The Clone Wars Rewatch: Boba Fett Sets a “Death Trap”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

42: “Death Trap” (Season Two, Episode 20)

“Who my father was matters less than my memory of him.”

A scene from "Death Trap."

Synopsis:

Determined to kill Jedi Master Mace Windu, young Boba Fett poses as a clone cadet and sneaks aboard a Jedi cruiser to plant a bomb in Windu’s quarters, but the plan goes awry.

Analysis:

You almost feel bad for Boba Fett here. A clone but not a clone trooper, son of Jango Fett but not really a son in the traditional sense.

A scene from "Death Trap." A scene from "Death Trap."

Orphaned and alone, he’s being raised up by the ruthless bounty hunter Aurra Sing to be little more than a killer without a conscience.

A scene from "Death Trap."

Posing as a common cadet to get his revenge on Mace Windu, the Jedi who murdered his father on Geonosis, as Lucky, he blends right in aboard the Jedi cruiser with the exception of his exceptional shooting skills.

A scene from "Death Trap."

A scene from "Death Trap."

Lucky looks harmless enough to invite pity from the clone troopers who lead him directly to Windu’s quarters and effectively (although inadvertently) help to lay the trap that kills one of their own.

A scene from "Death Trap."

But his anger leads to hate, and his hate leads to suffering — for Windu, for the soldiers aboard the Endurance, for the cadets who he and Aurra Sing left for dead, and for himself.

Traitor.

Intel:

  • When the Endurance suffers a hull breach, one of the troopers caught in the blast lets out a “Wilhelm scream,” a sound effect that dates back to the 1930s and has been used in every Star Wars film.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when R2-D2 saves the day in “R2 Come Home.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Boba Fett Sets a “Death Trap”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Framing the “Duchess of Mandalore”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

41: “Duchess of Mandalore” (Season Two, Episode 14)

“In war, truth is the first casualty.”

A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore."

Synopsis:

On Coruscant, word reaches Duchess Satine that Death Watch is mobilizing, sparking a Republic invasion. On the run from Republic authorities, Satine turns to her old friend Obi-Wan Kenobi for help.

A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore."

Analysis:

In a war embroiling the galaxy, Duchess Satine just wants her planet to be left alone. But those who would seek a tactical advantage by involving Mandalore in the conflict are not so content to allow it.

Seemingly betrayed by her allies, overruled by the Galactic Senate supplying a Republic occupation and an intervention that threatens her stance as a neutral system, Satine is the victim of a corrupt government.

A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore." A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore."

“Counting on the Republic is a mistake,” she says. From her place outside of the growing turmoil, she can see the first suggestion of the changes to come more clearly than those inside the conflict.

A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore."

Her character called into question, and finding herself framed for a crime she did not commit, Satine quickly goes from well heeled bureaucrat to fugitive on the run from the law.

A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore."

But her integrity wins out. She still has friends willing to help put the inciting message into clearer and appropriate context. And she has Obi-Wan, her dear friend (and nothing more), who comes to her aid in her darkest hour.

For the third time in this story arc, Satine and Obi-Wan find themselves back-to-back, united against an impending doom.

Although Satine successfully clears her name in the end with some help from Padmé Amidala and others, the threats are far from over. Death Watch remains and the war continues to rage around her neutral homeworld.

A scene from "Duchess of Mandalore."

Intel:

  • The Coruscant plaza in this episode was inspired by a Ralph McQuarrie concept painting.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Clone Wars Rewatch will be taking a break for Star Wars Celebration Chicago next week! Come back Thursday, April 18, when a young Boba Fett sets out to avenge his father in “Death Trap.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Framing the “Duchess of Mandalore”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Hidden Traitor on the “Voyage of Temptation”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

40: “Voyage of Temptation” (Season Two, Episode 13)

“Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.”

A scene from "Voyage of Temptation."

Synopsis:

Duchess Satine travels from Mandalore to Coruscant on a diplomatic mission, with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and a team of troopers to defend her from several assassination attempts. And aboard the luxury starship, Anakin discovers that Obi-Wan and the Duchess have a history together.

A scene from "Voyage of Temptation."

Analysis:

Obi-Wan Kenobi is so poised and reserved most of the time, the even-keeled master to Anakin Skywalker’s impatient Padawan, but here we get a glimpse at their similar hearts, and a deeper understanding of Kenobi’s struggles during his time learning from Qui-Gon Jinn.

A scene from "Voyage of Temptation."

As it turns out, Obi-Wan and Anakin have both grappled with the Jedi’s doctrine to avoid attachments. Although it’s unclear how much truth is in the confession “Obi” and Satine make to each other just before turning the tables on the traitorous Senator Tal Merrik, there’s certainly something in their history that’s been left unresolved and seems quite intimate. “Had you said the word, I would have left the Jedi Order,” he tells her. All the most believable lies include shades of the truth.

A scene from "Voyage of Temptation." A scene from "Voyage of Temptation."

You can see the way it weighs on Obi-Wan, perhaps as dormant feelings bubble back to the surface as he’s reunited with Satine. You can see it when the two fight, back to back once more, an unstoppable team united against the impending threat.

A scene from "Voyage of Temptation."

