Phasma, Cardinal and Pyre – Leaders of the First Order Stormtroopers

So at the time of writing this post, I am less than 100 pages into the novel Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, but I am already loving it! Fresh off the Inferno Squad book, I dove right into this one because of how much I like the character of Phasma. I will say that her death in The Last Jedi at the hands of a janitor turned rebel hero did not sit well with me. I’ve had some people say that “Well if you don’t see a body she could still be alive. Look at what happened with Maul and Boba Fett”, which to be fair, is true; however, Disney really likes killing their villains by falls, so that doesn’t bode well for Chrome Dome. One of the main characters in the book besides Phasma is another First Order captain named Cardinal. Unlike Phasma, who’s armour is made of the same material as a Starship, his is the standard First Order armour just painted red. At this point in the book, he is torturing a Resistance spy for information that he can use to usurp Phasma as Leader of the First Order troopers. The book is very good and I am very excited to see how this is going to play out considering you never hear of Cardinal or Pyre in the movies, maybe now you will since Phasma is dead?

Cardinal is introduced, as I previously said, in the Phasma book; whereas, Commander Pyre was introduced in the Star Wars: Resistance cartoon series. Pyre has been a recurring antagonist in the series but has yet to make the leap from the small screen to the big screen.

Let’s breakdown each Commander and what they’re responsible for in the First Order…

CAPTAIN PHASMA

Phasma is from a nuclear ravaged planet called Parnassos. She was one of two leaders that rested control from a would be usurper in their clan. Her and her brother Keldo ruled the clan of the Scyre for several years before she left to join the First Order. When General Brendol Hux (Armitage Hux’s father) crash landed on Parnassos, he offered Phasma the opportunity to join the First Order if she helped him get back to his ship. Phasma deserted her people and assisted the general in getting back to his ship. When they returned to the Star Destroyer, Absolution, Phasma was put in charge of training the teenage/adult First Order Troopers while Cardinal was kept at training the young recruits. Hux, recognizing Phasma’s potential as a military leader, promoted her to Captain and made her his personal bodyguard replacing Cardinal.

After a year of being in the First Order, Phasma returned to Parnassos in her TIE fighter. She located the crashed ship of General Hux and salvaged the chrome armour plating. She flew across the ocean on Parnassos in her TIE to Cleo Station. Once she arrived at Cleo, she used the Synthicator to manufacture her unique Chromium Armour which was capable, as we see in The Last Jedi, of deflecting blaster fire.

She trained several classes of Stormtroopers for the First Order including FN-2187 (Finn). During a training exercise, she noted that Finn’s class had the potential to be the best troopers the First Order had ever produced; but that Finn showed too much empathy. Following the exercise, Phasma took Finn aside after he sacrificed the objective to help his fallen comrade (FN-2003), and told him that he must leave behind anything that could potentially weaken the First Order, meaning FN-2003.

She continued to monitor Finn with his unwillingness to kill without provocation and his desire to help his comrades, with disdain. When Finn betrayed the First Order she took it as a personal failure and wanted to correct the mistake. Following the battle at Starkiller base in The Force Awakens, and her capture at the hands of Finn, Han and Chewie, she managed to get off the base before its destruction and make her way to the Supremacy, Snoke’s ship. She had another encounter with Finn and the two engaged in a long awaited battle. Finn proved victorious (utter bullshit) and Phasma was incinerated when she fell to her death.

CAPTAIN CARDINAL

Cardinal was born on Jakku with the name of Archex. He spent his early and some of his formative years on the planet, but when his mother died, he and the rest of the orphans were unsure of what to do. Following the battle of Jakku (where the Rebellion finally destroyed the Empire, see Battlefront II main story), General Brendol Hux invited the orphans onto his ship to come to the Unknown Regions. Once on board the ship, Archex and the rest of the orphans were inducted into the Stormtrooper training program. Archex was given the designation of CD-0922 and proceeded to complete his training. He was one of the first new class of storm troopers (The First Order) and was raised to believe that the New Republic was corrupt and disorderly; only true order could be established by its eradication and the installation of the First Order as the ruling party (a.k.a. New Empire).

CD-0922 completed his training at the top of his class and served with distinction on board the Finalizer, where he was promoted to Captain and Hux’s personal guard. It was then that he got his signature red armour.

I was his personal guard. He handpicked me on Jakku, trained me himself. I was infinitely loyal. From the time I first put on this armor, he trusted me to keep him safe. He designed it himself because he said red was a color of power . Every moment he spent in my company, he knew he was safe.” – Cardinal to Vi Moradi regarding Brendol Hux, Star Wars:Phasma 2017, Del Rey Books.

When Hux crashed on Parnassos and Phasma helped him to escape, Cardinal was still stationed on the Finalizer and was unable to assist his general. When Hux returned he had a new Captain and a new bodyguard. This didn’t sit well with Cardinal, he wanted his position back. So he kidnapped a known Resistance spy named Vi Moradi, who had been to Parnassos, to interrogate her into giving up any information she had on Phasma. His plan was to present enough evidence to have Phasma demoted and disgraced so he could regain his position.

*There is a lot more information regarding Cardinal but it flies in spoiler territory of the book I am currently reading.*

Cardinal was awarded his armour in a ceremony where he was promoted to the rank of Captain and given his name “Cardinal”. His armour and weapons are coloured red and he sports a black cape.

COMMANDER PYRE

Pyre is a very new addition to the “House of Mouse” canon for Star Wars. He was introduced as a main antagonist in the Star Wars: Resistance cartoon show where he has remained as a regular in the series.

Nothing is known of his childhood, just that he was recruited into the First Order at a young age and has risen through the ranks to become Commander of the First Order garrison on the Colossus Station on Castilon. He was paired with Major Elrik Vonreg, a fellow stormtrooper, who was one of his closest allies on Castilon. He and Vonreg came up with a plan to partner with a pirate faction that would attack the Colossus Station to cause the leader of the station, Imanuel Doza, to allow the First Order to garrison there. This garrison would effectively control the Colossus Station which was a major refueling station on the edges of Wild Space. Despite the reluctance of Captain Phasma to partner with the pirates she agreed to Pyre and Wonreg’s plan. After several attacks by the pirates on the station Doza requested to meet with Pyre to discuss the possibility of a First Order Garrison. Though it took longer than previously thought, the garrison was permitted on the Colossus Station.

Pyre eventually took control of the station from Doza claiming Doza’s insubordination can no longer be tolerated. He shot Doza’s personal droid bodyguard and arrested him.

Though the First Order did hold the fueling station for a short period of time, the Resistance launched a counter-attack to take it back. Pyre and his garrison fought hard but in the end they were forced to retreat from the station.

Pyre functioned as Phasma’s right hand man and by that designation an extension of her will. As such he needed to distinguish himself from the other troopers of the First Order. He wears Gold plated armour with a black pauldron on his right shoulder. He uses a modified F-11D blaster rifle that was also Gold plated.

