A big announcement

I never got into blogging for fame, fortune or awards. I got into blogging for one simple reason, to get the things in my brain out. This way I can limit the sports and Star Wars talk with my wife and children (although I do talk Star Wars with our sons.) With that in mind, I am set to embark on a new journey and wanted to break the news here because it will affect some of the content at The District. I am stopping all Star Wars content here, because I have been offered and accepted a writing position at Culture Slate.

I have been blessed writing about the NFL (Detroit Lions) and have been able to do some really cool things, such as being invited to attend the Lions Legends Camp  another I did not set out to do.

With Culture Slate I will be bring you, the reader the best possible Star Wars content. I have to, because the site is affiliated with the “Mouse.” You know the “Mouse?” Mickey Mouse…….. Disney who happens to own the rights to Star Wars and Marvel.

I am not even going to kid you. I was both beyond excited and horrified at the same time. How does a person living in Columbus Ohio, get and interview with HR at a site that is connected with Disney? To drive home the fact that this was not a joke, Culture Slate is based in Los Angeles California.

I trust the person who interviewed me knows what they are doing. There are days I publish a blog and feel like it is not my best offering. There are some times I publish and feel pretty good about the content. This is different. This is big.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – JUNE 16: Fireworks explode over the castle at an event to mark the first anniversary of the opening of Shanghai Disneyland on June 16, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

I say that and yet I feel little to no pressure and I do not even have a big ego. I must say it will be a little odd to have inside informants and get Star Wars news before anyone else while keeping it a secret but cool at the same time.

I want to thank the loyal Star Wars fans who have read my blog over the years. Please head to Culture Slate and check out my offerings there very soon. For the Detroit sports crowd, I’m still here and ready to up my writing game.


Why now is the time to watch or re-watch Star Wars Rebels

Dave Filoni was one of the executive producers of Star Wars Rebels, which now seems more relevant than ever given current Star Wars content. The fan favorite show quickly made it’s way into the hearts of Star Wars fans, taking place 14 years after Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith and 5 years before Star Wars, Episode, IV, A New Hope, at a time when the Empire had full grasp of the galaxy.

With a very original trilogy feel to it, Rebels (as it is known to the fan base) also has a newer feel to it which gave it great balance along with new characters. Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger, Ashoka Tano, and Grand Admiral Thrawn who were the main focus of the show. Keep that in mind.

The show did not overshadow the original trilogy characters, instead it created a more layered story to the entire Star Wars arc. Even roughly 15 years after Rebels aired, current Star Wars content is circling back to the show and it’s characters.

STAR WARS REBELS – “Steps into Shadow” – Led by a more powerful Ezra, a rebel mission goes awry, and Kanan returns to help the Ghost crew. Grand Admiral Thrawn emerges as a new threat. This episode of “Star Wars Rebels” airs Saturday, September 24 (8:30 – 9:30 P.M. EDT) on Disney XD. (Lucasfilm via Getty Images)

Now, let’s circle back to Ashoka Tano and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Thrawn.) With Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi set to be released this year and possibly The Mandalorian Season 3, it seems likely Ashoka, will be released some time in 2023.

We know from Season 2 of The Mandalorian, Ashoka has set out to find, you got it none other than Thrawn. What is unknown at this time is if some of the other crew (Ezra, Wren, Kanan Jarrus, Chopper, Zeb Orrelios) of the Ghost will be making an appearance.

Given the way Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have brought the likes of Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker back it would not surprise anyone to see other beloved characters brought back as well. A side note Dave Filoni, voiced Chopper (a droid) on Rebels.

BURBANK, CA – MARCH 28: Producer / Director Dave Filoni attends the “Star Wars Rebels” season 2 finale at The Walt Disney Studios on March 28, 2016 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

The fact that both Ashoka and Thrawn are directly from Rebels lends to the thought there very could be other’s from the show making an appearance as well. Which would bring more joy to Star Wars fans as well as continue to layer the overall Star Wars story.

Star Wars and the Book of Ephesians

Star Wars is a fantastic movie franchise that is loved by people worldwide. The Book of Ephesians is the bible’s answer to how we must face trials, uncertainty and evil, something that Star Wars offers. So let’s take a look at how both can easily be intertwined as there truly is a connection between the two.

Bible opened to Ephesians 6:11

First off, I do not think nor believe George Lucas was thinking about The Book of Ephesians when he was writing the original screen play for what would become Star Wars.

Ephesians 6:10-17, 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

So in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is trained to be strong in the Force, which is described as well the Holy Spirit, Obi-Wan Kenobi says “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” Much like Luke we need to daily become more aware of the Force (God’s Holy Spirit.)

