Star Wars 7x7: The Daily Star Wars Podcast

Aug 09 2020 10 mins 2.2k

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Last Jedi, The Force Awakens, Star Wars Resistance, and more! The Star Wars 7x7 Podcast is Rebel-rousing fun for everyday Jedi, 7 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Destiny unleashed! #SW7x7 Join Allen Voivod for Star Wars news, history, trivia, movies, cartoon, comics, characters, vehicles, toys, books, and so much more. You get it all in just 7 minutes, so subscribe now!

2,222. Analyzing The Mandalorian's 15 Emmy Nominations
Aug 03 2020 9 mins  
A number of media outlets reported it as a "surprise" that The Mandalorian received 15 Emmy nominations for its inaugural season. (One creator's reaction from the official press release may have driven that take.) But when you look at the categories for which The Mandalorian has been nominated, you'll see an overlap with the kinds of categories for which Star Wars movies are often nomination for Oscars (as far as the categories themselves overlap): Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series (three separate nods) Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Limited Series, Movie Or Special Outstanding Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation Outstanding Special Visual Effects Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score) These ones, on the other hand, tend to be new for Star Wars nominations (again, extrapolating to their movie counterparts): Outstanding Production Design For A Narrative Program (Half-Hour) Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series Outstanding Stunt Coordination For A Drama Series Limited Series Or Movie And then of course there's the nomination for the season itself as Outstanding Drama Series. On today's episode, we'll talk about the individual Mandalorian episode that got the most nominations; how the other ones fared (only one episode was shut out of the nominations), likely winning possibilities, and more. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,210. What Did Palpatine Do to Vader After Luke Destroyed the Death Star?
Jul 22 2020 8 mins  
Yesterday, during the non-spoiler review of the Doctor Aphra audio drama, I mentioned that there were a couple of places in the story where, if you were not familiar with the source material (namely, the first series of Darth Vader comics for Marvel), you might find yourself a little lost. As, in, with references to things that seem to be coming out of nowhere. There's a structural reason for that - since Aphra is our narrator, and since there are lots of things happening in that comic book series which have nothing to do with her, it's the moments where Aphra crosses paths with those other events that it gets a little odd inside the audio drama. She has no frame of reference for what's happening, and so the listener can get a little confused, much as Aphra herself does. I think it was an unavoidable side effect of adapting this storyline. Since Aphra never becomes privy to some of those details, it's not like she can explain it to the listener after the fact via some other narrative device. So, on today's episode of the podcast, I'm going to very quickly explain what was happening in that series outside of Aphra's knowledge. That should make the two primary confusion points in the audio drama make more sense. It's only lightly spoilery for the comic series and for the audio drama... Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,207. Solo and the Future of Star Wars Live-Action Storytelling
Jul 19 2020 8 mins  
When we were talking about the possibility of a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story the other day, there was one other rumor I failed to mention. It actually dates back to September of 2019, and involves another rumored Star Wars project that had the rug pulled out from under it. Because things with Solo didn't go as planned? Maybe so, maybe no, but the fate of another rumored Star Wars project that's actually coming to fruition may point to a way forward. I'm going to use that as the jumping-off point to talk about the future of Star Wars live action storytelling, and ask YOU a question. As we get into this gap of time where we're waiting for the next announcements about movies and live action series, where do you draw the line as far as rumors, leaks, and spoilers go? For myself, as the years have gone by, I've drawn the line at plot points. I don't mind hearing about casting and character rumors, for example, and I don't mind hearing about settings or timeframes. But let's say - to give a 138% completely invented and hypothetical example - there had been a rumored published saying that there Baby Yoda was successfully cloned, and that we'd see dozens of him in season 2 of The Mandalorian. That's the kind of rumor that A) I'd never want to know in advance of the actual episode where they appear, and B) I'd never want to discuss that on the podcast until they had appeared in the actual episode. So that's where my head is at on these sorts of things. As a listener, where's your head at? Where do you draw the line? Let me know in the comments... Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,160. Yoda, Fear, and Life Right Now
Jun 02 2020 9 mins  
We were going to talk about the launch of Queen's Peril today. A couple months ago, I felt compelled to step out of the stream of our usual Star Wars talk, and we talked about the coronavirus pandemic, when the lockdowns were in their earliest stages. I never planned to make a habit of stepping out of the stream, and I still don't plan to. But as civil unrest has engulfed dozens of cities across the United States, I've been thinking a lot about Yoda's lines from The Phantom Menace: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." And it seems like they could help us understand a lot of what's going on in America right now. As I said to a neighbor of mine recently, there will always be people, on all points of the political compass, who see tragedy as an opportunity to advance their own goals by exploiting other people's pain. I believe our job as humans, at a minimum, is to bear witness to the pain. To listen, to truly and deeply hear what people in pain are trying to tell us. To help heal that pain, and not make it worse or prolong it. Today's show is about how Yoda's words apply to our lives right now. In the process, I'm going to beg you to consider three things: 1. Please do what you can to keep your family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, and communities safe. 2. Despite all the fearful things happening that must be addressed, please do not lose sight of the inciting incident of the fires this time - the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, by a while police officer, in broad daylight, and the justice that must be done in Floyd's memory. 3. Please consider saying that #BlackLivesMatter. Speaking for myself, I have a wishy-washy history with making that statement. Not that I ever disagreed with it - more that I've had the privilege of living a life where it wasn't a visible issue for me on a daily basis. But that's no excuse. Imagine if hundreds of millions of voices would speak out together, to let the African-American community know that they believe "Black Lives Matter." It wouldn't magically heal things, of course. But maybe it could be a different kind of inciting incident. One based in love, not fear. I hope the show today speaks to you, and I thank you for being a part of *this* community.