Aside from Phasma, we also have the character Pyre, who is her sort of second-in-command. He needed to look unique as well, and we didn’t want to stick with a silver theme, so I think it was fun that we brought in the gold. It makes him really distinct from her and the rest of the troopers.“―Amy Beth Christenson on the creation of Pyre

CONCLUSION

These three represent both the training and the will of the First Order. Sure, Kylo Ren is now the figurehead (bye bye Snoke) but he would just be an angsty teenager without these three. My good friend Ben jokingly told me that I have a crush on Phasma. Which to be fair, she is a strong independent woman who could kick the shit out of any man, so it’s more fear than crush, well… maybe a bit of both… But when I pointed out that she is the Boba Fett of the sequel trilogy, he instantly agreed. So, point for me.

I’m looking forward to finishing the book and hope that it will expand on Cardinal a little more and maybe leave it open to him and Pyre showing up in the next movie… it’s a pipe dream I know… but it’s a dream none the less!

That’s all for this week, see you next week!

Iden Versio – Imperial Soldier Turned Rebel Hero

For those who have played Star Wars Battlefront II the character of Iden Versio is well known, for everyone else who isn’t a gamer, she is probably a nobody. This week I’m going to highlight Iden and her various deeds and her accomplishments to show just how much of a badass female character she is. As I previously said, Iden is from Star Wars Battlefront II where she is the main playable character in the single player campaign, she is portrayed via motion capture and voice work by Janina Gavankar.

Janina Gavankar

To date, Iden Versio has been included in both Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden as well as the popular game, Star Wars Battlefront II.

BACKGROUND

Iden Versio was born on the planet of Vardos to Admiral Garrick Versio of the Imperial Security Bureau and Zeehay Versio an artist responsible for much of the enlistment propaganda used by the Empire throughout the galaxy. Due to the nature of her mother’s work, Iden was raised primarily by her father and thus took after him in many aspects of her personality and life. She decided to become a soldier of the Empire and enlisted in the Future Imperial Leaders Military Preparatory School on Vardos, she was the only female in her class. Following her graduation from prep school she enlisted in the Imperial Academy on Coruscant where she excelled in her studies graduating with honours at the top of her class.

Attaining the rank of Senior Lieutenant, Iden was assigned to the Death Star as part of the TIE fighter defence squadron. Iden was present at the destruction of Jedha in Rogue One as well as the destruction of Scariff. Both instances demonstrated the destructive power of the station she was charged with protecting. Iden was also present at the destruction of Alderaan during the events of A New Hope. Though she did object morally to the destruction of the entire planet because of the actions of a few she never mentioned it out loud. Iden was part of the TIE defence squadron that attempted to repel the rebels as they attacked the Death star at the conclusion of A New Hope. She, along with Darth Vader and a couple of others, are the only ones known to have survived the destruction of the Death Star, something that stuck with her throughout her life.

Lt. Iden Versio

The Death Star had destroyed an entire planet. Yes, it had been a rebel hotbed, a positive nest of treason. But surely not everyone who had died had hated the Empire. The destruction of the Death Star hit closer to home, as she had lost people she knew, but at least there had been no civilians on it. No children. ” – Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, Del Rey Books, 2017.

Following the destruction of the Death Star Iden was stranded on Yavin where she evaded Rebel patrols until she could steal an FTL capable ship and escape back to Imperial space.

She along with 3 others: Gideon Hask, Del Meeko and Seyn Marana were recruited to form Inferno Squad. Inferno Squad operated with complete autonomy in order to achieve their goals. They were tasked with taking down an extremely violent splinter group of Saw Garera’s Partisan movement; an undercover mission which all members of Inferno Squad took part in. Through an extensive infiltration campaign, they managed to dismantle the group and find their Imperial informant with only one casualty to the Squad.

During the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi, Iden and Inferno Squad were tasked with infiltrating the Shield bunker and restarting the shield to protect the second Death Star. As they were about to enter the shield bunker, Lando and his strike force destroyed the second Death star with the Emperor on board. Iden and Inferno Squad commandeered some TIE fighters and rendezvoused with their Raider-class Corvette, The Corvus. From there they escaped the battle and met up with the remains of the Imperial fleet where Iden was briefed with her father on Operation: Cinder. As part of the operation, Inferno Squad was tasked with extracting Gleb, Iden’s instructor from her childhood at the academy, off of Vardos. During the evacuation, Operation Cinder is enacted. Cinder’s main focus was to decimate the enemies and allies of the Empire. Palpatine believed that if the Empire failed to keep him alive then the Empire had failed outright and must be destroyed. Cinder worked by placing dozens of satellites in geosynchronous orbit around planets and using them to create massive natural phenomenon to destroy the planet and devastate the population; one of the first targets was Vardos, Iden’s home. As Inferno Squad maneuvered through the populace and arrived at the academy to extract Gleb, the attack on the planet began and Iden refused to doom all the innocent people on the planet. This action splintered the Squad with Hask remaining loyal to the Empire and Meeko siding with Iden.

Iden learns of Operation: Cinder from her father Garrick Versio

Iden and Meeko fought their way through Imperial Troops and extracted as many civilians as they could on the Corvus. After they let the refugees off at a planet that was out of the way of Operation Cinder, they surrendered themselves in to Lando Calrissian and Shriv Suurgav. Lando and Shriv gave them a chance to prove themselves when Operation Cinder arrived at Naboo. Iden and Del partnered with Shriv and took out all of the satellites in orbit to stop the destruction of the planet, they then joined in the battle on the ground to repel the Imperial invasion. After assisting with the battle they met with General Lei Organa to formally request to join the Rebellion/Alliance.

We’ve been fighting our whole lives. It’s taken us too long to realize that we were fighting for the wrong side….We would like to help you if you’ll let us.” – Iden Versio to Leia Organa.

WORK WITH THE REBELLION

One of the first things they were tasked with doing was rescuing the wayward Han Solo from Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana. Han was getting some information to help himself and Chewbacca in their liberation of Kashyyk. Iden and Del then traveled to Chinook Station on Bespin to attempt to capture Gideon Hask and stop the refueling of Admiral Versio’s fleet. Hask, anticipating their arrival, left the facility and set an ambush for them. Iden and Del were forced to fight their way out of the ambush and across the platform to the landing pad where they commandeered a cloud car and used it to blow up the refueling stations so the Star Destroyers couldn’t use them.

Iden Versio on Vardos

Admiral Ackbar informed Iden and Del that the Imperial Navy was waiting in the Jakku system and that the Rebellion would be heading there to finally put an end to their ways. She confronted Gideon in a dog fight and emerged victorious before landing on her father’s flagship and trying to get him to abandon the ship and leave with her. He refused, knowing that if he escaped he would still be a slave to the Empire and what it was trying to accomplish.

Garrick: “You saw the Empire’s weakness and refused to let it consume you. It made you stronger. That’s why you’re leaving here without me!

Iden: ” You deserve better than this!

Garrick: ” No, I don’t. But you do, Iden. You deserve to live in peace. Go. Survive. Live.

Iden and Del became enamoured with each other and married. They had a daughter they named Zay, in honour of Iden’s mother. Gideon who managed to somehow survive the defeat of the Empire at Jakku and his crashing TIE tracked Del and the Corvus to Pillio. Del was rumoured to have the information that would lead the First Order to Skywalker and Kylo Ren was dispatched to retrieve it. After Ren got the information, he ordered Hask to kill Meeko. Hask left the Corvus for Iden to find and come searching for him on Vardos.

