Forbidden Planet stalk and got it. £35. I accepted that price, it’s a convention exclusive, in a nice box with some extra accessories.

My god it was glorious.

The box is lovely. The art is amazing and I was happy to also get the cover as a poster. Then I opened it up.

Again, the interior art is great and then there is the figure.

I love this figure. The sculpt is pretty good, which shows the level of detail Hasbro want to put in to this series, much better that the 3.75 inch figures in general. The outfit, both moulded and fabric looks so good and I love the addition of him holding his (brilliantly detailed) lightsaber hilt. I won’t lie, I have posed him (in the box) to look like he is holding the saver out to Han like that scene in The Force Awakens.

The accessories are great. His ignited saver has the same level of detail on the hilt and the blade looks good, which is hard to do given the volatile nature of Kylo’s sabre blade.

The First Order banner looks good, and if displayed out of the box would look good displayed with the figure but really it’s only there to pad out the set and justify the price for the set.

The Kylo Ren helmet looks great too but the jewel of the set is Vader’s burnt helmet.

Wow. Just wow. It’s so well detailed and makes buying the collectors edition that bit better, I know it’s only a tiny bit of plastic, and the unmasked Kylo came out as a regular Black Series figure without the extra accessories but this just makes it that bit more special.

All in all, for my first dive into The Black Series this is a fantastic set. Will I go out and buy the whole range? Not likely, I don’t have the room but I have bought one more which I have on display (still in the box) with this which I will review at a later date.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Star Wars: Aftermath (Aftermath Trilogy 1) by Chuck Wendig

Sometimes I find writing this blog to be rife with irony. Back when I wrote a post about my thoughts on what a potential second wave of Solo: A Star Wars Story Lego Sets would consist of. A few days later the second wave of Solo Lego sets were announced and I had somehow got quite a few of the details right.

So the other night I was reading Aftermath in the bath, planning on writing this review and when I get downstairs Chuck Wendig was on Twitter announcing that he had been fired from Star Wars projects at Marvel. I’ll not go into that here but my thoughts on the situation can be heard on the Life Debt Podcast Episode XIII – Emergency Broadcast: Justice4Chuck.

Right then, let’s talk about the book…

I really enjoyed this book. I have read it twice now and it was just as good the second time around, and I’m wondering if it will get better for me as I make my way through the next two parts of the Aftermath Trilogy, Life Debt and Empire’s End, and I will discuss my thoughts on the trilogy as a whole in a later post.

The book got a lot of flack when I was released. Of course a lot of this is due to internet trolls but he genuine issues that were raised stated that there weren’t a lot of Original Trilogy characters. True. We get an interlude featuring Han and Chewie. Another featuring Mon Mothma. The story features Wedge and Admiral Ackbar in supporting roles. But for some this was not enough. People wanted a book about the heroes of the OT but what we got was a group of new characters in their own adventure as well as giving us brief ‘Interludes’ from around the Galaxy giving the readers an idea of what life is like for the citizens away from the main plot.

The main narrative follows a group of characters who through various circumstances come together to form a rag-tag group who end up working together to bring down a meeting of a group of Imperial leaders. The group consists of Norra Wexley, a former Rebellion Y-Wing pilot who has returned to her home world of Akiva to reunite with her teenage son, Temmin (Snap) Wexley. Jas Emari, a bounty hunter on Akiva to capture one of the Imperial dignitaries for the New Republic and Sinjir Rath Velus, a former Imperial Loyalty Officer who escaped the Battle of Endor by wearing a dead Rebel soldiers clothes and now lives in the various bars of Akiva.

And how could I leave out Temmin’s modified B1 Battle Droid, Mr Bones?

The biggest downfall for the book is that when it was released it hadn’t been promoted as the beginning of a trilogy so what we got was a whole lot of set up for new characters and set up for them to work together and form a team but very little pay off for them other than a future of working for the New Republic. When ‘Life Debt’ and ‘Empires End’ were announced it made a lot of sense.

A pleasant surprise was the return of the new Canon favourite, Admiral Rae Sloane who first appeared in ‘A New Dawn’. She has been promoted through the years between the books and as much as I enjoyed the character in the earlier book, she really shines in Aftermath.

As far as our heroes go, the whole team are great characters, but my favourite by far is former Imperial Loyalty Officer Sinjir. His cynical nature is my cup of tea, he’s by far in no way a reputable character with more flaws than you can shake a stick out and even though he was once one of the bad guys you can’t help but love him.

We get some great character connections to other parts of the franchise, Jas Emari is the teams ruthless bounty hunter who is related to the bounty hunter Sugi who we were introduced to in the Clone Wars who led a gang of bounty hunters that teamed up with Anakin and Obi-Wan to defend a village against Hondo and his pirates. Norra Wexley is a former Rebel Y-Wing pilot who was in the Battle of Endor, she piloted the Y-Wing that acted as a diversion for the TIE Fighters inside the Death Star to relieve Lando and Wedge as they headed for the Power Generator. Her son, Temmin is also featured in the films but known as ‘Snap’ Wexley and is a Resistance pilot in The Force Awakens.

Aftermath is not the best of the new Canon works, but it’s in no way the worst. As I said before it has the unfortunate task to set up a trilogy but also has to set up the Galaxy, the Star Wars galaxy at the time of the novel is in upheaval and Wendig portrays that perfectly whilst developing several new characters who will, in future books, interact with classic characters as well as start to build threads that will begin to tie in to the Sequel Trilogy. A difficult task that was executed brilliantly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this reread and look forward to rereading Star Wars: Aftermath 2 – Life Debt.

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#Collection Corner – Lego AT-Hauler Review

My wife is a saint.

I saw that the AT-Hauler Lego set from ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ had a decent price drop on Amazon and mentioned it in passing. The next day she asked me about it and ordered it. I started building it the day after that.

It has spent the past three days sat on the mantle piece as it gets built and she has not complained about it once.

The AT-Hauler is made up of 829 pieces and costs £89.99 (RRP) which when you work our price per brick etc isn’t too bad when it comes to a license based set. I spent £71 on Amazon, which I felt to be a very good deal (the lowest I saw it was £65).