2,115. Old Friends Not Forgotten (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 7, Episode 9)
Apr 18 2020 15 mins  
This is what we've all been waiting for, and Dave Filoni and company do treat it as a special event. "Old Friends Not Forgotten" kicks off the final story arc of the final season of the Clone Wars, the Siege of Mandalore story arc, the one that connects the TV series with Revenge of the Sith, and also launches Ahsoka Tano into her post-Clone-Wars adventures. From the moment we got the "Lucasfilm Ltd." opening to the red text "Part I" title screen, and the jump into the narrator's opening without a moral/fortune cookie before it, we know we're in different territory. And as the episode progresses, we can see the cinematic scope and scale to which this arc is rising. I will say - and I'll say it in detail in today's episode - that I'm having a bit of a challenge with the moment that is supposed to be the BIG emotional moment in this episode. It's based on reasons we've discussed in previous episodes, but let's talk about it and see whether it's just me, or whether you were feeling the same way. That said, as usual, there's a lot to recommend the episode. The action is great, and there's nothing in the episode that feels like it didn't need to be there to tell the story. And that includes the opening sequence, which doesn't bear on the story arc itself (at least, as far as we can guess), but certainly re-grounds us in the nature of this war and its Jedi players. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,114. The Nature of Hope in The Rise of Skywalker
Apr 17 2020 18 mins  
In this, the final formal installment in our series of looks at the Star Wars movies through the lens of hope, we're talking about the last movie in the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker. It's interesting to note that, similar to Return of the Jedi, the movie starts off in a very reversals-of-fortune way, which is the kind of storytelling form prescribed by screenwriting guru Robert McKee in his popular book Story and his famous seminars. From there, it continues to bear a resemblance to Return of the Jedi, structurally speaking - it keeps the heroes together until it separates the Force users from the non-Force users, and then it separates the non-Force users into a spaceship battle and a mission-specific battle. (ROTJ=destroy the shield generator; TROS=destroy the navigational beacon) From the hope perspective, it bears a closer resemblance to Rogue One. The odds of success are so slim, and the task is so massive, that the only way to keep hope alive is to focus on the next task, and the next, until they succeed. As we talk about this on today's episode, we'll also talk about the difference between hope and its related but comparatively selfish cousin, ambition; the innate hopefulness of heroes, and how that hopefulness is necessary to "light the spark" in good people who don't internally generate that attribute; and a big-bang hope moment that sets The Rise of Skywalker apart from every other Star Wars movie. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,095. Clone Wars Season 7 Mid-Season Review
Mar 29 2020 10 mins  
I have a reputation for being a positive person, and in particular to this podcast, finding the best in what I'm talking about when I'm talking about Star Wars. I also believe there's a distinct line between complaining versus critiquing. So when I approach the mid-season review of Clone Wars season 7, the final season of the show, I feel like I need to establish those two things as a foundation for what I'm going to say on the show today. Because, in point of fact, there's been a lot to enjoy about season 7 of the Clone Wars. It may just be my own preconceived notions here. When I heard that season 7 was coming, and with the talk about how Dave Filoni - and he's said this for many years, mind you - never got to finish Clone Wars, and now he finally gets to give it the finish he wanted, I went into this season thinking that they would be making exceptional and remarkable choices in the story arcs they revealed in this final season. Unfortunately, that's not the experience I've had, and I'll explain my rationale in today's episode. Again, I think there's a lot to enjoy about what they've done so far, and very likely for what they still have to reveal! I also think that, from a narrative choice standpoint, the arcs they chose are puzzling, for me at least. I do want to hear your thoughts as well - whether you agree to any degree, or why you might think I'm off-base about this... Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,088. Gone With a Trace (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 7, Episode 5)