Iden, Zay and longtime friend Shriv found the Corvus and after stopping some kidnappings found their way to Gleb on Vardos who was holding Del hostage. When they arrived at the Academy they found Gleb dead on the floor having been executed by Hask. Hask told Iden he had executed Del as well and would do the same to their daughter. As they fled the academy, Iden witnessed the firing of Starkiller base and the destruction of the new Republic at the hands of the First Order. Hask and his Star Destroyer appeared in the sky over the academy and shot down the Corvus with Zay still on board. Iden and Shriv managed to get to her escape pod before the First Order could and reunite with her while fighting off enemy troopers. The trio resolved to board Hask’s ship and transmit all the information they could to General Organa and the Resistance. They boarded the ship. Zay and Iden moved to shut down the hyperdrive to drop the ship out of hyperspace. Which would allow them to transmit the plans they found for the First Order Dreadnought to the Resistance and escape the ship. Hask arrived and attempted to kill both Zay and Iden. As Hask threw Zay from a platform he fired wildly at Iden. Iden dove and caught her daughter on the edge of the platform. Zay passed her a blaster she had concealed on her person without Hask seeing. Iden used the blaster to shoot Hask multiple times saving herself and her daughter while also avenging Del.

Inferno Squad – Left to Right: Gideon Hask, ID10 droid, Iden Versio & Del Meeko

DEATH

Iden and Zay retreated to the hyperdrive control room and detonated the explosives they had been placing around the hyperdrive before Hask had ambushed them. As the hyperdive was destroyed, the ship dropped out of hyperspace near Starkiller base. One of Hask’s stray shots on the platform had hit Iden in the abdomen critically injuring her. She collapsed on the ground and told Zay she needed to get the droid back to the Resistance because of the Dreadnought blueprints it had on it. Zay refused to leave her mom but Iden succumbed to her injuries, dying on the floor of the control room. Zay and Shriv managed to get off the ship and were redirected to the outer rim by General Organa to search for allies of the Resistance.

PERSONALITY & LEGACY

Iden was a fiercely loyal and gifted soldier. She was firmly dedicated to the Empire and viewed the Emperor himself as a great leader who was trying to make the galaxy a better place. She even accepted the destruction of Alderaan as necessary in the war against the rebels. She did not agree with the tactics used, but she relents that there would be no way to rout the rebels out of the populace. Following the destruction of both Death Stars she began to question the resolve of the Empire, especially once operation Cinder was activated. The slaughter of thousands of innocent people all because the Emperor was bitter that he had died? That didn’t sit right with her. As the Empire continued their cleansing she began to realize that the Empire had turned from the benevolent force she believed it was and became this evil and cruel entity. It had turned away from the values it had upheld and indoctrinated into it’s citizens becoming something that needed to be destroyed.

Iden stood as a symbol that even someone who had grown up and bled for the Empire could see the light. She had worked her entire life in service of an Empire that she believed in but no longer existed. She realized that the Empire she once believed in was a sham and the real Empire was far from righteous. When she allied with the Rebels she became not only a symbol to the other members of the Empire but one to the free people of the galaxy that even someone who lived and breathe Imperial honour could join the Rebellion’s cause.

Iden Versio is one of my new favourite characters to come out the sequel trilogy and the new Expanded Universe. Iden and Captain Phasma are my favourite with Poe taking a close third. Disney has made some great female characters like Iden and Phasma and they’ve made some pretty terrible ones like Holdo and Rose… If you like strong female characters I would highly recommend that you read Star Wars: Battlefront II Inferno Squad by Christie Golden and play the Star Wars: Battlefront II main campaign along with the Resistance DLC.

That’s all for this week! See you next week!

She was a complicated woman but the galaxy was far better with her in it.” – General Leia Organa on Iden Versio

The Rebellion had hope… the Empire had Inferno Squad

Abeloth – The Terror Of The Star Wars Universe

I was going to write a post about the Oscars on Sunday night and how Black Panther didn’t actually get snubbed like most of the twitter-verse thinks; but, I figure enough people are covering that so I don’t need to. Instead, this this week I’m going to write about something I recently became aware of in the Star Wars universe from a YouTube video I watched by EckhartsLadder titled 5 Scariest Things in Star Wars Legends. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, Halo and other related Sci-Fi material, I recommend you check their channel out.

The topic I’ve chosen for today is Abeloth, an ancient evil Force creature that is uber powerful and has a penchant for consuming Force sensitive beings. It should be noted that while this was considered canon until 2012 when the House of Mouse purchased Lucasfilms, once the deal went through, Disney disavowed all the Expanded Universe material. They provided it a new title of “Legends” and concentrated on the core films, Clone Wars TV series, and the films and shows released since the acquisition went through. They have started slowly including some of the old Expanded Universe content into their canon universe, but it seems unlikely that Abeloth will make it there anytime soon.

WHO IS ABELOTH?

Abeloth was also known in the Expanded Universe as The Bringer of Chaos and Beloved Queen of the Stars, despite what she may have turned into, she actually started out as a benevolent being.

The Ones, Son with Mortis Dagger, Father & Daughter

Over a hundred thousand years before the battle of Yavin (100,000 + BBY) Abeloth was created as a servant to the Ones. The Ones are the physical manifestations of the Force, there’s the Son who represents the Dark Side, the Daughter who represents the Light Side and the Father who represents the Balance between the two. Abeloth was created as a mortal woman known as the Servant and helped to keep the peace between the Son and Daughter. As her life continued she aged and became known as The Mother, a new addition to the family. As she continued to age and her family remained ageless, she began to worry about losing them and what she could do to grant herself immortality. In a desperate attempt to remain with her family she drank from the Font of Power (A Nexus of Dark Force Energy) and bathed in the Pool of Knowledge (A Force Nexus), her actions caused her to become insane and transformed her into the Dark Side entity known as Abeloth.

Mad with her power and not wanting her family to leave, she demanded they bow before her. Horrified at what had happened, the Father stepped in and took his Children from Abeloth. They abandoned her on their unknown jungle planet and resettled on Mortis (the planet Anakin, Obi Wan and Ahsoka were stranded on for days during the Clone Wars TV series). Fearing the power she now had, the Son and Daughter offered their knowledge to an ancient race that helped to build Centerpoint Station and Sinkhole Station.

Centerpoint Station was a massive space station with a powerful enough tractor beam to move planets and other celestial bodies like Black Holes through space.

Sinkhole Station was smaller than Centerpoint Station but still massive in scale and was used to hold the Black holes in place.

“The Maw” A prison of Black Holes in the Kessel Sector
Map showing Location of Maw and Kessel Sector

The Son and Daughter used the stations to manufacture a spherical prison of black holes surrounding Abeloth’s planet to keep her contained and to stop outside people from discovering her. They named this area of space “The Maw”. The Maw is located in the Kessel sector of the Star Wars universe and played a large part in Han Solo’s reputation.

*It is very likely ‘The Maelstrom’ from Solo: A Star Wars Story is actually the outer edge of the Maw. The Creature they encountered is called a Summa-Verminoth, which are large space faring entities with numerous tentacles and eyes that consume all material they can get their hands on *

WHY IS ABELOTH SO SCARY?

