I Stand With Moses Ingram

The world of Star Wars stands for everything that racism and hate are against. Diversity, inclusion, respect, democracy, etc are ingrained into this world. That does not mean, however, that everyone in the fandom is immune from the hate and racism in the outside world.

Earlier this week, Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram spoke out about the racist messages she has been receiving via social media from a small group of fans who are unhappy with her character’s place in the universe.

Ingram is unfortunately not the first SW actor of color to have this experience. Both John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran were also verbally attacked by online trolls. They could not fathom that there are more non-Caucasian characters than Lando Calrissian.

Thankfully, both the upper echelons at Disney and her colleagues have spoken up. Ewan McGregor, as both the lead actor and executive producer of the series, released a video in support of his co-star.

As a performer, Ingram is completely new to me. But in the three episodes that have been released so far, I have become a fan. Her performance is brilliant and I cannot wait to see where she will go in future episodes.

The haters can suck it for all I care. I stand with Moses Ingram.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Review

When the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, premiered in 1977, no one could have foreseen the narrative junctions that have come out of this one movie.

The new DisneyPlus miniseries, Obi-Wan Kenobi, premiered on Friday. Ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith (2005) the Jedi appear to have been wiped out. But a few have survived in hiding. The Empire sends The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) to find those that are still alive. One of the Inquisitor’s lieutenants, Inquisitor Reva, Third Sister (Moses Ingram) is intent on locating one Jedi in particular: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). His former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker (now known as Darth Vader) is eager to see his former master again

While living under another name, Obi-Wan is keeping an eye on Anakin’s son, Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely). But Luke’s Uncle and guardian, Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) would prefer that his nephew remains in the dark. Meanwhile, on Alderaan, Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped. Her parents turn to Obi-Wan to rescue their daughter.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is amazing. After watching both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, I thought nothing would top them. I was wrong. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. There were multiple easter eggs (if you know where to look), many mouth drops, and quite a few expletives. I am already hooked and ready for the rest of the series.

It would be easy to make another soulless sequel. But it is not. It is full of so much love and respect for the material that it radiates from the screen. McGregor is back in perfect form, with the obligatory changes since the last time we saw the character. He is starting to become the grizzled old man who has come to terms with what was and will never be again. But there is still a little bit of hope, just enough to inspire him to pick up the lightsaber one last time.

Do I recommend it? 100% yes. Don’t be surprised if the program makes the cut for “best of” lists in December.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is available for streaming on DisneyPlus. New episodes premiere on Friday.

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Cursed Review

The myth of King Arthur has existed for thousands of years. From a writing perspective, the good thing about myths is that it open to a variety of interpretations.

Cursed premiered last weekend on Netflix. Based on the comic book by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, the series follows Nimue aka Lady of the Lake (Katherine Langford). On the verge of adulthood, she, like many girls in their late teens or early 20’s, thinks she knows it all. With dark magic in her blood, she is persona non grata to those around her.

Then the Red Paladins destroy her village and kill her mother. The Paladins have an end goal of ethnically cleansing the land of Fey (magical non-humans) and their supporters. Charged by her dying mother to take an ancient sword to Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård), Nimue starts on a journey that will change her fate. Among those who join her on the journey are the brother/sister duo of Arthur (Devon Terrell) and Morgana aka Morgan le Fay (Shalom Brune-Franklin).

*Note: I have not read the comic book, so the review is strictly based on the series.

I enjoyed this non-traditional retelling of the King Arthur tale. I enjoyed it because while it is still familiar, it is not the same story that has been repeated for thousands of years. The main reason it works is that it is told from the female perspective with an eye on expanding a woman’s role in this world. In the traditional Arthurian myth, there are two distinct types of women: the love interest/damsel in distress (Guinevere) or the evil witch bent on taking power (Morgan le Fay). Boxed into these stereotypes, these women are not allowed to more than a one note character.

The other reason it works is that the world is turned upside down. Merlin is not the wise, old Obi-Wan Kenobi type whose sole task is to mentor the future ruler. He is old, but his life and his choices are complicated.

It also helps that the casting is both gender and color blind, reflecting both the world that exists within the narrative and the real world of the audience.

I recommend it.

Cursed is available for streaming on Netflix.

Star Wars Character Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy. For this post, I will also be briefly delving into some of the narratives in the prequels.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In previous posts, I have examined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). In this post, I will be writing about Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness).