Mar 22 2020 12 mins  
"Gone With a Trace" is the first episode of the second story arc of Clone Wars season 7 (and fifth episode overall), but it doesn't feel like the start of a story arc. It feels more like a one-off episode. Thinking back to the first of the Bad Batch episodes, at the end of that arc's first episode, we knew that Echo was alive - or, at least, that Rex believed it to be true. That served as an inciting incident for the remaining three episodes of the story arc. This time, Ahsoka has her adventure, but at the end, tells her newly-met underworld friends that she's gonna be movin' on. There's nothing about this adventure or its resolution to suggest what the rest of this arc will be about. As a result, it feels like we're going to see more of an unmoored Ahsoka. Maybe that's what's going to drive her back to the Jedi? Ultimately, we know that's what needs to happen, since we're getting the Siege of Mandalore story arc for the final episodes of season 7, and Ahsoka's a big part of that. So we're left to intuit that maybe this middle arc will serve as the bridge for getting her there ... maybe? Either way, we'll talk more about this on today's Clone Wars Briefing, and add a postscript to the Rosario Dawson news from yesterday, thanks to one of our astute Patrons. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,080. Unfinished Business (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 7, Episode 4)
Mar 14 2020 14 mins  
"Unfinished Business" is episode 4 from season 7 of the Clone Wars, and finishes the first story arc of the season in epic fashion. I mentioned this on the episode, but among the differences between the story reel version and this final version is the opening narration. You can watch the episode to hear the final, and compare it to this, the original: War rages on! With ARC trooper Echo rescued from the Techno Union, the Republic returns its attention to the battle for Anaxes, where without Echo's strategic intel, Admiral Trench and the Separatists have lost the upper hand. But the question remains: can Echo's newfound ability to access Separatist computers help the Republic regain control of their vital shipyards? As you'll see, this original version doesn't start to cast doubt in where Echo's loyalties now lie, but the final version for Disney+ sets up that possibility. On this episode, we'll talk about how things get wrapped up, and flag other differences between the story reel version and the final version. We'll also talk about three particular scenes of note in this episode: 1) in which Mace Windu does one of the most Jedi-like things we've ever seen him do; 2) in which Anakin, without witnesses, is shown leaning in to his darker impulses; and 3) the epilogue of the episode, which is entirely different from the story reel version and packs an emotional wallop that's played just right. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,079: Disney Parks and Cruises Coronavirus Closures
Mar 13 2020 5 mins  
On Thursday, Disney made statements related to the coronavirus pandemic, announcing the temporary closures of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, and Disneyland Paris Resort. Based on the announcements, it sounds like the Downtown Disney locations in Florida and California will remain open for the time being. It also reads like the hotels in Florida will remain open but the ones in California will close - either way, please reach out directly to them if you have travel arrangements that could be affected during the month of March, which is how long the closures will last, at least for now. As for Disney Cruise lines, they will be suspending new departures starting March 14, and through the end of the month. In a very welcome note, cast members will continue to be paid during the closures, which is a wonderful and humane thing to do. Meanwhile, on behalf of everyone here at Star Wars 7x7, please be safe, and take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your community. If you're looking for information you can trust about the coronavirus, I highly recommend the Coronavirus Research Center at Johns Hopkins University ( as a source for updates, answers to questions, and emergency preparedness. There's a lot of information out there - some of it confusing, some of it contradictory, and some of it unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst. I'm finding that the more I read from JHU, the better situated I am to handle what's happening, and what's coming.

2,071: Could "The High Republic" Go Beyond Publishing?
