RECAP: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – E4: Cornered

Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen)
Image: Lucasfilm

Ah, Fridays. A day that has become synonymous with Star Wars as much as the months of May and December. Yes, we’re back again to discuss another great episode of The Bad Batch, that sees our heroes try to restock on supplies and face off against a very familiar foe. All while managing to display the best animation we’ve seen so far on a Lucasfilm Animation project.

As per usual, a quick reminder that this recap will contain spoilers for the episode and so if you haven’t caught up yet – please do not read any further! Well, watch the episode and come back, but if you need something to pass the time away, don’t forget you can watch our new discussion show The Bad Betches.

After last week’s exploration of Crosshair’s indoctrination, you’d be forgiven for assuming that this episode would audiences a brief respite from the action. Nope! Instead, we’re flung into a sprawling, gorgeous metropolis and have a prequel-inspired bounty hunter chase scene. After debuting in the first season of The Mandalorian, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) makes her first appearance in animated form. Ming-Na is no stranger to animation after having played Mulan for Disney, and it shows in her performance – which is utter perfection. 

The episode takes place on the moon Pantora, mentioned before in The Clone Wars, and is a Coruscant level beauty – a colourful city with elements of Russian architecture. The animation team really deserves to win an award for this episode, in particular, it’s definitely the best that Lucasfilm Animation has ever looked. We see The Bad Batch split up as they work to fix their ship, as well as pick up supplies for the foreseeable future. It’s a fun story beat that would usually be repetitive but is given a new lease of life through the lens of Clone Force 99 – soldiers who aren’t used to living life on the outskirts, making dodgy deals and trying to survive in this new environment. 

We do get to see more of the Galactic Empire’s expansion throughout the episode, although it’s not the core focus. It’s chilling watching these characters that we’ve grown to love over seven + seasons of the Clone Wars marching all together as Imperials – all sense of identity removed, and splashed in the identical white-clad armour. But what’s more frightening is seeing the citizens respond to this display with cheers and joy. To them, the Imperial forces marching through is a positive sign proving that war is over and that things are here to improve. It’s a great move on behalf of the storytellers to show us the reaction on Onderon and Pantora – both ‘saved’ by the Republic, but both showing a different response to the Empire’s occupation.

Hunter (Dee Bradley-Baker), looking for Omega
Image: Lucasfilm

Omega, still inquisitive as ever finds herself lost from the crew and into the seemingly safe arms of a kind stranger. And, just a reminder – don’t walk off with a stranger. Hunter catches up with Omega and the helpful woman who turns out to be Fennec Shand. It’s so much fun watching Fennec interact within this time frame and opposite clones, I wonder if she already had a professional relationship with Boba Fett at this point or whether that was just a fun story for her to tell him in the future. Either way, we get to see Fennec easily handle herself against the crew and it’s just by luck that they manage to escape. It’s not really a surprise to know that Ming-Na continues to kick ass in every conceivable format made available, but it’s still a joy to watch. 

We’d be remiss not to bring up Echo’s side adventure as he is sold off in disguise as a droid and is introduced to another cute array of Astromechs and a bossy Protocol Droid. Again, an array of non-humanoid characters that we’d die for despite only knowing them for a few minutes. There was some debate online whether it was rude of Hunter to let Echo be treated as a droid, given his traumatic experiences, but I doubt Echo would have gone with the plan if he was that against it – and the same with Hunter. It’s been a while since we saw them introduced in TCW, but I would have imagined that Echo and the group have bonded as much as he has with other clones we’ve seen in the series. It’s just a fun little comedic bit, where Echo gets to say “I know what I’m worth” – and you know what? Good for him.

Thankfully, The Bad Batch manage to escape with both their supplies and the knowledge that somebody is looking for Omega. But who would put a bounty on Omega’s head? The obvious thought would be the Empire, but why wouldn’t they have included the entire team? Perhaps it’s actually the Kaminoans, who as we all know have a long history working with Bounty Hunters. It adds another interesting layer to The Bad Batch’s current dilemma.

Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), facing off against the Bad Batch
Image: Lucasfilm

Overall, Cornered was a beautiful episode that displays some of the best animation displayed in Star Wars history so far. It also shows how The Bad Batch is an excellent conduit to look at the numerous ways the Galaxy changed so soon under the Empire’s grip, while being able to expand on others stories – whether that’s telling new ones with Omega or expanding on others, like with Fennec. 

Oh, And Another Thing: 

  • This episode was written by Christian Taylor – who wrote both the Mortis & Yoda arcs in ‘The Clone Wars’.
  • SNL alums and Star Wars fans Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam both appear in the episode as the Trader & Goatal/Depot Manager.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen Pantora, but not the first time we’ve seen the Pantorans. Of course, we met them in The Clone Wars Season One and in Revenge of the Sith, including Notluwiski Papanoida (played by George Lucas).
  • Shoutout to the Aqualish driver just chilling out to Space-Dubstep. We respect you.
  • How cute was the little Clone Trooper doll, designed to look like the Stormtrooper one that Jyn had in Rogue One? Can we have one…please?
  • This episode had a lot of AOTC vibes, with the sound design and visuals calling back to the chase between Obi-Wan/Anakin & Zam.
  • I think if The Bad Batch had a blue font moral at the beginning like The Clone Wars, this week’s one would be DON’T TRUST PEOPLE.
  • Where do you think The Bad Batch will head to next? – based on the trailer we’re still due to visit Zygerria and Captain Rex.

Ah, Fridays. A day that has become synonymous with Star Wars as much as the months of May and December. Yes, we’re back again to discuss another great episode of The Bad Batch, that sees our heroes try to restock on supplies and face off against a very familiar foe. All while managing to display … Continue reading RECAP: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – E4: Cornered

RECAP: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – E3: Replacements

The Bad Batch (Dee Bradley-Baker) and Omega (Michelle Ang)
Image: Lucasfilm

Isn’t it fantastic waiting for new Star Wars content again on a weekly basis? It’s just a joy being able to watch these brand new stories and escaping into a galaxy, far, far away. Yes, The Bad Batch returns with an episode that explores a family coping with their loss while trying to look after a new member. Lucasfilm also explores the darker elements of this period, not shying away from the brutality of the Galactic Empire.

As per usual, a quick reminder that this recap will contain spoilers for the episode and so if you haven’t caught up yet – please do not read any further! Well, watch the episode and come back, but if you need something to pass the time away, don’t forget you can watch our new discussion show The Bad Betches.

In our review for the show, we talked about how the Bad Batch continues the themes of Hope & Tragedy. Replacements continues that trend, with both the A and B plots exploring those elements through the members of The Bad Batch.

Firstly, the A-plot revolves around the core Bad Batch group finding themselves crash land on an uncolonized moon. After narrowly escaping from Saluecami, the Bad Batch’s ship was damaged and needs its power capacitor replaced. It should be a simple task, but things become complicated when a moon dragon decides to steal the capacitor for itself. It’s a fun introduction to the episode and explores the state of mind of the entire group. While they haven’t wanted to admit it (although Wrecker does eventually say what they’re all thinking), they’re still reeling from the loss of Crosshair. It’s nice to see how the show reminds the audience of the greater tragedy, that Crosshair is also a victim of the Empire.

The exchange between Omega and the rest of the crew also seems to indicate that there might be a chance to save Crosshair and bring him back to the family. It would definitely be interesting if the show turns into a rescue mission of sorts, utilising characters like Captain Rex to help save their brainwashed brothers. But ultimately, more interesting would be exploring what that actually means in this galaxy – particularly *after* you’ve done insidious actions while in that state. We’ll get back to that later.

