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ISSUE #169 US $7.99 CAN $9.99 NOV/DEC 2016 Please display until December 19


a NOV/DEC 2016 a EDITORIAL Editor Jonathan Wilkins Senior Executive Editor Divinia Fleary Art Editor Oz Browne Copy Editor Simon Hugo Editorial Assistant Tolly Maggs

04 LAUNCHPAD 14 DAVE FILONI “George Lucas looked at me and immediately said: ‘You’ll do.’” Kenny Baker, From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story

Senior Editor Frank Parisi Editor Brett Rector Image Archives Newell Todd, Erik Sanchez, Bryce Pinkos, Tim Mapp Art Director Troy Alders Bantha Tracks Pete Vilmur



t the time of writing, I think it’s fair to say that many Star Wars’ fans are broken-

hearted after hearing the news about the death of Kenny Baker, the man who brought R2-D2 to life. I’ve always thought Kenny’s performance was a crucial part of the saga. Actors sometimes complain of the difficulty of performing through masks and special effects, yet Kenny rose to that challenge, creating a memorable character who was instantly loved, despite having no face or discernable features at all. It’s worth remembering that during the filming of the original Star Wars film, R2’s bleeps and boops had yet to be conceived by the movie’s sound designer, Ben Burtt. Baker’s physical reactions were his co-stars entire conception of the character, and he performed his scenes without being able to hear or see the other actors, or even hear George Lucas’ quiet direction properly. It’s a consummate performance that goes some way to explaining the all-ages appeal of the unique character. Sadly, I can’t say I knew Kenny. I met him briefly at Celebration VI in 2013, and he made me laugh with a joke that I can’t possibly repeat here. He was a showman, always keen to please his fans—and please them he certainly did. His line at conventions was always long, trailing into the distance, and there was a genuine sense of joy on the faces of fans brandishing their signed photos and grinning with pleasure at having met him. George Lucas once claimed that R2-D2 was his favorite character, and I’m convinced that opinion was formed in relation to the way that Kenny so beautifully embodied the role. Kenny was a key part of the Star Wars team. We will miss him terribly, but the world is a much brighter place for the contribution he made to all our lives. As R2-D2 might say, “Beep-Bloop Beep-Bleep.” Or, for those of you who don’t speak droid, “The Force will be with you always, Kenny.”

Jonathan Wilkins, Editor


CONTRIBUTORS Tricia Barr, Mark Newbold, Amy Ratcliffe, Michael Kogge, James Burns, and Dan Wallace SPECIAL THANKS TO Erich Schoeneweiss at Random House, Chris D’Lando at Marvel Comics, Tracy Cannobbio and Chris Argyropoulos at Lucasfilm





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orn Kenneth George Baker on August 24, 1934, in Solihull near Birmingham, England, his career as an entertainer began in 1951 at age 17 when he was invited to join a theatrical troupe. That led to a brief stint with the circus, and then a part in Snow White with Holiday On Ice—the first of many appearances on frozen water. Baker formed a close friendship with fellow little person Jack Purvis, and together the pair developed the Mini-Tones, a stage act they performed until Purvis’ death in November 1997. Baker’s first film appearance was in the 1960 Hammer film Circus of Horrors, directed by Sidney Hayers. U.K. television appearances in Man of the World (1962) and Dave Allen at Large (1975) followed, before he was cast as R2-D2 in George Lucas’ original Star Wars movie (1977).

THE HEART OF R2-D2 Baker became famous for his role as the little astromech droid, despite never being seen on screen. Working inside R2 when internal movement was required, Baker imbued the prop with his own unmistakable character. When R2 was excited, that was Kenny. When he was sad, that was Kenny. Interviewed in 2005, he looked back fondly on his Star Wars experience: “It was an utter explosion around the world. Nothing like it had been seen before. All the merchandise, toys… It was crazy. Fan-mail was pouring in for everyone, and we were being asked for interviews all over the world. People really did take the two robots to their hearts, which was great for Anthony [Daniels, C-3PO] and me. In a sense, R2 really is the pace-keeper of the first movie.” Baker continued to appear in other projects alongside his Star Wars work, including Wombling Free (1978), based on the popular children’s books by

Elisabeth Beresford, in which he played Bungo alongside his wife, Eileen Baker, as Tobermory. Throughout the 1980s, he performed in high-profile film productions such as David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980), Flash Gordon (1980), Time Bandits (1981, with Jack Purvis), Amadeus (1984), Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986), and Willow (1988, with Purvis and Warwick Davis). In the Star Wars galaxy, he first reprised his role as R2 in The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, before immortalizing the droid in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and appearing on The Muppet Show alongside Star Wars co-stars Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Peter Mayhew in 1980. In The Empire Strikes Back (1980) he brought R2 back to the big screen, and he also played a GONK droid (or power droid, if you please). The movie was his favorite, both as a filmmaking experience and as a chapter in the Star Wars saga. “[Empire Strikes Back director] Irvin Kershner and I got on very well on set,” Baker recalled. “He was such a genuine, nice man. Obviously the first Star Wars had been massive, so we all knew this was something to be part of. Empire is the darkest chapter, with much more depth to the story and characters.” The year 1983 saw Kenny in a dual role once again: back in action as R2, as well as stealing scenes and a speeder bike as heroic Ewok Paploo in Return of the Jedi. After Jedi, it was another four years before he climbed inside the astromech once again, to play R2 in the Star Tours theme park attraction. More than a decade later, he returned to the role three more times: in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. By the time The Force Awakens started filming in 2014, Baker was not well enough to physically portray R2, so instead served as a consultant, sharing his decades of wisdom with the filmmakers. His final performance was in the 2013 short film One Night At The Aristo.

Kenny Baker was a convention staple, traveling the globe to attend shows in Europe, the United States, and beyond. His last appearance was at the London Film & Comic Con on July 31, 2016, where he signed autographs for his many fans.

SAYING GOODBYE Since his passing, Kenny Baker’s colleagues have lined up to pay their respects. His friend of 40 years, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), said: “Cherish the times of your life. Here’s to you Kenny Baker. The man I made so many memories with, swapped stories with, entertained with, and carried to his hotel room at the end of the night!” Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), tweeted, “Goodbye Kenny Baker. A lifelong loyal friend—I loved his optimism and determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said, “We’re all saddened to learn of Kenny’s passing. There is no Star Wars without R2D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed.” Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) recalled Baker’s love of meeting the fans. “He was an amazing person who only two weeks ago was greeting fans and signing autographs. We will all miss him greatly— what a superstar he was.” Star Wars creator George Lucas also paid tribute: “Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances. A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him.” Everyone at Star Wars Insider sends their condolences to Kenny’s family, colleagues, friends, and countless fans. He will be much missed but never forgotten. a




THE BELIEVER: CHIRRUT ÎMWE Despite the fall of the Jedi, Chirrut Îmwe still believes in the power of the Force. Though blind, he has honed his body and become a skilled combatant.



A woman with a mysterious past, Jyn Erso’s abilities are put to the test after the Rebel Alliance recruits her to lead a life-or-death mission. Her orders? Steal the plans for the Empire’s new battle station, the Death Star!

A war-weary veteran of the Clone Wars, Saw Gerrera leads a band of rebel extremists engaged in a prolonged insurgency against the Empire on the planet Jedha. Despite ailing health, Saw still has plenty of fight left in him.

THE OFFICER: CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR An experienced Alliance intelligence officer, highly respected rebel leader Captain Cassian Andor is cool under fire, completing his missions against near impossible odds. But is the challenge too great this time around?

THE DEADLY FOE: DIRECTOR ORSON KRENNIC The director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial military, Orsen Krennic is obsessed with finishing the Empire’s ultimate weapon. Brilliant but cruel, he has much to lose if the Death Star is not completed.


After the Empire occupied his home world, Baze Malbus became a soldier. A crack shot with his heavy repeater cannon, his fierce combat-style is in marked contrast to that of his friend, Chirrut Îmwe.



A former Imperial pilot, Bodhi Rook brings strong piloting and technical skills to the mission. Practically minded but nervous, he must find the courage to complete his assignment.


A reprogrammed Imperial droid, K-2SO (pronounced “Kay-tuesso�) is now loyal to the Rebellion. His Imperial design makes him the perfect spy for the rebels.


TRAILING THE U-WING fi ful ng iler O : A S r Wars or ele d n August 11, d o o rebels at e e h i It als us our fi liim s f art ader in t o at h n m UT-6 wise as , which was tially re d T Star Wars Show s cri d film S x utive t M in “a tro p ort and gun ship.” e a “It’s he to bring in rebel oops o ea fire es and get out as uick a ossib wings move end on th ation, it l o provid r su ”





ogue One is set to be well served with literary works, including a novelization written by Alexander Freed; a companion novel entitled Catalyst, written by fan-favorite author James Luceno; a tie-in short story in Star Wars Insider! “Voices of the Empire,” written by Mur Lafferty with art by Jason Chan, appears in issue 170, that is on sale December 20!


FANS SELECT BIGGS DARKLIGHER TO BECOME THE NEXT STAR WARS OT WHEELS CAR ucky fans at Celebration Orlando in 2017 will have the chance to get their hands on an exclusive Biggs Darklighter Hot Wheels car, following a vote at Celebration Europe. In July, Mattel’s Hot Wheels team gave the crowd at their Celebration panel the final say over which character would get the custom-car treatment, and Biggs came out ahead by a narrow margin. The 2016 exclusive was a Boba Fett-inspired vehicle—which reimagined Ralph McQuarrie’s concept armor for the character as a low-slung, gleaming hot rod—while 2015’s offering was a hot-pink R2-KT droidmobile. We look forward to seeing how Bigg’s signature mustache will play into the new car’s design!



In another public vote, fans have chosen Jaina Solo to be the latest addition to Hasbro’s Black Series of highly detailed six-inch action figures, along with runner-up Sabine Wren. Hasbro announced both characters will go into production in the near future.





GET READY FOR AN INTERACTIVE EZRA ADVENTURE! he Rebellion is recruiting at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Park in California! Disney Floral & Gifts has teamed up with Lucasfilm to create a new immersive experience for guests: the Star Wars Rebels Interactive Adventure. The mission begins in your Disney hotel room—also known as the barracks—and puts the emphasis on roleplay. Younglings will be given gear to go undercover and complete a quest, using a Star Wars app on their smartphone or other smart device. Equipped with an Imperial Security Officer disguise (comprising a rank bar, hat, tattoos, and a bag), young rebels will use augmented reality via the app to follow Ezra on a mission to gather hidden information in the resort and within Star Tours: The Adventures Continues. When the mission is complete, participants will receive a rebel medal of honor. If you’re planning to stay at one of the resorts in the near future, you can book your Interactive Adventure in advance at


ver nd red whe the Sta a ars books published by Del Rey fit in between the films and the animated TV shows? Well, wonder no more, because the publisher has released a complete timeline for its entire series! That means you can read them all in chronological order (if you want to), or simply dip in to easily find a story set in a particular era. Scroll through the interactive timeline at and pick a time to suit you!



f the many words that can be used to describe Star Wars fans, creative must be near the top of the list. Fans are constantly channeling their passion into projects such as fan films, and Lucasfilm even encourages filmmakers to jump into the Star Wars sandbox, with its annual Star Wars Fan Film Awards. The winners of the 2016 contest were announced at Celebration Europe, and our congratulations go to:

A young boy and his grandfather use their imagination to take us back to a galaxy far, far away.

WINNER: BEST COMEDY Ben in the Desert—Jawas Are Bad Neighbors

WINNER:FILMMAKER SELECT TK-436: A Stormtrooper Story


A gritty tale of an Imperial stormtrooper who is forced to confront his past in the heat of a battle.

Rey can finally confront Luke with all of her questions, but does the Jedi Master want to answer them?



The crew of the smuggler ship The Sable Corsair fight for survival on a mysterious, hostile planet.

With the growing number of Jedi, Sith and Force-sensitive fans, this film asks the question: How dedicated is each fan?

The rebellion has begun! Darth Vader is born! All this rad stuff is happening to everyone... except for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Discover what his life on Tatooine was really like!