Mar 05 2020 10 mins  
Here's what Lucasfilm said at the top of their official press release/announcement for the mystery formerly known as Project Luminous - now revealed as Star Wars: The High Republic: This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap any of the filmed features or series currently planned for production, giving creators and partners a vast amount of room to tell Star Wars stories with new adventures and original characters. Okay, yeah, okay, but... what's "currently planned for production"? Mandalorian Season 2, the Cassian Andor series, and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. That's it, as far as we know. There still hasn't been any announcement about what's in the works for the dates on Disney's release calendar - December 2022, December 2024, and December 2026. And everything in the rumor mill has been vague, categorized as "in talks" (no contract signed and not in development), or in the very early stages of development (see: Kevin Feige). So, that official statement doesn't exactly preclude The High Republic from making the jump out of publishing, does it? And wait, there's more! On today's episode, I'll be picking out quotes from a variety of people that seem to point at the possibility of The High Republic serving as a testing ground that could - *could* - evolve into live-action stories. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,069. Padawan Lost (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 3, Episode 21)
Mar 03 2020 8 mins  
"Padawan Lost" is episode 21 from season 3 of the Clone Wars series, and it's the first of a two-part story arc. Why are we talking about this episode today, you might ask? Well, it's the only remaining story arc that we haven't covered here on the show from season 3, and since it also happens that its featured player - Ahsoka Tano - figures prominently in the upcoming second and third story arcs of season 7, I thought it might be fun to look back at her earlier days, and finish off the season 3 Clone Wars Briefings at the same time. So we'll talk about this episode, which requires you to invent your own reasoning for why a Trandoshan is randomly skulking around a Separatist base on Felucia, and demonstrates the growing emotional attachment Anakin feels for his Padawan. She's kidnapped without a trace, brought to a Trandoshan moon where she's hunted for sport (and for a youth's rite of passage, which goes very badly for said youth). This episode also got me thinking about the animation in season 7; how it compares to season 3; what people were saying about the Clone Wars animation at the start of the show; how far we've come since then; and a little wistfulness over what could have been if Star Wars Resistance had a chance to run for more seasons. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,056. Destiny (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 6, Episode 12)
Feb 19 2020 13 mins  
"Destiny" is season 6, episode 12 from the Clone Wars, the third part of a four-episode story are, and the penultimate episode of the Clone Wars - at least, until season 7 debuts on Friday. From what we know about season 7 so far, it doesn't initially seem like this final season 6 story arc will affect the events of season 7 very much. And we know two of the three story arcs so far - the Bad Batch arc, and the Siege of Mandalore arc. What the third one is, is still a mystery at this point. Meanwhile, speaking of mysteries, "Destiny" dives deeply into the mysteries of the Living Force and the Cosmic Force, as Yoda travels to one of the purported wellsprings of life to learn how to preserve his identity after death. There, he encounters the five Force Priestesses - Confusion, Anger, Sadness, Joy, and Serenity. (Makes you wonder if the Pixar movie Inside Out took any inspiration from this!) And even though they argue about whether to train Yoda, the fact remains that his destiny is already set, and he is supposed to teach someone who will eventually save the universe from a great imbalance. You could argue that this is a reference to Luke Skywalker, and you could also argue that Yoda did it twice with him. Which I will, in fact, argue in this episode, as well as break down the details you need to know before the finale. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,054. The Lost One (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 6, Episode 10)
Feb 17 2020 9 mins  
The urge to start this post with the big line from Yoda at the end of "The Lost One" is almost too much to bear. This episode of the show is a full spoiler Clone Wars Briefing for episode 10 from season 6, which also begins the final story arc of "The Lost Missions" episodes. So you'll hear me say it on the show, and revel in the magnitude of it for a time as well. But I'll keep it out of here, just in case. What you need to know in the run-up to it: The episode kicks off with the Jedi receiving a distress signal from a ship long missing. Why did it suddenly start broadcasting now, more than a decade after its disappearance? That's never answered, but what Plo Koon discovers at the source sets a terrible chain of events in motion. The ship contains the lightsaber of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas - yes, that Sifo-Dyas, the one who ordered the creation of the clone army. Well, the thought was that Sifo-Dyas had died while helping warring tribes on Felucia negotiate a truce. But the rest of his file was sealed by the Office of the Supreme Chancellor. Is this a plot by Palpatine? Well, no, but he certainly managed to take advantage of a sticky political situation involving the Pyke Syndicate ... I'll dig into all the details you need to know on today's episode, including the shocking discovery Obi-Wan and Anakin make on the Pyke home planet, and how that leads to the even more shocking conclusion with Yoda and the Jedi Council at the end of the episode. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,052: The Disappeared, Part 1 (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 6, Episode 8)
Feb 15 2020 11 mins  
"The Disappeared, Part 1" is season six, episode 8 of the Clone Wars, and the first of a two-parter. And it's remarkable for a strange juxtaposition. On the one hand, the story is about the fact that various spiritual leaders on the neutral planet Bardotta have mysteriously disappeared. And it turns out this is a particular set of Force-sensitive mystics called the Dagoyan Masters. As Yoda notes, they're not warriors - their connection with the Force is about intuition, knowledge, and the harmonies of the universe. But they think the Jedi are kidnappers, and so relations between the two groups aren't so hot. So it turns out that another group of Bardottan mystics - the Frangawl cult - is kidnapping the Dagoayn Masters to sacrifice to an ancient demon, Malmourral. And their cult temple is built, surprise surprise, deep below the Dagoyan Masters temple. (Why do cultures keep doing this? It seems like the worst idea every time.) But meanwhile, Queen Julia of Bardotta requests help from the Republic, but will only accept one emissary - Jar Jar Binks, who is triumphantly voiced by Ahmed Best. Why Binks, you might ask? Because apparently he and Queen Julia have a thing going on. (Mace Windu, after finally reconnecting with Jar Jar on Bardotta - "Where were you last night?" With the clear implication that Jar Jar and Queen Julia were ... well, perhaps it's best left to the imagination. Or not. We'll talk about *most* of this on today's episode, plus a surprising fact about the writer of this two-part episode. Punch it!