The set comes with five mini-figs. Two of Dryden Vos’s guards, Qi’Ra in her ‘Lodge Outfit’, Val and Rio Durant and the build come in seven numbered bags and some stickers.

Bag 1 consists of the Qi’Ra mini-fig, her blaster, a cargo container and gun rack with four large blasters and the underside cage of the AT-Hauler which is most prominently seen in the scene where Han asks Chewie his name.

The second bag gives us the skeleton of one wing and the two Dryden Vos Guards, the third bag gives us the skeleton of the second wing.

These are quite technical builds, the landing gears are connected to a wheel which you use to change them from flight to landing configuration and a series of long pieces are connected up the length of the wings, their purpose becomes clear later.

The third bag feels repetitive as you are building the exact same thing but it’s the cross we Lego builders must bare at times.

Bags 4 and 5 give us the outside plating and lifting mechanism of both wings. Bag 4 is just the one set of playing but 5 is the wing plating as well as the mechanics to lift the Argo box using the two hook structures which are connected to the wheels on the outside of the wings. These are connected to the mechanism which is made of the multiple long sticks which connect to the hooks. When the wheels are moved the hooks open and allow you to get he hooks under the crate. Pretty fancy really.

Bag 4 also gives us the delightful Cal mini-fig. I love that we can flesh out the cast of Solo with this set, Val and Rio are fan favourites and deserve to be immortalised in Lego form.

Bag 6 give us the base of the cockpit and the pilot seat as well as the ships mid-section leaving space at the back for engines. This section also uses the most amount of stickers for outside details.

Bag 6 also gives us the Rio Durant mini-fig. This is a small mini-fig, using the shorter legs used for small or child characters. He also has custom arms which give Rio his four arms. The head mould and paint job is well detailed and the attached goggles aren’t cumbersome or too blocky.

Bag 7 completes the set with the outside of the cockpit and details for the rear of the vehicle.

The slanted walls of the cockpit are held on using a well placed clip brick and the printed hubcaps give nice details on either side of the ship. There is one sticker for this bag, the cockpit window details.

The cockpit has room to fit one mini-fig comfortably and the base of the ship can hold two mini-figs, preferably sitting so their heads aren’t obscured by one of the cross beams.

The ship can comfortably lift the cargo box and be off the ground, although the bulky rear end makes “swooshing” difficult.

The final set looks great, a well detailed ship with fun play features (two stud shooters adorn the sides of the cockpit) and a fun range of mini-figs, with my favourites being Val and Rio.

After getting this set I am sorely tempted to pick up the Conveyex set, but once it has a good price drop that is, I am still disappointed by it only having one carriage. But given the fact that the two sets compliment each other I would be doing myself a disservice by not getting it.

If I had paid full price, however I would have been disappointed by the size, the box give the impression that the set is quite large but once fully constructed it is more of a medium sized set but the amount of pieces and some of the custom pieces made for the set warrant the price.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XXI – The Mandalorian Lego Pop Showcase Extravaganza… listen and it will make sense.

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

In this episode I shake it up by giving the show a bit more structure. I talk about what’s coming up on the blog this week, the sudden growth in my collection in #Collection Corner. Another new segment called ‘This Week I Have Mostly Listened to…’ where I showcase another Star Wars Podcast and I give an update on the My Star Wars Life Debt Patreon.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

And if you are a member of Anchor.fm you can leave a voice message for the podcast. Just search for My Star Wars Life Debt and click the ‘Leave Message’ button.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Mission 0: The Cleaner

As I have recently gotten back into gaming after getting a new XBox One S this past week I’ve gone and gotten back into Battlefront 2 in a big bad way.

There will be spoilers for the game so be warned if you haven’t played it yet.

The result of this is I will now do some writing about each of the levels as I make my way through the game again, starting with Mission 0 – The Cleaner.

The premise – Commander Iden Versio, leader of Inferno Squadron has been captured by Rebels and brought on board one of the Mon Calamari capital ships.

She is interrogated but gives nothing away. She remotely activates her droid sidekick which frees her and she goes to a control room to delete an Imperial transmission which would alert the Rebel fleet to the whereabouts of the Imperial Fleet hiding at Endor prior to the Rebel attack on the second Death Star.

Once she erases the message she fights her way off of the ship and to freedom… via the airlock.

Once back on the Corvus, Inferno Squadron’s ship, her father, Admiral Versio orders them to meet the fleet at Endor.

Gameplay – As far as introductory missions go on a game this one is a good one. It lets you get to grips with the controls whilst throwing a few Easter Eggs our way. The biggest one is a transmission you overhear from Admiral Ackbar setting out the plan to divert Imperial attention to Sullust whilst the fleet prepares to attack the Death Star, a reference to Vader’s line about “reports of the Rebel fleet massing bear Sullust”.

It’s a great introduction to the main protagonist, Iden Versio. She’s a brilliant tactician, a ruthless soldier and a loyal Imperial, which doesn’t interfere with how you feel about her. Seeing the Empire from an Imperial soldiers perspective is interesting. The Rebel Alliance is a thorn in the side of the Empire, bringing chaos to the civilised communities of the Emperors Galaxy. It’s only later that her faith in the regime is shattered.

We also get to meet, at the end of the mission, Agent Hask and Agent Meeko, her teammates on Inferno Squad who are increasingly important as the game progresses.

It’s not the best level but once you get past the obligatory ‘learn the controls’ portion it’s good fun running around the ship blasting the Rebel Scum.

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Blog Post 100!

I made it!

100 posts ago I started this endeavour to write about Star Wars on a regular basis and since releasing the first post back in March it’s gone from a post whenever I had one to publish to having multiple posts per week… and then a Podcast… and now plans for a YouTube channel which will hopefully come to fruition in 2019.

It has been a tough old road, having to take a couple of months off due to illness put everything back a bit but the past couple of weeks have been great in terms of visitors and views.

So, I would like to take a moment to say a few thank yous, firstly I would like to thank my good friend and flag waver for the blog, Tom, who despite not being a fan of Star Wars, gave me a lot of advice and support along the way.

Secondly, Sara my wife who has also shown a lot of support and also didn’t complain too much when I put jobs on hold to write.

