Books: ‘Star Wars: Thrawn’ Review

Promotional artwork of Grand Admiral Thrawn for the cover of ‘Star Wars: Thrawn’. Credit goes to Two Dots, and rights go to Del Rey, Lucasfilm, and Timothy Zahn.

Hey! Hallie here!

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was reading this book, so naturally now I have to review it! This is the first book of Timothy Zahn’s first canonical Thrawn trilogy. For those who aren’t aware of how beloved Timothy Zahn is in the Star Wars fandom, he also created a trilogy in the nineties titled ‘The Thrawn Trilogy’. These books were widely regarded as the best Star Wars books of their time and some of the best sci-fi books ever created. This trilogy introduced the character of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who found himself in control of Imperial forces after the demise of Palpatine, and followed his attempts to crush Luke, Leia, Han, and the Rebellion. But this trilogy is now considered one of the ‘Legends’ books, or the books that are no longer canon since Disney took ownership of Star Wars. Fortunately for us, Dave Filoni is just as big of a Star Wars fan as the rest of us and loved Thrawn well enough to introduce him into canon via ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ and now, ‘Ahsoka’. With Thrawn finally part of the official Star Wars timeline, Timothy Zahn was invited back to write for Thrawn again, this time without any caveats. But has Timothy Zahn’s writing, and the incredibly interesting mind of a character like Thrawn, held up over the years? Let’s talk about what I liked and disliked about this book! Minor spoilers ahead!

The Good:

Thrawn: Of course. The writing kind of needs to be good for this character in order for the book to hold up at all. But the writing for Thrawn isn’t just good. It’s incredible. This book reminded me why I adored Thrawn in the original ‘Legends’ trilogy. When we meet Thrawn in this book he’s been banished from his home world and sent to live in exile on a desolate planet. But we don’t necessarily see this from Thrawn’s perspective. Instead, we follow the Imperials on an investigative trip as they flail attempting to figure out who’s taking control of their technology and silently depleting their forces of Stormtroopers. Thrawn’s abilities to outsmart the Imperials get him a one way ticket to Palpatine, who regards him with vague interest, and then intense interest when Thrawn mentions that he once knew Anakin Skywalker. From there the book covers his successful military career and his immensely fast rise through Imperial ranks.

The book changes perspectives between three characters, but when you’re in Thrawn’s head you understand why so many people compare him to Sherlock Holmes. He reads body language with mind-blowing ease, notices small details no one else takes note of, and puts together strategies so quickly that he remains several steps ahead of the reader even when you’re reading his perspective. But it isn’t like he finds sudden solutions to impossible problems. The clues are always there for readers to look back on, it’s just that Thrawn can put them together faster than you can. I also really enjoyed exploring Thrawn’s motivations. He doesn’t side with the Empire because he agrees with them. In fact, he feels Palpatine is dangerous and unfit to lead. However, he is loyal to his people, the Chiss, and feels the Empire is the best way to keep them safe from their adversaries and create the order the Chiss desire for the galaxy. Thrawn also doesn’t like killing people. He sees it as a waste, though more a waste of assets than a waste of life, and frequently demonstrates extreme dislike and disgust for the Imperials who brush off major loss of life. Then there’s the fact that despite all of his admirable elements Thrawn is given one major flaw in the book. He’s really bad at politics, and other people often have to intervene for him in his career because he’s an alien working in the mostly pro-human Empire. All of these elements make for a really complicated character who’s just as enjoyable to read about as I remember. Seriously, if you don’t get the Thrawn hype, I really recommend reading this book.