Through the first three Star Wars films Luke realized his struggle was not against the flesh and blood of Darth Vader, But against spiritual forces of evil (Emperor Palpatine.)

Luke was basically taught to stand his ground for good. He did not want to fight his father, and was craving a peaceful resolution. Sometimes we need to fight for that in our own lives.

American actor Mark Hamill and British David Prowse on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi directed by Welsh Richard Marquand. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Luke knew the truth, He stood up and for that truth even when facing evil. There is a lesson for us there. Sometimes we have a hard time identifying when evil is present. Yet, if we stand with the Helmet of Salvation on and are calm and lean into the Holy Spirit we will know.

Like Yoda told Luke, “You will know the good from the bad when you are calm, at peace, passive.” Now I leave you with this from the Book of Philippians, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Put your Armor on today.

Why Palpatine actually worked in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Few things in life workout. Diets, getting fit, taking more walks all seem to fade away. Star Wars fans hope the same happens with the sequel trilogy. While I do agree on many points that the trilogy is, well bad, I also think it has some alright moments, such as Rey and Kylo Ren’s lightsaber duel in the snow and Luke Skywalker’s “Jedi pimp” shoulder dust off in The Last Jedi. I also happen to think that Palpatine coming back in The Rise of Skywalker worked. Here is why.

By now you know Palpatine killed his former master, Darth Plagueis. Plagueis wanted to find immortality in the worst way. Palpatine would kill Plagueis and figure out how to cheat death.

The fact that Palpatine did cheat death overshadowed most of the other characters so the story really did not end the Skywalker arc of Star Wars like fans wanted. Instead it closed Palpatine’s who suddenly took center stage.

Yet, it did work having Palpatine in the film it gave Plagueis a real backstory and allowed Palptine to be the villain Star Wars always needed but kept killing off. It also showed just how powerful the Sith Master was.

Showing up in the first few moments of The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine had always been waiting. Biding his time and arranging things to happen how he saw fit. He did not care that Kylo Ren wanted to kill him. After all he had already died and cheated death.

This was about ending the Jedi once and for all. By this point Palpatine was bent on Sith supremacy throughout the galaxy. Again with many things wrong with the entire trilogy, this was one thing I felt and still feel was actually good.


Christmas 2021 Star Wars gift ideas

It is that time of year again. It is also coming down to crunch time. Soon Christmas 2021 will be upon us. You’ve made a list or two and quiet possibly revised it a time or two. Yet, there always seems to be a person who shopping for seems to be a challenge. If that person is a fan of Star Wars your in luck. But again the clock is ticking so let’s get started and look at what could be the ideal gift for that special Star wars fan.

CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: Prop lightsabers on display during Star Wars Celebration at McCormick Place Convention Center on April 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/FilmMagic)

I stumbled onto a fantastic place to shop on social media (Instagram and Twitter) and you can do it online! Heroes & Villains offers some great Star Wars clothing options as well as accessories such as water bottles, beanies, hats and other items. It is well worth checking out.

If the Star Wars fan in your life likes or loves art as much as I do your in luck. The Art of The Mandalorian Season 2 is out just in time for Christmas. Being the owner a many of the Star Wars Art of books, I am looking forward to this one. concept art, concepts that never became anything more that cutting room covering, the Art of books are outstanding.

Journals make great stocking stuffers. There is no shortage of Star Wars journals to pick from. Even if the person does not like journaling, this gift could be the inspiration they need to get started.

If you have a child or an child-like adult (see me as an example) then perhaps a plush Grogu is needed to complete a Star Wars room or just for fun. One of the star’s of the hit show The Mandalorian is a great gift idea.

If you have a person who enjoys Lego’s once again Star Wars comes up clutch. From ships to planets Star Wars Lego’s are awesome. They will also keep that special someone busy for a while.

Plush toys of Star Wars characters are displayed for sale in the Black Spire Outpost Marketplace prior to the unveiling of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney Co.’s Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. The 14-acre project is the largest-ever addition to the park and the most hotly anticipated new attraction to open at the resort in decades. Disney designers aimed to build a place where Star Wars fans can walk into their own intergalactic adventure. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

You say, those items are nice and all, but what about some jewelry? Star Wars has you covered. From rings, necklaces and earrings there are plenty jewelry options to chooses from.

There are many more gift ideas Star Wars related. But, again the clocking is ticking and time is running down. May the Force be with you!

