Film Review: Star Wars: A New Hope

“These are not the droids you are looking for.”

Star Wars: A New Hope, aka Episode IV, is the first installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, but the fourth episode of the “Skywalker Saga”. Luke Skywalker, a moisture farmer on the planet Tatooine, joins the former Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to rescue Princess Leia Organa from the tyrannical Galactic Empire’s moon-sized weapon, the Death Star. Skywalker and Kenobi are joined by smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee companion Chewbacca. Organa holds vital information regarding the Death Star’s construction plans that are carried by the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, that will allow the Rebel Alliance to initiate an attack.

Considering my love for Star Wars, especially the original and prequel trilogies, A New Hope is a worldwide-considered masterpiece as well as being an icon in pop culture. Skywalker’s adventure on learning the ways of the Jedi through Kenobi sets the stones for his eventual destiny to restoring the Jedi Order and defeating the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. To any inspiring Star Wars fans, I highly recommend rewatching IV just for the thrill of seeing a lightsaber for the first time.

-Bree K.

Star Wars: A New Hope is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Star Wars: The Mandalorian

Whether you are casually entertained by the Star Wars franchise or a rabid fan, Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian is a truly fun escape from the humdrum of life since Covid 19.    This Disney Plus series, which now has completed two seasons, takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens in the Star Wars universe.  For those, like me, who thrives on Star Wars lore, the exact year is 9 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin).  During this time the empire has been mostly destroyed and the New Republic has taken over the galaxy and is attempting to bring stability and peace, though corruption lurks behind every turn.  The series follows a bounty hunter who seems to have no affiliation with either the Empire or The Republic.  His aim is to make money for his clan who live in the shadows to avoid conflict with the outside world.  As season one unfolds, a disturbing and sinister connection between the Mandalorian race and the Jedi is revealed that intertwines and blurs the lines of good versus evil.  This blurring of lines persists through both seasons and is inherent to the exciting plot twists within each episode and at the conclusion of each season.  The central story is based around the bounty hunter who sacrifices his position as a bounty hunter to save a child he was meant to deliver to the hands of the Empire.  Instead, he listens to his inner voice and makes it his mission to protect and return “the child” to his people.  This proves a dangerous and challenging odyssey that carries the pair across the Star Wars Universe.  They face sinister and sometimes familiar characters along the way and are often forced to fight their way out of what seems like near-impossible situations.  Along the way, more and more is revealed about “the child” and the unexpected and surprising man who is called Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian (TV Series 2019– ) - IMDb

The mastermind behind The Mandalorian is none other than, Jon Favreau.  Favreau is a director, actor, producer, and screenwriter.  He directed the wildly popular Christmas comedy, Elf.  Additionally, he is the creative genius behind the Iron Man franchise among many other popular films.  Favreau has been quoted as saying that The Mandalorian is meant to “hearkened back to the Westerns and samurai films that had originally influenced Lucas.”  Favreau is referencing George Lucas the original creator of Star Wars. The world Lucas imagined in the original Star Wars movie has been capturing the imagination of audiences since its release in 1977.  Jon Favreau includes himself as one who was fascinated by Star Wars lore and he has built on that in The Mandalorian, staying true to Star Wars roots but adding his own take.  With the expanded format of a TV show,  Favreau has been able to take a deep dive into the Star Wars expanded universe and draw from Star Wars spin-offs including The Clone Wars and the video game, Star Wars Battlefront.  However, there is enough character development, revelations, cliff-hanger, and adventure that even audience members new to Star Wars can enjoy the fun.  Favreau has said that, with this show, he wanted to create a “good party” for the Star Wars audience.  He has done just that.  Grab your family, your best friend, and your lightsaber and join in.  “This is the way.”

-Johnson D.