Hunter (Dee Bradley-Baker)
Image: Lucasfilm

The show once again focuses on Omega’s intuitiveness and genuine awe of her brothers’ abilities – looking up to Hunter and his expert tracking abilities. When he’s knocked out by a brief encounter with the Moon Dragon, and also a lack of oxygen, Omega takes it upon herself to pick up the blaster and look for the creature herself. We still don’t know what Omega’s specific mutation or skillset is, but her perceptiveness regarding the world around her seems to hint at a mixture of all the Bad Batch’s abilities. Not to mention an empathetic streak, seen on full display when she encounters the creature, realises that it means no harm and only wants to snack on some delicious energy. Much like the characters of Ezra and Rey, one of the best parts of the newer Star Wars material has been the focus on connecting with nature and finding non-violent ways to deal with situations – they may be gone, but the Jedi would be proud.

Meanwhile, over on Kamino, The Empire continues to mess with Crosshair and deliberate over the future of the clone troopers. Here we meet Vice-Admiral Rampart (Noshir Dalal) in person, beaming after the successful launch of his code-chain initiative. It’s here he introduces his new project to Admiral Tarkin, ‘War-Mantle’ – in which an elite squad of recruited humans would be trained by Clones (such as Crosshair) in order to implement a smoother transition for wider recruitment. Tarkin, intrigued by the prospect gives this new Elite Squad the task of ‘dealing’ with Saw Gerrera’s forces on Onderon, attempting to see if this new group could follow through with an order.

The New Imperial Recruits
Image: Lucasfilm

Immediately, we are witnessed to some of the pomposity of these new Imperial soldiers. With one trooper, ES-01 implying that the clones can’t be as good as they make out if the Empire is scouting for troopers like him and his squadron. It’s a reminder of how the Clones themselves are a physical embodiment of the Galactic Republic still, and that some people in the galaxy would rather they were swept away with some of the other changes.

But for all the bravado of ES-01’s bragging, it’s how they deal with the mission at hand that sets them apart. While Saw Gerrera has left with some other members, the remaining members of his group are sentenced to die on behalf of the Empire. The Elite Squad attacks the group, and Crosshair murders the leader after she refuses to reveal the location of Saw. He then orders his troopers to kill the rest of the villagers before being refuted by ES-01 who seems disturbed by the prospect of murdering citizens. It’s an interesting look at how some of the people in the galaxy adapt to these changes – do you go along with every single order? – do you rebel?

Not that ES-01 gets much time to think about those ideas, Crosshair kills him and reminds his squad that “good soldiers follow orders”. A line that already felt heavy because of the audience’s relation to both Order 66 and the Fives Arc from The Clone Wars, now has even more weight to it. The following soldiers follow said orders – framed away as they begin to purge their supposed enemies. Kudos to Lucasfilm for following through with the darker aspects of the show, while following the idea of ‘implying, not showing’ is the better way to go with these sequences. Many pointed out that this might be too dark for children? But I think this has always been something Star Wars has never shied away from, whether it’s Owen and Beru’s bodies or Anakin in the temple.

Tarkin deems the mission a success and gives full control over to the newly minted Admiral Rampart – giving the Kaminoans some thought about their next actions. We see the amphibious cloners discuss how the Jango DNA source is naturally degrading with age, and how they may need a new sample to prove their worth to the Empire. Could this be from Omega? The Batch? Boba Fett?

Crosshair (Dee Bradley-Baker)
Image: Lucasfilm

One of the standout shots from the episode was when we see the new Elite Squad take up the bunker which previously housed the Bad Batch, with the others sharing some sort of comradery while Crosshair sits by himself – alone. While Crosshair’s actions are abhorrent and redemption arcs are difficult to navigate, it’s important to remember that this character is also a victim – being brainwashed by Tarkin in order to fulfil a darker purpose. And it’s these moments where you wonder if a piece of him is still reaching out, yearning to be with his brothers – but knowing it’s too late. We know in The Clone Wars, that Rex seemed to be very aware of his actions after the chip was removed, so it would be extremely interesting to see how Crosshair will react if the Batch does attempt to save him. If this first season details that journey, it could be very interesting to see Crosshair try to save others that have also gone down that path in future seasons – like Commander Cody.