2,051. Crisis at the Heart (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 6, Episode 7)
Feb 14 2020 9 mins  
"Crisis at the Heart" is the seventh episode from season six of the Clone Wars, and concludes the Banking Clan/Clovis story arc. Honestly, this is a plot following the formula of The Phantom Menace, in its way. Instead of the taxation of trade routes driving the action, this time we're talking about the interest on bank loans driving the action! Specifically, Count Dooku has the leverage to entrap Clovis, just as Darth Sidious intended. Clovis wants to remain impartial in the Separatist/Republic conflict, but Dooku has the goods on Clovis. Where did Clovis get the information that caused the Banking Clan's Core Five to get arrested, which resulted in Clovis' own elevation to run the banks? Why, from the Separatists! That won't make him look good in the eyes of the Republic. And neither will raising interest rates on loans to the Republic, which Clovis does, or else Dooku will stop paying interest on Separatist loans and collapse the banks. I suppose it's the Republic's own fault for agreeing to variable rate loan terms, but I digress. It may seem like it's all about numbers, but that's until the Separatists arrive with an invasion fleet, triggering a military response from the Republic, and then it's all about the action! We'll break it down in this Clone Wars Briefing, as well as the final showdown between Anakin and Clovis. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,049 An Old Friend (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 6, Episode 5)
Feb 12 2020 11 mins  
"An Old Friend" is the fifth episode from season six of the Clone Wars, and starts a three-episode story arc that's cut from the mold of The Phantom Menace in terms of its setup. Here's the opening narration: As the war between the Republic and the Separatists intensifies, many are driven from their home planets, and it is up to Senator Amidala to secure aid for them. All eyes turn to the Banking Clan and the planet Scipio. In an effort to remain independent from the Republic and the Separatists, all operations are divided, and money transactions are performed in a neutral zone surrounding the main vault. For operations to continue, there must be no war on Scipio. However, worry about the stability of the Banking Clan is brewing within the Republic as the wellspring of money may be in jeopardy.... Taxation of trade routes? Neutral zone banking transactions? Wow! But things get very personal, very fast, when Padme comes face-to-face with the Banking Clan's top negotiator - Rush Clovis, a known Separatist collaborator, and someone who didn't do much of anything to try and save her when she'd been poisoned during their last encounter. To complicate matters, there's a bounty hunter named Embo on Scipio, and while at first it seems like he's after Padme, later he appears to be shooting at Clovis. That's because Clovis claims to know that the Banking Clan is about to be bankrupt, and needs help exposing them. We'll talk about all of this in today's Clone Wars Briefing, and also about story-arc structure in these final episodes. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,046. Conspiracy (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 6, Episode 2)
Feb 09 2020 8 mins  
"Conspiracy" is the second episode from season 6 of the Clone Wars, and the second of a four-episode arc. Instead of being a sort of fog-of-war episode with lots of action like the last one, this episode is more of a medical investigation drama. That in itself is remarkable - it goes to show how flexible the Star Wars storytelling universe can be, and it also goes to show how unusual this is for a supposed kids cartoon. This really seems more like young adult storytelling and above. Also, the sense of dread that you may have started to feel about the situation in the previous episode is only going to get worse in this one. Rex and Fives accompany Tup to Kamino, but while Rex is sent back to fight, Fives is kept in quarantine, in case he has the same problem that Tup does. (Why they didn't keep Rex also, since he was exposed, doesn't make sense to me.) Tup and Fives both come up negative for any virus, and a debate over Tup's fate develops between Jedi General Shaak Ti, who wants Tup to undergo an atomic brain scan, and the Kaminoans, who want to "terminate" Tup and investigate after the fact. But we find out that the reason why the Kaminoans don't want Tup to undergo an atomic brain scan is because of what it will reveal... We'll talk about that today, and about a change to the model of how these seasons are released. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,042: To Catch a Jedi (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 5, Episode 19)
Feb 05 2020 9 mins  
