Star Wars offers something for everyone

This is Star Wars Celebration weekend and it all kicked off yesterday in England. The annual gathering of Star Wars fanatics is met head on with the cast of shows and movies and the head of Lucasfilm and many others. There are fractions of Star Wars fans who complain loudly things are a mess, I am here to clap back at that a bit. Not saying some complaints are not without merit but all is not.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 07: (L-R) Ali Plumb, Kathleen Kennedy, James Mangold, Dave Filoni, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy onstage durng the studio panel at Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London at ExCel on April 07, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

Three new feature films have been announced James Mangold, Dave Filoni, and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy  will be directing the films. One film will see the return of Rey and is set 15 years after The Rise of Skywalker. Another film will focus on the dawn of the Jedi/Force and the third film will be centered around the New Republic.

Ahsoka is by far the most hyped, most anticipated show of the year. It was met with a teaser trailer first thing in the morning:

Some said it is Rebels 2.0. Fair enough, but Star Wars Rebels offers some of the very best content of the franchise. Actor Lars Mikkelsen will appear as a live action Grand Admiral Thrawn after voicing him on Rebels.

While Season 3 of The Mandalorian has felt a bit off fans were told it is all about to come together with the last two chapters of the season and will answer and fill in the gap of unanswered questions to date.

No matter if you did not/ do not like shows like The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi or any other shows, it is fine. There are fans who do like/love them.

With upcoming shows such as Ahsoka, The Acolyte, Skeleton Crew and others remember they have a place in the Star Wars universe. One thing that is interesting of note if Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni said that they were told to take things from all over Star Wars, cannon or non-cannon and bring them into the fold. This is to give the overall arc more body.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 07: Daisy Ridley onstage during the studio panel at Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London at ExCel on April 07, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

Never forget that Star Wars is about self discovery. If fans can do that then perhaps all Star Wars content can find a path to calming people down with the bigger picture in mind.


Andor proved Star Wars can be successful in new ways

Cassian Andor, who sacrificed his life to deliver the Death Star plans in Rogue One: A Star Wars story, the movie was the first stand-alone Star Wars attempt and was embraced by the fan base. The movie hit such a cord that Disney/ Lucasfilm created and Andor show for Disney+ the show while not for everyone was by and large successful and helped to show Star Wars could be big without some long standing traditions.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 24: Diego Luna takes part in a Q&A during the Lucasfilm and DISNEY+ screening of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, an exclusive look at Disney+ Star Wars series ANDOR, in partnership with EMPIRE VIP FILM CLUB, at The Ham Yard Hotel on August 24, 2022 in London, England. “ANDOR” launches on Disney+ on September 21, 2022. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK)

First off Andor is very well done and the cast gives outstanding perfomances throughout. While it is a prequel it does not feel like it is and it does not answer and lingering questions. Andor pushed Star Wars forward as a sort of espionage series.

There is no Force use, no lightsabers. It is written for mature audiences and carries a lot of drama and not much fighting, at least not in season one. Andor is more violent than other Star wars streaming shows such as The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Season one kicks off a bit slow, but it builds and builds and the story is rich with spy like intentions. Though, many have seen Rogue One, there are some interesting twists.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 12: Star Wars Stormtroopers appear onstage during the 74th Primetime Emmys at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

With no real Star Wars characters except for Storm Troopers and some new characters such as Luthen Rael who could be good or not. Kino Loy who is a prisoner along with Cassian Andor. Deedra Meero, who is a great character who is driven by the Empire to sniff out the small threat of a rebellion.

If you have not watched Andor, it is a must watch show. There will be no cameos by fan favorite characters, but there is no need for any. Andor is strong enough to stand on it’s own.

Is there a future for Star Wars films

With Disney/Lucasfilm’s venture into streaming shows do Star Wars films have a future? The franchise was all but left for dead after “The Rise of Skywalker,” due to backlash from the fan base. Along came “The Mandalorian,” and that pulled Star Wars back up. Along with subsequent shows such as “The Bad Batch,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and others. But, what to make of the lack of film production and news?

D23 EXPO 2022 – The Ultimate Disney Fan Event presented by VISA – brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which takes place September 9, 10, and 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, series, games, theme parks, collectibles, and celebrities. (The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images)

Star Wars fans have embraced streaming shows. ‘The Mandalorian,” quickly became a fan favorite. It did so not because it was better than any of the films, but because it went deeper into the Star Wars universe, something fans have been clamoring for, for some time now.

Can Disney/Lucasfilm collect their collective thoughts and revive films? Or for Star Wars has that day come and gone? Even without films the franchise has shown it can overcome and move forward with success. Perhaps, this is indeed the future for Star Wars.

While stand-along films, “Rogue One a Star Wars story” and the grossly underrated, ” “Solo a Star Wars story” were good films, the fan base did not fully embrace the stand-alone concept Star Wars was attempting.