There are two perspectives in life: one of youth and one of maturity. If Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) represents youth, then Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness) represents maturity. Known to Luke as Ben Kenobi, he seems like an old man who has chosen a life of solidarity. But, Ben or Obi-Wan, has a secret. He is the one of last of the last surviving Jedi, going into hiding after watching his brethren killed by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. After watching his former pupil turn to the dark side, Obi-Wan separates Anakin’s motherless twins, Luke and Leia and watches Luke grow up from afar.

A generation later, with the Empire closing on her ship, Leia contacts her adopted father’s old friend, Obi-Wan. She is in peril and needs his help.  Taking Luke and the droids, R2D2 (the late Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) with him, they meet up with space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford)  and his lieutenant, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who agree to help them with the rescue.

While Obi-Wan dies at the hands of Darth Vader in Episode 4, he lives on in spirit, watching over Luke and guiding him in Episodes 5 and 6.

Obi-Wan is to Merlin as Luke is to a young King Arthur. While Obi-Wan is briefly in the narrative in physical form, his presence and memory as Luke’s mentor/father figure remains throughout the entire narrative of the original trilogy.  Every hero needs a guiding hand, someone who can help the hero to overcome the obstacles in his or her path. Obi-Wan Kenobi is that guiding hand.

To sum it up: Sometimes in life, we need someone older and wiser to guide us. In creating the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas paved the way for Luke Skywalker to become the Jedi that he eventually becomes. We may not appreciate the mentor characters in the short-term, but in the long-term, we begin to see how important they are to the growth and destiny of their student.

Rey is Not a Skywalker, She is a Kenobi

*The theory below is strictly based on the narrative and characters presented in the movies, not on any of other media. This post also contains spoilers about the Star Wars movies, read at your own risk if you have not seen them.

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), fans were introduced to a new heroine: Rey (Daisy Ridley). We are introduced to Rey as she is climbing through the remains of a downed Empire battleship, scavenging for metal that she can sell. While the audience has yet to be told anything about Rey other than the details that were released in The Force Awakens, multiple fan theories have been flying around the internet since the film’s release.

My theory is that Rey is not a Skywalker, but a Kenobi. My reasons are:

  1. The force and the abilities to control the force are an inherited trait (unless your Anakin Skywalker and believed to be created by the force.) There are only a few surviving bloodlines and families within the Star Wars Universe that have transfered the force from parent to child. Unless Rey were partially created by the force, she has to have inherited her abilities from someone.
  2. If nothing else, the narrative within Star Wars is known for huge, jaw dropping, completely out of left field plot twists (i.e. the big reveal in Empire or Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) killing his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in The Force Awakens). While the easiest and most direct theory is that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is Rey’s father, that would be almost too easy to predict.
  3. Rey is an outsider at the beginning of The Force Awakens. She lives on the desert of Jakku and is without family or friends to rely on. If she were Luke’s daughter, she would be wearing an outfit that is completely white. But instead, her outfit is  white, tan and grey, closer to the outfit that Obi Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) wore in a New Hope.
  4. If Rey was Luke’s daughter, both Han and Leia (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher) would have recognized their niece.
  5. Rey could be Leia’s daughter from another relationship. In The Force Awakens, Han and Leia seemed to have separated for a time. That might have led to a relationship with another man, but again, Leia did not recognize her or make mention of another child besides Kylo Ren/Ben, so from my perspective, it is highly unlikely that she and Rey are mother and daughter.
  6. There is no mention in The Force Awakens of a relationship that between Luke and a woman that might have led to the birth of a child. Unless that is the big secret that both Daisy Ridley and J.J. Abrams have almost let slip over the past year.
  7. Unless some of Obi Wan’s history between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope has been alluded to in other media, the audience knows nothing of his life between those years. There could have been a relationship and a child somewhere along the way.
  8. The audience is given so little of Luke’s life in the thirty years between Jedi and The Force Awakens. Mark Hamill was not given any dialogue in The Force Awakens and he gave no indication, at least for the short time he was on screen, that he recognized Rey.
  9. Obi Wan is one of several prominent voices that Rey hears as she picks up the light saber and learns how to yield it.  Given his status as Luke’s mentor and father figure, as well Rey’s natural abilities with the light saber, it’s not hard to imagine that Obi Wan is related to Rey.

Therefore, based on the information provided provided, I believe that Rey carries Kenobi blood, not Skywalker blood in her veins.

Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to know what my fellow Star Wars fan think.

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