WINNER: BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Star Malice Wars The Turner family attempt to rescue their mother from the Empire’s dreaded prison known as the Dark Maw in this Star Wars fan film -- a special episode of MALICE: The Web Series.




tar Wars Insider: Is it a relief when shows you’ve been working on for months on end are finally seen by the public? Dave Filoni: I’m glad for the fans, because they don’t have to wait for Star Wars like we did when we were kids! I think we have the fans pretty excited about where the characters are going. People are probably desperate to know what happened to Kanan; what happened to Ezra; what happened to Ahsoka; and how the rest of the team is dealing with it. They’re going to get some of those answers, so it’s a relief in that it’s one less thing I have to worry about spoiling in an interview like this! There was an amazing reaction from fans at Celebration Europe this year. Has the fan appreciation ever helped to shape the show? Unfortunately, it really can’t because we’re just so far ahead that by the time we would have a chance to react to something, we are well on our way with the other episodes. It probably helps shape things that are much farther in the future than anyone would realize, though. Of course, fan reaction does help us shape the Celebration experience. Based on past experience, we think about how we can make things more exciting for the fans and what kind of reveals we can give them. Fans always want to get something really special out of those events. It’s an expensive trip for a lot of families to go on, and it’s a lot of time to take off work, so I’ve always felt that whatever we’ve brought to show them needs to make it worth their while. It should be exclusive things that you only get there. I don’t want it to supersede the event of actually watching the show so much that it detracts from that, but it has to get you excited. George [Lucas] and I used to talk about this: You don’t gain a lot in TV by being coy, because a show comes on the air and then it’s gone. I know people can stream it and see it many different ways, but a movie can have good wordof-mouth and people can go to see it the next weekend or the day after that. You have a little more time to build momentum if you’re lucky. But for us, the moment it happens is when everyone is talking about it. We learned on The Clone Wars to really get viewers amped up. If Darth Maul is coming, even if it’s not until the second half, we’re going to show you Darth Maul and the witches of Dathomir! Then you’re going to watch each episode to see how the story gets to that point. This year, it was a no-brainer that we wanted to make Thrawn the big reveal at Celebration, because people have been wondering about that for a while. It was a good time


to give them something to talk about all summer and give them a taste of it so they’re ready for it this fall. When you bring a character such as Thrawn into the show, do you feel the weight of expectation? You always feel the weight of expectation in the back of your mind. But I’m not sitting there thinking, Oh, man, I’m afraid to move forward! I had to get over that back in 2005 when I was working with George and presenting versions of stories featuring his characters. As a team, we have the confidence to move forward, but the best barometer of all is simply asking yourself: Is this something I would like? Every now and then, you think, Oh, that’s lame. Why are we doing that? or, That’s not cool. That

“WE NEED THE CHARACTERS TO EVOLVE AND TAKE TWISTS AND TURNS.” doesn’t feel like Thrawn. Then we push in a different direction, but always facing forward. Sometimes when you’re pushing the edge, you think, Is that really going to play? But you just have to commit to your creative instincts and see where it goes. With Thrawn, if we couldn’t be true to that person Timothy Zahn had created, then why would we do it? We could just make a new admiral, which is fine, but if we’re going to use Thrawn—that name and that look—we have to use the character that we’ve read about, otherwise it’s not meaningful. It baffles me when you see

things where a character is taken from an existing story, and they just ignore e the thing that made that character grreat in the first place. That won’t wash herre, especially with our fans! What’s the tone of this season? Was there a buzzword that you had in n story meetings? Not really. We just think in terms of th he overall story arc and where we’re trying to go. There isn’t one word that’s goin ng to encapsulate what we’re trying to do. We need the characters to evolve and d take twists and turns as they go. Look k at the first and second seasons: they are e kind of one big piece of evolution for the t characters. I’ve always thought of [Se eason Three] as their Empire Strikes Back ph hase, where they’re going from young kids to adolescents. Sabine definitely takes on a lot mo ore prominence as we go in the third seasson. eason That wasn’t necessarily the plan in Se One. We just really liked who she wass becoming and fans seemed to really like l nced Sabine as well, so I guess that influen us a little bit there. You have an idea of o ers where you’ll go, but then the characte also kind of show you. Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles makes an appearance this season. What is it ab bout Wedge that makes him so popular? I think on simple terms, it’s because he’s in all three original movies and we w recognize him. As a kid, you’d go so lo ong between these movies, so it’s like see eing an old friend: “Oh, my gosh, there’s Wedge!” But also, it’s just so miraculous for an average-seeming guy to survivve. It’d be like if there was one red shirt that t survived all of Star Trek. That guy wou uld become kind of famous in his own right, even if all he did was survive! There’s just something great abou ut an average Joe that we can relate to. So, he’s always been a fan favorite—and he he elps eliminate the second Death Star! You look at that character growth for his confid dence where he bugs out of the trench at firrst notice to going right into the Death Sttar and being much more furious and foccused. There’s that great moment where Han and Wedge shake hands— he’s really com me a long way. In a way, the funny thing about We edge, though, is when Luke says, “You can’tt do any more good back there!” And he h says, “Sorry!” There’s no debate abo out it, right? It’s just like, “Sure, I’m out. I’m totally out of here. I’m not stickin ng around!” which I find hilarious. We never questioned it. You’d never call him a coward but you’re just like, “Oh, I guess Wedge is smart! Wedge actually knew he could get out of there!”


beyond just deep-core fans. I want everyone to see her and go, “Oh, that’s Ahsoka Tano, apprentice to Anakin Skywalker.” I think that’s compelling. The very fact that they wanted to publish a book about her is kind of a nice acknowledgment and an achievement for the storytellers and the animation division. It’s flattering and I think they did a great job with it. The Clone Wars character Saw Gerrera is making the leap to live action in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. How did that come about? Could he be the first of many, maybe including Ahsoka? It was really exciting to hear that Saw was going to be involved in Rogue One. It made sense to me, given the time period they were working in and the subject matter. In that regard, it’s not a surprise or anything. y g I think it’s a reallyy g good thing, g, and a sign that Lucasfilm considers the characters we’ve created in animation as a real part of the saga. We’re not a universe that says some parts of the story are less important. We like these characters and we want to see them. It’s common for a character to go from live-action to animation, and less common for it to go the other way. But at the end of that day, it’s all just telling stories in a different medium. There are so many similar qualities, it makes a lot of sense to have those characters co-exist.

Ahsoka is now the star of her own eponymous novel by E.K. Johnston. Did you make a contribution to that? Yeah, definitely. It’s really important now that—if we do these stories—creatives who are working on these characters in film and television are involved to help guide the creative in other media. You don’t want someone out there guessing. You want to help create the best Ahsoka Tano book possible. I got really excited because I thought, Here’s an opportunity to give fans more of the character. She’s not the star of Star Wars Rebels, so she meets kind of an inconclusive end, one way or the other. So, when E. K. Johnson was embarking on this book, we had a couple of phone calls and I listened


to her thoughts, and helped to guide them as to where in the timeline I thought they could be. I definitely had a couple things where I said, “Don’t go in this area because I might do something there as well,” and “Make sure you have these elements because that will line up with things I want to do later.” It was all very collaborative. I’m pretty excited about it and I’ve read it multiple times now and given extra notes. The real motivation for me as one Ahsoka’s creators is just to get the character out into the world more. It’s my goal to have her existing up there with the Hans, Lukes, and Leias. Having her own book is a step towards her broader acceptance in the Star Wars universe

The casting, of course, is important. Forest Whitaker is outstanding! It’s an exciting time for Star Wars fans and for Clone Wars fans. I don’t know, in some ways maybe it validates the belief that Clone Wars fans have shown in these characters, but I don’t think it changes the way that the fans already believed in the character. I don’t think Ahsoka, for me, is any less real because she’s only been in animation. I think she’s a fantastic character; and what’s great is that now, when you see Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, you think of her and you realize that he was shaped in a lot of ways by his relationship with her. You don’t have to have all these people colliding relentlessly; you just need to make sure that when you tell your stories, it honors the characters and it all fits together nicely. I think that’s true of what we do in animation for all our characters.



ost famous for his portrayal as the fourth Doctor in the BBC series Doctor Who, Tom Baker joins the Rebels cast in Season Three as the mysterious Bendu. Baker is the third Doctor to feature in Star Wars, with movie Doctor Peter Cushing appearing as Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope, and David Tennant (Doctor number 10) giving an Emmy -winning performance as Professor Huyang in Season Five of The Clone Wars. Dave Filoni explains why he brought the Time Lord to the galaxy far, far away. “Having all of the remaining Doctors appearing in Star Wars is a great concept. I am not against that whatsoever. All of the Doctors so far have been fantastic. As an American, my generation begins with Tom Baker. He showed up briefly in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special in 2013 and I

thought he was so good in that moment. He was everything that you wanted him to be and you could just feel the hint of magic that Tom has in him. It’s just a part of him as a person. I was always asking myself, how, how could I get Tom Baker to lend that voice to Rebels? Not because I thought he wouldn’t want to do it, but personally I needed to give him something really interesting, that has dimension. When I came up with Bendu, I thought, This could be Tom. He’s Yoda-like but not just Yoda; funny but intimidating; all the things you want a really wise Force-wielder to be. And so, we reached out to him, and I gave him a run-down of what the character is. He easily got what we were talking about and how there was an element of mythology to the character. I went out to London because I was visiting the Star Wars set, and so I recorded Tom while I was out there doing that. It’s much easier to direct someone in person, and also I just wanted to meet him! He was everything that you’d want him to be: charming, intelligent, funny. He is the Doctor. He doesn’t disappoint. He’s a fantastic guy and he really brought Bendu to life in the way that you hope— made it better than that, even. I could go on and on about him!


Absolutely. I notice you haven’t denied the possibility of an Ahsoka movie, though… I just didn’t discuss it! I mean, on a personal level that would be great! I would be all for that and like to think that I’d be involved in some way, one way or another. But there’s so much exciting Star Wars coming and it’s not just about characters that are from the past. I think what fans need to understand is that it’s just as much about characters that you haven’t met yet. A few years ago, no one had ever heard of Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, and Zeb Orrelios. Now, there’s a growing group of fans who love those characters and it feels like they’ve always been a part of it. In a lot of ways, the health of the franchise relies on us bringing new characters to life and putting them in situations we never dreamed of before. What has been the most surprising source for inspiration for you? That’s a good question because sometimes what surprises me is how often I keep going back to the same thing. I get inspiration from all over. Movies inspire me. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. You won’t know how it’s inspired me, but it has. I look at all kinds of things and I think the only thing that I can tell aspiring filmmakers is that you’ll be always surprised where you get your inspiration. It’s not always from the same genre. I really like the films of Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father), for example. I think they’re just fantastic. I love the character portrayals, the dialogue, everything about them. Sometimes they inspire ways to get depth out of characters in the Star Wars universe. I also love the film Never Cry Wolf. Good storytelling is good storytelling: It doesn’t need to be sciencefiction or fantasy to inspire me. In fact, sometimes it’s better if it’s not. Driving into work, I’ll often put on ’50s music, because it gets me in the mode of what it must have been like growing up in the era when George was first coming up with this stuff. I very rarely look at anything from within the Star Wars universe for inspiration, just to help keep it fresh. I know the Star Wars elements that I need to, so I’m not worried about that. I’m just trying to find interesting character portrayals and dynamic situations that are unexpected for the fans. I also like to contrast the heavy stuff with a light-hearted tone at times, so in the evening I’ll watch a bunch of


Frasier, or even a bunch of The Golden Girls, which reminds me of my grandmother in a lot of ways. I watched a whole bunch of Cheers in a row and noticed the fantastic evolution of those characters and their relationships–and all very talented actors and great real-life situations, of course. We talk all the time about limitations on our show as far as assets go, but they never really leave the bar in the entire first season of Cheers. It all takes place there, but you feel like you’re watching the evolution of these people’s lives. It’s not about how many sets you have, or how many characters, it’s about whether what the characters are doing is compelling, and whether or not you relate to it. That’s what I found most interesting about Cheers.