Overall, Replacements was a great episode that utilises some fun Star Wars tropes, while focusing on how evil and relentless the Empire was – right from day one. It also does a great job exploring the complexities of Crosshair’s situation and potentially sets up this season’s core story arc – freeing and bringing him home.

Oh, And Another Thing: 

  • Admiral Rampart is back, this time in person! He’s voiced by Noshir Dalal – who you may know as Varko Gray from Star Wars: Squadrons & Charles Smith from Red Dead Redemption II
  • We get to see more of Wrecker being an adorable uncle, making a little room for Omega! Awww, bless.
  • But also, should we concerned about his head? Maybe it was just a bump from the crash, but what if it has something to do with his inhibitor chip? Maybe Wrecker will be Tech’s first patient with his new tool.
  • If Project ‘War-Mantle’ rings a bell, it should! It’s one of the projects listed in Rogue One when Jyn and Cassian are looking for Project Stardust.
  • Like Dave Filoni mentioned before, the Jedi helped the Clones identify themselves – not by their birth numbers, but by giving themselves names. While these new human troopers have foregone their own names to be rebranded as ES-01 or ES-04. Haunting.
  • I’m glad that The Bad Batch is continuing to explore the wider scope of the Empire’s formation and seeing different viewpoints from different characters. For some, like Rampart – it’s fantastic. For others? Not so much.
  • Did anyone else have major ‘ESB’ mynock vibes in this episode? – or even the ice-cave episode from The Mandalorian. I’ve yet to see anyone call this episode filler yet, but when it happens – I can’t wait to go full 501st on them:

Isn’t it fantastic waiting for new Star Wars content again on a weekly basis? It’s just a joy being able to watch these brand new stories and escaping into a galaxy, far, far away. Yes, The Bad Batch returns with an episode that explores a family coping with their loss while trying to look after … Continue reading RECAP: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – E3: Replacements

RECAP: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – E1: Aftermath

After what feels like forever since we last visited Star Wars, we finally have new content and on May 4th too! (Happy Star Wars Day to you, reader.) Yes, The Clone War may have ended but we are far from escaping this world just yet as The Bad Batch work their way out of one conflict and into our hearts. So, let’s get into it!

Although, just a quick warning – these recaps will be diving into spoiler territory. If you’re wondering what our non-spoiler thoughts on the premiere were, you can check out our review here.

 

Are you sure you want to continue? Last warning, forever will it dominate your destiny and all that!  Alright, come on then:

Wow. What a way to open up a new chapter in the Star Wars Saga.

Kudos to the team for the genius move of starting the show out as an ordinary episode of The Clone Wars. While many will continue to claim this is a continuation of that show (it isn’t), having Tom Kane and the opening graphic trick the audience into that belief before diving straight into the nitty-gritty of Order 66 and the end of the war was a brilliant idea. It lures the audience into a false sense of security before reminding them that this is a brand new story, that focuses purely on Clone Force 99’s view on the Republic becoming the Empire.

Not to mention the fact that we finally see a cameo appearance from Depa Billaba played here by Archie Panjabi, (aka Pinky from ‘Bend It Like Beckham‘) and young little Caleb Dume, once again portrayed by Freddie Prinze Jr. The story of how Order 66 happened for Caleb and Depa had been told in another format and in a different way, but I think we can forgive the creatives for wanting to once again demonstrate how devastating Order 66 by using a character that fans have a deep connection with. Although, even if you’re not aware that this child will one day become Kanan Jarrus, it’s still a very emotional sequence that also gives us a sense of how The Bad Batch is dealing with this strange new order.