Will favorite Star Wars characters make and appearance in The Book of Boba Fett

When we last saw Boba Fett it was in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Now the hotly anticipated Book of Boba Fett release is just around the corner (December 29) it begs to ask, will we see any favorite Star Wars characters pop up in the show? Like Luke Skywalker, Grogu or Thrawn? It would make sense if that was the case.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – OCTOBER 16: Side Show Collectibles’ Grogu from “The Mandolorian” on display at the 7th Annual Halloween Hotness: “Stronger Together” To Benefit The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital held at Madame Tussauds on October 16, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Luke Skywalker took Grogu at the end of Season 2, presumably to train him in the way of the Jedi. If one or both were to show up in The Book of Boba Fett it would have to fit two story lines in order to become one.

A character like Thrawn is not just a throw-in for the sake of putting someone cool into a show. For those unfamiliar with Thrawn, is along the lines of Thanos in Marvel, or the Joker in DC. In other words Thrawn is a big deal.

In fact the focus probably should lean more towards Thrawn. Simply because  Ahsoka Tano was also in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Tano would lead fights against Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels. Because Ahsoka is getting her own show and because she (if you recall) was looking for Thrawn in Season 2 it would fit the story line.

That said if Mando (The Mandalorian) did swing a deal with Fett that he would keep close tabs on Grogu as he was being trained by Luke then it is possible he also could turn up or both could when streaming starts in a couple weeks.

STAR WARS REBELS – “Kindred” – Tracked back to their hidden base by a mysterious Imperial agent, the rebels must trust some seemingly dangerous native creatures, who are far more than meets the eye. This episode of “Star Wars Rebels” airs Monday, November 6 (9:00 – 9:30 P.M. EST) on Disney XD. (Lucasfilm via Getty Images)

So here we sit waiting out the days until The Book of Boba Fett is release. All we can do is speculate and perhaps allow fandom thoughts to override our thoughts an imagination.

Star Wars allows us to do that, it’s part of the Force.


Writing challenge day 11: The Rise of Skywalker

The final chapter in the Skywalker era of Star Wars was the exclamation point to the failed sequel trilogy. JJ Abrams failed to save the three films and instead left a mess for Disney to clean up. The Rise of Skywalker is such a hot mess and so bad. Here is why.

ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 16: New Storm Troopers on Day One of Disney’s 2015 Star Wars Celebration held at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

In all fairness the movie starts alright. Emperor Palpatine is alive, well he cloned himself. It turns out the he has been pulling the strings the whole time. Waiting to revive his empire for “the final order.”

Rey still training to be a Jedi. The small band of rebels need to attack Palpatine and choose to do so on the Sith planet of Exegol where the Sith Lord has been devising his plan.

The film is so clunky that a semi decent middle of the movie still misses the mark. There is a nice Rey vs Kylo Ren water lightsaber battle. Also a rather ho-him attempt at a tear jerking  moment between Ren and Han Solo.

The Rise of Skywalker cracks under the pressure to save the trilogy after the mess of The Last Jedi. The worst possible moment came when Rey decided she was going to be a Skywalker.

So now, characters can be whoever they want to be? Other than be trained a little bit by Luke and Leia she had no ties to the Skywalker name or family. It simply did not fit, did not work and again angered the fan base.

In the end Disney failed miserably. The Star Wars sequels were not good and fans bailed on the franchise. To the point that movies were put on the backburner until they could come up with some that would sooth things over.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: “Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker” posters at the “Star Wars” Marathon hosted by Nerdist on December 19, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

The failed movies also made Disney focus on streaming shows. Something they have been better at because Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are overseeing the projects.

Writing challenge day 10: The Last Jedi

What just happened? That was my feeling exiting the theater after watching Star Wars The Last Jedi. The one Star Wars movie that split the fan base. This is definitely the movie that pushed Star Wars, in some good ways but mostly bad ways. Fans either love this movie or hate it. There is no middle ground. Here is why.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – DECEMBER 14: Competing screening accross the street at the El Capitan theatre with AT-M6 Walker on display at the Opening Night Celebration Of Walt Disney Pictures And Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” At TCL Chinese Theatre held at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 14, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

The Force Awakens was pretty well received. The Last Jedi was met instantly by hatred. There are a few reasons why. The Last Jedi offered situations that pushed the fans in a direction that they did not want to go.

The death of Luke Skywalker was widely panned. It was also no way for a beloved character to exit (excluding Force ghost.) Then there was a child. An everyday ordinary child with no ties to the Jedi or the Force who could suddenly use the Force. That effectively ruined the mystique of the Jedi.

I say that but at the same time it did also offer a broader thought on the Force. Still the fan base was not pleased. There were some good moments in The Last Jedi, such as Rey wondering who her parents were. Kylo Ren revolting against Supreme Leader Snoke and slicing him in half.