FE EATU URIN NG Fantastic interviews with Daissy Riddley, Mark Ham milll, and Siimonn Pegg ! Amazing features about the original Staar Warrs trilogy, Dark Horse Comics, Star Warss: The Clonne Waars, and unreleased action figures!







tar Wars Insider: Darth Vader helped What made Marvel decide Kieron Gillen and kickstart Marvel’s Star Wars comics Salvador Larroca were the ideal team? line in 2015. How did it come to be JDW: I thought of Kieron because of his one of the two launch titles? amazing ability to write compelling evil. When Jordan D. White: One of the first Kieron wrote Uncanny X-Men, it was a dark ideas we had for the line was that we would time for the X-Men and, in my opinion, one in have multiple ongoing series that happened which they were close to being super-villains. simultaneously. It was definitely a departure Even so, he made Cyclops and company very from what had been done with Star Wars understandable and interesting. In addition, comics before, but it was much more in line his work on Uber for Avatar Press is literally with what Marvel does. re-imagining the darkest When you buy comics for parts of the 20th century the various Avengers titles, and making them even more they all take place together; horrific, while still telling and while they can be read an engrossing story. Both separately, reading them of those series mixed in my together creates a richer head and made me sure he KIERON GILLEN, writer universe. We wanted to do could get into the mind of the SALVADOR “SALVA” that with Star Wars as well. worst villain in the galaxy. LARROCA, artist Once that idea was hatched, Salva is a huge Star Wars FRANK PARISI, and it was obvious the fan; and the moment we got senior editor, Lucasfilm main book would be Star word that we were getting JENNIFER HEDDLE, Wars, and would follow the rights for Star Wars, we senior editor, Lucasfilm Luke and the rebels. Darth knew we had to bring his Vader leading the second amazing talent to the Star JORDAN D. WHITE, comics editor, Marvel book was the natural Wars galaxy. It was just a next step. We followed question of on what title. HEATHER ANTOS, assistant editor, Marvel Anakin’s journey as a main He’s been able to capture character in the prequel the tone of the series so trilogy, so it makes sense perfectly, from the first to keep following him into scene of issue #1 with Vader the original trilogy. There’s a side of the striding into Jabba’s palace, right up through character that we didn’t know existed when the last scene of issue #25 with… Oh, people those movies came out, but we had the might not have read it yet. I should hold off! opportunity to delve into it in a way that ties the two eras closer together. Kieron, how did Darth Vader enter your life? Is it true that you almost turned it down? Jennifer Heddle: When the series was in the Kieron Gillen: One day I picked up the phone concept stage I figured it would just be a fun and it was Jordan. He asked if I’d be interested read about Darth Vader kicking butt across in writing the sister book to Jason Aaron’s Star the galaxy—not that there’s anything wrong Wars. It was something of a surprise. with that! But what Kieron and Salva made And yes, it’s true I almost turned it down. became much, much more. I realized by the The prosaic part is simple—I wasn’t sure end of the very first issue that this team was it would fit into my schedule. The more on to something special. romantic part is that I wasn’t sure I was the




right man for the job. I was aware that Marvel had a lot of writers who would kill to do it! In the end, I decided I was as qualified as anyone, which is a terrible piece of ego. One of the main criticisms of my work at Marvel is paying more attention than I should to the villains and their motivations, but here that is a positive boon. For that and a bunch of other reasons, I realized maybe I actually was the right person for the job. Salva, what was your reaction to being offered penciling duties? Salvador Larroca: Surprise! A year before starting, Marvel told me they wanted me and it was a tremendous joy. But I preferred to be cautious until the scripts were ready. When they confirmed I was definitely going to do it, I was thrilled. Was Star Wars a big part of both your childhoods? KG: My first movie experience was seeing The Empire Strikes Back in the cinema. It was my entry into pop-fantasy culture; and Darth Vader was my first iconic image of evil. That I get to write the prequel to my own introduction to this world is the sort of thing that could blow a few fuses if you consider it too long! SL: Yes, of course. I saw the movies as a child and I’ve always been a great fan.


I’ve always been fascinated by the character of Darth Vader. I’m afraid I’ve always gone with the villains! It is always more fun to draw villains than heroes— though in our story the Dark Lord is the hero, really. What was your vision for the series at the start? KG: When Jordan called it wasn’t definitely a Darth Vader book. He told me if I had a better idea, go for it… But it was never not going to be Vader for me. I viewed it almost like a historical novel because it’s set in a distinct period in the saga. At the end of A New Hope, Vader is one of the few survivors to one of the biggest military disasters of all time, and he’s at least partially to blame. But at the start of Empire, he’s commanding the fleet, killing people at will, and generally has more power than ever. There’s an implied story there—the fall and rise of Darth Vader—and that’s what my arc would be. The second key element, and the real emotional meat, is that between the two movies Vader realizes that he has a son. He realizes that the last 20 years of his life have been a lie. We had to do the inversion of the “I Am Your Father” scene—the “I Have a Son” scene. I often use [the Netflix political

thriller] House of Cards as a shorthand description for the series: A powerful man feels slighted and turns to tactics he would have previously shunned to reach new heights of power. That core vision remained, though the execution always wanders. You knew in your heart of hearts that the final panel of Vader’s story would be him, on the bridge of the Executor, about to go after Luke. JDW: It probably won’t be too surprising to hear that one of our major touchpoints in talking about what this book would be was [the AMC drama] Breaking Bad. Even though the series is heavy with gutwrenching emotion, it always found room for humor. I think Kieron referred to [the project] as a post-Breaking Bad take on Darth Vader at one point, and I think [he] is very right. Salva, you’ve worked with several noted Star Wars scribes. How is Kieron different? SL: Every writer is different, as every artist is, too. Kieron is very easy to work with because he is very visual in his descriptions. He is a very good writer and his scripts are fun, which is important for an artist. When you spend a lot of time with a story, you have to have fun with it, otherwise it becomes very hard.

, u r p pit ucasfilm lm so some me of you yourr more more ore… inventive ideas? KG: Generally speaking, we had a “Don’t self-censor” approach. Don’t assume that Lucasfilm will say no; pitch it and let them say no if they want to. We wanted to test where the limits were, but we were never going to pitch anything that wasn’t Star Wars. For me, Star Wars is very much in the space-fantasy mode. It’s never been hardcore sci-fi, and that’s its charm. Characters such as the Mon Calamari cyborg Karbin have that wonderful “space fantasy” feel to them. What inspires these characters? KG: I was trying to think of powerful archetypes that would work in the highadventure mode that Star Wars runs on. That’s where we get people like Aphra— fundamentally an ethically inverted Indiana Jones archetype—and Thanoth— basically the genius detective archetype,


m i t. ar Wars is utt se big, powerful characters, and finding of it for me. g novel ones is a big g part p Jen and Jordan, did any of Kieron’s pitches stand out as especially playful or inventive? JH: The first thing that comes to mind is the mental image I got when I read Kieron’s script about the Geonosian queen being hooked up to an egg-laying machine: “Only her top part is flesh. The entire bottom half of her—the whole reproductive organ—has been replaced by a machine. It is basically the same shape as the organs would have been, but is clearly a machine. At the bottom, it has an egg-laying nozzle, but it’s mechanical.” I’m not sure “playful” is the word I would use to describe this, but it certainly is inventive! The suggestion of Triple-Zero as essentially a murderous C-3PO was also one of my favorite things. I knew it would work really beautifully and that fans would love it.

, st ful surprise was all the new and charming characters that grew g in the series. From the beginning, it was clear that Kieron understood the Dark Lord and had great plans for him. But all the new characters came to life on the page in such awesome and surprising ways. Doctor Aphra, Inspector Thanoth, Triple-Zero… They all became such compelling additions to the universe. In retrospect, I am pretty surprised we got away with making the evil R2 and C-3PO. They are actively psychopathic! It’s pretty outrageous, but it seems like everyone at Lucasfilm loves them as much as we do, which is amazing. Heather Antos: The new additions to the Star Wars cast have by far been the most pleasing surprise that any editor, creator, or reader could have. Kieron, Salva, and colorist Edgar Delgado’s ability to bring such life to them has been astonishing to say the least. They’ve only been around for just

under two years, but I now can’t imagine the Star Wars universe without them! Issue #24 has one of my all-time favorite Darth Vader moments, and one that I was shocked we were allowed to do. It’s a battle between Darth Vader and his former self, Anakin. Of course, it all takes place in Vader’s head, but the fact that we get to see Vader’s perspective on what went down on Mustafar—however skewed that perspective may have been—was super cool to do! Salva, who were your favorite characters to draw, other than Vader? SL: I love Aphra. She is special for me. And Cylo of course, because it’s me! Kieron, what’s your process in scripting an issue? What makes writing Star Wars different from other Marvel titles like Thor or Iron Man? KG: It’s Star Wars. That sounds like I’m joking, but that is the key difference, and changes everything. I had spent basically

the previous six years writing in the Marvel Universe. Though the Marvel Universe is a place with a large variety of tones, it still has a characteristic timbre. Star Wars has its own mode, and it’s different. It’s also narrower—which I don’t mean as a criticism. Our aesthetic goal was always “We’re not doing a comic adaptation of Star Wars, but we’re doing Star Wars on paper.” When looking at my choices when scripting it’s always through the filter of “Is this evoking what we see on the screen? Is this Star Wars-y enough?” In terms of the actual process, it’s similar. I work on a script every day until it’s done; I then leave it in a drawer for a bit before polishing it later. The secondary stage is when I hand it into Marvel, who then passes it to Lucasfilm for approval. The relationship there also changed things, and they’ve been generous with ideas and resources. At Marvel, I tend to write in a hermetically sealed way. For Darth Vader, there have been moments

when I’ve written in the script: “I can invent a new crime lord here for this role, but if there’s anyone in this area of the universe you’re using elsewhere, I can use them instead.” Leaning into the interconnectivity was a characteristic element of the job. Also when writing for Marvel I’m less likely to stomp around the house, pretending I’m breathing through a ventilator! What does an artist like Salvador Larroca bring to a panel? Did he find things in your writing or storytelling you didn’t notice? KG: Salva is a monster. My friend Matt Fraction and he collaborated on their award-winning Iron Man run, so I’d seen Salva’s work extensively before—and also knew about his blistering speed. That last attribute is the easiest thing to overlook. He illustrated the entire Darth Vader series, thus ensuring the book’s visual consistency. It’s easier to lose yourself in a world like that.


I could see much of what made him perfect in the Iron Man run: he does brilliant technology, both in terms of drawing it and designing it. Aphra’s Ark Angel ship has a great Star Wars-feeling design that’s not based on anything in-universe. He also does fantastic likenesses, which is obviously a boon when doing Star Wars. All that was stuff I hoped for, and he completely delivered. Plus, he’s an enormous Star Wars fan, which screams from every page. Probably the most unexpected thing he brought to the page was basing Cylo’s likeness on himself. It must have been an odd day at work drawing Darth Vader killing him over and over! It’s probably a metaphor for working on the book.

was something I worried about a lot. Our main solution was to show flashes of his inner life, but only at a distance. You’ll have these single panels where you see a memory, but you can never be sure what the memory actually means to Vader. Plus, Salva and I really worked the “Silent panel of Vader staring into distance” hard. In terms of maintaining sympathy, there were two main lines of attack. Partially it’s that the story circles around Vader, and in some ways it’s not him we’re afraid of, but rather everyone around him. Have people we worry about near him definitely helps there—Aphra is key to the book. The other line is the absolute opposite: by surrounding him with people who are

Salva, how did you and Gillen collaborate? Might your pencils have inspired new directions in the story? SL: I don’t know if my drawings have been able to inspire Kieron, I just hope he’s as happy with my work as I am with his. When you work with such a good script, your obligation is to give the best of yourself to maintain quality. Kieron’s scripts have been excellent and I tried to work as best as I know. When it’s easy to work with someone, a symbiosis occurs, and that is visible in the result. I think that is what happened to us. I got inspiration only from the movies, and it is important to the fans that the comic characters are recognizable. Can you describe the challenge of illustrating emotion for a main character encased in black armor and a mask? SL: I do it with body expression and camera angles. It’s a trick that is used in films, too. It is not the first time I have to deal with a character like this. Think of Iron Man, for example. Kieron, you’ve previously said that Darth Vader was your first image of “evil,” since The Empire Strikes Back was the first film you saw in a cinema as a kid. How did you keep Vader evil, yet also sympathetic enough for readers to follow him through the series? KG: It was tricky working out how to present him without getting too close— and losing the essential mystique. That


worse than him. Robert McKee argues in his book Story about The Godfather that one of the reasons the narrative works is that while the Godfather is monstrous, he’s still a better option than anyone else. People find themselves thinking, If I was a Mafia Godfather, that’s the sort of Mafia Godfather I’d want to be. I definitely did that. Vader is bad, but Grand General Tagge is bad and tedious. At least Vader wouldn’t corner you in a party and talk to you about his favorite graphs. I [also] knew the book needed a variety of antagonists. If [the story] solely consisted of Vader killing rebels people would quickly lose interest. I mean, isn’t it telling that the moments in the saga we all love most are when Vader mercilessly kills one of his fascist subordinates?

As Darth Vader developed over many issues, did the story or the characters go in different directions than originally intended? KG: Oh yeah. Many have been a delight. When I realized exactly what Thanoth was going to tell Vader, and why it was shocking, it was a real, “Dude! Are you actually going to do that?” moment. I spent considerable time wondering whether there was any way I could save him. Aphra had a bunch of scenes like that, and writing her desperately squirming to try and escape her fate was a joy. She always had an idea, and her scenes with Vader were always alive. That first happened in issue four, when I realized that the first thing Aphra would do upon completing the mission would be to ask, “So . . . are you going to kill me now or later?” That unlocked the Vader-Aphra relationship for me. The Darth Vader series also reveals that not every Imperial dies on the Death Star, as once believed. General Tagge returns in a bold new way to become a foil to the Dark Lord. Who made the decision to bring Tagge back into the fold? JH: Using Tagge was a suggestion from Lucasfilm that came about during a meeting with Kieron early on. We wanted a foil for Vader who would feel like someone with a real weight behind him, someone that the audience would find believable as holding power alongside Vader and being in the Emperor’s favor. Using a character from the conference room scene in A New Hope felt like the perfect solution. Everyone was excited about it. It was another bonus that Tagge was a character the audience no doubt already found obnoxious from the movie! You wanted to root against him from the start. Kieron, how was it breaking story with fellow writer Jason Aaron on Vader Down, the crossover between Darth Vader and the Star Wars monthly? KG: It was a lot of fun. All of this has been. I’ve known Jason ever since he was just starting Scalped and I was doing Phonogram. Also, we’ve had some experience in this kind of thing. Some of my fondest times in writing a shared superhero universe occurred when Jason was writing Wolverine and the X-Men and I was writing Uncanny X-Men. We batted stuff back and forth in a very casual way.