A big thank you to the Star Wars fans community, without you this blog wouldn’t be going as strong as it has over the past seven months, even in my two month hiatus. Especially to those who have liked, shared or commented either on the blog or the various social media outlets I inundate with links.

I would also like to shout out the folks at Now This is Podcasting who have the blog a major bump when they talked about a post where I wrote about Star Wars Podcasts.

And one last thank you to the Patreon supporters, your contributions to the blog and podcast are very much appreciated.

Now, what does the future hold?

As I said before, next year I hope to bring ‘My Star Wars Life Debt’ to YouTube in some way.

In December I will be releasing a special Christmas bonus on Patreon and also make it available for sale for anyone who doesn’t want to sign up. And trust me it’s going to be worth it. Over an hour and a half of brilliant Star Wars content just in time for the festive season, I’ll give more information in the next couple of weeks.

The blog and podcast will continue to expand. I’m constantly thinking of new content for the blog and I will be welcoming some more guests to the Podcast soon.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has supported the blog and podcast, I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XX – Resistance Ep 3: Fuel for the Fire

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

In this episode I discuss the third episode of Star Wars: Resistance – Fuel for the Fire.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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Balancing the Force

I had the idea of writing a post about the ‘Balance of the Force’ back in March (it’s 11th October when I finally started writing) and have made a few attempts at gathering research and ideas and even some quotes from people in the Star Wars community but I could never truly commit. How do you write about something so huge as the concept of balance in the Force, honestly I find it quite daunting. Well I’m going to give it a go.

When the concept of ‘Balance’ was introduced in Phantom Menace I had no idea what it would mean. How does Anakin bring balance? Why does the Force need balance? How do you balance the Force out? Granted I was 13 and wasn’t quite putting two and two together in terms of overall plot.

The concept was brought up again with Mace Windu reminding Obi-Wan that his apprentice (Anakin) would bring the Force back into balance. Again, how?

With Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan mentions it twice, once in conversation with Yoda and Mace Windu and again after he has defeated Anakin on Mustafar.

By then I was thinking about it a bit more and came to the conclusion that Anakin had fulfilled the prophecy (or almost) by wiping out the Jedi in the Temple whilst the Clones around the Galaxy were doing their part, and of course Vader would continue to hunt down the Jedi in the following years but essentially by the end of Revenge of the Sith we had two Jedi and two Sith. Balance.

Then through the trilogy that Balance in maintained. Two Jedi and Sith throughout, Luke takes Obi-Wan’s place after Kenobi becomes one with the Force. When Yoda passes on, we have the existence of another Force user revealed to be Leo’s with Sidious and Vader representing the Dark Side. But then, Vader returns to the Light Side, making it 3 on 1 and finally 3 – 0 after killing his master. After Vader/Anakin dies it leaves us with Luke and Leia. One Jedi and one Light Side orientated Force Sensitive who never really goes through the training.

But after the six film saga was complete, Lucas himself said that Anakin had fulfilled the prophecy at the end of Return of the Jedi by killing the Emperor and irradiating the Sith. But how is this putting the Force into Balance? How I ask?

I looked up the definition of Balance:

The Force is still swaying towards the Light. The scales are tipped to one side, unbalanced.

Could Lucas have been talking about it from the Jedi point-of-view and their interpretation of the Chosen One prophecy?

When Lucasfilm was bought by Disney and we started getting new material, suddenly we were getting more Light and Dark Side users, Ezra, Kanan and a whole group of Inquisitors. Maul was still alive, as was Ahsoka. The Force was starting to look a little unbalanced again. Then in the post-ROTJ world we got two new Dark Side users. Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke and the freshly awakened to the Force Rey who went to find Luke Skywalker.

The Last Jedi finally brought a clearer notion of Balance within the Force during Luke’s teachings to Rey. Her first lesson where Luke has he open herself to the Force and everything she feels and experiences, life, death, peace, destruction, powerful Light and powerful Dark.

But Luke makes mention that for a while there was Balance during his second lesson where he tells Rey what had happened in the years between the fall of the Empire and the destruction of the New Republic. He said that there was balance but then he took Ben Solo and a dozen students. Does this mean that Luke became a more neutral Force user like Bendu from ‘Rebels’, only to return to the Light during The Last Jedi? Is that how the ‘Balance’ works?

Allow me a paragraph or two of fan-theorising. In the first Jedi Temple there is the mosaic of the ‘Prime Jedi’

It’s very reminiscent of the Yin/Yang symbol. The dark and light in equal parts. What if the original Jedi were neutral and over time a group of them splintered off and became the Sith and to maintain balance another group, or the remaining neutral Jedi turned towards the concept of the Light Side, forming the Jedi Order that evolved into what we see in the Prequel Trilogy. Perhaps the original prophecy of ‘The Chosen One’ was actually about a Force User who would wipe out both the Jedi and the Sith and that way the future Force Users would rise to be more neutral based on the mistakes of the past?

Of course this leads me to the sequel trilogy. Rian Johnson said that Rey and Kylo were essentially the two sides of a coin. My thought is that they are the new balance. The Force has manipulated the two of them to be the opposing sides. Ben Solo is conflicted, he always has been through The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. He wants to be good but is unable to turn away from the Dark. Rey now has access to the ancient Jedi texts that, I think direct her to tread a more neutral path but until Ben is killed or he turns from the Dark she will be the embodiment of the Light Side.

My belief is that the end of the Skywalker Saga with Episode IX will culminate with the Force finally being in balance, whatever that means. Will that end the episodic films? Only time will tell but that’s for another blog post for another time.

In my attempts to write this post I have asked around the Star Wars community on Twitter and have had a few great responses from Podcasters and a certain member of the Star Wars Story Group at Lucasfilm and I’ll put them here for you to have a look at and bask in the differing views of the fans.

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Kathleen Kennedy: Three More Years!

Three more years! Three more years! Kathleen Kennedy has extended her contract as head of Lucasfilm until 2021!!!

That’ll show the haters who think Kathleen Kennedy is doing a bad job running Lucasfilm.

From the day it was announced that George Lucas had hired her as his replacement as the head of the company I, and may others have believe she was the best choice.