And this dichotomy, of master and apprentice as well as surface duties versus hidden emotions, is reflected in the goings on aboard the Coronet.

A scene from "Voyage of Temptation." A scene from "Voyage of Temptation."

For even as Satine enjoys some fine dining with her diplomatic cohorts, there is trouble brewing on the levels below.

Intel:

  • The roles are reversed in the turbolift as Anakin talks to Obi-Wan about his anxiety in seeing Satine. The pair had a similar conversation in Attack of the Clones just before Anakin was reunited with Padmé.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Obi-Wan and Satine are on the run in “Duchess of Mandalore.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Hidden Traitor on the “Voyage of Temptation”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “The Mandalore Plot”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

39: “The Mandalore Plot” (Season Two, Episode 12)

“If you ignore the past, you jeopardize your future.”

Synopsis:

Alarming rumors about the peace-abiding Duchess Satine of Mandalore prompt Obi-Wan to investigate the secluded planet. Satine wants to keep Mandalore neutral in the Clone Wars, but the actions of a violent splinter group — Death Watch — threaten to push the planet towards war.

Analysis:

A Jedi is forbidden from becoming too attached, but there’s clearly some kind of history between Duchess Satine and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The exact nature of it remains unclear, but their relationship now is strained by competing ideals and beliefs.

Satine is insistent on keeping Mandalore out of the conflict and remaining neutral. As a sworn keeper of the peace, shouldn’t Obi-Wan understand this commitment to impartiality to keep her people safe from the ravages of war?

But Obi-Wan knows that the time to be indifferent and stay out of the battle has passed the Republic by. He doesn’t have to agree with the war or the politics of the bloody confrontation to understand its necessity. Refusing to fight would essentially invite a Separatist victory.

On Mandalore, we see a microcosm of this greater conflict. The Duchess hopes to maintain the peace, but Death Watch, a small sect of extremists on the moon of Concordia, wants to return Mandalore to the ways of their warrior ancestors. To make their point, the renegades release an explosive device at a memorial shrine and show they are willing to die rather than undergo questioning. There can be no reasoning with that mindset.

Meanwhile, there’s a rumor that Satine is leading her people into an alliance with the Separatists, when the truth is that the Separatists are backing Death Watch and their secret leader Pre Vizsla, armed with the legendary darksaber.

Over the course of the mission, Satine and Obi-Wan challenge each other and prove to be stronger working together. Satine saves the Jedi’s life when his recon mission goes awry, and he returns the favor in kind, leaping to safety with Satine when an explosive device whizzes above their heads.

Their banter also shows a more vulnerable side to Obi-Wan, one he works hard to keep hidden. When Satine admonishes him to be patient, we see that the young Jedi Knight is still struggling with the ways of the order. Ironically, she uses the same directive Obi-Wan will utter so far in the future to young Luke Skywalker.

Intel:

  • The cubist-style painting in Pre Vizsla‘s meeting room is an homage to “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Duchess Satine heads to Coruscant on a diplomatic mission in “The Voyage of Temptation.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “The Mandalore Plot”

Star Wars Celebration Is the Place Where Hourly Miracles Happen

StarWars.com

Star Wars Celebration is a lot of things — a rolling party, a launch pad for news and announcements, the collectibles mall of your dreams — but I think of it as a beloved temporary community, one that reminds me just how fun being a Star Wars fan is and how generous fans are in sharing their passion for it. Most of the time, Star Wars is a background buzz amid the noise of normal life — a pop-culture reference, a bit of news, the sight of a stranger’s T-shirt or tattoo. But when we all come together for five days, that’s stood on its head.

What would be an odd coincidence the rest of the year becomes, improbably and blissfully, the norm. You don’t bat an eye to find yourself waiting for the bathroom behind Imperial officers or Jedi Knights. An R2-D2 rolling by, tootling and beeping, just means it’s Friday. The intergalactic Benny Goodman bop of the cantina band plays on a loop and this time it’s not just in your head. And rather than having to seek out your fellow devotees, you get to geek out about Star Wars as often as you want to and with as many people as you want to.

Chicago will be my sixth Celebration, but I love that I always forget all this — because it’s so much fun to be reminded.

The reminders start in the airport in New York — a Rey T-shirt here, an R2-D2 carry-on there. At some point it occurs to me that I’m racking up more Star Wars sightings than on a typical day, and then I remember why: Oh, that’s right, we’re all off to Celebration! Then there are more sightings on the plane. Maybe there’s a Star Wars ringtone or two before the cabin door closes; certainly there’s a buzz of excited conversation all around me. (Author aside: this is the flight I remind myself not to do work on, lest an accidental glance at my laptop screen give away some secret that needs to be kept for a few more months.)

Then there’s the airport at our destination, and the hotel, and by then you’ve entered the outskirts of anti-Mos Eisley, a wonderous hive of scrums and vivacity. There are old friends to meet and new friends to make, and the unexpected will soon become part of the program.

I’ve got about a million memories, but here are a few. Towards the end of Celebration London in 2016, I heard a Wookiee roar nearby while checking my text messages and barely reacted, only to realize how strange it was to hear that distinctive bellow and not think it was a big deal. I looked up and saw the source of the noise was a cosplayer standing next to me, in a very impressive Wookiee costume, checking his messages. Presumably his texts weren’t in Shyriiwook, though at Celebration you should never assume.