Vader Down was like that, but more so. We’d already done some close back and forth plotting on our first arc, building up towards issue six’s “I Have a Son” reveal, but Vader Down was on a different scale from that. We had a variety of ideas, and our original thoughts for the series were miles away from where we ended up. It was a process of iteration, working on the synopsis, seeing where the issue breaks landed, and then just writing it. It was agreeably egoless in that way—we didn’t even check which issue would be written by whom. As such, both of us got to write key scenes for each other’s casts, almost by random. I’m still envious Jason got to write the initial fight between our two casts, though he’s envious I got to write other cool stuff, so it evens out! Why end Darth Vader with issue #25? JDW: From the very beginning, Kieron always said this would be a finite story, that Vader is going through an arc, and that it would only really work if it had a conclusion. I am sure some will say we reached the end too soon, and a part of me might even agree—the part that just wants this team to keep making evil come true forever and always. But in the end, Kieron is right. The ending is an important part of this series, and it’s stronger for getting there. HA: Kieron has always had an ending in mind for the series. There was a story he wanted to tell, and he was able to do it in 25 amazing issues. I definitely wish the series could go on forever, but I think for a single story to have as much impact as this one has it has to end, you know? Kieron, how would you say Vader’s changed as a character from the first issue to the final issue? KG: For me, it’s a story of Vader awakening. Vader knows more of the truth now. As I said, he knows he has a son. Before this story the aim was to be the Emperor’s fist. He’s done that for 20 years. Now, at least consciously, he wants to seduce Luke to the dark side and rule the Empire. Ironically, for all the darkness, this is a story of a man regaining his hope and his own destiny. It’s just a particularly dark form of hope, which has allowed him to act in an even more ruthless way than before. What were everyone’s favorite moments or scenes? JH: There are so many! The invention of Aphra is obviously a standout—so many of the great moments in the comic derive from her being a fantastic character. I especially loved Aphra teaming up with the bounty hunters to rob the Imperial ship—all with Vader’s knowledge. That


was one of the most fun stories for me. I loved the interplay within that group. And I loved the cat and mouse game between Vader and Thanoth—giving Vader a worthy rival that actually kept me in suspense about who would come out on top! I think one of Kieron’s real strengths on this comic has been surrounding one of the most unforgettable fictional characters of all time with other fictional characters whom you will never forget. JDW: That is so difficult, as this is a series of amazing moments and characters. Right this moment, I will go with the character of Thanoth. He was so smart and interesting… and was a great antagonist for Vader precisely because he

wasn’t one. He was ostensibly on Vader’s side, and it gave that whole second arc such a great layer of suspense—Vader is working with an investigative genius to solve a crime Vader had committed. Loved that. And Thanoth’s return was also pitch perfect, if sometime we debated a bit about his final fate. I still hope, someday, we can read a murder mystery novel that takes place on the Death Star with Thanoth tracking down a killer in the Imperial ranks. HA: Can I pick every moment that happened between issues 1 through 25? No? Fine. In that case, my favorite moment was probably when we did the interwoven scenes between Darth

and were very pleased with how it worked. If I had to pick one, while I was proud of the Obi-Wan and Anakin beats, Padmé whispering, “Stay“ is one of my favorite panels in the whole book. The third one… well, I can’t pick between all the times that Triple-Zero and Beetee were monstrous and awful. I could probably do a top 10 of all the things the murderbots did. They were a consistent joy. And let’s go with Thanoth and Vader’s final confrontation. We did a lot of space epic in the book—obviously!—but sometimes all you need is two people in a darkened room. Now, at its conclusion, how do you think Darth Vader stacks up to the other comics you all have worked on? SL: At the top of my career. JDW: Honestly, I believe in my heart that this will be remembered as one of the best Vader stories ever told. I think Kieron and Salva did that great a job. HA: Kieron, Salva, and Edgar poured their hearts out onto these pages, and it really shows. I truly believe people are going to be talking about this series for a very, very long time come. How could they not? Salva, would you ever take a trip down into the dark side again? SL: I hope so, but who knows? I’d really love to. If I can, I’d do it. Is this truly the end for Kieron Gillen and the Dark Lord of the Sith? Who was the master? And who was the apprentice? KG: You strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can… wait, Darth. No, stay back. Let’s talk this through— <thud> Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader series 1-3 are available now as trade paperbacks.

MORE TO SAY Vader issue six and Star Wars issue six, when it was revealed to Vader that the troublesome rebel pilot was really his son, Luke Skywalker. I mean, what an awesome moment to reveal. It’s such a pivotal moment not just for Vader, but for the entire Star Wars story as we know it! SL: The sequences in which we tell Anakin’s past, when we make a retrospective, based on the movies. That’s very cool. And I am very happy the fans have been able to recognize the same Vader from the films in the comics. That is so cool because it’s very easy to mess with such a difficult character to draw.

KG: Well, at least one of them would be in the last issue, and I wouldn’t want to spoil that. Suffice to say we’re really proud of the conclusion. I’m all about the denouement, me. The first one is, I suspect, the one that would be on anyone’s list. The “I Have a Son” scene. Salva paced it beautifully, and it’s as iconic as anything that I’ve had my hand in while writing comics. It’s a scene that any Star Wars fan would want to see, and I still can’t believe I got to do it. The second one would be issue 24. An issue-long vision quest isn’t exactly what you expect this late in the game, but doing Vader’s own cave-sequence-on-Dagobah worked shockingly well. We tried to make it mythic, and keep that sort of structure,

Follow Jordan D. White on Twitter @crackshot Find Kieron Gillen at and on Twitter @kierongillen Find Michael Kogge at michaelkogge. com and on Twitter @michaelkogge Follow Salvador Larroca on Twitter @SalvadorLarroca Follow Heather Antos on Twitter @HeatherAntos Follow Jennifer Heddle on Twitter @jenheddle





he second season of Star Wars Rebels took everything that made Season One so successful and then moved it on in terms of scale, scope, and spectacle. There were more rebels, in the shape of Commander Sato’s Phoenix force. There were more Imperial opponents, as one Inquisitor was supplanted by multiple Dark Force users, including the one and only Darth Vader. There was more Ahsoka Tano—revealed as the rebel agent Fulcrum in Season One—now acting as a frequent companion and advisor. And there were more familiar faces, as the clone trooper Rex and a certain Leia Organa made their debuts in the series. Most of all, there was more drama, culminating in a fateful trip to Malachor. Still want more? Here’s a look back at the entire season, after which nothing would ever be the same for the crew of the Ghost…

“THE SIEGE OF LOTHAL” Production Number: 201/202 Original airdate: June 20, 2015 (debuted April 18, 2015 at Celebration Anaheim) June 20, 2015 (broadcast) Directors: Bosco Ng, Brad Rau Written by: Henry Gilroy The crew of the Ghost joins up with the Phoenix rebels, led by Commander Sato, though Kanan chafes at the idea of being part of a larger fight. They return to Lothal in a bid to help Minister Maketh Tua defect, but are trapped by Darth Vader. The Sith Lord hunts them across the planet and through space, culminating in a brief encounter with his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano.

“THE LOST COMMANDERS” Production Number: 203 Original airdate: October 14, 2015 (debuted October 8, 2015 at New York Comic Con) Directors: Dave Filoni, Sergio Paez Written by: Matt Michnovetz Ahsoka sends the crew of the Ghost to Seelos to convince a trio of retired clone troopers—Rex, Wolffe and Gregor—to help oppose the Empire. But Agent Kallus and the Empire are in hot pursuit—and the clones’ loyalties may not be all what Ahsoka hoped.

Notable for: The first appearance of Commander Jun Sato (Keone Young); the return of Darth Vader, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), and Emperor Palpatine (Sam Witwer); the death of Maketh Tua (Kath Soucie).

Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor; Rex notes that he fought alongside Ahsoka “from the Battle of Christophsis to the Siege of Mandalore”; Rex and his fellow clones have removed their control chips.



Production Number: 204 Original airdate: October 21, 2015 (debuted October 8, 2015 at New York Comic Con) Director: Bosco Ng Written by: Steven Melching

Production Number: 205 Original airdate: October 28, 2015 Director: Brad Rau Written by: Kevin Hopps

REGULAR CAST THE REBELS Freddie Prinze Jnr. as KANAN JARRUS Taylor Gray as EZRA BRIDGER Vanessa Marshall as HERA SYNDULLA Steve Blum as ZEB ORRELIOUS Tiya Sircar as SABINE WREN Ashley Eckstein as AHSOKA TANO Dee Bradley Baker as REX and Chopper as HIMSELF

THE IMPERIALS David Oyelowo as AGENT KALLUS Sarah Michelle Gellar as SEVENTH SISTER Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as FIFTH BROTHER Dee Bradley Baker as ADMIRAL KONSTANTINE and James Earl Jones as DARTH VADER

Kallus’s walkers pursue the rebels and the clones across Seelos. To survive an assault from the ATATs, Kanan and Ezra must use the Force. But can Kanan put aside his distrust of the clones after their betrayal of the Jedi years before?

Ezra joins Sabine, Zeb and Chopper to raid an abandoned Republic medical station, but the rebels are ambushed by Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister—Inquisitors who have taken over the Grand Inquisitor’s hunt for fugitive Jedi.

Notable for: The debut of the Inquisitor Fifth Brother.

Notable for: The debut of the Inquisitor Seventh Sister and her seeker droids.


“BROTHERS OF THE BROKEN HORN” Production Number: 206 Original airdate: November 4, 2015 Director: Saul Ruiz Written by: Bill Wolkoff A frustrated Ezra struggles to balance his loyalty to the rebel cause and his dedication to Jedi training. His older, simpler outlaw life beckons when he intercepts a message from the Broken Horn, the crimelord Vizago’s starship. But the ship now belongs to a different scoundrel, the slippery pirate Hondo Ohnaka. Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of Hondo Ohnaka; the return of Azmorigan and Citakro Vizago.

“STEALTH STRIKE” Production Number: 209 Original airdate: November 25, 2015 Director: Brad Rau Written by: Matt Michnovetz An experimental Imperial cruiser pulls a corvette out of hyperspace, taking its occupants—Commander Sato and Ezra—into custody. Kanan, Rex, and Chopper mount a rescue mission, forcing the Jedi and the clone to overcome their mutual suspicions and work together to save their friends. Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of the Imperial Interdictor cruiser.

“WINGS OF THE MASTER” Production Number: 207 Original airdate: November 11, 2015 Director: Dave Filoni, Sergio Paez Written by: Steven Melching The Phoenix rebels try to help the people of Ibaar, but Kallus and the Empire have blockaded the planet and the rebels are outgunned. Hera travels to Shantipole, where a Mon Calamari engineer named Quarrie has created a blockade-busting ship, the Blade Wing, but Quarrie will only give his prized starfighter to the right pilot. Notable for: Quarrie is named in honor of legendary Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie; the Blade Wing is a prototype of the B-wing starfighter, as seen in Return of the Jedi; Hera is promoted to Phoenix Leader.

“BLOOD SISTERS” Production Number: 208 Original airdate: November 18, 2015 Director: Bosco Ng Written by: Kevin Hopps Sabine, Ezra, and Chopper are sent to pick up a mysterious rebel courier on Garel, who turns out to be a Gonk droid called EG-86. The droid is being pursued by Ketsu Onyo, a Mandalorian bounty hunter of Sabine’s former acquaintance… Notable for: The first appearance of Ketsu Onyo; the return of R2-D2.

“THE FUTURE OF THE FORCE” Production Number: 210 Original airdate: December 2, 2015 Director: Saul Ruiz Written by: Bill Wolkoff Ahsoka and the crew of the Ghost learn that the Inquisitors are kidnapping Force-sensitive children and resolve to stop them. The result is a confrontation on the planet Takobo, and a discovery by Seventh Sister that places the rebels in grave peril. Notable for: The first appearance of Darja, Alora, Oora, and Pypey; the first close look at Ahsoka’s white-bladed lightsabers, which reflect her lack of affiliation to the Jedi or Sith.

“LEGACY” Production Number: 211 Original airdate: December 9, 2015 Director: Mel Zwyer Written by: Henry Gilroy A Force vision warns Ezra of an imminent Imperial attack on Garel, and leads him to believe that his parents might still be alive. After barely escaping the assault, the rebels return to Lothal to find X-10—an escaped prisoner who may know the truth about the Bridgers’ fate. Notable for: The first appearance of Ryder Azadi; the revelation that Ezra’s parents died trying to escape Imperial captivity, but heard their son’s message rallying the people of Lothal to resist the Empire.



Production Number: 212 Original airdate: January 20, 2016 Director: Bosco Ng Written by: Steven Melching

Production Number: 213 Original airdate: January 27, 2016 Director: Brad Rau Written by: Henry Gilroy, Kevin Hopps

Leia Organa, daughter of Alderaan’s Senator Bail Organa, visits Lothal on a mercy mission. But Leia’s real purpose is to see that the three Alderaanian warships she brought with her are stolen and wind up in the hands of the rebels. Faced with the Empire’s suspicions, Leia turns to Kanan and Ezra for help.