A Massive Dark Force entity that is so powerful she has to be contained on her own planet in a prison made of black holes? Still not enough? Okay… How about every time Abeloth broke free of her prison, she brought untold destruction onto the galaxy until the Daughter and Son returned from their exile to force her back into her prison. How was she able to break free? When the “Current of the Force” (the flow of time) was altered, it provided enough of a break in the universal energies for her to escape and bring chaos and destruction down on the galaxy. This cycle of breakout, destroy, imprisonment and waiting until breaking out again went on for thousands of years until the death of the Ones in 21BBY. It wasn’t until the years following the Galactic Civil War that Jedi Grandmaster, Luke Skywalker, discovered Abeloth and the threat she possessed.

Not only is Abeloth a living breathing uber powerful entity that likes to cause widespread destruction and havoc, but she also is able to inhabit the “Beyond Shadows”. This is a realm that powerful force users are able to access by separating their minds from their bodies (like Dr. Stange with Astral Projection). She would instill in the Force user a “need of companionship” which would compel the user to enter the Maw and find Sinkhole Station. Once there, they would enter the Realm Beyond Shadows and Abeloth would consume their life essence, killing them. There was a time when Luke Skywalker and his son Ben Skywalker discovered Sinkhole Station and entered the Realm Beyond Shadows. During his first trip into the Realm Beyond Shadows, Luke saw Abeloth, but when she beckoned him to come closer he refused and left the realm with his son unharmed.

Abeloth in the Realm Beyond Shadows

IS SHE STILL AROUND?

So, after Luke and Ben were tempted by Abeloth they left Sinkhole Station and the Maw entirely. As her powers grew, she began to cause a sort of “psychosis” among Force users in an attempt to draw more to the Maw so she could feed off their life essence. Sinkhole Station was beginning to fail because it’s counter point, Centerpoint Station, had been destroyed in the Yuuzhan Vong War. This failure allowed for Abeloth’s influence to felt by Force users across the galaxy instead of just within the Maw itself. To combat this threat, Luke Skywalker and some members of the new Jedi Order allied with the reborn Sith to end Abeloth’s threat once and for all.

The attack force confronted her on her planet at the center of the Maw and pursued her into a cave system. As they fought she continued to use Force projections to try and convince them to lay down their arms, to no avail. Eventually, the Sith warriors present tried to betray the Jedi and imprison Abeloth under a control web. Abeloth broke free and fled through the cave system with the strike force pursuing. She was confronted again by Luke and attempted to use illusions to trick him into seeing his long dead love Ming and his close friend Dyon Staad. Luke saw through the illusion and stabbed Abeloth masquerading his friend in the chest. As she died, Abeloth tried to use one last massive force wave to kill Luke and the strike team, but it failed. All the Force sensitive individuals under her control were released and her presence disappeared. In the aftermath, it was discovered that Luke had indeed killed his friend and Abeloth had fled her prison and the Maw using Staad’s likeness as her own.

Abeloth vs. the Strike Force

She continued to terrorize the galaxy and plague Luke for many years. One of the Sith strike team members even tried to use the Pool of Knowledge to find out where she was. When he submerged himself in the pool, he succumbed to the raw power of the Force and began to turn into a being similar to Abeloth.

She eventually used her powers to get herself elected as Chief of State, under the disguise of an individual called Kem. She had allied with the Sith and used her influence to subject the people of Coruscant to her rule. Luke and a Sith named Darth Krayt confronted her in the Realm Beyond Shadows and dueled her there. As her illusionary bodies were being destroyed across the galaxy she grew weaker and eventually Luke and Krayt defeated her.

Luke knew she could never be defeated by conventional means due to her immense power and resolved to find an ancient Force artifact called the “Mortis Dagger”. The Mortis Dagger is an ancient artifact created by the Father which is capable of killing the Ones and any other living beings, Abeloth included, it was last wielded by the Son on Mortis before his death in 21BBY.

Abeloth continued to plague the original Expanded Universe for several years until Disney’s purchase in 2012. Since then, her status has dropped into a legend but she still remains as one of the greatest terrors in the Star Wars universe. Hyperspace Madness, The Yuuzhan Vong, and Malachor V have nothing on her or her abilities. She is so powerful that only a singular artifact crafted by the physical embodiments of the Force itself can kill her, that makes her seriously OP. Not only is she crazy powerful but she looks creepy too. She resembles a very pale woman with white hair, a mouth stretching from ear to ear with razor sharp teeth and tentacles for fingers.

Abeloth’s true form

I’m not going to lie, a small part of me wants Kylo Ren and the First order to find her in Episode 9 and just get slapped by her to show that they’re nothing compared to the power of the Force itself.

That’s it for this week’s post. I’m hoping to get my YouTube channel up and running soon and turn some of the more popular posts into videos, so we’ll see how that goes. See you next week!

Fortress Vader – Its True Purpose

Mustafar is a planet that every Star Wars fan will know well. Not only is it the location of Vader’s fortress, but it’s also the planet in which Anakin Skywalker was fully lost to the Dark Side and battled his former master and best friend, Obi Wan Kenobi. After the battle of the heroes in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin was left to die on the planet by Obi-Wan who fled with Padme and the two droids back to friendly space. Unknown to Obi-Wan at the time, Anakin managed to survive and was repaired using cybernetics by his new master Sheev Palpatine aka Darth Sidious.

Due to his severe injuries suffered while battling Obi Wan, Anakin lives in a constant state of pain which helps to amplify his Sith powers. While his suit allows him to move around and interact with others, prolonged use of the suit can be excruciating  on him. Due to this fact, he is required to regularly remove the suit and submerge himself in a Bacta tank to relieve some of the pain. While Vader could create a space anywhere to be treated in the Bacta tank he has constructed many fortresses and palaces throughout the Expanded Universe and the new Disney canon to do just that.

Prior to the new Disney Canon, the fortress was originally an old Sith temple that Vader restored and occupied for several years during the Galactic Civil War. With the new Canon, the origins of the fortress have been expanded on and deliver a much greater explanation as to its creation.

NEW CANON

During the time of the Inquisitors and the hunt for any Rogue Jedi, Vader was chasing two Inquisitors that had gone rogue from the Empire. As the chase continued across Couruscant Vader eventually captured and dispatched the two rogue Inquisitors earning him the Emperor’s praise. For his services to the Empire, Darth Sidious offered Vader to build himself a fortress on any planet that he wanted. Sidious had expected Vader to take his seat of power in a central area to exert maximum influence over the Empire; however, Vader chose to build his fortress on the planet Mustafar, the site of his greatest defeat. Knowing that this planet was crucial in Vader’s connection to the Dark Side, Sidious agreed and dispatched Vader along with Colonel Alva Brenne and Lieutenant Roggo to commence construction. Sidious also sent along the possessed mask of the Sith Lord Momin, a sculptor and art lover.

DARTH MOMIN

Momin

Darth Momin was a Sith Lord and sculptor who lived during the hundred year darkness and was killed roughly 1032 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). Momin was able to sculpt using his mind and the force from a young age; though, his creations earned him the scorn of many. Eventually, he was imprisoned for some of his designs where he remained for several years until Darth Shaa freed him and took him as her apprentice. Lady Shaa began training Momin in the ways of the dark side where he excelled and his pride grew. Believing himself to be second to nobody, Momin murdered Lady Shaa during a training session and declared himself a Dark Lord of the Sith. Now uninhibited by his old master, Momin was free to design to his heart’s content, which he did and eventually developed a super weapon.  Momin’s superweapon was powerful enough to turn a thriving metropolis to ash, but that wasn’t enough for him. Momin resolved to pour the Force into his weapon and then the expressions of his victims would be frozen in time by the force for all of eternity. Momin maneuvered his super weapon over a city and began the process of destroying the city and freezing it in time. Unable to allow this to occur, several Jedi stormed Momin’s weapon which in turn disrupted his concentration. In the end the Jedi disabled the weapon and Momin’s body was incinerated leaving his spirit trapped in his mask which the Jedi stored in their secret vault in the archives.