Again with the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired titling! But To Catch a Thief doesn't offer any clues to the events of "To Catch a Jedi," which is episode 19 from season 5 of the Clone Wars animated series, and the third of a four-episode story arc that will conclude the season (after episode 20, "The Wrong Jedi"). Ahsoka is on the run, and the murders for which she's been framed - plus the presumption that she has something to do with the Jedi Temple bombing herself - are being described as an act of "sedition" by *that* Admiral Tarkin. And man, "sedition" is a pretty big word for a kid's cartoon show, which this increasingly seems not to be... Anakin and Plo Koon are assigned to track Ahsoka down and bring her back to the Jedi Temple, both very logical choices. Ahsoka is Anakin's padawan, of course, but Plo is the Jedi who found a young, Force-sensitive toddler Ahsoka all those years ago and brought her to the Jedi Temple to become a Jedi. So they have a long-standing bond as well. Now, if you thought things weren't complicated enough, Asajj Ventress decides to work her way into this whole business. Barriss Offee passes on a clue to Ahsoka that doesn't quite work out as intended - or does it? And the episode also plays around on levels above and below 1313, the infamous level that was supposed to appear in a previously partially developed Star Wars story project. We'll talk about all of this and more on the show today. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,041. The Jedi Who Knew Too Much (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 5, Episode 18)
Feb 04 2020 7 mins  
"The Jedi Who Knew Too Much" is the second of a four-part story arc that concludes season 5 of the Clone Wars cartoon series. Today, it's a Clone Wars Briefing on this episode, episode 18 from season 5. Influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and Richard Kimble, this episode finds Ahsoka unwittingly maneuvered into a very bad position. Letta Turmond, the prime suspect in the Jedi Temple bombing plot, has been remanded into Republic military custody, but she'll only talk to Ahsoka. When Ahsoka arrives, Letta will only talk to Ahsoka alone, and tells Ahsoka that she (Letta) was told to reach out to Ahsoka if she (Letta) ever needed help. Do you sense the trouble brewing already? Letta reveals that a Jedi is actually behind the bombing, because there are unhappy Jedi who don't like how they've become weapons of war in the conflict with the Separatists. But before Letta can reveal the true culprit, she's Force choked to death by an unknown assailant. Perfect timing for a smarmy Admiral Tarkin (yes, *that* Tarkin) to arrive, and how convenient, there's video of the murder, but no audio. So Ahsoka is taken into custody. And later, when she finds a key card has been left behind for her to escape, she REALLY steps into it. Dead clone troopers and her lightsabers at hand, right when more clone troopers arrive? Now she's framed for multiple murders! She goes on the run, and even Anakin can't convince her to stop and help sort everything out. We'll talk about all of this on today's episode, and explain the Hitchcock and Kimble references, too. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,040. Sabotage (Clone Wars Briefing, Season 5, Episode 17)
Feb 03 2020 8 mins  
With season 7 of The Clone Wars coming to Disney+ starting February 21, I thought it would be a good time to catch you up on some of the stories that you may want to be aware of, or be refreshed about, prior to the debut of the final season. So we're starting with the final story arc of season 5, and the first episode thereof, which is "Sabotage." That's episode 17 from season 5, to be specific. Personally, I haven't seen an episode of The Clone Wars since the middle of season 3, so I'm dropping in a bit ahead of where I was - like, two full season's worth of episodes - and I have to say, I'm super-impressed. The complexity of the animation for the opening space battle, even for the few seconds it's onscreen, rivals the complexity and fill-your-screen madness of the opening battle in Revenge of the Sith. Additionally, the types of issues they address - either head-on, or with a side comment to let you know they're thinking about these things - is also rather complex, too. I know this was intended for an older audience than, say, Star Wars Resistance, but it was still intended to be for kids. And yet, we're getting nods to the poverty on Coruscant, the ethics of war and the Jedi's involvement in it, and holographic re-creations of a bombing crime scene. This is pretty heady stuff. So we'll run the Clone Wars Briefing on this episode today, and we'll also talk about what genre Star Wars actually is, or could be. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,019. The Rise of Skywalker!