Jason Fry with R2-D2 at Star Wars Celebration.

Or there was a day in Anaheim in 2015 — at least I think it was Anaheim — where some friends and I decided to go for a walk and check out one of the giant ship props that had been constructed at one end of the exhibit hall. I was with my pal Chris Reiff, an amazing artist and talented droid builder, and he was controlling R2-D2, making everyone’s favorite astromech trundle alongside me. Without thinking about it — and entirely forgetting this was all Chris’s artistry — I fell into a conversation with R2-D2, who blooped and tweeted in response.

Celebration is where you can fall into conversation with R2-D2 like it’s no big thing — or with the fans around you in line for a panel or signing. (Maybe you’re not the best at small talk — I’m certainly not — but at Celebration it’s as easy as it ever will be. Start with “what Star Wars thing are you really excited about right now?” and go from there.) Celebration is where you can pose in the grip of a life-size rancor, making a goofy face, and then spot photos showing your favorite actor, filmmaker, or comic-book artist making that same goofy face — a great reminder that we’re all fans at heart.

Jason Fry on the Millennium Falcon with R2-D2 at Star Wars Celebration.

In Orlando in 2017, I was sitting with Kemp Remillard, a friend and ace illustrator with whom I’ve written Cross-Sections books for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Kemp and I were waiting to be interviewed onstage, at the center of a big crowd. That didn’t make me nervous, but what did make me a bit nervous was where we were waiting: they’d parked us at a perfect reconstruction of the game table from the Millennium Falcon, and all I wanted to do was play with everything. I tried to be cool about it, failed, looked up to say something and saw the same look of giddy amazement on Kemp’s face.

But here’s my favorite memory of all. In Orlando in 2010, I finished a panel and fell into an animated conversation out in the hall with a gaggle of fans. Our topic: what was the original, non-Jedi-trainee purpose of the helmet aboard the Millennium Falcon? Luke notes that with the blast shield down he can’t even see, let alone fight, and you have to admit it’s a good point. I was working on The Essential Guide to Warfare at the time and had a hypothesis about the helmet, one I wanted to field-test.

After some lively conversation, I suggested we move our impromptu focus group to the nearby Hoth Bar, where a libation or two might spark creativity. Ten minutes later, we were pondering the likely mechanism of the helmet’s visor when a guy dressed as Episode IV Luke Skywalker walked in. That’s not uncommon at Celebration, but we all went quiet when we realized that under one arm he had…that exact same helmet. When we (somewhat breathlessly) explained we were up to, he was happy to hand over his headgear for closer scrutiny and offer some theories of his own.

Jason Fry with a Hammerhead cosplayer at Star Wars Celebration.

And that’s the best part of Celebration — a generosity of fandom. Ask that cosplayer how she fabricated her perfect Baze Malbus ammo belt and I bet she’ll be happy to give you some tips. Same goes for the couple with the amazing porg tattoos that are exactly what you’ve imagined for your own arm. Or, as I discovered, for the guy with the mysterious blast helmet you really needed to see up close but thought you never would.

At Celebration, these encounters aren’t amazing once-in-a-lifetime coincidences, but hourly miracles. The sad part is knowing that all too soon they’ll be behind us; the happy part is remembering that before too long, we’ll get to gather again.

Star Wars Celebration Chicago will take place April 11-15 at McCormick Place. Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets and more info!

Jason Fry is the author of more than 30 Star Wars books and short stories, including The Weapon of a JediRogue One: Rebel DossierThe Essential Atlasand the Star Wars: The Last Jedi novelization.

Star Wars Celebration Is the Place Where Hourly Miracles Happen

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Padawan’s Pride and a “Lightsaber Lost”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

38: “Lightsaber Lost” (Season Two, Episode 11)

“Easy isn’t always simple.”

Synopsis:

On assignment in the Coruscant underworld, a pickpocket steals Ahsoka’s lightsaber and she must enlist the help of an ancient Jedi, Tera Sinube, to get it back.

A scene from "Lightsaber Lost."

Analysis:

As Tera Sinube says, “The value of moving slowly is that one can always clearly see the way ahead.”

In her excitement and drive to become a  formidable Jedi Knight, Ahsoka is always moving at a breakneck pace. She’s strong-willed and stubborn, much like her teacher, but in losing her lightsaber she gets a jolt to her system about the value of patience, something Anakin Skywalker is also still trying to master.

A scene from "Lightsaber Lost."

Who among us doesn’t struggle with slowing down and anxiety about trying to keep up? Tera Sinube, probably.

If we’re being honest, the ancient Jedi Master, not unlike Yoda in his calm, measured movements, at first seems old and slow. Ahsoka probably fears that bringing him along will put the brakes on her mission. But he’s an essential teacher at a time when she is lost, frightened, and desperate to reclaim her weapon (and her pride).

As Anakin is always reminding her, like his master reminded him, “Your lightsaber is your life.” Losing it leaves Ahsoka largely defenseless, although she still has the Force as her ally, and her wits about her. But there’s more to it than that.

A scene from "Lightsaber Lost."