It was in this vault that Momin’s spirit lingered for nearly a thousand years before being discovered by Darth Sidious following Darth Vader’s defeat of Jedi Master Jocasta Nu.

MOMIN REBORN

When Vader’s construction party arrived on the planet, Vader decided to build his structure over top of an ancient Sith cave. The same cave where he had bled the Kyber Crystal of Jedi Master Kirak Infil’a in his quest to create his own crimson Sith blade. Vader once again entered the cave to meditate and commune with the force only to be interrupted by Brenne who had a proposed blue print for Vader’s fortress. Vader rejected the idea and Brenne returned to the ship where Roggo and Darth Momin’s mask lay waiting.

As Brenne returned to the ship the Spirit of Darth Momin that was possessing his mask made its move. Exerting its control over the Dark Side, Momin killed Brenne and possessed the body of Roggo. Finally having an actual body after several generations, Momin used Roggo’s body to design the fortress that Vader would eventually build.

Vader and Momin

Vader returned to the ship after his meditation to discover the colonel murdered and Momin having possessed Roggo’s body. Vader proceeded to murder the possessed Roggo and took Momin’s mask back to the cave where he had forged his lightsaber. It was in this cave that Momin tried to possess Vader and showed him his story and deemed his superweapon a failure. During the attempted possession, some native Mustafarians attacked Vader while he was meditating in the cave. Vader managed to defeat them with Momin’s mask possessing one of them in turn, this granted Momin a new body without costing the Empire another officer.

In his new body, Momin stated that his new design would act as a sort of tuning fork to the dark side and could open up a doorway to the Force allowing Vader to finally meet his long lost love, Padme, once more. While Momin believed that this would excite Vader, he was met with skepticism and threats. Vader stated that Sidious had already lied to him about this type of thing and that, if Momin failed to deliver, he would kill him without hesitation.

Roughly around 5 BBY the fortress was completed. The central tower and it’s tuning forks were made out of pure obsidian mined from the planet and the outer pieces were made of a Doonium Alloy.

Between 2 BBY and 0 BBY, a Rebel Alliance Strike team infiltrated the fortress to attempt to discover Imperial secrets. They discovered a proto-saber being constructed by Vader. The proto-saber was of a unique design featuring a cross-guard (as made famous by Kylo Ren) but without the two vents. Instead it had two prongs that ran up from the base and when ignited, white energy would light up the space between the prongs. The pilot of the Rebel strike Force, Athnex, attempted to scan the saber in order to take it back to the Alliance but never finished his scan. Vader arrived, having been alerted to the Rebels, and pulled  Athnex through the air toward him stabbing him through the back with his lightsaber. As the other Rebels attempted to flee, Vader began cutting them down. K2SO crashed a shuttle into the fortress and began firing a weapon at Vader to allow the rebels time to escape.

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In 0BBY, Director Orson Krennic arrived at the fortress to consult Vader on his plans with the Death Star.

In the expanded universe, Vader not only had his fortress on Mustafar but also had a palace on Coruscant in the Diplomatic District near the Senate and Bast Castle on the planet Vjun. Vader later abandoned his castle on Vjun to provide it as headquarters for the Dark Side Elite. The Dark Side Elite were a band of seven dark Jedi that were established by Darth Sidious in the Expanded Universe following his return using clone bodies.

 

There you have it! The real purpose for Vader’s fortress on Mustafar! Not just badass looking but so he can finally be reunited with the love of his life. See you next time!

Scariest Place in the Star Wars Universe

I love Star Wars, I have ever since I was a kid and saw the original trilogy on VHS for the first time with my grandma who was just as much a Sci-Fi nerd as myself. But one thing that really grips me about the Star Wars universe is the MASSIVE expanded universe that goes with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Skywalker saga and all the stories it entails; however, you also have to look at it as one family’s drama has been mucking up the galaxy for EVERYONE for like 150 years… Even with all the drama that the Skywalkers and their descendants have cause, it’s still nothing compared to the massive Jedi/Sith war that spanned off and on for thousands of years or the Mandalorian Wars that spanned hundreds of years.  These wars are responsible for the scariest place in the Star Wars universe… Malachor V ( aka Malachor, Hell) How does Malachor rank higher than the likes of Korriban or even Dathomir? Read on…

While Korriban was the birthplace of the Sith and home to many torture chambers used by the Sith on captive Jedi; it was completely destroyed and turned into a tomb world when the Sith lost the war against the Jedi. Completely devoid of life, it remains as a constant reminder of where the Sith came from and the atrocities they used to commit in the name of the Dark Side.

Dathomir is a mysterious planet that is home of the Night Sisters, a dark and powerful coven of magic/force users that provided Darth Maul to Siddious as an apprentice. Dathomir played a large part in the later seasons of the Clone Wars TV show and helped to resurrect one of the GREATEST villains in Star Wars, Darth Maul. The site of many battles and wars, Dathomir remains as a dark mysterious planet even after the eradication of the Night Sisters by Darth Sidious and General Grievous.

These two planets pale in comparison to the horrors that occurred and remain on Malachor…

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HISTORY

CANON

Malachor V has been the center-point of many wars throughout the Star Wars timeline, but the most prevalent, which earned it the name “Hell”, occurred during the Sith/ Jedi war.

Before the Jedi/Sith war, there was the Hundred-Year darkness, this was a time before the Sith had officially formed and were beginning to separate from the Jedi Order. For thousands of years, the Jedi were the only force users in the galaxy, until one rogue Jedi believed that the path to true power came from the use of Bogan (the Dark Side). The Jedi High Council did not know how to deal with someone who rejected their ways so completely and cast the rogue Jedi out of the order, but this only gained him some followers who sympathized with his belief in the path to power. His followers left with him and traveled to the ancient Sith world of Malachor V to continue their pursuit of ultimate power and the Dark Side of the Force, the exiled Jedi adopted the name of the Sith and the Sith Order was born.

For hundreds of years the Sith expanded into the galaxy, conquering worlds and enslaving entire planets to work in their Empire and fuel their war machine. This rapid expansion and conflicting ideologies brought them into conflict with the Jedi and the Old Republic. As the Sith expanded so did their number of warriors that were trained in the art of lightsaber combat and dark side force powers. The Republic and the Jedi council agreed that the Sith needed to be stopped and so a force of Jedi were dispatched to the planet of Malachor V to end the threat.  The Jedi Knights attacked the planet en mass and drove the Sith back to their temple which also housed their superweapon. As the Sith were being overwhelmed the Jedi grew over zealous and pushed harder into the temple, as a last ditch effort the Sith activated their weapon.

Sith-Temple-Super-Weapon

The superweapon that was housed under the temple was one of planetary proportions. Capable of petrifying all life on a planet it was activated and targeted at Malachor. Mid-combat, Jedi and Sith alike were petrified and killed by the weapon. Their bodies remaining frozen in their petrified state for thousands of years as a reminder of the conflict and what it could cause.