Watching the Clone Troopers, who we of course we’ve grown to know and love in a more profound way through The Clone Wars series, become these automatons is heartbreaking. Maybe even more so now that we get to see this altered behaviour through the eyes of fellow Jango duplicates who aren’t being affected (The Bad Batch). It gives the audience even more of a connection with these characters because we are feeling the exact same way – apprehensive, worried, saddened. All of Clone Force 99 seems to be quite perturbed by this new order embedded in their DNA except for Crosshair, who tries to follow through with the order and kill the Jedi padawan. He later interrogates Hunter’s lack of loyalty, despite the fact the squad themselves were never too big on following the rules. Anyway, we see the team head back home to Kamino where things seem amiss – changes are already in foot, surprisingly fast.

What this episode nails from the get-go are the horrifying nature of the Empire. Palpatine doesn’t slowly introduce elements one by one or decides to introduce elements after he’s formed his Empire, he and others like Tarkin have planned this for years. So, it’s no surprise that they’re already debating the removal of Clone Troopers (citing costs) and already beginning to clamp down on planets that they had previously tried to help ‘liberate’. A point that is further delved into when the team are sent to wipe out Separatist Insurgents only to find out they’re the same villagers that were previously on their side, headed by Saw Gerrera. Saw is played once again by Andrew Kishino, who does a brilliant job at adding in subtle elements of Forest Whittaker’s portrayal of the character, helping to blend those two versions of the character together well. The mission further divides the team and Crosshair, whose inhibitor chip has been causing him to lose some of his free will.

We’re also introduced to the magnificent Omega (Michelle Ang), an inquisitive young girl and duplicate of Jango Fett. While the nature of Omega’s creation is still unknown so far, it was nice to see that the Kaminoans aren’t all bad after all. And the shared connection that some of the cloners seem to have with their creations was sweet to witness, especially as we’re also tuned in to automatically go against the Empire. It was also fun to watch Omega blend in with the rest of the outsiders, while the normal army mock derides them over their differences. But now we know the perfect way to defeat a group of brainwashed, clones of the most feared fighter in the galaxy – FOOD FIGHT!

It’s also a great idea of introducing a new member to the Bad Batch while losing another to the dark side, it helps add to the shake-up of the galaxy as a whole, while also giving these characters another key objective – protect their little sister.

Of course, the core crux of the episode is watching Crosshair’s struggle with his malfunctioning brainwashing chip and his role in this new galaxy. For the others, who haven’t been affected – it’s easy for them to vilify Crosshair. In fact, I guarantee most viewers will immediately feel angry about his actions in the episode. But if anything, it’s clear that Tarkin and the Empire are the real villains here, manipulating and forcing Crosshair against his will and own nature to become a brainwashed killing machine. Much like Bucky Barnes as ‘The Winter Soldier in the Marvel Universe, it’s easy to forget that under the brainwashing is someone struggling for their own will. But the creatives cleverly get around this by having Omega, the adorable empath openly says to him that she forgives him for what he’s about to do – because she knows it’s not his fault.

Crosshair’s journey is one of the most fascinating parts of this series and it will be interesting if we see a redemption arc for the character at all. In a way, I’m hoping that we don’t see it because it highlights one of the core themes of this time period – and that’s tragedy. Post ROTS, we see both Hope and Tragedy being key forces throughout the galaxy, and we see that both in Omega and Crosshair. One allowing the others to escape and bring some good into the Galaxy, the other a physical representation of how the Emperor has brainwashed countless worlds.