Like the arms dealer they were tracking when they first arrived in the seedy underworld of Coruscant, Ahsoka feels responsible for whatever damage her lightsaber does even when it’s not in the palm of her hand. That guilt drives her mission, but it also stokes her anxiety while the ancient weapon remains just out of her grasp.

Is Ahsoka to blame for the havoc created by her lightsaber in the hands of another? Yes and no.

A scene from "Lightsaber Lost."
A scene from "Lightsaber Lost."

She’s not responsible for the actions of others, and she bears no burden for the choices they make. And it’s not her fault that the pickpocket snagged her weapon. She is the victim of that particular crime and she should not be blamed.

But perhaps by alerting her master to the problem immediately, they could have avoided some of the damage wrought and reclaimed the weapon much faster, long before the Twi’lek woman and her child were thrust into harm’s way.

A scene from "Lightsaber Lost."

Intel:

  • While Jocasta Nu is trying to help Ahsoka find her thief in the archives, they come across the familiar face of Brea Tonnika, one of the Tonnika sisters glimpsed in the cantina at Mos Eisley in A New Hope.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Obi-Wan Kenobi heads to Mandalore to investigate some alarming rumors in “The Mandalore Plot.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Padawan’s Pride and a “Lightsaber Lost”

Sharing the Saga on Disney Cruise Line and Star Wars Day at Sea

StarWars.com

It was the evening before Star Wars Day at Sea on my family’s Disney Cruise Line vacation, and my three-year-old son Jack was scouring the Star Wars section of the main gift shop. (This “section” was, in reality, a Star Wars shop all its own.) There were Darth Vader action figures and Millennium Falcon vehicles and exclusive droid toys, and much more. In an effort to do our best impersonation of good parents, and because our Big Suitcase was perilously close to the dreaded 50 lbs. airline limit, my wife and I told him that he could buy only one thing, with the caveat that we had power of approval. This made Jack’s decision all the more difficult and important, but he was agreeable to our terms, thankfully.

Like any three-year-old, Jack wanted almost everything he came across, except for toys of bad guys — he has an endearing quirk about only wanting the good guys. (Most of the time when he plays at home, the villains end up switching sides.) So we had to temper him a bit, but nothing he picked was really quite right; items were either not age appropriate (geared toward adult-collectors) or were just too big (sorry, Millennium Falcon). But then, I had a realization.

The first thing Jack asked for when we went into the store was a lightsaber. His face lit up when he saw them — several buckets and a wall’s worth — but I’d said no. I was worried he might hit his younger brother, who’s just nine months old, or act like, well, a three-year-old with it. (To be fair to him, he’ll actually be four very soon.) I stopped and thought about how old I was when I began playing with Star Wars toys and received my first lightsaber. It would’ve been right around his age, and I can still remember what it meant to me. Plus, what kid experiencing something called Star Wars Day at Sea should do so without a lightsaber in hand? I conferred with my wife, who agreed.

“Jack,” I said, calling him over. “You can get a lightsaber. Go pick one out.”

He beamed, running over to check out all the variations. While the traditional red-, blue-, and green-bladed versions were cool, he was wide-eyed with amazement upon picking up Ezra Bridger’s lightsaber from the Star Wars Rebels animated series. The blade extended. It made sounds. It was part blaster.

“I want this one!” he said.

A few minutes later in our room, we freed the toy from its package and Jack ignited his first lightsaber. It was a big moment. For him, but definitely for me, too.

See, a pretty amazing thing happens when you’re a Star Wars superfan and start raising a family: your relationship to the saga changes. And it changes in a rich, rewarding way. Star Wars is no longer something for me to experience on my own; it’s something for me to share and pass down. I’d never felt that more than in that moment.

A young fan with his lightsaber on Star Wars Day at Sea.

That was the really powerful and joyful thing about Jack getting his first lightsaber, and my family’s Disney Cruise Line and Star Wars Day at Sea experience overall.

Every saga has a beginning

Our early-February trip on the Disney Fantasy, one of Disney Cruise Line’s ships, was to be a seven-day journey through the Western Caribbean. My family — my wife Jen, our sons Jack (three) and Ben (nine months), and myself — had never been on a real vacation together. In fact, Jen had never been on a cruise before, and my last cruise was 20 years ago. Traveling with kids is never easy, and the change in time zone would, we knew, impact their nap schedules and most likely their behavior. (When kids are over-tired, they act like crazed rock stars. At least mine do.) So this was a big deal, and we really didn’t know what to expect.

Turns out, we needn’t have worried.

Even just leading up to Star Wars Day at Sea, our trip was filled with a feeling of family, discovery, friendliness — and definitely Star Wars. Going to the pool on the top deck was obviously a big draw; Jack would spend all day in the water if he could, a preference only compounded by the pool’s proximity to a massive screen playing Pixar and Disney movies. (Really, though, who wouldn’t want to watch Ratatouille on a sunny day, while in a pool on a cruise ship?) We took in the live, Broadway-style performance of Aladdin — Jack’s first time seeing a play or stage actors ever. He delighted in meeting Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, Daisy, and various Disney Princesses, either waiting in line or just having a chance encounter, which seemed even more special. Seeing how he and other kids react to these real-life versions of their animated heroes is enough to warm the heart of even the most Scrooge McDuck-like.