Jan 13 2020 8 mins  
With it being the end of the "Skywalker Saga," and with it being called The Rise of Skywalker, it's probably no surprise that this whole movie hinges on family dynamics. And as we've done for the other 10 Star Wars movies whose release years coincided with our episode numbers, the final episode of that mini-series has arrived. One of the fascinating things, though, is that the movie's dynamic is driven much more by the Palpatine family line than it is the Skywalker line. Sure, there are squad goals for the Skywalker lineage - like dealing with Ben Solo's descent to the dark side, and how any other Skywalkers (Luke, Leia, Anakin) would factor into the resolution of that character arc. But really, this is all driven by the Palpatine story, which kind of a dark mirror of the Skywalker story. To wit: Palpatine uses a dark side acolyte to try to destroy the most powerful/only light side acolyte out there. If said light sider can't be destroyed, perhaps they can be turned instead. Thus, Palpatine is up to his old tricks, pitting light against dark, and all he cares about is who's stronger. But this time, he tries the seduction route a bit more. He offers the might of the Sith fleet to Kylo Ren in exchange for killing Rey. When that doesn't work, he tells Rey to strike him down so she can save her friends at Exogol. When Palpatine was egging Luke on to strike him down, he never dangled the carrot of saving his friends at Endor. We'll talk about this and lots more, plus we'll address - as conclusively as it can be addressed right now - the Lando/Jannah father/daughter rumors. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,017. The Last Jedi!
Jan 11 2020 9 mins  
This episode didn't quite go the way I thought. It's the episode number that matches the year of release for The Last Jedi, so we're exploring family themes (as with previous number/year matchups). But my first instinct was to say that family was less of a driver in this Star Wars movie than any other Star Wars movie we've discussed so far. And in a sense, that's right. Rey has accepted, somewhere inside of her, that her family isn't coming back for her, so she's forging ahead with the Resistance and training (hopefully) with Luke. Meanwhile, Kylo is still reeling from having killed his dad, and instead of it solidifying his journey to the dark side, it's split his soul, and Snoke is using it to drag Kylo about his adoration of his grandfather. Well, Kylo gets a shot at redemption, so to speak - literally and figuratively. But he can't do it, he can't kill his mother. But he won't save her, either, which means that he, too, is totally alone in this galaxy. Except that he isn't. And that's where family suddenly comes into the whole equation in an unexpected way - and it's the kind of family we've talked about in previous episodes, though it's usually a good-guy phenomenon. That's the part I wasn't initially thinking about when I started the episode, but that's where it's going to go today. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,015. The Force Awakens!
Jan 09 2020 12 mins  
And here we go! As with the episodes that corresponded to the years of release for the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy movies, we're now about to enter the final run of episodes focused on the theme of family in the Star Wars movies. Today, The Force Awakens is on tap. We've talked on the podcast before about how many, MANY of the story beats from The Force Awakens mirror those from A New Hope. Well, it turns out that, seen through the lens of family, there's a similarity between the two as well. Both movies feature people from broken families banding together to achieve one great victory against a galaxy-threatening evil. The primary difference is that The Force Awakens is much more overt about putting family front and center as a driving element of the story and its character arcs. The most significant reference to family you get in A New Hope is Obi-Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed Luke's father. Meanwhile, Rey's waiting for her family to return to Jakku, flagging the possibility that her lineage will prove significant; Kylo Ren is the estranged child of Han and Leia; Han and Leia themselves are estranged; and Leia has spent years searching desperately for her missing brother. We'll discuss the finer points on today's show, including two other cast members for whom family plays a significant role. Ultimately, this is the most brutal Star Wars movie to all of its characters, as seen through the lens of family. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

2,012. Jedi Business: Rise of Skywalker’s Third Box Office Weekend
Jan 06 2020 10 mins  
The third weekend is complete, and The Rise of Skywalker is on track to easily clear a billion dollars at the global box office. That said, it's still tracking behind The Last Jedi's numbers, which could be a function of the better reviews received by TLJ as compared to TROS ... at least in part. We'll talk about this today, as well as other factors that could and will affect TROS's final box office totals, including how well the counter-programming by other studios worked out this time around, and what's coming up at the box office that could potentially draw attention away from TROS. Also, if you were anywhere near social media last week, you may have seen calls for an "Abrams Cut" of TROS trending. The deal is that a user on Reddit claimed to have access to a source with intimate knowledge of the TROS production, who said (in summary) that Disney undermined Abrams by increasing degrees, to the point that he was "blindsided" by the version of TROS that arrived in theaters. Further, the source alleges that Disney did this in part to ruin Abrams' reputation as he moves on to his nine-figure deal with Warner Brothers (home of DC, a potential direct rival to Disney's Marvel). Well, there's some truth to what was posted, but some of that truth was already out there, to borrow from another franchise. So we'll talk about all of that today, too. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

1,999. The Phantom Menace!