Star Wars- Revenge of the Sith review

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, is set three years after the onset of the Clone Wars. Jedi are spread throughout the galaxy, commanding their individual clone legions against the Separatists’ battle droids. The High Council dispatches Obi-Wan to hunt down General Grievous, the cyborg-Kaleesh leader of the Separatist army. Meanwhile, Anakin begins to suffer from nightmares depicting Padme’s death in childbirth. Afraid of losing her, Skywalker is tasked to spy on the Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who is secretly the master of orchestrating the Clone Wars, Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Following an assassination attempt by Jedi Master Mace Windu, Palpatine manipulates Anakin into turning to the dark side of the Force, anointing him as his apprentice, Darth Vader.

RotS is my favorite Star Wars movie (definitely not cuz of Obi-Wan), but for its significant impact on the Star Wars fanbase. The movie covers Anakin’s fall to the dark side as well as Order 66, the galaxy-wide and years-long genocide of the Jedi Order. I find it completely normal that I can recite the entire script of the movie as well as remembering every meme format 🙂

-Bree K.

Revenge of the Sith is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Film Review: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi, aka Episode VI, is the final installment in the original trilogy, as well as the sixth film in the “Skywalker Saga”. A year after Vader’s revelation, the Galactic Empire is constructing a second Death Star under the Emperor’s watch in an attempt to abolish the Rebel Alliance. In response, the remaining Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star to prevent its completion and kill the Emperor, ending his totalitarian rule. Meanwhile, Luke (now a Jedi Knight), struggles to bring Vader back to the light side of the Force.

RotJ serves as the concluding film to George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, effectively ending the climactic arc of Luke Skywalker and his path to becoming a fully-fledged Jedi Knight. After Kenobi’s force ghost confirms Vader as Luke’s father, he also reveals Leia to be Luke’s twin sister. With this new information, Luke’s attempt to redeem Vader is successful at the film’s end, bringing back the once lost Anakin Skywalker to the light side.

-Bree K.

Star Wars Return of the Jedi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars review

The Clone Wars is set in the fictional Star Wars galaxy during the three-year gap between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Following the First Battle of Geonosis, the Galactic Republic (supported by the Jedi Order), is at war with the Confederacy of Independent Systems (organized by Sith Lord Count Dooku). Unknown to the Jedi, Dooku’s master, Darth Sidious is playing the strings of both sides, all part of his plan to eliminate the Jedi and gain the power to establish a new autocratic governing state.

The Clone Wars mainly focuses on the many battles between the Republic and Separatists (the Confederacy), as well as delving deeper into Anakin Skywalker’s eventual path to becoming Darth Vader. The individuality of the clone troopers is shown throughout many of the show’s arcs as well as the people’s loss of faith in the Jedi Order.

To any Star Wars fans like myself, watching The Clone Wars to further see the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker and the Republic is essential to knowing the plot behind George Lucas’ masterpiece of the Star Wars Universe. The three-year gap between Episodes II and III are well written out in the show, and we even get to meet Skywalker’s Padawan, Ahsoka Tano.

-Bree K.

Adding More Scientific Realism to Sci-Fi in Space: Star Wars The Clone Wars

How Just a Bit of Realism In Your Story can Deepen Your World and Enthrall Your Reader

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV Series 2008–2020) - IMDb

Last summer, I spent many late nights toying with the idea of a space novel. There were so many questions I had, so many things I wanted to know about the world I was attempting to create, and at times I had no idea where to begin.

As school began and I got busy, my space novel project got worked on less, but I kept world-building in small ways when inspiration came.

Now, on this extended break from school, I have had much more time freed up. One of the things I have done with that time is watch Star Wars The Clone Wars, which is, in my opinion, an incredible expansion to the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars The Clone Wars TV show was one of the many space-fiction stories that inspired my story. Star Wars is something almost everyone, even someone who isn’t a fan, will recognize as trendsetting space fiction. It was a pop culture phenomenon at its birth and continues to be today. I have always loved the light-saber as a weapon, the many well developed characters, and the expansive galaxy enriched by each new location we visit in the franchise.