By the end of the episode, the show leaves the audience understanding that this is an entirely different show to The Clone Wars – those days have long gone, and like our other favourite heroes in this time period, it’s time for The Bad Batch to go on the run… 

Oh, And Another Thing: 

  • How horrifying was it watching the Clones all celebrate Palpatine’s speech from Episode III? Haunting. Also, very nice to hear Ian McDiarmid for the first time in TCW style, even if it’s Audio from the original movie.
  • Omega is just adorable, and it’s SO good to hear an NZ actress voice the character. It makes all the difference! – and to all those who doubted what accent that was and suggested this was a Palpatine clone, I want you to go to your room and think about what you’ve done.
  • Can we talk about Wrecker’s little cuddly bear? – what a sweetheart. Who’s your favourite member of The Bad Batch? Let us know in the comments below!
  • The Red Coruscant Guard *really* are that “it’s always you 3” Harry Potter meme, aren’t they?
  • Have no fear, we only need to wait 3 more days until the next episode of The Bad Batch! – get in.

 

After what feels like forever since we last visited Star Wars, we finally have new content and on May 4th too! (Happy Star Wars Day to you, reader.) Yes, The Clone War may have ended but we are far from escaping this world just yet as The Bad Batch work their way out of one … Continue reading RECAP: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – E1: Aftermath

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Series Premiere

The Bad Batch - Crosshair, Echo, Wrecker, Hunter & Tech.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is Lucasfilm Animation’s latest project, which focuses on Clone Force 99 (AKA: The Bad Batch) after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and the Rise of the Empire. First developed by George Lucas and Dave Filoni during the original The Clone Wars run, these troopers were designed to have specific genetic mutations to improve certain aspects/skill-sets. When Disney+ brought back The Clone Wars for its final season, the original episodes were completed and introduced the world to this intriguing and unorthodox band.

But, make no mistake – this isn’t a new season of The Clone Wars in everything but name. If anything, saying so would be a disservice to the storytelling being told in this new show. While the characters, art style and stories are lifted from the other show, The Bad Batch gets to focus on these specific characters and their outlook towards the end of the war and the sudden rise of the Empire. While the characters originated over a decade ago, this new show has Jennifer Corbett as head-writer and Brad Rau as supervising director – their energy and creativity are found all over the DNA of the show, helping to distinguish this as something fresh.

With the Bad Batch already being different from the other troopers we’ve watched over the years through Attack of the Clones through to The Siege of Mandalore, it’s fascinating watching these characters observe how their brothers and their sudden change in attitude now the war is ended. We’ve seen a little bit of this exploration in Star Wars: Rebels, but that was set many years after the events of Episode III. With this show, we get a direct look at how the Galaxy quickly adapts to this new world order and status quo, it’s haunting.

That’s not to say the show is 70 minutes of doom and gloom, that’s far from the case with Dee Bradley-Baker delivering such hilarious jokes and managing to somehow find a way to add more life and originality into these characters, despite having voiced *HUNDREDS* of them. With The Clone Wars, Rebels and Resistance under their belt, it’s no surprise that the animation throughout this premiere episode was absolutely on point, reiterating how this medium is not merely ‘secondary’ to the live-action content, but equal. Whether it’s the consistently rain beaten planet of Kamino or a jungle planet, every location is rendered brilliantly.

Like much of Star Wars, while you will be rewarded as an audience member that has watched The Clone Wars or consumed other media in a galaxy, far, far away – you don’t need to enter this story knowing every single detail. Even the story beats, which will have watchers jumping out of their seats, are crafted in such a way that it still delivers the necessary emotional and story-driven points that it wants to relay. This is a mark of great storytelling – putting an interesting story first and foremost. If it happens to connect to other parts of this world? Even better.

The Bad Batch introduces Omega, a curious and bright child who seems very inquisitive about the Bad Batch and knows all about their various exploits during the war. Omega is voiced by New Zealand actress Michelle Ang who delivers a wonderful performance, portraying both Omega’s caring and inquiring nature with such joy. While first appearing in this show, Omega is definitely going to be a character that fans fall in love with straight away and we wouldn’t be surprised if she rises up people’s favourite character lists. No pressure, Grogu!