Dec 24 2019 8 mins  
We've hit another episode number that corresponds to the year of a Star Wars movie release, so we're going to stop with The Rise of Skywalker talk for the day and have a look at The Phantom Menace! Just like the previous year/episode number matches for 1977, 1980, and 1983, we're exploring the themes and complications of family as presented in the Star Wars movies, focused this time on the first movie in the Prequel Trilogy. It's an interesting comparison to A New Hope, the first of the Original Trilogy. In that movie, people from families broken out of their control banded together to deal a blow to a Galactic Empire - and as a result, created their own new family. From a certain point of view. :-) Meanwhile, in The Phantom Menace, people have left their families on purpose, to join the Jedi Order. And they have free will! If they decide that the Jedi Order isn't for them, they can leave and go back to their own lives. But things are not all as rosy and blissful as they seem. Because it's easy to be the master of your emotions when you're just hanging out in a temple all day. Then the Sith come along, and Obi-Wan is definitely not using the Force against Darth Maul only for knowledge and defense ... we'll be talking about that today, and how family matters are so much easier when there's no drama. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

1,998. Jedi Business: The Rise of Skywalker's Opening Weekend Box Office
Dec 23 2019 9 mins  
The "Jedi Business" segment returns! Every Monday for the next few weeks, I'll be talking about the performance of The Rise of Skywalker at the box office, though this time around the focus is going to be a little bit different. There's been an assertion floating around for the last two years that dissatisfaction from some quarters with The Last Jedi would have a negative effect on the box office of all Star Wars movies going forward. When Solo: A Star Wars Story came out, I spent a lot of time looking at the numbers and the extenuating circumstances, and concluded that there were a lot more significant reasons for Solo's showing at the box office than any Last-Jedi effect. Well, if The Rise of Skywalker had received better critics' reviews than it did, then this discussion would be a whole lot easier. As it is, the movie (at recording time) is on track for a $175-$180 million opening, which is below both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but above Rogue One. The sequel Saga movies declined in successive opening weekends, but for the comparative, the prequel Saga movies each outperformed the previous one released, so that Revenge of the Sith had the biggest opening weekend of the three. Also, the movie received a B+ from CinemaScore, while its predecessors all scored A and A- grades. And PostTrak has The Rise of Skywalker at 4 out of 5 stars and 81% positive overall - which is behind The Force Awakens (90% positive overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars), Rogue One (91% positive overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars), and The Last Jedi (89% positive overall, 5 out of 5 stars). These aren't exactly hopeful numbers for The Rise of Skywalker beating The Last Jedi at the box office, which it was expected to do based on prequel history. But there are signs of hope, which I'll talk about on the podcast today, as well as discuss the reveal about something Finn said (or didn't say) in the film (mild spoiler, with ample warning in the recording). Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***

1,994. SAFE ZONE: Let's Discuss the 'Top Critics' Reviews for The Rise of Skywalker
Dec 19 2019 10 mins  
I wish someone had said to me, before the full critics' reviews started to come online Wednesday, "This is not going to go the way you think!" And I wish I'd thought to say that in this episode of the podcast, too, but I only had the inspiration as I was writing this post to introduce this episode. So the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus continues to fluctuate, but it's been in the fifties for most of the day Wednesday, topping out at 59% as of the recording of the show (10:00pm Eastern on Wednesday). The "Top Critics" subgroup has it at 49%. I've seen a couple of headlines claiming it's the "worst Star Wars movie ever made," but that's currently inaccurate. The Top Critics scores for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are both lower than The Rise of Skywalker's, though I understand full well the implications of that statement. And yet... And yet... Even across the negative reviews, I'm seeing some consistent positives - the performances of Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, the music from John Williams, how action-packed and visually dazzling the film is, to name a few - and I'm holding on to the reactions of some specific folks as a lifeline to the (very real) possibility that I will enjoy the heck out of it regardless of the critics' reviews. We'll be talking about all of that, as well as why I'm on camera with a stain on my shirt. Punch it! ***I'm listener supported! Join the community at to get access to bonus episodes and other insider rewards.***