Resistance gear at Star Wars: Command Center at Star Wars Day at Sea.

A young fan in the Star Wars Command Center on the Disney Fantasy from Disney Cruise Line.

A young fan in the Star Wars Command Center on the Disney Fantasy from Disney Cruise Line.

We spent some time together in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, a large activity center designed for kids ages 3 to 12, and it’s really kind of incredible. There are craft stations, an interactive floor, a section dubbed “Andy’s Room” based on Toy Story, and immersive experiences with tablets, and much more. The highlight, for Jack and I, at least, is a stunning Star Wars area called Star Wars: Command Post, which looks like it was pulled right out of a Resistance base. It oozes detail, with weathered columns, exposed “wire,” and illuminated and interactive starmaps and interfaces, complete with clickable buttons. There’s a life-size, animated BB-8 that obeys the commands of Oceaneer instructors, as well as ship holograms that you can manually spin, and fantastic flight sims that are thrilling — they’re pulled straight from Star Tours — putting you in the cockpit of X-wings, Naboo starfighters, and more. “The great thing about all of our Star Wars programming in this space is that it’s ever-changing,” Alex Black, youth entertainment host at Star Wars: Command Post told me. “So every time a child or adult visits, the program might not be the same as it was beforehand.” I didn’t want to leave, never mind Jack.

As a young family, something we really appreciated was how much the experience seemed to be designed around two things: comfort and ease. For example, every family or guest is assigned specific restaurants and times to eat, putting you on a schedule — and your servers travel with you. This meant that by the second day, we didn’t have to ask for a small bowl and small spoon for Ben’s meals; they were waiting for us on the table when we arrived. We knew our servers and room attendants and they knew us, and even now, Jack still talks about Christian and Lea, hoping to see them the next time we go. “I think this is very different from any other cruise line,” Barbara Rota, hotel director, told me. “The fact that you have the same server and the same person that cleans your room, that builds an emotional connection. The intention is, really, to build memories.”

When we’d arrive at the various ports, we approached our excursions as mini day trips. You only have a certain amount of time before you have to get back to the ship, so we picked a simple activity and enjoyed ourselves. In Cozumel, Mexico, we walked around the markets of the local square, especially happy to pick up some charming $1 luchador toys; arriving in George Town, Grand Cayman, we made it a beach day; at Falmouth, Jamaica, we walked the port area and nearby neighborhood, and bought hand-made superhero toys and baskets. These little adventures made for an even more rewarding trip.

Still, Star Wars was never far away.

There are movie theaters aboard the Disney Fantasy, and each night would see a different Star Wars movie screened. Now, as I have two young kids, a 10 p.m. movie is officially Super Crazy Late for me. But I thought I should at least check out some of my favorite film of all time, The Empire Strikes Back, on the big screen, as a small appetizer to the main course of Star Wars Day at Sea.

Maybe just five minutes, I said to myself. Then, maybe until the end of the Battle of Hoth. Then, Okay, I’m leaving after the asteroid field.

Of course, two hours later as the credits began to roll, I got up out of my seat, exhilarated, and headed back to our cabin.

Star Wars Day at Sea

Here’s a little-known secret: Star Wars Day at Sea really begins the night before. While most of the activities aboard the Disney Fantasy are timed and scheduled for all to see and plan around, the kickoff of Star Wars Day at Sea is something of an Easter egg.

Darth Vader takes over the Disney Fantasy on Star Wars Day at Sea.

Thanks to a tip, I headed to the atrium just before 10 p.m. the evening before the big day. A musical act was playing, as they do every night, and a small crowd was gathering, including many in Star Wars attire. (As I’d find out, Star Wars fans who regularly attend Star Wars Day at Sea are in the know about this secret launch.) Then, it happened: when the clock struck 10, the band was cut off. The lights began flashing red, basking everything in crimson. The classic “Imperial March” began blaring gloriously over the ship’s sound system, and finally, Darth Vader himself appeared on the balcony, flanked by a squad of stormtroopers. He was taking over the ship — indeed, his enforcers soon began scouring the crowd for rebel spies — and Star Wars Day at Sea was officially here. Smiles were everywhere.

The next morning, we all donned Star Wars shirts (in Ben’s case, it was technically a onesie), had a quick breakfast and headed off for our first experience of the day: meeting the Sith Lord himself. While ominous music from Return of the Jedi played, Vader greeted us. “An unfortunate display of devotion to a lost cause,” he said upon seeing my rebel-centric shirt, which featured art from the Italian movie poster of Star Wars. We all gathered for a picture, Jack conveying a mixture of excitement and nervousness; after the photo, he began firing away with his lightsaber-blaster, saying to the villain, “Darth Vader, look what I have!” Maybe cuteness is the real way to defeat Darth Vader.

A young fan meets C-3PO and R2-D2 on Star Wars Day at Sea.

We’d then go on to meet C-3PO and R2-D2 together, followed by Chewbacca. Jack showed off his Jedi weapon again and, appropriately, gave the towering Wookiee a hug. Jen and I loved watching every second.

A Gamorrean Guard on Star Wars Day at Sea.

A stormtrooper walks the pool area on Star Wars Day at Sea.