Overall, much like the time period in which it’s placed, The Bad Batch is a story of both hope and tragedy. It’s a clever new entry in the Star Wars universe that knowingly takes audience expectations and turns it on its head rather quickly – emphasising how this time in the galaxy is equal parts frightening and exciting.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is available to watch on Disney+ starting today.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is Lucasfilm Animation’s latest project, which focuses on Clone Force 99 (AKA: The Bad Batch) after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and the Rise of the Empire. First developed by George Lucas and Dave Filoni during the original The Clone Wars run, these troopers were designed to … Continue reading REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Series Premiere

REVIEW: Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi

Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi, written by Charles Soule and published by Del Rey, kickstarts a brand new era in the Star Wars galaxy. The High Republic is a publishing initiative which tells multiple stories 100 years prior to Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, showing readers the Jedi during their heyday – looking after a relatively peaceful galaxy. These stories, which are being told through different companies such as Del Rey/Marvel/Disney Publishing, focus on how the Republic attempts to expand into the outer-rim – while facing a disaster hyperspace event and a new mysterious threat – the Nihil.

Light of the Jedi has a lot hinging on its success. As the first novel in this brand new period, I don’t envy Charles Soule’s task of introducing readers to this new set of characters & context for the galaxy in general. Thankfully, much like Soule’s work on other Star Wars properties (Marvel’s Star Wars, Lando, Darth Vader, etc), he manages to succeed and leave you desperate to read more about this period. The novel has an explosive opening that sets up the bulk of the problem that the Jedi have to face in the story, in fact, it felt almost like a Bond movie – with a pre-credits scene introducing how deadly these baddies can be.

Soule spends a good amount of time throughout the novel introducing this brand new age of Jedi, who resemble the noble keepers of the peace far more than the Jedi we see in the Prequel Trilogy (although one or two of those Jedi make appearances here). Reading about this diverse group of individuals who devote themselves to helping others just because it was the kind/right thing to do was actually really refreshing to read at the end of 2020, and no doubt a great way to kickstart off the new year. Of course, this is merely just coincidental – it was still uplifting to see how a galaxy could work together. It’s also an interesting reflection of the Jedi in Episodes 1-3, who feel very distant and distrustful of the politics of the Chancellor, whereas we see a more positive – almost symbiotic relationship between the Republic and these peaceful negotiators. Soule also introduces concepts very relatable to the prequel trilogy too, particularly regarding Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann, which is intriguing – especially if these enticing seeds plant into something bigger down the line.

The novel also sets up the villains of this new era, the Nihil – who feel very much like the pirates/highwaymen of the galaxy, with a post-apocalyptic twist that I’m sure would please George Miller. Much like the heroes of the story, Soule really diversifies these villains – they’re from different walks of life, class, species, but all with the joint goal of taking whatever they want, regardless of the consequences. In terms of criticism, you could argue that the Nihil feel very scattered and that their ramshackle existence feels very different to the specific goals of villains we’re used to like The Empire. However, I think that Light of the Jedi also acts as an origin for these villains as well – providing some extra context and fuel for later appearances. Thankfully, this story should grip you enough to follow through these other mediums/stories to find out what damage they will go on to cause.

I will admit that personally, I was very cautiously apprehensive about this new storytelling initiative. I love the storytellers chosen to bring these books and comics to life, but I wasn’t certain that I would enjoy the pre-skywalker saga stories. I can say without a single doubt, Light of the Jedi has removed all of these worries and I can’t wait to read more about these characters and their journey through the galaxy. Charles Soule writes an awe-inspiring entry that makes you fall in love with new protagonists, fear the new villains, and leaves you on the edge of your seat. I very much recommend picking up this book!

Star Wars: The High Republic – The Light of the Jedi will be released on January 5th, 2021 by Del Rey Publishing.

Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi, written by Charles Soule and published by Del Rey, kickstarts a brand new era in the Star Wars galaxy. The High Republic is a publishing initiative which tells multiple stories 100 years prior to Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, showing readers the Jedi during their … Continue reading REVIEW: Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi