May the 4th Be with You!

The Force is strong with these ones

May the 4th be with you! You better believe I wore my R2-D2 dress and BB-8 necklace to school today. Instead of doing a deep dive on a particular aspect of Star Wars in this piece, I’ve decided to simply dip my toes into several of my very favorite films, shows, characters, and more from the universe of everyone’s favorite decades-spanning space opera. Some takes are hot, and some are as cold as the ice planet Hoth. Regardless, I’m so excited to share what I love about this franchise with you!

THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR ALL THINGS STAR WARS AHEAD!

My Favorite…

…Movie from the Original Trilogy: Return of the Jedi

Yeah, yeah, Empire is the better film; we all know that. But there’s nothing quite like a well-done finale, in my opinion. The whole opening sequence of Episode VI gets me so hype, and the movie only continues to deliver from then on out. Vader is redeemed, the ewoks are cute as hell, Han finds relief/more confusion upon learning that Luke and Leia are siblings, and (in the updated version) we even get some Hayden Christensen action. Return of the Jedi is just a delight that I never tire of watching.

…Movie from the Prequel Trilogy: Revenge of the Sith

This is definitely NOT a hot take (although I do know an intriguing number of people who would go with The Phantom Menace here). Revenge of the Sith is actually the most recent Star Wars film I’ve rewatched, as I simply had to do so after finishing The Clone Wars. And it…kind of holds up? I definitely liked it more as a kid and as a teen. The story is definitely more impactful after viewing The Clone Wars Season 7, but it’s really just a “fine” movie. Don’t call it bad! But…it’s not exactly good either. Not to mention the fact that it has almost the opposite effect of Return of the Jedi in that it ends its trilogy in a rather depressing way (though it’s most certainly NOT the worst ending to a Star Wars trilogy…cough cough).

…Movie from the Sequel Trilogy: The Last Jedi

Yes, I’m one of those people who thinks The Last Jedi is amazing. It’s not perfect; I could easily do without the whole Benecio Del Toro part, and would’ve loved something more for Poe. But what The Last Jedi does for Rey and Kylo Ren is just exquisite. Also, I 100% bought Luke’s attitude and choices and LOVED the conclusion of his arc in this film. The cinematography is breathtaking, the story choices are bold, and — most importantly — this movie gave us the porgs. Aaaaand Luke’s milk scene.

…TV Series: Star Wars Rebels

Honestly, I *think* that Rebels might be my all-time favorite Star Wars property. It looks like a silly kids show, but MY GOD. What a beautifully-constructed journey it is! I loved The Clone Wars as well, but the more traditional narrative structure of Rebels just really worked for me. Each of the main characters has a unique and satisfying arc over the course of the series. It also continues the storylines of key players from The Clone Wars (like Ahsoka and Maul) and is seemingly proving to be required viewing going forward in The Mandalorian. It’s not a long series, and I promise you won’t regret watching it.

…Videogame: Lego Star Wars

Hmmm maybe I lied. THIS might be my all-time favorite Star Wars property. I’ve enjoyed all of the Lego Star Wars games I’ve played, but of course the very first iteration (which featured levels from the three prequel films) holds a special place in my heart. It’s such a fun (and funny!) game that offers many potential hours of gameplay. You can strive for completion, or you can simply replay “Discovery on Kamino” over and over again just to disco dance with the Kaminoans (iykyk). There’s a new Lego Star Wars coming out this year, and you better believe I’ll be checking that out.

…Character: Basically All the Ladies

Maybe not all the ladies (looking at you, Cara Dune), but it was too difficult for me to pick just one of them. So, here are five!

Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala

Padmé was honestly the first Star Wars character I really aspired to be. I loved that she could be a glamorous love interest but could also hold her own in a sticky situation. Her arcs on The Clone Wars only made me love her more; she truly is a #QUEEN.

Daisy Ridley as Rey

When I saw The Force Awakens on its opening night in theaters with my friend Carly, we both left just absolutely obsessed with Rey. We got Rey costumes, we sometimes wore her signature triple buns just ’cause, and we couldn’t wait to see what the next two movies would bring for her. I have somewhat mixed feelings on what her overall story wound up being, but I’ll still always love and admire her. In fact, I dressed up like her at school last week for Character Day! We stan.