While Disney/Lucasfilm has plans for future Star Wars streaming shows such as “Ahsoka,” “Skeleton Crew,” “The Acolyte,” “Lando,” and others there is either no plans for films or the company is being tight lipped about it.

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 23: An interactive advertisement for the upcoming “Solo: A Star Wars Story” movie is displayed at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners on April 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

If I had to venture a guess, I suspect at some point, Star Wars will show up in theaters again. It would have to be the right well everything. From director to script to story. The question then switches to would it be a trilogy or stand-alone?

I have to imagine that would largely depend on where streaming shows stand as well as what story would be the focal point for any would be film. For now, fans should be grateful for the current format and content Disney/Lucasfilm is putting out. It has breathed life back into Star Wars and will be interesting to see where it goes.


Star Wars is for everyone

I have a secret. It is not a popular secret or one that people will agree with me on. My secret is by no means meant to divide, disrupt, or anger anyone, after all my secret is well mine. So what is this secret? It is this, I like Star Wars. Not just the original trilogy, or the Christmas Special, or cartoons or streaming shows, or stand alone films for that matter. I like Star Wars, all of it. I have no fear and zero reservations about saying that.

ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 14: New poster revealed Star Wars The Last Jedi at the Star Wars Celebration day 02 on April 14, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Before reading ahead or leaving, know that I am not trying to offend anyone or change anyone’s mind. Opinions are all valid! There is a perception both inside the Star Wars fan base and outside that the entire fan base is toxic. I do not subscribe to this notion.

I grew up on Star Wars, having seen the original trilogy in it’s first run in theaters. Yes, Han shot first! Yet, there are fans wanting to move away from the George Lucas Star Wars content, or forgetting the JJ Abrams prequel trilogy all together. There are fans who would rather just the streaming material being produced now, and those who do not like the streaming content.

Somewhere we lost the ability to agree to disagree. Fans think the only opinion that matters is their own. If the fan base can unite and have solid conversations it would be more soothing and productive.

Sotheby’s gallery assistant Anna Tisi holds up the ‘Return of the Jedi’, a promotional C-3PO helmet from 1983, next to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ poster ahead of the Star Wars collectibles online-only sale at the London auction house. (Photo by Luciana Guerra/PA Images via Getty Images)

Believe it or not it is alright and healthy to engage in conversation. I embrace everything that Star Wars has to offer in large part because it was what I grew up on. Let’s start there.

By all means drop a comment and let’s start having conversations about Star Wars. Again, every opinion is valid. What are your likes and dislikes? Do you like where the franchise is headed? Let’s talk.

Andor shows Disney not ready to move on from the Skywalker arc

Either there is a serious creative void or Disney/Lucasfilm just is not ready to let go of the Skywalker Star Wars story line. September 21, 2022 Andor will be released on Disney Plus. Cassian Andor from Rogue One, A Star Wars Story. The movie was solid and worked because there was no known movement out of the Skywalker timeframe of Star Wars at the time. The fans would like to move on, Disney seems to be stuck.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 28: (L-R) Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Rosario Dawson, Rick Famuyiwa, Katee Sackhoff, Temuera Morrison, Carl Weathers, Emily Swallow, Giancarlo Esposito, Brendan Wayne, Lateef Crowder, Pedro Pascal, Dave Filoni, Jon Favreau, and Ash Crossan attend the panel for “The Mandalorian” series at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California on May 28, 2022. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Of the upcoming Star Wars streaming shows only Skeleton Crew (2023) and The Acolyte (2023) take place outside of the Skywalker arc. While The Bad Batch (season 2, September 28,2022) Ahsoka (2023), Lando (no date) and The Mandalorian Season 3 (February 2023) all take place in the Skywalker timeframe as did The Book of Boba Fett and Kenobi.

After the less than positive reactions to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fans wanted and still want to crack open the Star Wars galaxy and see what else is there. Disney is not willing to depart, at least not yet.

This is a problem. Disney/Lucasfilm has stated they hear the fans and want to give them what they are asking for. Yet it does not happen. For Disney to escape past mistakes it needs to move forward not stay in the same place that has caused division in the fan base.

My hope is that the company is working on a way to move forward. One that would please fans while making it interesting heading in a new direction. Star Wars offers many novels and graphic novels that have been widely successful that are out side the safe boundaries of Skywalker.

A man wearing a costume of the StarWars protagonist Din Djarin poses onboard a giant replica of the Razor Crest, a a gunship from the StarWars spinoff series “The Mandalorian” used by the hit TV show’s mysterious bounty hunter to roam the galaxy’s outer reaches, in a park of the eastern Siberian city of Yakutsk on March 14, 2021. (Photo by Evgeniy SOFRONEYEV / AFP) (Photo by EVGENIY SOFRONEYEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Disney/Lucasfilm has the resources to bring in people who can steer the franchise in a new fresh direction. This is my hope. To be honest the only two shows that I have enjoyed so far are The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian. The others have been blah.

So Disney/Lucasfilm please make some new content soon. The fans are asking.

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!