BB-8s line up to race on Star Wars Day at Sea.

What’s especially fun about Star Wars Day at Sea, which I didn’t realize before experiencing it, is that the ship is truly immersed in Star Wars from morning until night. In all honesty, it almost feels like a day at Star Wars Celebration. There are fans in costume everywhere, Star Wars banners and decor, and aside from the character meet-and-greets, which are hugely popular, all kinds of Star Wars programming: an all-day “Porgs On Board!” scavenger hunt, Star Wars 101 for newbies, quote trivia for all ages in D Lounge, know-it-all trivia in O’Gills Pub, superfan trivia (which, toward the end, totally stumped me) in The Tube, artist Russell Walks appearing as a guest speaker, screenings of the entire prequel trilogy and Rogue One, character appearances and interactions on the pool deck, and on. Jawas would randomly approach people, looking to trade something, Gamorrean Guards would randomly walk the decks, and First Order officers would stop for photos, even though they had a distaste for all things Resistance. BB-8 races, in which fans race Sphero’s App-Enabled Droids, drew huge crowds, oohing and ahh-ing and cheering throughout. “Everything we do is put together with Lucasfilm,” Peter Hofer, cruise director, told me, explaining the authenticity of it all. Many people I spoke with said they picked this cruise because they were Star Wars fans, and it’s easy to see why.

A young fan draws porgs during Star Wars Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy.

But it was really important for me to experience this day with my family and with Jack, especially, so I picked activities that I thought would suit us. We went to the Star Wars Drawing Academy, in which everyone was given paper and pencils. We would be learning how to draw a porg via a video, hosted by a Disney animator. It was an interesting experience for me as a dad; initially, I tried to help Jack follow along to the instructions, while I also drew my own version of the famous Ahch-To creature. But eventually I just acquiesced and let Jack do his own thing. He paid attention to the video himself, and while he couldn’t match the exact example of the porg, I watched as he learned and illustrated in ways he never had before. When the instructor talked about drawing the body, he did so. He drew facial features. He drew little porg feet. He drew a lot. By the end of the class, everyone had drawn one giant porg; Jack drew a family. I was really proud.

A young fan flies a craft X-wing on the Disney Fantasy during Star Wars Day at Sea.

Later, we went to Disney’s Oceaneer Club for some Star Wars crafting, specifically ships and vehicles. We decided to make an X-wing — under the guidance of a youth entertainment host’s instructions, thankfully, because I would’ve had no real idea of what I was doing. It was simple enough that both Jack and I could play a part; I set up the frame of the ship, Jack picked the purple foam tape and applied it. When it was complete, he instantly started flying his starfighter around the room, clearly excited that this ship was something he created. Then, it was on to dinner.

Star Wars Day at Sea menu.

Dessert with Han-in-carbonite chocolate at Star Wars Day at Sea.

Our last real Star Wars activity as a family for the day, dinner was Star Wars-themed in ways both subtle and overt, and always fun. The menu looked like a datapad, with a super-cool lenticular effect and written partially in Aurebesh, featuring meals inspired by locations (and characters and creatures therein) from the saga. There were “Bantha Steak Empanadas” (made with finely chopped beef), “Marinated Opee Sea Killer” (dill-marinated shrimp on iceberg lettuce with gooberfish caviar, cucumber, lemon, and cocktail sauce), and “Lord Vader’s Nerf Steak” (a rib-eye), to name but a few. The kids menu doubled as a Chewbacca mask. For dessert, I’d heartily recommend Han Solo’s Frozen Carbonite Sundae.

The day closed with Star Wars: Summon the Force, a huge gathering on the top deck that included hundreds of fans, characters from across the saga, and finally, a beautiful fireworks display to the sounds of John Williams’ score. I couldn’t think of a better ending.

The saga continues

The last day of our journey, following Star Wars Day at Sea, was spent at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. It was a relaxing, beautiful, and gloriously BBQ-filled way to complete a trip that we will not forget.

Though the cold rain that awaited us in San Francisco was certainly a sign that we were back to reality.

Since we’ve been back, I’ve been thinking more about our time on the Disney Fantasy and how I relate to Star Wars now, after this trip. We go on vacations with family, and we take joy in sharing the things we love, like Star Wars, because of the connections they form between us and the ones we love. A meal here, a smile there, a laugh, a good conversation.

So for us to have our first vacation include Star Wars, and give us memories around it, is just incredibly meaningful for not just me, but all of us. The proof? The week we returned, Jack’s daycare had “Share Day,” in which students bring in something for show and tell. Jack didn’t bring in his usual toy or stuffed animal.

He brought in his handmade X-wing.

A family meets Chewbacca on Star Wars Day at Sea.

Visit the official Disney Cruise Line site for more on Disney Cruises and Star Wars Day at Sea.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Sharing the Saga on Disney Cruise Line and Star Wars Day at Sea

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Captain Rex and “The Deserter”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

37: “The Deserter” (Season Two, Episode 10)

“It is the quest for honor that makes one honorable.”

A scene from "The Deserter."

Synopsis:

When General Grievous is shot down over Saleucami, Obi-Wan leads an expedition into the wilderness to find the droid general. Captain Rex is injured during the search, leading to the accidental discovery of Cut Lawquane, a clone deserter.