Through my writer’s eye, I saw the show in a whole new light. With many different military groups, independent systems, the Republic and the Separatists, the Trade Federation and each different type of planetary government, it is an incredible example of how intergalactic politics might work!

While the plot, characters, and lore remain interesting, and model-worthy as well, I did notice a pattern of something missing. Let’s face it, if there is anything this show lacks, it is the realistic elements of science that pull the reader, or watcher, deeper into a new and different world.

Science fiction doesn’t necessarily have to be very realistic, but some great science fiction (Adrift by Rob Boffard and The Martian for example) have used more realistic depictions of other worlds and future technology to make us believe we are reading something that could truly happen in the future, or is happening in a faraway galaxy.

The Clone Wars, for me, raised many questions about some scientific things not fully explained, or certain elements of the “realism” in the story that if tweaked or expanded upon, might make your story much more realistic and appealing. So without further ado, here’s my writing tips takeaway!

Firstly, how do species on different planets evolve, it seems very unlikely they could all be humanoid, get creative! More creatures like Jabba the Hut! This also rings true for making planets at different stages of carrying life, maybe not all planets your character visits have sentient life forms yet. Keeping with life forms, many planets in this show seem to have only one environment. While that can be cool, remember how diverse Earth is! Depending on how you write your story, a planet with multiple environments and lots of different flora and fauna will certainly enrich the story.

Speaking of planets, perhaps the biggest thing that takes me out of the story in this show is the fact that every planet our Jedi heroes visit appears to have the same atmosphere composition, gravity, and relative temperature. Not even two planets in our solar system have the same gravity or atmosphere.

Instead of ignoring these scientific elements, use them! Create a challenge for your characters and interesting worlds with limited gravity that causes cities to be tethered to the planet! Create technology that filters nitrogen or sulfur-rich air so it is breathable. Have suits that need to be worn by your characters in certain acidic or too hot/cold planets for survival. Play around with the environment, and show how your characters would adapt!

Some more questions to ask; How do the conditions of a certain planet affect how life there has developed if there is life? What would an organism from that planet need to survive if it left? How would a sentient being from a specific planet talk, based on air composition (guttural, high pitched, etc.)? Are there different languages, different races, and cultures on each planet? The more diverse a planet, the more real I find it becomes to the reader/watcher.

These are many of the major questions Star Wars The Clone Wars made me ask about my own book, and they inspire a lot of creative thinking for world-building. For my fellow aspiring writers, perhaps the best piece of advice I can offer is to constantly ask questions about the things you write about, challenge the way you think about things to broaden your creativity, and don’t hesitate to add flair and detail to the world you are creating.

-Sebastian E.

Star Wars books, films, and television shows are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. Additional material can be found online for free through Overdrive

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a very great first book to a very interesting book series. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is about a bunch of 6th grade middle school kids who make case file trying to decode the mysterious origami Yoda and the kids who makes Yoda, Dwight. Tom Angleberger’s book is a masterpiece of humor, storytelling, and funny drawings. The book even contains a little middle school romance.

Two things that make this book unique is the way it tells the story and drawings. The way this book story is told is through many different peoples perspective. This book is case file, so a lot of different people tell different funny stories in the book. The drawings all over the book really makes the book stand out. You got give Tom Angleberger and Jason Rosenstock, the two people who drew all over the books. The drawings inside the book make the book more teen-friendly. And, an added bonus to this epic case file, there are instructions on the last page on how to fold a legit origami Yoda! This book is a book I would recommend to all ages. Make sure to get it!

-Brandon D.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

CT-7567

This is the story of CT-7567, also known as Captain Rex who was introduced to the Star Wars universe in the animated series, The Clone Wars. Monthly installments will be released. Hope you enjoy.                                                                                                   _____________________________________________________________________

CT-7567 was having a great dream before the datapad next to his bed woke him up. It flashed red and blared,

“CT-7567, prepare yourself for morning Physical Training.”

The young cadet rubbed his eyes, jumped out of bed, and shook his bunkmate awake.

“Come on, 2224! We’ve gotta go!”