Ahsoka Tano in TCW Season 7

If I ABSOLUTELY had to choose one of these characters, like, at blaster point or something…it would probably be Ahsoka. The growth you get to see from her over the course of The Clone Wars, Rebels, and now The Mandalorian is unparalleled. She went from being an annoying yet talented Padawan to literally being almost everyone’s favorite character. You know those white boys on the internet who sexualize Leia and Padmé and call Rey a Mary Sue? Yeah, even THEY like Ahsoka. Good writing is just undeniable. Thank you, Dave Filoni, for giving us the Ahsoka we know and love. (And yes, I 100% plan to get an Ahsoka costume at some point).

Rebels’ Hera Syndulla

I have to quickly also shout out Captain-turned-GENERAL Hera Syndulla for being a total boss. I love that Rebels gave us a slightly older, more maternal female character to fall in love with. Hera is incredibly smart and absolutely never quits. She loves fiercely, and she fights fiercely. Not to mention she and Kanan are for SURE the healthiest couple in all of Star Wars — def my OTP.

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa

Of course, we wouldn’t have ANY of the above characters had we not first had Princess Leia. I get emotional just thinking about this character, the amazing woman who brought her to life, and the legacy she holds in many hearts. I can’t really explain it, but I never personally identified all that heavily with Leia. She has this boldness that I don’t think I could ever even dream of having myself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love her! To me, she will always be royalty.

…Planet: Naboo

I definitely have a lot of prequel bias/sympathy thanks to my age, but come on. Who wouldn’t want to go on a romantic vacation in Naboo?! There’s definitely some weird colonialist stuff going on there (respect the Gungans, man). But the lake country though…

…Outfit: Padmé’s Lake Gown

I should probably be talking about my favorite ship or weapon or something, but here’s the thing: you don’t have to be into the action/fighting/flying stuff to appreciate Star Wars. You can be in it for the romance, the character development, or even the fashion! One of the reasons I have such an urge to visit Naboo’s lake country (see above) is because of the iconic scene in Attack of the Clones in which Padmé dons the gown of my DREAMS. Seriously — I’ve been obsessed with that gown since I was seven years old, and one of these days I WILL shell out a few hundred dollars for my own version of it.

…Musical Theme: “Princess Leia’s Theme”

I truly haven’t been able to hear this theme without crying ever since the passing of Carrie Fisher in 2016. But before then, I used to love playing it on the piano and listening for it in each of the films. It’s so simple and beautiful; really just a masterful example of a classic John Williams leitmotif.

…Onscreen Performance: Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin (Mando)

“But doesn’t he just wear a helmet the whole time?” “Isn’t it sometimes a body double in the suit?” Yeah, well, maybe the body double can take some credit here, but the faceless acting that Pedro Pascal does on The Mandalorian is really quite astounding. It only gets better when he does remove the helmet, and you really get a sense of how deeply uncomfortable Din Djarin is in that state. There are lots of things to praise about The Mandalorian, but I think Pedro Pascal should be at the top of the list. …Well, he should be second to Grogu (baby Yoda) at least.

…Voice Performance: Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano

No shade to Rosario Dawson at all, but Ashley Eckstein will always be my Ahsoka. She says that she grew up along with the character over all the years of doing The Clone Wars and Rebels, and I feel that that is fully demonstrated in the two series. Like I said before, Ahsoka starts off as an annoying 14-year-old, which Ashley Eckstein nails. As Ahsoka’s character matures, so does Eckstein’s voice and delivery. Her voice really just fits the character like a glove. It’s going to be a big challenge to get fully on board with the live action interpretation of Ahsoka, but I’m excited for it nonetheless.

And there you have it! Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of Star Wars, I hope my fandom shone through today. It was an absolute pleasure sharing some of my favorite things from my favorite galaxy far, far away with you. And, reader? May the Force be with you…always.

Teacher, Writer, Dreamer