The rebels eye the Concord Dawn system as the key to a safer hyperspace route to Lothal—but it is in the hands of the Mandalorian Protectors led by Fenn Rau. In an attempt to secure the route, Hera is gravely injured in a dogfight. Sabine and Kanan continue the mission, but have very different ideas about how to succeed.

Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of Princess Leia; the return of Yogar Lyste; the first appearance of the Hammerhead Corvette.

Notable for: The first appearance of Fenn Rau, Concord Dawn, and the Mandalorian Fang fighter; revelations about Sabine’s past and the Clan Wren.


“LEGENDS OF THE LASAT” Production Number: 214 Original airdate: February 3, 2016 Director: Saul Ruiz Written by: Matt Michnovetz A tip from Hondo Ohnaka leads the Ghost to a pair of Lasat. Zeb is astonished to learn that he isn’t the last survivor of his species, but scoffs when . he learns that they seek the planet Lira San as a sanctuary foretold by prophecy. Notable for: The first appearance of Lasat elders Chava and Gron; revelations about bo-rifles and Zeb’s time with the Lasat Honor Guard.

“THE CALL” Production Number: 215 Original airdate: February 10, 2016 Director: Mel Zwyer Written by: Bill Wolkoff With the Phoenix rebels perilously low on fuel, the Ghost’s crew raid a Mining Guild asteroid.There, the Force tells Ezra that the mining operations are a threat to spacegoing leviathans known as purrgils. Notable for: The first appearance of Boss Yushyn, the purrgils, and Mining Guild TIE fighters; the first on-screen appearance of the Mining Guild, originally mentioned in The Empire Strikes Back.


“HOMECOMING” Production Number: 216 Original airdate: February 17, 2016 Director: Bosco Ng Written by: Steven Melching Commander Sato suggests the Ghost’s crew steal an Imperial carrier operating above Ryloth. Hera reluctantly agrees, knowing that the mission will require her to work with her estranged father, Twi’lek rebel Cham Syndulla. The Syndullas have very different ideas about how to fight the Empire, and neither is inclined to compromise. Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of Cham Syndulla, Numa, and Gobi Glie; the first appearance of the Quasar Fireclass cruiser-carrier.

“THE HONORABLE ONES” Production Number: 217 Original airdate: February 24, 2016 Director: Brad Rau Written by: Kevin Hopps The Ghost travels to Geonosis and is ambushed by the Empire. Zeb and Agent Kallus wind up trapped together in an escape pod and crash-land on Bahryn, where the two sworn enemies must work together to survive. Notable for: The first appearance of Bahryn and the bonzami; the revelation that all life on Geonosis has been wiped out; Kallus mentions fighting Saw Gerrera’s forces on Onderon.

“SHROUD OF DARKNESS” Production Number: 218 Original airdate: March 2, 2016 Director: Saul Ruiz Written by: Henry Gilroy After another confrontation with the Inquisitors, Kanan and Ezra return to Lothal’s Jedi temple to learn how they are being tracked. Ahsoka joins them, and the three experience Force visions about their past and future. Yoda reluctantly offers Ezra a piece of advice: find the planet Malachor. Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of Anakin Skywalker (as a hologram); the return of Yoda and the Grand Inquisitor (in a Force vision); Kanan’s knighthood; Ahsoka’s discovery about Anakin’s true fate.

“TWILIGHT OF THE APPRENTICE” Production Number: 221/222 Original airdate: March 30, 2016 Director: Dave Filoni Written by: Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, Steven Melching Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka travel to the Sith world of Malachor, where three Inquisitors are hunting an intruder. Ezra finds a Sith holocron and falls under the sway of Darth Maul, who wants to use the planet for his own schemes. Alerted to Kanan’s presence, Darth Vader arrives, setting the stage for a showdown with Ahsoka. Notable for: The first Rebels appearance of Darth Maul; the first appearance of Malachor and the Inquisitor Eighth Brother; the deaths of Eight Brother, Seventh Sister, and Fifth Brother; Maul’s blinding of Kanan; Ahsoka’s confrontation with Darth Vader.

“THE FORGOTTEN DROID” Production Number: 219 Original airdate: March 16, 2016 Director: Mel Zwyer Written by: Matt Michnovetz While his friends steal fuel from the Empire, Chopper indulges in a theft of his own: swiping a replacement droid leg. Stormtroopers chase him aboard an Imperial cargo ship, where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with an Imperial inventory droid. Notable for: The first appearance of AP-5; the story of how Chopper and Hera met; the adoption of Atollon as the Phoenix rebels’ new base.

“THE MYSTERY OF CHOPPER BASE” Production Number: 220 Original airdate: March 23, 2016 Director: Bosco Ng Written by: Steven Melching Spider-like predators known as kyrkna threaten the Phoenix rebels’ base on Atollon. The crew of the Ghost must rescue Rex from the creatures’ underground lair and find a way to safeguard the base from further attacks. Notable for: The first appearance of krykna and dokma; the return of convor birds.






tar Wars Insider: Let’s start with the Season Two finale. Is it true that you didn’t know the ending until you watched it at a screening with an audience of fans? Taylor Gray: Yes, that was the first time! We didn’t even get the pages [of script] for that. Seeing it then was the first and only time for me. What was that experience like? To see it in a big theater like that it was awesome. And it’s was cool to watch it with an audience. I’ve always liked going to an actual movie theater and seeing things on a big screen. It just makes the experience of watching anything so much cooler. I had my friends with me, too. Some of them had seen the show before and some of them hadn’t, and it was great to hear their reactions. I heard that since some of the cast didn’t know what was going to happen at the end of the Season Two finale there was a prank. Can you tell me about it? If you’re not in a particular episode, Dave [Filoni, executive producer] doesn’t give you the script. Because Steve [Blum, Zeb], Vanessa [Marshall, Hera], and Tiya [Sircar, Sabine] weren’t in the finale, Dave said to Sam [Witwer, Maul], Freddie [Prinze Jr., Kanan] and me, “Why don’t you send them cryptic text messages? Say it’s been fun working with them, and you can’t wait until your paths cross again.” So I sent that to Tiya, Steve, and Vanessa, and they thought I was quitting! I said, “No, I’m still working on the show, but I hope you guys had a fun time and enjoyed your Star Wars experience!” Vanessa started freaking out and I immediately felt bad. That’s Dave’s sense of humor for you! The finale was something of a gamechanger. What conversations did Dave have with you before you started to record Season Three? Dave is so good at keeping us informed and making sure that we know our characters’ trajectories for the next season. Ezra’s getting older and Dave wanted to cover that. Kanan being blind changes Ezra entirely. There’s guilt that comes with that. Dave explained it all to us, going through each one of our characters. He reassured me that Ezra gets a new lightsaber after Darth Vader nixed that last one! Well, if someone is going to wreck Ezra’s lightsaber... Exactly! I remember saying, “Dude, that was the coolest thing ever. I got my lightsaber broken by Darth Vader!”


Vader has certainly caused trouble, but now you have to face Grand Admiral Thrawn as well! How does he affect Ezra and the other rebels? He’s so different. I remember the very first time we went to San Diego Comic-Con and talked about the show. Even then, people were asking, “Is Thrawn going to be in it?” I didn’t know who Thrawn was at that point, so I started reading up on him. Even at the Season Two finale screening, a kid asked about Thrawn during the Q&A! The thing about Thrawn is that he’s incredibly smart. He plays on the rebels’ weaknesses better than most villains. He learns about each one of them and figures out how to really pick them apart. He even lets them have little victories here and there, because it helps the bigger picture for the Empire. At times it seems like he’s letting the rebels run all over, but it’s because two episodes later he’s going to completely flip the switch. It’s very different. He’s a strong guy. You can tell by the way everyone else in the Empire talks to him and reacts to him. He’s beautifully animated, but terrifying. Ezra’s started to take on a leadership role, but was badly shaken up during the season premiere. What’s his attitude after those setbacks? That’s something I talked with Dave about. Ezra is really hard on himself. He wants to take on this responsibility, and it’s not that he isn’t ready, but that he doesn’t have the right mindset. He feels entirely responsible for what happened to Kanan, because he was the one who trusted Maul and befriended him and said, “Let’s bring him in.” There’s eventually a point where Ezra and Kanan talk about what happened, how it’s all going to be okay, and how Ezra needs to take on a fresh disposition in order to lead. Ezra is learning throughout Season Three. He’ll have more failures of course, but he’ll also learn how to lead the rebels and start moving up the ranks. Where he goes at the end of Season Three is unbelievable! How does Maul affect Ezra over the course of the season? It’s interesting. Ezra hasn’t dropped his idea of learning about the dark side. He’s incredibly intrigued. He has very innocent intentions—in that he just wants to learn about the enemy in order to defeat them— but if you get close to the dark side it starts to have an effect on you. He sees how there are instant rewards for tapping into anger or emotions that you don’t want to be feeling for too long. So there’s a battle with the duality of light and dark, and Ezra wanting to go back and forth.

It’s a big test for Ezra in Season Three, b because the dark side is pulling at him, e especially with Maul around. We hear Maul c calling Ezra his apprentice and everything l that. Maul is still trying to get Ezra to like c come on over to the dark side. It’s like Ezra sees the Force as not strictly black b and white. It’s I funny: I asked Dave why there couldn’t be b a Jedi who is so informed about the dark d side. The Jedi could know everything about a the dark side; open and use the Sith holocron; h and associate with Darth Maul; but b still be good. He said, “I’m so glad you’re asking a those questions, because that’s exactly e what Ezra’s thinking.” Aside A from Kanan and Ezra, and Ezra and Maul, will we see more of Ezra and Sabine working w together? Sabine’s S family becomes a big part of Season Three. We start to touch upon the S story of Mandalore, and Sabine has to lead s the t rebels for a little bit while we are there. She S has to team up with Ezra and utilize all the t Force skills that he has. That’s interesting because until now they’ve all looked down at Ezra like he’s t the t little brother of the group. Now that he’s h stepped up, it’s a weird dynamic when they’re joking around in the Ghost. They t still s talk to him and treat him the same way, w even though they know he is so much more capable than he was at the beginning. m But B him and Sabine learn to work together pretty well. p What W are you most looking forward to fans seeing s in Season Three? I’m I most excited for them to see Bendu—he is i unbelievable! It’s so funny because when we w started recording I was like, “Bendu? What W is this thing?” We would read along with w the recording and it was very, very slow. I wasn’t sure if I really liked the character, or o what his deal was. But then, as the whole w season plays out, he becomes one o of the coolest characters that I’ve I seen in Star Wars. What he represents—the r middle ground between b light and dark—just seems s to align with things that are a close to me in reality. Every time t we see Bendu, he imparts some s knowledge. That’s so interesting, i and I think it will be b cool for the fans to see.



Follow Taylor on Twitter: @iamtaylorgray







mperial stormtroopers are many things, but subtle they are not. That morning I’d risen early, troubled, though I couldn’t say why. Dawn had yet to break. I’d left Chloa and the kids to their dreams and done the only thing I knew would ease my mind: cleaned my gear. Which is why I was in my workshop below the house, working grime out of the hinges of a trap, when I heard them. I tracked them by sound alone, enjoying the mental exercise though it wasn’t especially difficult. They moved at a brisk march, the sound of boots slapping against worn cobblestones. Four sounded identical and would have made a standard patrol for Tavuu’s winding streets. Only there were three more pairs. Two, their steps fell heavier. More than a simple patrol, then, for they carried something. Bigger guns? That twisted my gut. Weapons of any sort were rarely needed in this quiet district of the city above the jungle. Tavuu was a big place, the capital city of Radhii. Plenty of crime and unrest in the darker corners on the eastern side to keep the garrison busy. Over here, though, on the western edges where the city abruptly ended at a monstrous cliff face, things were peaceful. It was as if an unspoken agreement had been reached, long ago, among those of us who lived in this part of the city. We’re cornered here; nowhere to go but over the edge, so we’ll play along. We’ll keep our heads down. It was the last pair of footsteps that I focused on now. Lighter on the step, feet rolling slightly. Not subtle, perhaps, but not entirely unfamiliar with the concept, either. They were beyond the alley, in the market. I set the trap down, half cleaned, and laid the oiled rag beside it. My overeager ASP droid made a little glomp sound— may I put that away?—but I shushed it, my ears now fully pricked. Footfalls in the puddle-ridden alley. As their steps grew louder I grew nervous. Which one of my neighbors had earned Imperial attention? I should pay more attention to our neighbors. The only thing we shared was this row of old houses huddled together at the edge of the cliff. Beyond the wall at my back was a sheer rock face leading to the forest below. The forest. Zoess, its ancient name, which literally meant impenetrable. My second home. Chloa’s voice, behind me. “Gorlan, dear?” “Thought you were asleep.” She knew the art of subtlety. After all these years she could still slip up behind me—me!—and plant a kiss on the back of my neck, my first inkling of her presence being the static just before her lips arrived. “Do they come for us?” Footsteps on the wooden stairs outside, answering her question. I turned, met my wife’s eyes, and shrugged. “Let’s find out.” They knocked hard enough to rattle the heavy door. I waited a few seconds, tried to make myself look tired. They liked to wake you. Draw you from bed. Chloa stood beside me, chin up, as I creaked the door open a few centimeters. “Yes?” I said, with a touch of morning rasp.