Analysis:

Born and bred for battle, neither the Kaminoans nor the Republic intended for the clones to have autonomy and the freedom to choose. But in the aftermath of the Battle of Geonosis, Cut Lawquane chose to run. “I was just another expendable clone, waiting for my turn to be slaughtered in a war that made no sense to me,” he says.

Disillusioned with the futility of war, living a life that felt devoid of all meaning, and watching his brothers being senselessly killed, Cut chose to be free.

A scene from "The Deserter."

In discovering the deserter, Captain Rex must confront aspects of his own personality, thoughts he’s tried to ignore. As Cut puts it, “I’m as close to you as any lifeform can be.” If he could, would Rex choose a different life? Is it a thought that crosses every clone’s mind at some point?

A scene from "The Deserter."

The clones swear an oath to the Republic, but even that pledge is something that’s ingrained at such an early age it can’t really be called a choice. They have a duty to uphold as soldiers in arms, but again, it’s not something they sign up for so much as it’s something they’re born into.

Among the ranks, there are hints of unrest. Clones seek out nicknames, face tattoos, unique hair, anything to distinguish themselves from the other faces that look exactly like their own. They’re not content to be part of a mindless, identical hive of fighters.

A scene from "The Deserter." A scene from "The Deserter."

Most of them soldier on. They stop short of asking too many questions about what it means to be individuals, whether or not they deserve the right to choose their own path, to decide against killing and demonstrate compassion instead, or fight for something they love.

A scene from "The Deserter."

Rex routinely demonstrates an unimpeachable allegiance to the Republic, and there’s no question of his loyalty. But looking at Cut, his life, his family, Rex must confront his options both as an individual and a soldier. He has to at least consider Cut’s decisions, an alternate path that shows what his life could be. And he has to consider his sworn duty. If he followed strict orders, he would turn Cut in for the deserter he admits to being.

A scene from "The Deserter."
A scene from "The Deserter."

In this case, Rex exercises his own freedom to choose. Healed and rested, he goes back to the frontlines, but Cut and his secret are safe from prying eyes. In the end, Rex’s allegiance is ultimately to what he feels is right.

A scene from "The Deserter."

Intel:

  • Supervising Director Dave Filoni and the animation team took great care to make sure their dejarik table looked and moved just like the stop-motion version created for A New Hope.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when a pickpocket steals Ahsoka’s ancient weapon in “Lightsaber Lost.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

https://www.starwars.com/news/the-clone-wars-rewatch-the-deserter

From a Certain Point of View: What’s the Best Episode of Star Wars Rebels?

StarWars.com

One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, two StarWars.com writers mark the anniversary of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels, one year ago today, by defending their favorite episode in the entire series.

Ahsoka in "Twilight of the Apprentice."

“Twilight of the Apprentice” is the best Star Wars Rebels episode, says Amy.

“I am no Jedi.”

With those words, Ahsoka Tano stood opposite Darth Vader, a grim and determined expression on her face. She’d seen the undeniable truth: Anakin Skywalker, her former master and friend, was no more. Her pain was our pain. Their reckoning was an encounter Star Wars: The Clone Wars fans anticipated from the moment the TV series was announced. But it’s only partially why “Twilight of the Apprentice” is the best episode of Star Wars Rebels.

Ahsoka’s character grew leaps and bounds in front of our eyes over the two-part Season 2 finale. She traveled to Malachor and confronted Maul before she crossed paths with Darth Vader. And once she battled the Sith Lord, she broke through her anger and promised she wouldn’t leave him again — even if no trace of Anakin remained. Every decision she made in the episode rang true and had an effect upon her (which we’d eventually see in Season 4) and the crew of the Ghost.

The superb writing extended to Ezra, Kanan, and our old friend Maul. This was not the same Darth Maul we knew. Not exactly. He was older, with a jaded attitude toward the Sith. Yet, he was more like Palpatine than ever, manipulating Ezra into trusting him and doing his bidding. It’s Maul at his most haunting as we watch this familiar face scheming anew, downtrodden but certainly not defeated.

Then we have Ezra and Kanan and their continuing evolution as makeshift Padawan and Jedi Knight. Kanan constantly questioned himself as a teacher to this point in the series, and when Ezra placed his faith in Maul, it gave weight to all of Kanan’s self-doubt. Their relationship changed permanently after “Twilight of the Apprentice.” Kanan lost his eyesight because of Maul, a physical and mental blow, and Ezra found a new respect for Kanan. The dynamic shifted between them as they departed Malachor. They became closer; they both matured.

And as usual, Kevin Kiner’s gorgeous compositions underlined each emotional beat. “It’s Over Now” and its heroic, melancholy tones played over the last few scenes; the audio cue helps a perfect episode stick a perfect landing.

Hera and Kanan in the "Siege of Lothal."

“The Siege of Lothal” is the best episode, says Jamie.

I’m a firm believer that the beginning of the story is more interesting than the end. Where characters begin their journeys is far more compelling than where they end up. Sure, the road can be engaging and dramatic and inspiring, but the promise of an unknown trip that lies ahead is downright exhilarating.