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While Darth Sidious was training Maul to become his apprentice, he brought Maul to Malachor to have him “breathe in the ashes of his predecessors”. As Maul breathed in the air of Malachor and the ashes of the fallen Sith, he had visions of legions of Sith dying at the hands of Jedi knights furthering his hatred for all the Jedi.

The planet remained undisturbed for several years until in 3BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano discovered the petrified remains of the Sith and Jedi. As they examined the bodies, Ezra discovered a green cross-guard lightsaber which he activated briefly before it shorted out in his hand. When he asked Ahsoka if the Jedi had won, she remembered her teachings as a young Padawan in the Jedi temple and told Ezra that neither side had won the battle.

*Kylo Ren’s cross-guard lightsaber is said to be inspired from a design he found on Malachor*

LEGENDS

The Legends backstory to Malachor V is much different than the Canon but it still ends roughly the same way, death and destruction. As opposed to the destruction being caused during the Jedi/Sith War, it was destroyed during the final stages of the Mandalorian Wars.

The Ancient Sith order known as The True Sith used Malachor as a stronghold during their first great expansion, even going so far as to build an Academy on its surface due to it’s connection to the Dark Side. As The True Sith fell to infighting and disintegrated, the Sith abandoned the planet and their Academy as they retreated further back into the Unknown Regions. The Sith Empire, led by Darth Vitiate, reclaimed the planet for many years before an uprising by Dakar Sol took it from his grasp. Vitiate was the last remnant of the True Sith and a being of immense dark power. Able to imbue his essence and force abilities into other living beings by possessing them, he led the Sith Empire for over 1,500 years before his eventual defeat.

Centuries after the defeat of Vitiate is when the destruction of Malachor V occurred during the final stages of the Mandalorian Wars.  Despite the many other species and cultures that allied with the Mandalorians during the war, Mandalore the Ultimate (leader of the Mandalorian people during the war), restricted the planet of Malachor V to the people of Mandalore.  It was at Malchor V that Jedi General Revan launched his final attack that would seal the victory for the Jedi and the Old Republic.

MtheUvsRevan

At the time of this battle, some of the other Jedi and the Republic soldiers were beginning to question Revan’s alliance to the Light Side, so Revan used this to his advantage. Composing his massive attack fleet of those questioning his loyalty he sent them into the Malachor system. Knowing the target would be too good for the Mandalorians to pass up, he waited. When the battle was joined, Revan rushed to the Mandalorian flagship and killed Mandalore the Ultimate, effectively ending the War by cutting the head off the snake. As the Republic/Jedi forces and the Mandalorians continued to clash both on Malachor and in the system surrounding it, the Jedi General Meetra Surik, began to realize they were going to lose as the Mandalorians were too many. As the battle raged the Republic forces managed to take the complex which housed the Mandalorian superweapon, the Mass Shadow Generator. Seeing the Mandalorian forces were about to retake the complex, and have a straight shot at Revan’s back, Meetra ordered the activation of the superweapon believing it to kill everyone outside of the complex. The weapon activated immediately and caused Malachor V’s gravity to massively increase instantly crushing everyone on the surface and pulling ships from in space surrounding the planet to the surface. The planet was changed from a lush inhabitable planet to a barren jagged wasteland in an instant with reports of republic ships being pulled to miles below the surface due to the increased gravity. In one foul swoop, Revan had managed to eliminate those questioning his allegiance and win the war for the Republic. It is unclear how, but Meetra Surik was able to survive the weapon activating despite being on the surface. Surik fled the system and went into exile earning her the title of Jedi Exile.

Malachor

Revan and Malak would then: go into the Unknown Regions, become corrupted by the Sith, return to known space and wage a war on the Republic in the name of the Sith, Break the hold from the Sith in the Unknown Regions and resolve to take the Republic for themselves and adopt the titles of Dark Lords of the Sith. During the Jedi Civil War, Darth Revan would use the untouched Trayus Academy, located on the surface of Malachor V and placed their by the True Sith millennia before, to convert captured Jedi to the Dark Side.

Following the end of the Civil War, Revan’s old master, Jedi Master Kreia journeyed to Malachor to discover what had caused her apprentice to fall to the Dark Side, it was on Malachor V that she was corrupted by the Dark Side and took the name of Darth Traya. She trained two apprentices in the Dark Side, Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus, the latter of which was also called the “Force Vampire” and the “Lord of Hunger”. These three Sith would go on to form the Sith Triumvirate which reigned for several years. Traya was eventually overthrown by her apprentices, stripped of her power and banished from Malachor.

In 3951 BBY, Meetra Surik was contacted by Kreia to help destroy the Sith academy on Malachor and allowing Kreia revenge on her former apprentices. Surik battled Darth Nihilus and defeated him before assaulting the Academy by herself. She defeated the Sith at the Academy on Malachor finally silencing the dark energies that resonated through the Force from that planet. As Surik fled the planet, the creator of the Mass Shadow Generator activated the weapon once more using a remote and the planet collapsed in upon itself exploding and forming an asteroid field full of chunks of the planet and pieces of ships from both the Republic and Mandalorian fleets. This area of space became a veritable graveyard floating in the black, a constant reminder of the life lost and atrocities committed on the planet.

Malachor asteroid field

There you have it, the scariest place in the Star Wars universe! I honestly prefer the canon version of the story more than the Legends, but the Legends one has Revan so…. ya…. Let me know what you think the scariest place in the Star Wars Universe is! See you next time!

 

Mandalore – The Setting of the Next Big Star Wars Game

Recently a leaked schedule for E3 2018 has hinted at several new properties getting reveal trailers and teaser trailers at the fabled E3 conference in June. One such property is a new open world Star Wars game! The game that will be developed by EA in conjunction with Respawn (of Titanfall fame) is titled, Star Wars Bounty Hunters: Mandalorian Nights. It is rumored to be an open world, sandbox style game much like the Elder Scrolls and Witcher series. I know I for one am very excited for this type of game. Fans have been waiting for an announced title like this ever since Star Wars 1313 was cancelled when Disney purchased Lucasfilms.

Now, anybody who knows Star Wars knows that fan favourites Jango and Boba Fett are Mandalorian Bounty Hunters. Mandalore has had a rich history throughout the expanded Star Wars canon and recently got some more press within the animated show Star Wars Rebels. Though, the Mandalorians we’re shown in Rebels seem to convey a more Game of Thronesy feel than the famous warrior culture that nearly killed the Jedi; it was still great to get more stories involving them.  Star Wars Clone Wars also gave us some great stories involving the Mandalorians and the struggle of the warrior culture against the pacifist government. Now, for anyone who isn’t quite as familiar with the Mandalorian race… I’ll give a rundown of their history and culture.

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HISTORY

The Mandalorian Empire is quite extensive and has been a main player in the Star Wars universe for quite some time. Throughout Star Wars canon, Mandalorians have been known as Elite warriors, Mercenaries, Bounty Hunters, and Crusaders. Many of these people being in service to the home planet of Mandalore or its moon Concordia.