“Gorlan Seba?” “Yes?” “May we enter?” He wore no helmet, this one. Dark hair, sharp features, keen eyes. I knew little of Imperial rankings but the fact that he was in charge was unmistakable. “Have we done something wrong?” The man’s face tightened, ever so slightly, and I knew the answer to my question, plain as day. What I’d done wrong was not say yes to his request. “On the contrary,” he said. “We are here to hire you. We need a guide.” I said nothing. I couldn’t think of anything to say. “We need,” he went on, “to visit the Zoess.” I stared, at a loss. Chloa gathered her wits before I could. “When?” she asked. “Right now. This very morning.” “Impossible,” I said automatically. “A proper expedition takes weeks to prepare.” “We don’t have weeks,” the leader said through clenched teeth. Then he glanced around, pointedly studying the curtained windows and balconies around us. Finally he held up his hands, palms out. “Let us in, and I’ll explain.” I sat beside Chloa, arms folded across my stomach, and listened. “There was an escape,” the leader said. He’d introduced himself as Lieutenant Vrake and rattled off a bunch of numbers and classifiers no doubt impressive to someone who cared about such things. Only the subtext mattered. He had authority here. “Yesterday,” he added, one eyebrow arched. I realized he was waiting for me to speak. “Oh?” I said, and felt a little jab from Chloa’s elbow. Don’t make trouble. “Any visitors last night?” “No.” “Nothing… out of the ordinary, then?” My mouth opened on its own to say no, but memory held me back. I swallowed. “Well,” I said, and felt Chloa tense. I pressed on. “Didn’t think much of it at the time. Kids, I figured. Running around just after last bell. They raced up the alley and—” Vrake leaned in. “You spoke with them? Aided them?” A hint of accusation. I shook my head. “Only heard them. My hearing is pretty good.” “And?” Vrake asked. “And nothing. They—whoever they were—were gone by the time I even sat up.” It was the truth. Vrake considered this. Then he explained. Four soldiers of the rebellion, prisoners, managed to escape a transport on the way to Segenka prison, all the way over on the east side of Tavuu near the Imperial base. Witnesses had seen the rebels descending the cliff eight hours ago, half a kilometer north of here, using one of the ancient stone ladders carved into the very rock. The reckless way. An act of desperation. I sat there, staring at the man across from me and the two white-armored troopers behind him, weapons held angled toward the floor. It could just as easily have been four outlaws

across from me, seeking a guide, if only they’d known to stop instead of running past last night. I wondered what I would have done. I cared about the rebellion as much as I cared about Imperial rule. Which is to say, not much. None of my business. I had Chloa and the kids, and I had the Zoess. That was enough for me. “We understand you have a lift,” Vrake said. “And we know your reputation as a tracker. No one knows the forest as well as you. So I am asking you, Gorlan, to help us bring these criminals back.” Asking. Right. So easy to ask for something when you can just demand it if the answer is no. In fact, the only reason to bother asking at all in such circumstances was to give the person a chance to show their loyalty. I rubbed at my chin, pretended to consider the supposed request. Chloa put her hand on my arm and patted it. Get this over with, her gesture said. Finally, I nodded to the lieutenant. “You’ll have to leave those blasters behind. And your communicators. Won’t work down there.” “They’ve been specially hardened. With the extra shielding—” My patient smile stopped him. “A common mistake that’s caused more accidents down there than I care to count. Trust me, they won’t work.” “Hmm.” Vrake frowned. “Well, you are the expert.” “You want a good knife. Maybe a spear. I have a few extra. You’re welcome to them.” One of his men leaned forward and whispered something to him. “Ah, good,” Vrake said to him. He turned back to me. “It seems we may have an alternative.” Twenty meters from the base of the cliff, my lift came to a silent stop. Before we stepped off, I held a finger to my lips, a gesture acknowledged by Vrake. He and his squad stood perfectly still, waiting. They’d all left their helmets behind. None of the augmentations they offered would work once we descended below the canopy, which made them worse than useless: they’d hinder hearing and visibility, two things much more important than armor once in the Zoess. Still, I thought they might figure out a way to keep them. Gut their electronics, maybe. Something, if only to retain the fearsome edge their faceless uniform provided. We all stared out at the vast bulbous carpet of foliage, alive with greens, purples, and yellows. The forest hummed. A low, undulating sound, almost like a pulse. Little more than background noise to those in the city high above, but down here the hum was a physical thing. It weighed on you. A pressure, wrought of the electrostatic build-up in the lightning trees that populated the forest. I gave the squad a

moment to get used to it, while I listened for other things. Ghoma, and other, rarer, beasts. All quiet, for now. “From here you do exactly as I say,” I told them. The troopers looked to Vrake, who gave me a single, sharp nod. We left the platform by a series of wooden steps that descended out to the edge of a small clearing, away from the trash and debris that had been dumped along the cliff’s edge before Imperial law forbade the practice. We hiked north, to the base of the stone ladder, a series of footholds carved into the face of the cliff ages ago, some so worn they were barely visible. I pointed out signs that people had descended here recently, just as Vrake’s witnesses had said. Trampled leaves, newly exposed rubble. Those who had come down this ladder had gone straight into the heart of the Zoess. I had thought—hoped, even—that maybe they’d simply followed the cliff north all the way to its end. But of course that would have only got them captured, and the risks of the forest were clearly preferable to that. “What did these prisoners do wrong, exactly?” I asked. “Rebelled,” Vrake said, his tone closing off any further discussion on the topic. Fine by me. I set the example after that, saying nothing. With this company I could only move at half the rate I usually would. I ducked under heavy blue fronds, dripping with slimy syrup that carried seeds away. I brushed aside thorny cavenna vines that hung in curling loops around our faces, probing, tasting the air. Harmless enough if you didn’t let the little tongue-like tips get a sample of your skin. The farther we got from the shadow of the cliff, the taller the trees became. Their bases grew thicker, and the domes their heavy upper branches made left my followers speechless as they stared up at the Zoess’s eerie green cathedral-like ceiling. Insects darted around us, leaving little blue trails of bioluminescence. Birds sang in the distance, mostly to the west, where sunlight had begun to creep over the city and reach the forest. By midday it would be sweltering. And beneath it all, the hum of the lightning trees. There was something else, too. I dropped to one knee and held up a hand. The stormtroopers mimicked my position, weapons ready. Several held batons, one a long hunter’s knife. The rest carried the “alternatives” Vrake had mentioned: modified bowcasters. Wookiee weapons, no doubt confiscated and then modified to only mechanically fire chargeless quarrels. I wondered where the garrison had dug them up. Had they ever been fired? Not my problem, I tried to tell myself.

i cared about the rebellion as much as i cared about imperial rule


The sound approaching us, that was my problem. We’d been keeping to a game trail, same one the rebels had used. I gestured for my companions to move to one side, off the path. Some of them moved quickly enough. Ahead, across the narrow patch of muddy forest floor, a fern exploded in a spray of green and blue. I saw only teeth and claws and the blur of motion before I rolled to one side and brought my knife up from its sheath. The beast, a deschene and a young one at that, galloped past me and slammed into one of the two stormtroopers who hadn’t yet taken cover. The pair—animal and man—went rolling into the underbrush. I barreled into the tangle of bushes and roots until I found the writhing pair. The trooper was on his back, hands clasped over his head, arms locked together in front of his face, as the deschene clawed at his white armor. Already there were gouges through the material, blood seeping through from the man beneath. Another few swipes and it would have him. I reached into a pocket and pulled out a device of my own design. A little black disk, its outer surface studded with small barbs. “Down!” I shouted, and threw the device as hard as I could. Then I dove to the ground and covered my ears, hoping they’d heard. With my arms clasped around my head, I could just see between my elbows. The throw had been true. It struck the six-legged animal on its middle flank. The barbs punctured skin and tangled in the fine hair. The impact caused the second feature of my device, a sphere within the sphere, to shatter. Chemicals inside mixed, creating a powerful electric current. There was a pop I felt more than heard, and a brilliant white flash. Bolts of electricity snapped down from the canopy and struck the little device and the beast to which it clung. Another pop, this one ugly and wet, resulted in a shower of smoldering meat and tough hide. I hid my face for that. I loved the animals that wandered the Zoess, even the predators. I came to my knees, then stood. The stormtrooper on the ground lay motionless. Vrake stumbled past me and knelt beside his soldier. “Alive?” I asked. The reply came a few seconds later. “He’ll be OK. Bring me a medpac!” This last command he shouted over his shoulder. One of the other troopers had recovered and complied. Vrake looked at me. “What was that thing you threw?” I shrugged. “My own invention. The trees’ discharge is drawn to powered devices, I figured why not harness that?” “Clever,” he said, eyeing the suddenly pathetic bowcaster in his hands. “Maybe, but far from subtle. If your rebels are out there, they know we’re coming.”


He snorted. “They’re up against the Empire. They knew we’d come after them the moment they chose the wrong side.” I said nothing, a fact he seemed to notice. But Vrake ignored my slight and helped his stirring soldier to his feet. Soon we were moving again. Hours passed. The forest sounds were occasionally tinged with the hollow growl of distant TIE fighters, patrolling the edges of the forest, maintaining a safe distance from the lightning trees. I stopped when we heard them the first time, and glanced at Vrake. “You didn’t think we’d risk letting the prisoners slip out the far side of the forest, did you?” Half a kilometer later, as the day grew late, we came upon an ancient, petrified tree trunk in the center of a small clearing. The rebel’s tracks were obvious, the ground trampled. “They rested here,” I said. “When?” Vrake asked.

“Three hours. Maybe four.” He let out a frustrated sigh. “We need to move faster, Gorlan.” “Why?” I asked. “Your patrols—” “We need to get to them before this forest does.” “So you find their remains, so what? The forest does your job for you.” “No, it does not,” he said through clenched teeth, patience waning. “I don’t under—” “We haven’t interrogated them yet,” he said, each syllable flat and sharp as a knife. I held his gaze for a bit and then had to look away, to the ancient dead tree. Interrogate. What, I thought, had I gotten myself into? I should have never opened my door that morning. I shouldn’t have gotten involved. I studied the tracks around the tree trunk. There was a hollowed area at the base.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” Vrake said, sweeping one hand toward the direction the rebels had been traveling, “may we continue? I’d like to find them before they starve.” “You don’t need to worry about that,” I said. “Meaning what?” I moved to the gnarled, petrified wood and crouched. “They did more than stop here for a break. They had supplies cached here.” I pointed to depressions in the mud within the hollowed trunk. “Three, maybe four packs, I’d guess. Heavy.” Vrake blinked. “What?” “And another thing. Look at the tracks. There’s more from here, leading west. Eight of them, now, I think. They joined up with others.” “Are you saying they planned this?” At that I could only shrug. “I doubt it was a chance meeting.” “Don’t get smart,” he rasped. “At least they’re shouldering gear,” one of the troopers offered. “Might slow them.” The lieutenant gathered his men. “Everyone stay sharp. Our escapees are likely armed. At least we can take comfort in the knowledge they won’t gun us down with blasters.” He eyed the pouch at my belt. “How many more of your little inventions are you carrying?” “Two,” I said, regretting I’d let him see one at all. He held out his hand. I hesitated, only just, and then placed the disks in his palm. “Now,” he said. “Move.” We marched until dusk. The forest grew cold and quiet, and we had no further encounters with the local wildlife. Luckily the rebels had taken a path that led to one of the few wide clearings in the forest, one I used frequently when my journeys required more than a day’s travel. “We camp here,” I said. “We continue,” Vrake snapped. “No, we do not,” I said. “Trust me. We cannot traverse the forest in the dark, much less follow tracks.” “They’ll gain an entire night’s march on us.” “Believe me,” I said, “they’ll have to stop, too. The Zoess is unnavigable after dark. Any light would trigger the trees, and a flame would bring the wrath of the wild ghoma. You haven’t seen anger until you’ve seen one of them enraged by the sight of fire. Besides, this clearing offers some small comforts.” I went to the very center and lay down my gear on the ground beside a tall wooden post that protruded from the ground. Hooks poked out from a dozen places along its length. From my pack I removed an electric lantern, slipped it over one of the hooks, and reached for the on switch. “What are you doing!?” Vrake shouted. He and his men leapt backward. I turned the lantern on. A dim red light bathed the center of the clearing.