Her resume speaks for itself, her name is synonymous with my childhood. I was raised on Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Jurassic Park and many more. For her to take over the company responsible for Star Wars, another staple of that era of cinema it made perfect sense.

Once Disney bought the company and she took the reigns she has shepherded in the golden age of Star Wars. The Universe is all under one banner and I honestly think it’s for the better, but this isn’t an EU vs Canon debate. Kennedy has made some great decisions, who else but J.J. Abrams has the balls to take on the first part of the Sequel Trilogy and he was the top choice on everyone’s mind. He made a Star Wars film before but it was called Star Trek. She has opened up the Star Wars franchise to new cinematic stories beyond the Saga films and the two entries under the ‘A Star Wars Story’ banner have been fantastic films. And don’t get me started on my love of Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi.

Of course she has made some tough choices, replacing Gareth Edwards during the Rogue One reshoots, the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller during the filming of Solo and removing Colin Treverow (although I consider this to be a good decision) as Director of Episode IX. But these decisions were made to serve the stories the films were telling.

And we have already had announcements of the future of the franchise with Rian Johnson’s upcoming trilogy and the series of films from the Game of Thrones show-runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

Not only have the Star Wars films thrived under her watchful eye but thanks to her we are finally getting a live action series and have had two new animated series, ‘Rebels’ and the recently premiered ‘Resistance’ AND the upcoming revival of the beloved Clone Wars series. Lucas put Star Wars on the map in 1977 and held it firm until 2012 but Kathleen Kennedy has her eyes set on the stars for our beloved franchise and is showing no signs of slowing down.

She has brought us a fantastic six years and here’s looking forward to three more and hopefully beyond 2021.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode IXX – Star Wars: Resistance Ep 2 The Triple Dark

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

In this episode I discuss the second episode of Star Wars: Resistance- The Triple Dark.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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#Collection Corner – Star Wars: Resistance and My Lego Thoughts

Now we have had some time to absorb the fun brilliance of Star Wars: Resistance I did some thinking about merchandise.

We got some images of the 3.75 inch figures based on the series coming from Hasbro next year which gives me some hope for a wave of Lego sets based on the series as well.

I should hope we do, ‘The Clone Wars’ is still having sets released and ‘Rebels’ has a fair amount of sets too so it seems logical that ‘ Resistance’ will have a few sets too.

But what sets will they be?

A few months ago I wrote a post about what sets I would like to see in a second wave of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Lego sets and I ended up being pretty close to the Mark with my predictions, so I’ll give it a go with ‘Resistance’, but not quite as in depth, I am writing this after seeing the Series Premiere ‘The Recruit’.

The obvious main set we will get will be ‘The Fireball’ with a Kaz mini-fig. It’s looking to be one of the main ships from the series so it’ll be a shoe-in. Hopefully it will be a decent price, it wouldn’t need to be any more than a maximum of £40 given its size. A couple of mini-figs, Kaz of course and possibly Jeager with his Astromech Droid, Bucket. If they wanted to go all out they could include a play set which gives us mini-figs of Tam and Neeku too, which would bump the price up a bit.

A set I would love to see is Kaz’s T 85 X-Wing Fighter. I’m really wanting to pick up the current iteration of the OT X-Wing and I already have Poe’s X-Wing from ‘The Force Awakens’ so a new version of the X-Wing would look nice alongside those two sets.

We couldn’t have a first wave without that nice looking First Order TIE Interceptor and it’s pilot, the mysterious Major Vonreg who gives Kaz and Poe a run for their money in the opening scene from ‘The Recruit’.

Of course the show will be introducing us to new racers and their ships, all of which would look great in Lego, these could be sold individually or as sets, much like ‘Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced and A-Wing’ set from season 2 of ‘Rebels’, we have already seen the ships piloted by Hype Fazon and Torra Doza and there must be a few more we have yet to see.

With all of these new and colourful ships, Lego could be on to something big as opposed to the usual white, grey and black sets we often get from Star Wars.

Granted, 2019 is going to be a huge year for Star Wars merchandise with ‘Resistance’ coming to an end around April, ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘Clone Wars Season Seven’ coming to the Disney Direct to Consumer platform at some point in the year and of course ‘Episode IX’ in December I do hope ‘Resistance’ gets its chance to shine in those little plastic bricks.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XIII – Emergency Broadcast: Justice4Chuck

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

In this emergency broadcast episode I give my reaction to Marvel’s firing of author Chuck Wendig.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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Solo: Revisited

Despite my complete and utter love for ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ I was only able to see it once at the cinema.

Complete honesty here, when it came out in May I wasn’t well, I had been suffering with depression for a while, I was putting myself further and further in debt and I really couldn’t afford the ticket for the first time but Star Wars was my comfort blanket so I did it anyway. My illness kept me from seeing it with my Dad, a tradition we have held since the Special Editions came out in 97 where we see the Star Wars films at the cinema together and one we have thoroughly enjoyed the last few years.

But anyway, I only got to see it that one time. I tried to find a less than legitimate method of seeing it but couldn’t do it, so tonight I finally finished watching it at home (took three sessions due to work and family).

I smiled so much through it, and that’s not the medication talking. It’s almost like I had forgotten how much I loved it. The cast, the script, the music, all of it is utter perfection all wrapped up with a Star Wars now.

Is it my favourite Star Wars film? No. Empire Strikes Back still holds the top spot but it’s in a joint second with The Last Jedi. I already gushed about the film in my ‘Solo Sunday’ posts earlier this year so I’ll not re-review the film but instead I will talk about the Special Features.

Firstly let’s talk about the BD menu. The music is from the moment we first set our eyes on the new (old) Millennium Falcon from the track ‘L3 and the Falcon’. When I listen to the soundtrack it’s a moment I always pause whatever I am up to to enjoy without interruptions and having it play on the menu, to me, is a work of pure genius… or emotional manipulation… can’t decide.

The Behind the Scenes bonus features give great insight into the goings-on on set. I especially enjoyed the ‘Becoming A Droid: L3-37’ which went into the development of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character and how they animated the character. The ‘Solo: The Director and Cast Roundtable’ was a fun chat with Ron Howard and the cast of the film with some funny anecdotes from behind the scenes.