In ancient times before the Republic was formed, the planet of Mandalore was a vibrant and lush ecosystem. The various houses of the Mandalorian people went to war with each other to claim control over the planet and the opposing houses. The war and weapons used in the civil conflict as well as the war with the Jedi, devastated Mandalore’s surface making the home planet all but uninhabitable. This forced the people of Mandalore to create hermetically sealed Bio-domes or habitation cubes, to survive on the surface of the planet. Prior to the devastation of their lush home world, Crusader Mandalorians ventured forth from Mandalore and began to take over the planets that would eventually become known as “Mandalorian Space”. Due to their aggressive and militaristic nature this brought the crusaders into conflict with the Jedi and started the aforementioned Mandalorian/Jedi war.

Galidraan-battle-Mandalorians-versus-Jedi

The Mandalorian/Jedi war went on for several years with Mandalorian tech advancing to specifically combat Jedi technology and force powers. In most of the engagements, the Mandalorians were victorious against the Jedi. Murals of these victories are on display on the home planet of Mandalore and its moon Concordia, in the capitals cities. Eventually despite the conflict between them, a single Mandalorian child was permitted into the Jedi order, his name was Tarre Vizsla. While he was in the academy, Tarre Vizsla created the fabled Darksaber. The Darksaber was a lightsaber that adopted a pure black colour and the shape of an actual blade, unlike other lightsabers which just sppeared as a cylinder of energy. Tarre would eventually leave the Jedi order and become ruler of Mandalore until his death prior to 1032 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin).Upon the death of Tarre Vizsla, the Jedi order retained ownership of the Dark Saber until the Fall of the Old Republic.

The Mandalorian Empire waged a war against the Old Republic for many years until, through many contributing factors, the Republic fell. During the fall of the Old Republic, the Mandalorian house Vizsla, broke into the Jedi temple and stole back the Darksaber, keeping it secret for many years.

Pre Vizsla with darksaber

Shortly before the invasion of Naboo, the second Mandalorian Civil War broke out. This conflict was between the pacifist New Mandalorians (supported by the Jedi order) and the militaristic insurgents working to restore Mandalore to its former warrior status. The Civil war was bloody causing many houses to lose their heirs or become extinct all together. Eventually Dutchess Satine Kryze and the New Mandalorians won the war, bringing an unsteady peace to the planet at last. Following the cease fire from both sides, Duchess Satine was nearly assassinated in several failed coup attempts. To protect her and the peace on the planet, Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi Wan Kenobi were dispatched as personal protectors of the Duchess at the request of the Jedi Council. It was during this mission that Obi Wan and the Duchess fell in love, but neither of them could act on their feelings.

Duchess Satine reigned as the ruler of Mandalore throughout the beginnings of the Clone Wars before the insurgent faction, Death Watch, made its presence known. Death Watch was headed by Pre Vizsla, the last heir to House Vizsla, and the wielder of the Darksaber.  Death Watch allied with Count Dooku and the Confederacy of Independent Star Systems (Separatists) against the New Mandalorian government. When Count Dooku and Death Watch had a falling out, Death Watch allied with the still alive Darth Maul and his Shadow Collective. Darth Maul set plans in motion that ultimately ended with him taking control of Mandalore (for a brief period). He assassinated Duchess Satine, captured the remaining government officials, and beat Pre Vizsla in one on one combat to obtain the Darksaber and forcing another Civil War.

Mandalorian 1

When the Republic heard of what had happened on Mandalore, they dispatched their closest battle group to bring Maul in… their campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. Maul fled the planet leaving the young Bo-Katan Kryze, the new first lady of House Kryze, the Regent of Mandalore. She retained control of the planet for several years through the execution of Order 66 and the rise of the Galactic Empire. When she refuse to capitulate to the demands of the new Galactic Empire she was forcibly removed from her position as Regent of Mandalore and former Death Watch member, Gar Saxon,  was instilled as Viceroy and Emperor’s Hand on Mandalore. Saxon would reign unopposed for over 17 years until a third Civil War broke out between the Imperial backed house Saxon and Clan Wren who were fighting to remove Imperial influence from Mandalore.

The pacifist New Mandalorians were either exiled from the planet or executed as traitors to the Empire. Several clans would ally with the Rebels during the original trilogy with the soldiers loyal to House Saxon fighting for the Empire as Imperial Super Commandos. Sabine Wren of the Spectres rebel cell of Mandalore, would inherit the Darksaber when she found it on Dathomir following a confrontation with Darth Maul. Ultimately after an ill fated deal between Sabine’s mother, Countess Ursa Wren, and Viceroy Saxon, Clan Wren was branded as enemies of the Empire. Sabine was forced to battle Saxon in one on one combat and emerged victorious.

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House Wren returned to the planet Mandalore to do battle with house Saxon and the imperial force for control of the Mandalorian Empire. Backed by Clan Kryze, Clan Vizsla, Clan Rook, Clan Eldar and Journeyman Protector Rau, Clan Wren fought long and hard for the planet. Eventually it took the combined might of all the clans and the rebel alliance to finally defeat House Saxon and the imperials. Bo-Katan Kryze then assumed control of the Darksaber and the government of Mandalor. The remaining clans and Journeyman Protector Rau all pledged allegiance to the House Kryze and the new Mand’alor (Emperor/Empress of all Mandalorian people).

CULTURE

The overall Mandalorian clan structure is basically a pyramid with the Mand’alor at the top and their Protectors (government officials) enforcing their will. Just below the Mand’alor and the Protectors are the houses which can be made up of several clans. Prior to the execution of Order 66, House Vizsla was actually composed of Clan Vizsla and Clan Wren. The police force and secret service on Mandalore wielded electro-staffs and shields which were capable of stopping a lightsaber.

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Being some of the most feared warriors in the entire galaxy, Mandalorians were fiercely prideful and had a strict code of honour. One of the most recognized codes of honour that the Mandalorian people adopted was the honour of one on one combat to settle disputes. Whether it was to settle a disagreement or to prove they were better than someone else; Sometimes this tradition was used to settle leadership disputes as well. Mandalorians would often invoke the right of one on one combat the test their prowess in combat. Some Mandalorians even went as far as to challenge Jedi Knights to one on one combat to prove they were better fighters than the Jedi. Darth Maul invoked the right of one on one combat against Pre Vizsla for the leadership of Mandalore following the assassination of Duchess Satine. While Pre Vizsla wasn’t required to accept, the battle, his honour dictated he should, and he was killed by Darth Maul who then assumed control of the Darksaber.

As I previously stated Mandalorian weapons and technology were created specifically to combat Jedi powers and abilities. Mandalorians wore jetpacks that could launch rockets, wielded blasters and flamethrowers, used magnetic boots, and sonic canons. The favoured blaster of the Mandalorian people was the WESTAR-35 blaster pistol for it’s simple yet effective design, while the favoured jetpack was the Z-6 jetpack for its ability to launch missiles. One interesting piece of tech that was developed after the end of the Clone Wars by Boba Fett himself, was a neck wrap that was able to stop a lightsaber from taking off his head. Fans of the movies will remember that Boba’s father, Jango Fett, was decapitated by Mace Windu at the Battle of Geonosis.  The main fighting style of the Mandalorian people was a mix of ranged, close range and hand to hand combat techniques that utilized the technology and weapons in their vambracers and packs to surprise and overwhelm the enemy. This particular style of fighting was perfected after the first Mandalorian crusaders ran into the Jedi and began the Mandalorian/Jedi war.