CT-2224 slowly and methodically rolled off his bunk and dressed himself. Once 2224 was ready, the two clone youths jogged over to the training area. Their instructor, Bani, waited for them. The Duros was irritated.

“You’re late again! How many times do I have to tell you?”

He made the two clones run laps until they were sweaty and miserable. Cody, or CT-2224, grumbled under his breath as they stepped into the sonic refreshers. Rex, who was designated CT-7567, was equally displeased. He knew they had gotten there on time. The eternally irate Duros always found something wrong.

Their next assignment was their favorite: Battle training! As they hefted their mock blasters and blew holographic droids into oblivion, they joked and laughed. Battle training never failed to cheer them up. Rex especially loved using special tactics to destroy the fake droids, who always used the exact same formation and strategy. He had just attacked a huge wave when something hit him in the shoulder. He stumbled forward and whipped around. It was CT-6453. What a jerk. Rex always saw him around, bullying cadets and bothering teachers.

“Eat bantha dung, 43.”

Rex waved him off. Little did he know how important 6453 would turn out to be.

The last assignment of the day was worse than PT: Galactic history. Their teacher was a hardworking taskmaster. The Kaminoan, Lima Bri, gave them tons of work and papers, and she never graded easily. Rex was feeling good about a report he had written about the moons of Io, but when he got it back Bri had given him only 75%. Cody was disappointed as well. His paper had received a 73%. They left class and headed back to the barracks to grab some sleep.

-Joshua M.

Film Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I have been a fan of  Star Wars ever since I was little and was super excited when Disney picked up Star Wars and started making more movies. But, I was just disappointed in them and I was hoping this movie would be better. It was. It wasn’t great and I’m sure I didn’t completely dislike because it was Disney.

It was really interesting getting to learn Han Solo’s backstory. But there was so much more room for a more creative story. It in some ways filled in the gaps of who Han Solo is in ways that I didn’t really like. I didn’t really like the way they portrayed all the characters it made some of them seem different than who they were in the original movies. Some of Han’s backstory did also seem like it was a bit similar to Darth Vaders because Disney characterized them in similar ways .

Also, even though it is Han Solo, it bugged me that Disney had to put in yet another one of their cliche love stories into the movie. It in a way it reminded me of the Padme and Anakin relationship.

I did like the fighting scenes though. There was some classic Star Wars style fighting scenes and special effects that I really enjoyed watching. It helped the movie seem like a Star Wars movie.

I still enjoyed watching the movie and would totally recommend any Star Wars fan to watch it. But it isn’t really about the storyline, it’s more about the special effects and fighting.

-Ava G.

Ultrasabers: Prophecy v3

Are you a Star Wars fan? Well, if you don’t have one of these, you aren’t. Introducing Ultrasabers, the finest custom lightsaber company out there. With these sabers, you can duel to whatever intensity your heart desires. The site has everything, from double-bladed sabers, to crackling crossguards. While the price may seem a little much, you’ll be absolutely amazed by what you receive.

For my first saber, I chose the Prophecy v3, which is based on the hilt that Anakin Skywalker used in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. This saber was eventually lost during the Battle of Geonosis. I ordered it with Obsidian LITE soundboard, an Ultraedge Heavy Grade blade, and, for the color, Guardian Blue. When I first got it, some factors that surprised me were its weight, color, and volume.

Let me tell you right now, if you think holding a fishing rod one-handed is too heavy, you’ll have one heck of a struggle keeping these sabers suspended in your hand. When I first picked it up, I had to use two hands, but as I practiced with it, it got lighter and lighter. Another thing was the color. On camera, the blade appears white with a blue hue around it. The blade is actually a pure blue color. I definitely recommend the Ultraedge blade, as they allow the light to cover the whole blade, giving it a full look. Finally, the sound. Obsidian LITE is all you need, it sounds great, had motion and contact recognition, and is the best soundboard for its price. Thank you for reading, if you end up buying one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

-Luke D.