The Deleted Scenes… well… I can see why they were deleted. The best was the Imperial Academy sequence with Han in the TIE Fighter and the subsequent tribunal where he is sent into the Infantry. But the scene would have ruined the pace of the film so luckily it hit the cutting room floor. I did enjoy seeing the full cut of the Han/Chewie fight on Mimban, if only as a lesson in editing. The full scene is over-long and works much better in the theatrical version.

I’m a bit gutted by the lack of a BTS Documentary like we got with The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and what we kind of got with Rogue One, when all of the bonus features were viewed all together, but given all of the BTS turmoil Solo went through it’s not surprising there isn’t one.

Although I do think an Audio Commentary would have been an enjoyable extra, but like my dream for the documentary I can understand why there isn’t one.

My one real complaint about the home release isn’t to do with the product, it’s to do with what I have seen online since it came out and the amount of Star Wars fans who have said something akin to the following,

I really enjoyed Solo. Wish I had seen it at the cinema.

To this I can only say, no one stopped you from seeing it at the cinema. You stopped yourself, and now you are kicking yourselves because there won’t be a sequel that everyone, including the recent first time viewers, really want.

But negativity aside, but the DVD/Blu-Ray/4K/Digital Copy and enjoy the hell out of Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s worth every penny.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XVII – Resistance Ep 1 The Recruit

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I look at the Star Wars: Resistance series premiere ‘The Recruit’..

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The Mandalorian – What do we know?

The first official picture from the upcoming Star Wars Live Action series was released hours ago and by god it looks good.

This past week has been filled with news and rumours about ‘The Mandalorian’ so let’s do a quick run-down of what we know so far…

At the U.S. Premiere of ‘Solo’, Jon Favreau announces that the series would take place seven years after A New Hope, making it three years after Return of the Jedi.

Making Star Wars. Net showed pictures of the sets being built and revealed that filming would start on 1st October. Another rumour was that actor Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) had been cast in the series (still unconfirmed).

Then this week Favreau took to social media and revealed the premise and the title…

And then, with the picture we got the list of Directors for the series.

Dave Filoni on Episodes 1 and 5.

Rick Famuyiwa on Episodes 2 and 6.

Deborah Chow on Episode 3 and 7.

Bryce Dallas Howard on Episode 4.

Taika Waititi on Episode 8.

This list of directors is phenomenal. Filoni is a Star Wars legend. Waititi has a great style. I have seen some of Chows TV work and it’s phenomenal. I have yet to see any of Famuyiwa’s work or and of Howard’s directorial work but they have both got extensive careers and given the calibre of the others then I have every ounce of faith in Lucasfilm’s decisions.

It’s out next year on Disney’s forthcoming ‘Direct to Consumer Service’ and I’m getting more and more excited everyday.

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“How you doin’ you old pirate, so good to see you!”

In the words of Staind, “It’s been a while…” almost two months in fact and for that I am sorry.

In all honesty I haven’t been well in that time and needed to take some time away from just about everything in order to recuperate and sort myself out.

Yes, even Star Wars.

I haven’t consumed any Star Wars related content since I finished reading Thrawn: Alliances in August.

But now, after starting to get everything in order again after being proclaimed ‘in recovery’ by the medical professionals and having been back at work for a couple of weeks, life is returning to relative normality, which of course includes Star Wars.

So a lot has happened in the galaxy far, far away. The build up to Star Wars: Resistance has ramped up and it’s out imminently. The Darth Vader VR series was announced. The Jon Favreau live action series has started production, premise was released and the title ‘The Mandalorian’ was revealed. The Solo: A Star Wars Story novelisation was released and the film has his home media…

Have I missed anything? Oh a whole new wave of Lego was released and the new Cloud City set has come out and Vader’s Castle was revealed!!!

There has been a lot of missed opportunities for new content but as I get back into the swing of things I will try to cover as much lost ground as possible.

Moving forward… I will try to adhere to two posts a week, if not more once I get back into the rhythm. The Podcast is on hold for now as is the YouTube channel (I even posted the first YouTube video but never promoted it due to the illness) but good things come to those who wait.

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Speculation: The Clone Wars Season 7

Since the announcement of the return of The Clone Wars at SDCC the fandom has been awash with speculation over what we will be seeing when the series returns next year on Disney’s Direct to Consumer Service.

The trailer gave us two glimpses at new Clone Wars footage. The first where the Republic Gunship lands at the base and the camera pans to see Anakin, Rex and Hunter, a character from the Bad Batch story arc, the full episode animatics are on the official Star Wars site before showing the Republic fleet in the sky above them and a moment where Anakin, Rex and Obi-Wan see a hologram of Ahsoka and Bo Katan which is a strong hint at the Siege of Mandalore story arc.

Would the Bad Batch arc be a good one to show fully finished? I haven’t watched the whole run yet, I’m making my way through them on my lunch breaks at the moment and in think that maybe they would be good but if these twelve episodes are going to bring the series to a conclusion I feel that we should get new story arcs, not ones readily available.

After the series was cancelled we got a few Clone Wars stories made available through different mediums, ‘Son of Dathomir’ a Maul story arc that followed on from his defeat by Sidious on Mandalore in Season Five and how he was enlisted by Sidious to destroy Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters of Dathomir and his subsequent rescue by his Mandalorian followers. I haven’t read this yet but I really want to get it.

Dark Disciple is a novel written by Christie Golden based on a story arc originally written by Katie Lucas that follows Jedi Master Quinlan Vos who goes undercover and joins Asajj Ventress in a plot, conceived by the Jedi Council, to assassinate Count Dooku. Honestly, this is one of my favourite Star Wars novels to date and I can’t wait to re-read it as I make my way through all Clone Wars material in the lead up to Season Seven.

And of course we got the Bad Batch arc and Utapau Crystal arc in animatic forms, which I am working my way through. I have watched the first three Bad Batch episodes and despite the nature of the animation they put together a great story.

These are all available to watch or read and because of this availability I hope that Filoni isn’t going back to any of them. Why would they spend millions of dollars on essentially remaking these stories when there are so many other Clone Wars episodes that never got made?