“Relax,” I said, satisfied at their expressions I must admit. I indicated a circle of stones around the post, barely a meter in diameter. “The one place in the Zoess out of range of the lightning trees.” It took a moment before they regained their wits. “You should have told us,” Vrake said. “We could have assembled a turret here. Or a sensor array.” “I had no idea their path would lead here,” I explained. “And that kind of gear would have slowed us down.” “Won’t the light alert our prey, or these ghoma, to us?” “This hue calms the animals. I don’t know why. And we only keep it on long enough to make camp, OK?” I busied myself with the sleeping gear. Vrake and his men gathered a few meters away and spoke among themselves. When they finished, a pair of the stormtroopers sauntered off and began to patrol the edge of the clearing. We ate under the night sky. Those troopers not on patrol spoke in hushed tones. Soldier talk, old as time itself. I sat alone, weighed events. I stewed, as Chloa would say. Something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t figure out what. “Don’t worry,” Vrake said to me, suddenly. I snapped out of my doldrums. “Hmm?” “I know that wistful look. Tomorrow we’ll have them, and you can return to your family. The Empire will remember your aid to us here, I’ll make certain of it.” I nodded. “You have kids?” “Mm. Far from here,” he said. “Now, rest. We’ve organized watches.” I wasn’t tired, though. My body was, sure, but my mind still churned on the events of the day. I removed several items from my pack and assembled them, careful to attach the special battery last. Soon I had the holoprojector in one piece. I lay beside it, on top of my bedroll, the night pleasantly warm. Hands tucked behind my head, I stared at recordings of my children playing. Chloa, smiling shyly. I’d learned, over the years out here. Soft light seemed to appease the forest. The Zoess had always left me alone, as if we’d struck a bargain. I wondered if I’d broken that bargain today. Maybe so, because I woke some time later to sounds of violence. Angry grunts of exertion. A shout of triumph or maybe rage. A figure before me. Cerean, female, wearing prisoner’s garb. Her face ghostly, lit by the flickering images from the holoprojector. I rolled as her spear came down. It slammed into the dirt where my head had been. She cursed. Her companions were in a rough circle around the wooden post, each one standing over a bedroll, stabbing with spears, again and again. “Something’s wrong!” one of them shouted. “They’re not here,” said another. A boot slammed into my ribs, knocking me back to the dirt. I rolled and raised my hands. “I’m only a guide,” I said.


“Be silent,” she hissed. “Yes,” a voice called. Vrake. “Be silent.” The stormtroopers came in from hiding places around the perimeter of the clearing, forming a circle around the rebels who shifted from foot to foot, spears darting from one target to the next. I shook my head. My ribs throbbed. Equal cries of “stand your ground!” and “do not move!” intermingled in the confused camp, as the stormtroopers closed in. “We won’t surrender,” the woman beside me said. Vrake began to pace. “Interesting venue, this forest. It puts us on equal footing. Our bowcasters,” he said, and nodded toward the nearest rebel, “and your...what have you got there? Spears? Charmingly primitive—” The woman beside me squeezed the weapon in her hands. There was a dull click, and then the tip of the spear shot outward. A harpoon. I should have seen it sooner, the length of wire coiled around each rebel’s upper arm.

The tip of the weapon sprang outward at phenomenal speed, just missing Vrake’s face, before whipping back and reconnecting itself into the barrel of the “spear”. Vrake’s men raised their bowcasters. Everyone tensed. My eyes were fixed on Vrake’s hands. They were clasped behind his back, but he’d turned to dodge the attack and I’d caught a glimpse of what he held. The two small spheres I’d given him. I scrambled backwards toward the center of the clearing, to the marker post and my gear. All of them—rebels and stormtroopers alike—shifted on their feet, adjusting their aim from one target to another. Sizing each other up. Deciding who to shoot first or which way to dive. The air grew still. The forest, dead quiet. That strange instant of calm that always manifested before violence. My hand bumped something. I turned, saw my still-flickering holoprojector, and my mind filled with grief and remorse. The idea that I might never see Chloa and the kids again. One last glimpse, at least. I focused on the image.

And saw a stranger. Not my kids, not Chloa, but a woman with dark hair. It took my brain a few seconds to grasp who this was. No stranger at all. Far from it. Princess Leia Organa stood there, holographically. The interruption of my own recording meant this was an emergency broadcast. She was speaking. I picked up the device, careful to keep it in the circle of stones lest the forest annihilate us all. “He’s got a weapon,” one of the rebels barked, unsure. It didn’t occur to me until later that he’d meant me. “The tracker fights with us,” Vrake said. “Or he’d better, if he wants to see his family again.” I’d activated the sound. I wasn’t listening to them anymore, but to her. Princess Leia Organa. “All of you, stop. Listen!” I shouted. Croaked, really. “Stop fighting. Something’s happened.” I magnified the image until Leia seemed to stand, life-size, on my palm. She was saying, “The Death Star outside the forest moon of Endor is gone, and with it the Imperial leadership. The tyrant Palpatine is dead…” I stood there, the rest of her words unheard. Palpatine was dead. The Imperial leadership, gone. I glanced at Vrake, who stood frozen, trapped between disbelief and anger. I didn’t know what to do, what to say. Somehow the only words that came to mind were the ones I’d just uttered. Stop fighting. a

The events of this story tie-in with Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt, by Chuck Wendig, available now from Del Rey Books.






FREDDIE E PRINZE, JR. He’s like a big bro!

TAYLOR GRAY He goes with the flow! He never takes anything too serio ously.

VANESSA A MARSHA ALL Just the warmestt, nicest pe erson.

STEVE BLUM The noises that come out of that man’s mouth… So impre essive!

DAVE FIL LONI Mad genius! He’s just the boss man!


basis, and more often than not, we don’t need to know. Dave is the most skilled person at evading a question by answering it without ever giving you any real information! I need to learn from him how to do it. He tells us what we need for a particular episode or story arc, but no more. I like that approach because I like to be in the moment. I don’t necessarily want to be bogged down by things that will happen down the line if it might affect my reading of a particular scene or episode—or season, even. That said, I definitely think Dave entrusted me with more information in advance this season, which I really appreciate. I feel like I got to know more about her past and her family than I ever have before. Given what you know now about Sabine, are there things you would do differently if you were re-making Season One? No—that’s the genius of Dave Filoni. It’s all part of his masterplan. Don’t tell him I said any of these nice things about him, but when I don’t know something, I feel totally confident that it’s not something




TIYA ON HER FAVORITE SABINE COLLECTIBLE The Hasbro Black Series action figure of Sabine is incredible; really beautiful. It’s such an honor for Sabine to be part of that line. There was a fan poll and people voted for Sabine. That just gives me the warm fuzzies! I don’t take that lightly, because I really appreciate all the fan support.

that I need to know. If I want to know something, it’s purely as a fan wanting to get some information out of him—and it never works! You know that, right? How do you explain the huge appeal of Sabine across the Star Wars fanbase? I might have a biased opinion, but I just love

Sabine. I think she is rad! I can’t think of many characters like her. In fact, I think that she’s unique. I love that she’s a young woman now, and I love that she’s smart and doesn’t take any crap. She’s supremely skilled and she has this snappy, sharp wit, which she just kind of dishes out. She’s so capable— she doesn’t need a man to come save her. She’s on top of it all. I think the idea of a female warrior is really empowering for women, but I don’t think she’s only appealing to women. She’s a universal character who just happens to be female. There’s this dichotomy within her that she is this highly skilled, trained warrior who excels at blowing things up; but then she’s also got this artistic side, which creates this far more complex, interesting person. As we get to know Sabine better and learn more of Sabine’s past, you’ll see the influences in her life that led her to becoming this person with these various, seemingly opposing interests. Basically, I think she’s a cool chick. I would want to be friends with her if I could. No, actually I think I would want to be her!


I get asked a lot whether Sabine and Ezra will get together! As Dave always says, anything is possible. I had a conversation with him once about it and he said initially it was like a will they/won’t they/ who knows/maybe kind of thing. But the more we got into the show and got better acquainted with the characters, it just occurred to him: Why do they have to? Just because he’s a young guy and she’s a young woman, why does it mean that eventually they have to be romantically involved? Couldn’t they just be great friends and always have each others’ backs and not have to go down that road? I loved it when he told me that. I thought, Yeah, you’re absolutely right! So, who knows? Maybe it’ll happen! If it doesn’t, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. There are platonic relationships that are just as valid as romantic relationships.




omething unthinkable happened during the second season of Star Wars Rebels: Chopper made a friend. The grumpy astromech met an equally cranky counterpart in “The Forgotten Droid.” Once an analyst droid that worked for the Republic, AP-5 was handed over to the Empire when it came to power and ended up underused and unappreciated—until Chopper came along, that is. “It’s like River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me!” says Stephen Stanton, the actor who gives voice to the droid’s frustrations.


Star Wars Insider: AP-5’s personality is quite distinct—and somewhat abrasive. What were your initial impressions of the character? Stephen Stanton: You could tell from the audition dialogue that he was socially awkward and a little bit neurotic. Ordinarily, Star Wars auditions are very generic, because they don’t want you to know you’re auditioning for a Star Wars character. But in this case, because it was going to be a counterpart to Chopper, they were very specific about who the character was and what his role was going to be in the show. They gave me quite a bit of character description, about how he was being mistreated by all the humans around him and got a little despondent. He took himself and his previous job very seriously, so he had a chip on his shoulder about being demoted to inventory-taker. There was a lot going on with that character description, including aspects of him that were endearing, so there was a lot to think about when forming the character. Angry yet endearing… How do you find the right tone of voice to capture that? I tried four or five different things based on the touchstones they had given me for character references. A lot of times, a voice just comes into your head when you start reading things out loud. In this case, I thought: This guy is so full of himself and so cocky... He reminds me of Hans Gruber from Die Hard. I’m a huge fan of Alan Rickman’s work, so for one of the takes I thought I’d try something that sounded very Rickman-like. Dave [Filoni, supervising director] really liked that take, and so that’s the one they chose. As it turns out, many months later, Alan Rickman passed away. In a way, it’s kind of like a tribute to him. Meeting Chopper had a big effect on AP-5. How do you think he has changed since we first encountered him? I think Chopper has shown him that there is more to just doing what you’re


programmed to—there is also loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice. A lot of us have someone in our lives who is a little more outgoing than we are—it’s like River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton’s characters in Stand by Me. There’s always one person who is pushing the envelope and another who is seeing that there is more to life as a result. There is a bigger picture and another way to exist in the world, and you can actually make it a better place. And that has led to his association with the rebels. How does that change him in Season Three? I think he has found more meaning to his existence by being with the rebels. Now that he’s part of their crew, he understands what it is they’re trying to do—and they accept him, that’s the great thing. Once he tells the rebels that he is Chopper’s friend, they embrace him and they let him do what he does best. We’re going to see more of that throughout the season. There are plenty of episodes that explore AP-5’s personality, so it will be fun to see where they go. It’s always a lot of fun building the new characters from scratch and finding out who they are.

Will we see more of AP-5’s bickering dynamic with Chopper? You’re definitely going to see some more of that, yes. Shakespeare said that some people have greatness thrust upon them, and I don’t think AP-5 sought to be where he is now. He’s not going to go anywhere willingly, no matter what mission it is. He’s very outspoken about it. Apart from AP-5, do you have any favorite droids from the Star Wars universe? There are so many to choose from! Even in the very first film you see all those junked-out droids inside the sandcrawler. I had a field day watching that movie and spotting all the different droids they came up with. I have to say there’s a soft spot in my heart for C-3PO, because I admire what Anthony Daniels did inside that costume, combined with his voice, to create such a memorable character. I also have to admit that, going back to The Clone Wars, I have great admiration for R2-D2 and the other astromechs in D-Squad.

MORE TO SAY Follow Stephen on Twitter @Stephen_Stanton






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62 PUBLISHING The latest essential Star Wars books and comic books!