So, when tasked with naming the best episode of Star Wars Rebels, my natural inclination is to return to the beginning of the series. And I very nearly chose “Spark of Rebellion,” which kicked everything off.

However, I’m instead going with the two-part story that began the second season — “The Siege of Lothal” — which, as it turns out, provides a convenient bookend counterpoint to Amy’s choice.

As Ezra says, “I guess there is no going home.”

The first season of Star Wars Rebels introduced the characters, established their corner of the galaxy, and explained — to a certain degree — how their story fit into everything we already knew. But the stories were still mostly isolated. The show felt like an island in the Star Wars universe. Ezra, Kanan, and the gang mostly stayed on Lothal and assumed they were fighting a very small war against the Empire on their own.

The second season kicked down the door of storytelling possibilities, and it all began in “The Siege of Lothal.” The crew of the Ghost is finally forced to leave Lothal. They recognize they’re part of a much larger rebellion, and the show’s horizon widens exponentially.

“We’re fighting a bigger fight. But it’s still the right fight,” says Hera.

“Best” is such a subjective concept, but “The Siege of Lothal” succeeds so very well at almost everything is sets out to do.

After a season of standalone stories, this episode catapults Star Wars Rebels into the galaxy we all know and love. We’re given solid connections to both The Clone Wars and the first six episodic films, and we’re set up for a longer, more complex story that has the freedom to play out over many episodes.

As great as the core cast is here, it’s Darth Vader who steals the episode and brings it to the next level. This isn’t the obsessed, primed-for-redemption Vader we know from the original trilogy. This isn’t the reckless, conflicted Anakin Skywalker we know from the prequels and The Clone Wars. This is Darth Vader in all his terrifying glory.

James Earl Jones delivers a straight-up evil Vader we hadn’t yet seen (and wouldn’t until the climax of Rogue One). Our heroes feel like they’re in genuine peril. I defy you to watch Vader’s effortless fight against Kanan and Ezra — the scene where he lifts the crashed walkers off himself in particular — and not get chills.

And with this episode, Ahsoka finds her singular purpose, which could only belong to her. The “meeting of the minds” and mutual recognition she has with Vader is one of the episode’s most powerful scenes, and it sets up so many storytelling possibilities.

Plus, we’re blessed with the magnificence of Lando Calrissian and Billy Dee Williams. Need I say more?

“The Siege of Lothal” makes us giddy with anticipation. It sets the stage for so much of the action and drama to come. Which is why this two-parter is the best the series has to offer. Because of the possibilities it sets up. Because of the connections it makes. Because it raises the stakes. Because it shows us what Star Wars Rebels wants to be — a show that tells meaningful stories about relationships, oppression, and resistance on an intimate level. And because it establishes the beautiful, emotional, thrilling ride the series would take us on for the next three seasons.

Amy Ratcliffe is obsessed with Star Wars, Disneyland food, and coffee. She’s the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy and a co-host of the podcast Lattes with Leia. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.

Jamie Greene is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He’s also a contributor to GeekDad and runs The Roarbots, where he focuses on awesome geeky stuff that happens to be kid-friendly. On top of that, he cohosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates geek culture by talking to people who create it. With two little ones and a vast Star Wars collection at home, he’s done the unthinkable: allowed them full access to most of his treasure from the past 30 years, opening and playing with whatever they want (pre-1983 items excluded).

From a Certain Point of View: What’s the Best Episode of Star Wars Rebels?

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “Grievous Intrigue” High Above Saleucami

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

36: “Grievous Intrigue” (Season Two, Episode 9)

“For everything you gain, you lose something else.”

A scene from "Grievous Intrigue."

Synopsis:

Jedi Master Eeth Koth is taken hostage and tortured by General Grievous. Although Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Adi Gallia devise a daring rescue plan, they soon realize the General has a plan of his own. Soon, the Jedi Knights and the Separatist general must try to outmaneuver each other in a ship-to-ship and hand-to-hand battle high over the planet Saleucami.

A scene from "Grievous Intrigue."

Analysis:

Amid the epic lightsaber duels and harrowing rescues, there’s a moment where everything slows down and it’s just two foes talking things through.

A scene from "Grievous Intrigue."

There’s no love lost between Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Grievous, and this is far from their last tangle. But Kenobi’s assessment that Grievous is little more than Count Dooku’s “errand boy” seems to wound what’s left of the cyborg’s ego.

More machine now than, well, whatever he was to begin with, Grievous often seems devoid of emotion. He’s cold and calculating, as comfortable clawing his way across a command deck on two mechanical legs as he is scurrying like a spider through the hallways. The last remaining vestiges of his organic form seem to be capable of exhibiting only the most primal survival instincts — fight and flight.

A scene from "Grievous Intrigue."

He commands a massive droid army, but as Kenobi points out, is that much of an accomplishment? “An army with no loyalty, no spirit, just programming. What have you to show for all your power? What have you to gain?”

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the monster Grievous has become. Almost.

A scene from "Grievous Intrigue."

Intel:

  • Commander Wolffe looks a bit different than the last time we saw him. At some point, he suffered an eye injury and was given a cybernetic replacement.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when the hunt for Grievous continues on the surface of Saleucami in “The Deserter.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “Grievous Intrigue” High Above Saleucami