Over the years since Clone Wars came to its abrupt end, Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo have done a number of panels at the Star Wars Celebration Conventions that have happened where they have discussed unfinished Clone Wars stories. That was where we got the animatics that are on the Star Wars site, we got a number of stories about Ahsoka and her adventures after leaving the Jedi Order which I have linked HERE, easily one of my favourite panels I attended at SWCE 16. Aside from the ‘Siege of Mandalore’ which was hinted at in the trailer I would love to see the arc where they discover the ancient Sith Temple under the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Ahsoka’s walkabout would make a great novel as well, I actually hoped that E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka novel would cover this time but I loved what we got in the novel.

At last years Celebration we got the animatic of a Western style duel between Cad Bane and young Boba Fett, which gives us an explanation about the dent in Fett’s helmet. I would love to see more from the bounty hunters too. But seeing as these twelve episodes are going to tie the series up and give it the ending it deserves I don’t see them straying away from the main War plot lines. If they were to release one or two of these plot lines as straight to Home Release/Consumer Platform films like the DC Animated films I would be over the moon. That way they could tell loads of stories that the fans are clamouring for and they’ll be bought/streamed relentlessly.

Yes we know some of these plot points and stories but we haven’t got them readily available in various forms, all we have are a few plot points and sketches by Filoni that show one or two shots, not entire plot lines.

Essentially, what I am saying is please Lucasfilm, give us something that we haven’t seen or have easy access to so that it’s all fresh and new content for us fans to devour, because you know we will.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XVI – Thrawn Alliances Immediate Reaction/Mini-Review

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I give my immediate reaction to Timothy Zahn’s latest Star Wars novel, Thrawn: Alliances.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – The Empire Strikes Back

If I could only watch one film for the rest of my life it would be The Empire Strikes Back.

It was the first Star Wars film I ever watched and was in fact the last one I watched recently.

As a kid I honestly believed that the AT-AT’s were real and Mark Hamill had his hand cut off by Darth Vader. The special effects were the best I had ever seen (I was seven).

I was in love with this whole new world I had entered and I needed to fill my life with it. It’s an emotional roller-coaster. One minute your laughing, the best your being educated by the best damned puppet ever made, then your feeling all lovey-dovey before laughing again and then you’re afraid for all of the characters, you feel their heartbreaks and their highs, you understand their happy moments and feel their lowest lows in the pit of your stomach.

My lasting memory of the first time I watched it is when Vader tell Luke that he is his father. My jaw hit the floor (luckily I was sat on the floor) and I turned to my Mum and asked if it was true. She told me I had to wait to find out… and wait I did for months until I could get the rest of the Original Trilogy.

The action-packed first act just doesn’t quit, in the first five minutes Luke is attacked by the Wampa, Han and Leia have already had an argument and C-3PO is already badgering R2-D2. Ten minutes later Luke is saved, he’s spoken to Obi-Wan, Han and Chewie have blown up the Probe Droid and Vader is closing in. Five minutes later ‘Imperial Walkers approaching on the north ridge.’ It’s freaking nerve-wracking!

When Dack is killed then Luke is shot down it’s unbearable, of course he escapes but when I first watched it I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then it’s Dagobah and Yoda and Luke’s training as Han, Leia, Chewie and 3PO are hunted by they Empire. How amazing is the asteroid chase?

I remember feeling horribly betrayed by Lando when he gave Han up to Vader and Boba Fett and hoping that the heroes could catch up with the Empire and save him from his trip to Jabba’s Palace.

The climactic duel between Luke and Vader, from their first encounter in the Carbon Freeze Chamber to Vader’s revelation is by far the best Star Wars duel, followed by Luke and Vader’s duel in Return of the Jedi, then Revenge of the Sith. Why? It’s the most personal fight. Luke if fighting the person who killed his father (so he thinks) and is throwing everything he has against Vader, which let’s admit, isn’t much at this point. Vader has one goal, turn Luke and use him to destroy the Emperor so they can rule the Galaxy together and it all builds to that infamous moment that will go down in cinematic history,

“No. I am your father.”

I must have seen this film hundreds of times and this moment still gives me chills. It’s one of the reasons that it’s my favourite film of all time and definitely my favourite Star Wars film and the one I hold all of the other Star Wars films up to in my mind, and as much as I love them all (yes even Attack of the Clones) none of them have a patch on Empire in my eyes. But a couple of them have come close(ish).

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Fandom: I Saw This and Wanted to Cry.

Like most people these days I spend my lunch break on Facebook, and the other day I saw this picture shared in a Star Wars Fan Group I am in and my eyes instantly filled with tears.

It was such a beautiful image showing the good in people and it had something to do with Star Wars which just added to my emotional state even more. Here is the picture.

I have been on the ‘Unvirtuous Abbey’ group to find the person who took the picture but my efforts were in vain.

It’s been a few days since I first saw this picture and I’m just about crying right this second.

Why does this image affect me so much? I’ll list the reasons for you.

1 – As a parent this terrifies me, it makes me sick to my very core that my baby girl could develop Cancer, eve at her age (15 months). And seeing the child in that picture walking hand in hand with someone with that much confidence on their way to yet another bout of treatment which by all accounts is horrible, both during and after because the person holding their hand is dressed as a Star Wars character and god forbid if my daughter did develop Cancer I would hope that she would do the same.

2 – I have lost family members to various forms of Cancer. It is a horrible, disgusting excuse of a disease and it needs to be eradicated as soon as possible (thank you to all the researchers out there trying to achieve this).

3 – It’s seeing the good side of Star Wars fandom doing amazing and powerful things, something so small as holding a child’s hand does so much for those around you, the child, their parents and other family members, the staff at the hospital who have to deal with some horrible things on a daily basis get to see this little bit of light and it could brighten their day just a little.

The photo credits the Stormtrooper as a member of the 501st, one of the various Star Wars related charity groups who build/make their own Star Wars costumes and don charity events, visit hospitals and other good and decent things in the name of Star Wars. The 501st specialise in the costumes of the villains of the Star Wars franchise and the Rebel Legion are the group who specialise in the costumes of the heroes of the franchise. Another group, Saber Guild specialise is choreographed lightsaber battles and work closely with various charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I regularly listen to a podcast that features a member of Saber Guild called Sal Perales, and in a recent episode of ‘Rogue Won: A Star Wars Podcast for Winners’ Sal was a guest and he talked about his work with the group, you can listen to the episode HERE.