The sequel trilogy began to fall apart in the eighth installment of Star Wars. It went places that it should not have. Star Wars fans like simple stories with well delivered lines and great special effects.

After long week’s at work Star Wars fans do not like to sit down after paying hard earned money and be force to think hard. Which is what The Last Jedi makes you do.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 18: (Images embargoed till 9am, 23rd June 2016) Star Wars: Episode VII character Kylo Ren at the Star Wars Gallery at Harrods on June 18, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for Harrods)

Switching directors is a no-no. The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker were directed by JJ Abrams. While Rian Johnson took over for The Last Jedi. This was a huge blow for the trilogy on the whole.

Tomorrow we conclude our look at the Star Wars films with The Rise of Skywalker. See you then.

Writing challenge day 9: The Force Awakens

I really like Star Wars. When The Force Awakens was set to hit theaters in 2015, I was amped up. After leaving the theater I was a underwhelmed. Director JJ Abrams was known for reviving movie franchises. Star Wars did not need reviving just fresh stories. The problem is The Force Awakens is the best sequel movie by a long shot. Here’s why.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 09: Daisy Ridley’s wax figure character Rey from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is unveiled at Madame Tussauds on August 9, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images)

We are introduced to Rey who is in the same sort of mold as Luke Skywalker. Rey is sort of a cross between Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi which is odd for a new character. Also Finn and Poe Dameron round out the new Star Wars trio.

Finn and Poe share kind of funny, kind of annoying scenes together mixed in with the new droid BB8. There is next to no character development with Finn an Poe so that gets a bit muddled.

Rey is trying to find Luke Skywalker and the whole film is about that search. Kylo Ren who is actually the best character in the entire sequels is played by Adam Driver. Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. He turned to the dark side but really just because he wanted to. That was not ideal writing.

There is a nice chase scene in the film and it does fairly well as an introduction film. Two events in the film really began to sour the Star Wars fan base.

  1. The death of Han Solo. Walking into a lightsaber. Seriously? This is how one of the most iconic movie characters dies? Okay.
  2. When Rey does finally find Luke Skywalker it is the moment everyone has been waiting for, and then there he is and he’s bitter, angry and rude. Really? This is not the essence of Luke’s character. That was a big miss.
BANGKOK, THAILAND – 2015/12/17: BB-8 arrives one of the characters in the epic science fiction movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens during its global phenomenon opening at Major Cineplex Galaxy Adventure realm in Siam Paragon. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Force Awakens was in hindsight an alright film. The fact that it turned out to be the best of the new batch of Star Wars movies probably tells you how I personally feel about the sequel trilogy. I am not alone, Disney is now trying to fix the mess they created and it is going to take a lot.

Writing challenge day 8: Return of the Jedi

When I sat back in the theater chair in 1983 and the opening crawl to Star Wars Return of the Jedi made it’s way across the screen what happened next was nothing short of the perfect way to conclude the original Star Wars trilogy. “Jedi” had forged it’s way into the hearts of the fan base and left some great memories along the way.

American actor Mark Hamill and British David Prowse on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi directed by Welsh Richard Marquand. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

As the film opens C-3PO and R2-D2 are headed to the palace of the vial gangster Jabba the Hutt. They are soon reunited with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca and other familiar faces.

There is still Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and the Empire chasing down the rebels. What “Jedi” offers is genuine conflicted feelings. Luke is conflicted about facing his father. Darth Vader is conflicted with guilt from abandoning his family. Star Wars does confront human interests and the complexity that it can be.

There is also perhaps the best Star Wars space fight in any of the films to date. What should not be overlooked is that Darth Vader was being serious when he told Luke they could overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy together. Luke did not buy into that and he nearly died as a result.

The Luke vs Vader lightsaber fight is a lot of fun. When you thought it was going to be alright, Emperor Palpatine shoots lighting from his finger tips, which seeing the movie for the first time was nothing short of awesome.

Star Wars changed movie making. The Empire Strikes Back changed how important good/great sequels are to movie franchises. Return of the Jedi showed how critical it is to finish the story and have closure.

The eye candy that Star Wars offers is backed by solid acting even when the script is bland. George Lucas understood and understands this as well as anyone.

On the set of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi directed by Welsh Richard Marquand. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The legacy of the original Star Wars trilogy is still being felt in other films and streaming shows on Disney +. The characters are beloved and quotes are very easy to come by almost daily.

Tomorrow we begin to look at the sequel trilogy (yes, we have to) the elements of good and the whole lot of bad. Please stop by and leave a comment.