76 BANTHA TRACKS By the fans, for the fans!





lenty has been written about the Millennium Falcon and the X-wing fighter, but few books can claim to come bundled with everything you need to build the ships for yourself! The IncrediBuilds series does just that, however—combining a book about the craft in question with a laser-cut sheet of push-out wood pieces that assemble to make a realistic-looking model requiring no glue or tools. Both the Falcon and the X-wing titles are written by Star Wars expert Michael Kogge (Poe Dameron: Flight Log), and include a wealth of information—such as in-universe production history, speed, firepower, and “greatest hits” highlights—alongside detailed, full-color images. “My objective was to give an expansive look at how that particular model fit into the Star Wars galaxy,” explains Kogge. “This includes story details from the films, up-to-date technical specs, and in-universe terminology for all the bits and bobs of each model. I also went behindthe-scenes and interviewed the craftsmen who made these models seem real on film, including Richard Edlund, Lorne Peterson, Don Bies, and Colin Cantwell.” The wooden models snap together easily to form dynamic, displayable 3D spaceships, and tips are included on how to customize your creation using your own art materials (think battle-damaged Falcon and crash-landed X-wing). “I hope fans will find these books to be handy and fun references,” says Kogge, “and I can’t wait to see the customized paint jobs builders will give their models!” IncrediBuilds: Star Wars: X-wing with Deluxe Book and Model Set and IncrediBuilds: Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Deluxe Book and Model Set are both available in October, and use wood from eco-friendly sources.





his November, two releases from DisneyLucasfilm Press offer classic trilogy thrills for young readers. Trapped in the Death Star! is a 32-page Level 2 reader (ages 5-8), which retells the thrilling story of how Han, Luke, Obi-Wan, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Chewie free Princess Leia from the Death Star in A New Hope. Featuring fun stylized illustrations and stickers to boot! Luke and the Lost Jedi Temple is a 24-page story for children aged 6-8, and is set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Based on the middle-grade novel The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, this illustrated 8x8 storybook has been adapted for younger readers by the original author, Jason Fry, and comes with two sheets of stickers!




n an age of satellite navigation, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good to know there is still a market for beautiful, hand-drawn maps. Commercial illustrator Tim McDonagh brings his incredibly intricate art style to bear in Star Wars: Galactic Atlas, which is packed full of handdrawn full-color maps and other images that illuminate the wonder and adventure of the galaxy far, far away. Beasts and battles from the deserts of Tatooine to the ice plains of Hoth are on display in this stunning collection, which spans all seven Star Wars films, as well as Rebels, The Clone Wars, novels, and comics. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even a spread covering Rogue One: A Star Wars Story! Star Wars: Galactic Atlas is published by Egmont U.K. and available this November in Europe. In December, it will be released in North America as Star Wars: Galactic Maps.






arvel’s ongoing Star Wars series takes place in the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. During this timeframe Yoda is chilling in a mud hut on Dagobah—and Luke Skywalker has yet to even hear the name of the Jedi Master. Star Wars writer Jason Aaron knew that telling a Yoda story in light of these restrictions would be tricky, but the lure of working with one of the saga’s most compelling characters proved too strong for him to ignore. Aaron is kicking off an all-new story arc in issue #26, and artist Salvador Larroca (responsible for the recently concluded Darth Vader series) is joining him on this five-part adventure from Yoda’s past. “I like the idea of doing stories about the Jedi actually going out and being Jedi,” says Aaron. “Back when that was their job and they were the force for peace in the galaxy. I wanted to see Yoda beyond just him being a teacher. I wanted to see him being a Jedi.” The Star Wars series has made good use of its timeframe before, with several one-shot Obi-Wan Kenobi issues framed as tales gleaned from “Old Ben’s” private journal. This new Yoda story is set up in a similar fashion, with Luke reading Obi-Wan’s recollections of a famous Jedi Master (who, for the sake of continuity, goes unnamed). “We’ve seen already that Luke has a journal that Obi-Wan wrote during his time on Tatooine,” explains Aaron. “So he turns to those journals again and reads a story about an adventure that Yoda went on, back in the days before the Clone

Wars. He’s reading the story about this great and powerful Jedi and forms his own image of what that Jedi must have been like. But of course we see the real story, and it’s Yoda.” The flashback adventure involves Yoda’s journey to a remote world in the hope of resolving a hostage crisis. Once there, a Force-sensitive child held for ransom by pirates soon leads Master Yoda down a twisting rabbit hole. “I wanted to give Yoda a challenge,” says Aaron. “We’ve seen what he’s capable of and how strong he is with the Force, so I wanted to put him in over his head. This is a very particular challenge and it affects Yoda in a very particular way.” It’s not only Yoda who faces a challenge, however, as Luke undergoes his own adventure that is told concurrently with the flashback tale. “It’s a direct carry-over from the end of issue #25, or the end of the Harbinger arc in which the rebels stole an Imperial Star Destroyer,” says Aaron. “Something big happens at the end of that arc, and it leaves Luke in a very specific predicament. That’s what leads him to Obi-Wan’s journal for guidance.” In fact, the Yoda arc jumps around within no fewer than three distinct points in the Star Wars chronology. “We see Luke in the ‘present day’ of our book,” says Aaron, “and we flashback to see Obi-Wan during his time on Tatooine. Then we follow Yoda on an adventure before the Clone Wars, in a place we’ve never seen before. I can say that all three of those stories do come together in a very particular way.”



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Printed on Heritage stock, this base set of 100 trading cards is the first of its kind to feature images from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as images from the original Star Wars films. Inserts include vehicle-based patch cards; sketch cards; character stickers; comic strips; montages; Heroes of the Rebel Alliance; The Death Star; and Villains of the Galactic Empire. Several colored parallels are also available in blue, gray, gold, and orange. Of course, no Topps set would be complete without autographs, and this one features more than 70 signers including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, and the late Kenny Baker. Available: Now Price: $3.99 per pack; $20 per value box (with guaranteed patch card)

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FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES Fantasy Flight Games have a number of great expansions and updates for Star Wars: Armada, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, and Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, as well as a new card-based game called Star Wars: Destiny.

STAR WARS: DESTINY STARTER SET AND AWAKENINGS BOOSTER PACKS (SWD01, SWD02, SWD03) Star Wars: Destiny is a game that spans the entire Star Wars saga to date—from the opening crawl of The Phantom Menace to the dramatic confrontation at the end of The Force Awakens. Before beginning, you gather a team of iconic heroes or villains from three distinct factions: Force, Command, and Rogue. The game proper then pits your team against opponents’ in “What if?” battles using cards and dice. The Kylo Ren Starter Set features 24 villains with nine dice, tokens, and a rule sheet—everything required to oversee the rise of the First Order! The Rey Starter Set includes 24 heroic cards and everything else you need to take on the dark side. You can customize and expand your decks with Awakenings Booster Packs, in which you’ll find new characters, upgrades, events, and new ways to play. Each booster pack offers five randomized cards and one premium die, with a number of rare cards for collectors to seek out. Available: Now Price: $14.95 per starter set; $2.99 per booster pack

STAR WARS: X-WING MINIATURES GAME: SWX59 SABINE’S TIE FIGHTER EXPANSION PACK Repainted and retooled by a certain artist and rebel insurgent, the TIE fighter in this X-wing expansion pack comes with four unique ship cards and six upgrades, including the Sabine’s Masterpiece Title, which allows your rebels to outfit the ship with crew and illicit upgrades. Available: Now Price: $14.95

STAR WARS: IMPERIAL ASSAULT: JABBA’S REALM CAMPAIGN EXPANSION (SWI32) Jabba’s Realm is a new expansion for Imperial Assault. An entirely new, full-length campaign challenges you to survive in the desert wastes and criminal underworld of Tatooine, while new skirmish missions invite you to battle in the Nal Hutta Borderlands or around the fabled Pit of Carkoon. There are 18 new map tiles evoking the opening scenes of Return of the Jedi, while granting access to iconic locations such as Jabba’s palace, his sail barge, and the Sarlacc pit. Sixteen new figures include Jabba the Hutt, the Rancor, and Luke Skywalker as a Jedi Knight, while new Command, Deployment, Agenda, and Class cards provide countless ways to customize the game. Available: Now Price: $59.95


“I’LL MEET YOU AT THE RENDEZVOUS POINT ON TATOOINE” ’ve always found it fascinating how fans find ways to express their love of Star Wars. The artistically inclined among us might write, illustrate, paint, or sculpt, while those with a bent for cosplay might don the fatigues, armor, or robes of their favorite characters. Others who seek a physical connection to the saga have an irresistible impulse to gather items that evoke a memory or an emotion. This last category (to which I belong) finds expression in the simple act of sharing their collection—an exercise that happily lends itself to throwing a homespun Star Wars shindig. Last weekend I had the rare privilege to visit a grand Star Wars collection on a walnut farm in California’s Central Valley—a spot nestled in the sun-baked fields outside of San Francisco. The host was a recent addition to the Lucasfilm fan-relations team, Lucas (yes, that’s really his name), who was staging his third annual Star Wars picnic and barn screening. The movie that evening was to be Return of the Jedi, following on from A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, screened two years prior.



Besides getting us city folk out of San Francisco for the day, the journey was a great opportunity to reconnect with the roots of our founder’s past (George grew up on a walnut farm not an hour from this one), and experience fandom in its purest, unfiltered form. No admission fees, no credentials, no egos—just a common love of all things Star Wars. Lucas invited the general population of local Star Wars fans, but also managed to lure several of us in fan relations to a trailer parked under an ancient black walnut tree on a generations-old family farm. Within the long, narrow, air-conditioned (thank the Maker!) interior was the result of a lifetime of Star Wars collecting—from the Luke Skywalker sign that once hung over his crib, to the prized Ben Kenobi Mythos statue (one of my personal all-time favorites) that stood proudly in the main room. He told us that a few years earlier, after he’d finally fulfilled his dream of pulling his collection out of storage and putting it on permanent display, he was immediately confronted with the inevitable question, “Now what?” It took about a beat and a half before he realized the obvious answer. Share it, of course! And therein lies the heart of fandom—the desire to share one’s

passion for Star Wars is what binds our community—artists, collectors, cosplayers, film buffs, and casuals— together. It’s both the foundation and the engine that drives our fandom forward and grows our ranks with each new generation. If there’s any moral to this story, it’s to encourage fans to find creative ways to express their passion, and better yet, find ways to share it with the larger community. Of course, the Star Wars Celebrations and movie releases offer great opportunities to bring fellow fans together, but don’t forget those homegrown gatherings that provide the perfect excuse to extend your local circle. Are you an artist? Host a private exhibit in your living room. Film buff? Host a Star Wars Rebels season premiere party. Collector? Celebrate your collection with a first-look event (trailer not necessary, but certainly recommended for those of us with busting closets). And cosplayer? Well, most cosplayers I know have already got the community thing figured out, so they’d be a great resource to ask—and invite to—your next Star Wars backyard mixer. May the Force be with you, always. Pete Vilmur Editor, Bantha Tracks

Ben Leung recently attended the Showmasters Film and Comic Con in Sheffield, England and met two Imperial officers from the original trilogy making a rare appearance together: A New Hope’s George Roubicek (“An escape pod was jettisoned during the fighting, but no life forms were aboard”) and Return of the Jedi’s Glyn Baker (“Inform the commander that Lord Vader’s shuttle has arrived”). “It was wonderful to meet them both, despite the fact they were part of the Empire,” says Ben. David Willingham from Remington, Virginia, sent us this stunning portrait of what many would argue is the galaxy’s most fearsome Sith Lord. “This is a 12” x 24” painting I did on canvas of the one and only Darth Maul, one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars galaxy,” says David. “Thought I would share this one as it’s one of my favorites.”

Florian Wiedemann sent us these photos from the first day of Celebration Europe, which played host to the running of the Hoods. “21 Willrow Hoods (including Pam Rose, aka Leesub Sirln from A New Hope) swarmed out for photobombing, bringing smiles onto visitors’ faces and storming the stage with Andi Gutierrez and Peter Townley,” says Florian. “There were no missing runners or moustaches, and at last we found some ice cream!”


“Dude Vader” costumer Christopher Canole posed with a few recent illustrations he posted in an exhibit. “This was the first time I appeared as Dude Vader the artist,” says Christopher. “There were lots of kids, Yoda soda, and Star Wars cookies. Kevin Jacobs from Remington, Virginia sent us this painting of a stormtrooper he was inspired to create after viewing the Rogue One trailer.


Rock and Andrea Becker of the 501st Tampa Bay squad were first featured in Bantha Tracks in 2014, when we published their engagement photo. Rock has now followed up with photos from their wedding late last year at Wishing Well Barns in Plant City, Florida. The big day included a “custom-made cake topper from Germany, lightsaber candles, and cake cutters and signs featuring movie quotes,” he says. “We also had members of the 501st at our wedding to greet our family and friends.”

“Imagine my surprise at finding Dave Filoni on the Celebration show floor,” says Dutch fan Tim de Graaff. “I managed to shake his hand and get a photograph with him before he moved on to his Star Wars Rebels panel. Just when I thought my Star Wars Celebration couldn’t get any better, he brought Thrawn back into canon during the panel! Awesome!”

“I got a book that has blank pages with suggestions of things to draw,” says Andrew Kline of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “When ‘a tiny robot’ came up, I knew just what to sketch!”


Japan’s Jedi Order costuming club poses with some younger costumed fans at the opening of the Star Wars Visions exhibit at Abeno Harukas Art Museum in Osaka.

Have you attended a fan event dressed as a Star Wars character? Have you made Star Wars art you can’t wait to share? Maybe you’ve written a poem on a Star Wars theme? Whatever way you choose to show your love for Star Wars, we really want to hear from you! Equally, if you know someone else who you think should be featured on these pages, let them know we are looking for them!

It’s easy to contribute. Simply send electronic files to:, or send your snail mail to: Bantha Tracks, c/o Pete Vilmur, P.O. Box 29901, San Francisco, CA 94129 Any original art, envelope art, comics, illustrations, news, stories, meeting information, or any materials voluntarily submitted become the property of Bantha Tracks. No compensation will be given for voluntary submissions, and there is no guarantee of publication. Submissions to Bantha Tracks will not be returned. Each submission must include the creator’s name, age, contact details, date the work was created, and a statement that the work is original and created by the person submitting it.




NOV 17


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a © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.Used under authorization.





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Star Wars Insider November December 2016  
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