After so many months of negativity in the fandom, seeing this picture really gives me hope that one day the fandom will become more positive and, in the words of Bill and Ted, “be excellent to each other.”

And yes, the picture is still making me cry.

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XV – I Got Guests

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I talk to two good friends, Andrew Beekin and Dan Hawbrook about their Star Wars fandom.

You can e-mail the show at lifedebtpodcast@outlook.com

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Revenge of the Sith

The run up to Revenge of the Sith, for me, was fraught with anticipation. Through the first half of 2005 I was in full Star Wars mode. I bought absolutely everything I could. We had gotten the teaser in the November before and from then on that was it. Lucas had me and my money locked in.

I became consumed by the film. I bought toys in the lead up, the Jedi Starfighter and the Sneak Preview General Grievous figure. I bought the tie-in novel ‘Labyrinth of Evil’ by James Luceno and I devoured it.

Any magazine that had the film on the cover I had to buy it, just in case there was a new bit of information to digest.

The week that the first wave of merchandise I went into town ready for a shopping spree and I came back with some action figures and the novelisation of the film. I was in a new relationship at the time, you know that time when you can’t stop talking, texting, instant messaging (it was 2005)… and I ended up ignoring her until I had read the book. Trust me it didn’t take long to read and I loved it so much I started reading it again.

That relationship ended just before the film came out and I was a bit of a mess but it was Revenge of the Sith that really helped me through those first few weeks of newly singledom.

The Nintendo DS game was a lot of fun even though I disliked the graphics, I had the soundtrack and I managed to wrangle the first issue of the comic adaptation out of my local comic shop a couple of weeks early.

Then it came out.

I saw it four times at the cinema in the opening weekend. Once with a friend, once with my Dad and twice on my own.

And it was amazing.

From the opening shot above Coruscant to the final shot of the Lars family looking out at the Twin Suns it was a masterpiece. The story phenomenal, the acting, not amazing but, either it didn’t matter to me as much this time around or it was better than Attack of the Clones, either way it didn’t make me cringe in horror. I laughed at the right parts, I cried as Order 66 began… and when Anakin and Obi-Wan started their duel… and when Anakin fell… and right at the end… yes I was a blubbering mess.

The film is intense, and that’s all because we are waiting to find out about Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, which is beautifully played out between Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen. The Opera/Darth Plagues scene is one of the best scenes in the whole Saga. Had I not already known that Palpatine became the Emperor I would almost believe that he was just telling a story.

The power play between Palpatine and the Jedi Council for Anakin is well played and you almost feel for Anakin and want to side with Palpatine given the way Anakin is treated, especially by Mace Windu, whose proclamations of mistrust towards Anakin seem to be unfounded at this point. It’s not like Anakin has done anything we know of to cause those feelings in Mace until he is appointed to the Jedi Council by the Supreme Chancellor. Honestly, it should be Anakin not trusting the Council given the fact they manipulate Obi-Wan into getting Anakin to spy on Palpatine.

The romantic dialogue is better but not by a lot, again the Anakin and Paine relationship feels unnatural but again that feels like more of a directorial/writer choice than that of the actors.

The CGI had developed over the years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and you could tell, I could not fault any of the CGI shots in the film for their quality, just look at that close up of General Grievous when he fights Obi-Wan on Utapau, the one where he says “Army or not…” it looks awesome.

I do have some issues though. Place yourself in 2005, there is no Clone Wars TV series on the horizon, just the films. We are told that there is a three year gap between AOTC and ROTS and in that time Anakin and Obi-Wan have gone from petulant teen and overbearing, condescending teacher to best friends making quips and acting like life-long besties. Also Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side seems a bit too easy, like he’s already turning from the Jedi at the beginning of the film. I completely get his motivations, he’s doing what he feels is right to save his family, I would do the same if I were in his position.

John Williams once again knocked it out of the park with the soundtrack. It’s grand and devastating theme ‘Battle of the Heroes’ sets the tone for the film where the more haunting themes ‘Padme’s Ruminations’ and ‘Anakin’s Betrayal’ just highlight the darkness in this film.

Any post about Revenge of the Sith would be lacking if the lightsaber battles weren’t mentioned. Starting with Dooku vs Anakin and Obi-Wan. We are led to believe Anakin and Dooku haven’t fought since Geonosis but they have but always reaching a stalemate. Once Dooku bests Obi-Wan, the fight becomes almost a mirror to the Vader and Luke fight in front of Palpatine twenty-four years later above Endor. Anakin beats the Sith Lord and kills him at the behest of Palpatine, who it seems has begun to get his claws into our hero and is slowly starting to pull the strings.

Obi-Wan vs Grievous is just an all out brawl using whatever they can against each other and the Palpatine vs Jedi Council is exactly what it needed to be, short, sharp and to the point. Mace should have taken a few more Jedi just to be sure.

The Yoda vs Sidious fight was a force to be reckoned with, both Masters using everything they knew and more to fight for the fate of the Galaxy.

And of course, the reason we all went to see Revenge of the Sith in the first place, the masterpiece that was the Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan battle. It’s flashy, it’s fast and it’s brutal. The two best friends who became brothers in arms, fighting side-by-side now fighting each other and it’s hard to watch from an emotional stand point. Ita a good ten minutes of film and there was some cut for time as well. The end when Vader is defeated and Obi-Wan shouts “You were my brother Anakin, I loved you!” is so gut wrenching, especially when Anakin responds “I hate you!!!” oh the tears.

Revenge of the Sith is without a doubt one of my favourites of the Saga, along with ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ it has been and will continue to be one of the ones I watch the most.

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#Collection Corner- Luke Skywalker Funko POP! Vinyl

Welcome to the first #Collection Corner post, or essentially it’s the same as the old #Toy Tuesday posts but now coming out on Fridays.

This week I am taking a look at six, yes six Funko Pop! Vinyl figures. Six Luke Skywalker Pops to be exact ranging from A New Hope all the way to The Last Jedi and boy are they great.

First up is Farmboy Luke from A New Hope wearing his Tatooine clothes. This was from one of the earlier waves of Star Wars Pop! Vinyls that Funko brought out. It has the basic pose that all the Pop! Figures had in the early waves. You have to give Funk credit when it comes to detail, the belt is fairly accurate and the lightsaber hilt looks spot on for its size and visibility.

Next up is the SWCE 2016 Exclusive (yeah right) Luke Skywalker Celebration, again in the usual Pop! pose this time wearing the outfit from the end of A New Hope and the one Luke wears in the current run of the Marvel Comics Star Wars series. Again the attention to detail is great and it goes well with the Han Solo SWCE 2016 exclusive. If only they brought out a Princess Leia to go with them… and a Chewie… oh wait he didn’t get a medal in the film, it was revealed in the Chewbacca mini-series from Marvel that he did get one but it was sent away to be resized… or just no love for Wookiee heroes. Just saying.

Next up is the second SWCE 2016 Exclusive Luke Skywalker, this time from The Empire Strikes Back, more specifically from after the duel with Vader. A slightly altered pose shows off Lukes missing hand and the detail is once again phenomenal, just look at his face, the black eye and those marks are not scuff marks, that’s to show his injuries. Yes it is that detailed. They could have gone all out and had his clothes torn as well but it’s a Pop! not a Hot Toys figure.

I’m really glad I didn’t hunt down the first Luke from Return of the Jedi where he’s just in his black outfit with the lightsaber, this one has much more going for it in my eyes. I love the paint detail on the poncho and again the lightsaber hilt is spot on detail-wise and at least it varies the collection a little bit.

Is it sad that I remember pre-ordering this Pop! or is it normal? I got an e-mail from Pop in a Box about pre-ordering the new wave of The Force Awakens Pop! figures and Luke and General Leia were both on that list. I had to limit myself so I went for Luke, it was the first figure of Luke from The Force Awakens and by hell or high water I was getting it. Then I had to wait… SWCE 2016 was approaching and I hoped it would arrive before I went so I could get Mark Hamill to sign it. Then two things happened to scupper those plans. It didn’t arrive in time and I saw how much a Mark Hamill autograph cost and figured I would want to buy some other stuff instead of spending all my money on another queue. Again, it’s the little details that make this figure stand out, the shading in the beard, the wrinkles on the face and the robot hand all look brilliant. It turned out that it arrived at my work on the first day of SWCE 2016.

And here we go with the last Luke in my collection, complete with weather vane and red Kyber crystal necklace. Ready to milk some Thala-Sirens and go fishing in his Ahch-To gear. Brilliant details once again make this a solid figure.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the latest Luke Pop! the Force Projection Luke from The Last Jedi, again it looks great and it would certainly “make a fine addition to my collection.”

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Life Debt Podcast Episode XIV – Parenting 1138: A Star Wars Guide to Parenting

The latest episode of the Life Debt Podcast is now live. You can listen to it HERE.

This week I bring the happy and positivity back to the podcast with Star Wars related stories involving my 15 month old Daughter and her adoration for everyone’s favourite little green Jedi Master, Yoda and one about The Last Jedi.

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My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Attack of the Clones

Full disclosure. This is not my favourite Star Wars film. In fact its my least favourite. But I still enjoy it. It’s just that sometimes I’ll struggle to watch it. Take my recent re-watch. I started it a couple of weeks ago. I watched about 45 minutes (around the Anakin/Padme picnic scene) the next time I put it on I got to Anakin searching for his mother.

I finished it a couple of days ago.

When it first came out I had already read the script and didn’t didn’t really have a problem with it, I was sixteen, I wanted to see the Battle of Geonosis so much, I was intrigued by Jango Fett, I was really excited to get more Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and Yoda fighting, top of my list.

I already had tickets booked to see it twice on opening weekend but I happened to be in town the day it opened, just in time for the first showing and my friend asked if we should go. I of course leapt at the chance and on that viewing… and the three other theatrical viewings I loved it.

But something changed. I had a bunch of the action figures, and that summer I sold them. I have never done it with figures from any of the other films. When the DVD came out, I had it in my hand and I actually had to decide between that and Spider-Man (the first Sam Raimi film). Of course I bought Attack of the Clones but it was touch and go for a moment there.

I wrote about it in an exam essay on how digital technology could help and hinder art. I wrote about the CGI in AOTC and by god I wrote way too much and pretty much ranted about the film, but then praised it for how the CGI made the whole story possible.

Even to this day, even though I have made my peace with the idea, I still can’t get behind the CGI Yoda. Puppet all the way, well the OT puppet. The Phantom Menace Yoda puppet was awful, thank god they changed it to CGI for the TPM Blue-Ray release.

When 2015 came around and I rewatched the saga in the April I came to the conclusion that AOTC is my least favourite of the Star Wars films. I have learned to accept the poor dialogue, CGI Yoda and the massively implausible love story and now watch it with my own mental prism, it’s a great story but its poor execution with a bit too much fan service for my liking.

Did we really need to find out about Boba Fett’s origins as a clone of Jango Fett who is the DNA basis for the whole Clone Army? Not really on my opinion. I liked the mystery of Boba Fett.

The Yoda/Dooku lightsaber fight. After seeing Revenge of the Sith I think I would have like to see the Yoda lightsaber reveal with him fighting Darth Sidious rather that Dooku. Have the Force duel by all means but the lightsaber duel could have waited.

The waste of Christopher Lee. I wanted to see so much more of him.

All of Anakin and Padme’s romantic dialogue. All of their scenes start with uncomfortable silences that seem to go on forever with pained looks on their faces. A tad over dramatic for my tastes.

The overuse of CGI. Still not as much as ROTS but on Blu-Ray the backgrounds look a bit cartoony. I know they looked amazing at the time but it’s not aged well.

But it’s not all bad is it. The Battle of Geonisis, from the beginning of the arena battle to when Dooku escapes Yoda is phenomenal. The Speeder chase is great fun. I really love Obi-Wan’s storyline, going off on his investigation.

Despite my gripes I really do enjoy this film but it’s the toughest one of the films for me, I just need to be in the right mood.

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