Mandalorian Crusader

Cubism was the favored art style among the Mandalorian people during the Clone Wars. It was reflected in their murals, architecture, vehicles, clothing and even in their personal hair cuts. While some artists moved into more graffiti style following the rise of the Empire, Cubism was still the predominant art style. The main language of Mandalore is Mando’a with its written form being called “Mandalorian”, the people of Mandalore are also fluent in galactic basic.

 

There you have a brief rundown of the history and culture of Mandalore in time for E3 and the announcement of the new Star Wars game. I know I personally will be wary of the new title, given the abysmal game we got in Battlefront II. I have faith that this game may prove to be a great addition to the Star Wars catalog and with Respawn working on the project, it should prove to be something truly awesome.

E3 runs from June 12 2018 – June 14, 2018. Tune in to see some great reveals!

THIS JUST IN!!! As I was writing this post it was just announced that James Mangold (of Wolverine and Logan fame) will be writing and directing a movie centered on Boba Fett!!!!

Boba Fett

Star Wars: Thrawn – A Great Beginning To A Classic Character

This week I decided to focus on the another inclusion from the Star Wars Universe, the novel Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. The character of Thrawn was introduced by Zahn in the original Expanded Universe of Star Wars, now labelled Legends under Disney purchase. Thrawn is the by far the greatest admiral that the Empire had during the prosperity and fall of the Empire, and many years after. He was a tactical genius, brilliant commander and victorious in every task he took on. While Thrawn was considered to be one of the most liked characters introduced in the original Expanded Universe, his omission by Disney was a stab in the heart of many fans. Disney has been expanding their universe to include much of the Legends content into main canon continuity. Thrawn by Timothy Zahn is just the first novel in a probable trilogy, with the next installment Thrawn: Alliances coming out later this year.

Thrawn Alliances

Thrawn was released on April 11, 2017 and quickly garnered a positive review by both fans and critics.

*This review will be spoiler free*

SETTING

Thrawn begins during the prosperity of the Galactic Empire.  The rebels have begun trying to infiltrate the Empire to learn their secrets, but have not been effectively amalgamated into the official “Rebellion” as seen in Star War Episode IV: A New Hope. As it stands each individual rebel cell is vexing various commanders and their fleets throughout Empire controlled space and some of the Outer Systems. While the Empire is prospering so is their Xenophobia. Most systems are inhabited by more than just humans, but the upper command and echelon of the Imperial Navy is strictly humans.

Pryce Mining Company on Lothal is one of the premiere companies on the small industrial planet. When a new Doonium vein is discovered, the Empire makes political moves to remove the Pryce family from their controlling interests in the company, making an enemy of the heir to the company.

With the new special project taking up all the resources of the Empire to construct; Senators, Moffs and Governors alike are all scrambling to see who knows what and who can be removed from their quests for power.

PLOT

The story begins with a small Imperial Scouting party to an uncharted world in the “Wild Space” section of the galaxy. Cadet Eli Vanto and the other members of the scouting party find a camp which shows signs of habitation. With several crates marked with an unknown language that is only familiar to those on the border of Wild Space, Vanto is brought up to translate. A mysterious assailant attacks the party and claims the lives of 5 stormtroopers. When the assailant stows away on the landing craft as is taken back to the Destroyer, he surrenders and is interrogated by officers with Vanto for translation. The assailant is revealed as a Chiss by the name of Mitth’raw’nuruodo, though he says the humans may refer to him as Thrawn. When Thrawn, a alien Chiss, is fast tracked into command in the Imperial Navy, he becomes a likely target of hate and resentment from many of his colleagues.

Thrawn military

Arihnda Pryce is caught between a rock and a hard place, either agree to the takeover by the Empire of her family’s mining company or be thrown in jail for treason. She doesn’t take this lying down and journeys to Coruscant to begin a career in political espionage and blackmail.

Doonium is being bought up left right and center by subsidiaries of the Empire for a “Special Project” that is unknown to most of the population. Being the most precious metal in the galaxy, curiosities become piqued inciting full investigations from several individuals both high ranking and not.

 

CHARACTERS

Mitth’raw’nuruodo “Thrawn” – A Chiss exiled from the Chiss Ascendancy and marooned on a planet in Wild Space. He is a brilliant tactician and strategist but completely inept in the political machinations of the Imperial Navy. He believes that in order to defeat an enemy you must first understand an enemy, which leads him to research a culture before coming into contact with them. When we first meet Thrawn he only knows basic words and phrases in the Galactic Standard “Basic”; he is fluent in Sy Bisti which is a wild space vernacular known to Ensign Eli Vanto due to him being from a system bordering wild space. He requests Vanto be assigned to him as translator and aide to assist him in his career with the Empire.

Eli Vanto – Ensign assigned the be Thrawn’s personal aide and translator. Was content with his career path to be come a supplies officer at a base near his home planet. With the arrival of Thrawn, his career path has taken a detour into left field. He resents the Chiss for being able to control his career, but admires him for his tactical brilliance and strategic awareness in battle. Acting as both aide and social instructor, Eli is unsure of his future, but knows it is tied to the Chiss officer.

Arihnda Pryce – The only daughter of the CEO of Pryce Mining on Lothal. Ruthless and fiercely loyal to her family and its history. When ousted from her home she sets her sight on the seat at the top making decisions for her whole system. Moving to center of power she begins her political career with nothing to her name and even less knowledge of the inner workings of the political landscape of Coruscant. Determined not to lose sight of her goal she begins a game of cat and mouse where all the cats are bigger and fiercer than she is.

Nightswan – The Moby Dick to Thrawn’s Captain Ahab. A cunning and strategic freelance criminal that will work for whoever pays them enough. With a penchant for organizing schemes of unique style, Thrawn is drawn to solving who this mystery person is and bringing them and their whole network down.

Colonel Yularen – Colonel of the ISB which investigates the senate and any illegal dealings associated with it. Efficient and thorough he becomes an ally of both Thrawn and Pryce as their paths eventually cross.

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Notable Cameos – Emperor Sheev Palpatine “Darth Sidious”, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Darth Vader

WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD?

Speaking as someone who never really dove too much into the Expanded Universe of Star Wars, this book is a great starting point. It’s filled with lots of new locations and characters while still keeping it rooted in canon with familiar faces. The chapters all begin with excerpts from Thrawn’s personal journal in which he discusses various topics ranging from leadership to camaraderie and strategy.  I don’t want to speak too much about the chapters for fear of revealing something spoilerific, just know that at the end of the book all the chapter introductions come together in the epilogue.

Thrawn Legends

The entire story has an air of mystery as well with Thrawn trying to figure out who the Nightswan is and where the resources of the Empire are being diverted to. With the book taking place roughly  20-2 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), any person familiar with Episode IV: A New Hope is able to ascertain where the resources are being routed; however, it also adds an air of suspense as the characters figure it out for themselves.

As a whole I would rate the book to be a solid 7.5/10 it’s far from perfect, with some chapters really dragging on and some characters really serving no purpose, but overall a very enjoyable read. As I said before, it’s a great book for any Star Wars fan and if you were a fan of Thrawn before this is quite a poignant starting point for the character.

 

*This spoiler free review has been created with Barb Cottle in mind. May I never spoil anything nerdy for her ever again.*