Eli Vanto: This is the Watson to Thrawn’s Sherlock Holmes, and one of the other characters whose perspective is explored in the book. Just like with Watson, Thrawn takes an immediate interest in Eli despite the fact that Eli has no idea why. But unlike Watson, Eli has really complicated feelings about this that make his character extremely interesting. Eli first becomes close with Thrawn because Thrawn doesn’t speak Basic well and Eli speaks a language that Thrawn is more familiar with, so Eli acts as Thrawn’s translator and teacher. But before Thrawn was essentially pushed onto him, he was a country boy from Wild Space who joined the Empire for his parents. Those ideals both align him and alienate him from Thrawn. On the one hand, most Imperials look down on Eli for being from Wild Space, so Eli greatly empathizes with Thrawn for the way Imperials look down on him for being Chiss. But he also despises that his connection to Thrawn entirely changes his military career and prevents him from living the comfortable life he was envisioning for himself. Eli struggles a lot with his relationship with Thrawn, feeling both like he lives in his shadow and also that he’s privileged to be able to observe someone so brilliant. He also learns a lot from Thrawn and winds up smarter than most of his peers by the end of the book just for spending so much time with him. But despite all those mixed feelings, Eli is only ever kind and considerate towards everyone, especially Thrawn, and it’s easy to root for him.

Nightswan: Nightswan is the main mystery of ‘Star Wars: Thrawn’. Towards the beginning of the book, Thrawn hears word of a mysterious person named Nightswan who’s disrupting Imperial shipments of precious metals and whose strategy impresses him. Though I will say that it’s REALLY easy to figure out who Nightswan is, I still found the hunting down of Nightswan to be a fun thread to pull the plot forward. I enjoyed the back and forth of intelligent strategy and attempting to one up each other from both Thrawn and Nightswan. I also really loved the moment these two finally meet before the final battle of the book. The amount of respect and genuine curiosity that they greet each other with makes the conversation feel less antagonistic and more bittersweet. Though this was supposed to be more of a mystery, there are so many other mysteries to solve in the book that I was able to put that aside and just enjoy this for the entertaining battle of wits that it was.

The Bad:

Governor Pryce: If you’ve watched ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ you know who Governor Pryce is. She’s the governor of the planet Lothal and a pretty standard Imperial lackey. In this book Timothy Zahn decided to spend time fleshing her out, but I’m not sure he entirely succeeds. For one, she is another character whose perspective you follow in the book, but her storyline is completely different from Thrawn’s and Eli’s for most of the book. And her story is a lot less interesting. She gets less time than the other characters, but I couldn’t help but be irritated whenever the other storyline was put on pause for her. Then there’s her characterization. Zahn mainly focuses on her desire to get out into the world and become a more powerful figure. She feels stifled by Lothal and is tired of being pushed around by the politicians who want to get control of her family’s mine. But we don’t get much time to feel for her before she spends most of the book on Coruscant, kissing up to as many people as possible in order to get the power she wants. And when she realizes city life isn’t everything she hoped, you still don’t empathize with her because she’s well established as shady and untrustworthy by this point. The betrayals she experiences that you’re supposed to feel bad about, mean nothing when you’re already certain she would betray those people as well the moment she got the chance. And it all leads up to the end of the book, where it fully cements her villainous reputation. Which would be more powerful if I cared about her at any point before that. But I didn’t. She was the same, uncomplicated, classic villain at the end of the book as I assumed she was at the beginning of the book.

Overall, I really loved this book. I just really love Thrawn, you guys. He manages to be badass without being force sensitive, and the respect he shows for his enemies only makes me respect him more. I fully intend to read the rest of this trilogy and I might check out Timothy Zahn’s other canon trilogy too, which details more about Thrawn’s people. So look out for those reviews in the future! For now, if you want to brush up on Thrawn, or if you just don’t know much about him and want to know why everyone else freaked out when he showed up in the ‘Ahsoka’ trailer, I highly recommend this. Thrawn will in the very least ruin you for any other Imperial officer ever.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Books: ‘K-Pop Confidential’ and the Reality of Idol Life

Cover art of ‘K-Pop Confidential’ by Stephan Lee. Copyright goes to Stephan Lee and any artists involved in this design.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Before I go further into this post I want to say that not only will this post contain MAJOR SPOILERS for ‘K-Pop Confidential’, but also its sequel ‘K-Pop Revolution’. I also want to place a TRIGGER WARNING here because of the trauma depicted in these books specifically when talking about eating disorders. With that out of the way, I really wanted to talk about this two-book series that tries to take a very realistic look into the lives of K-Pop idols. Now whether both books do a great job of this is a different question that I will absolutely get to. But the first book tackles trainee life and what that is often like for idols while the second book tries to take more of a look at the treatment of idols in their idol lives. We know that the K-Pop industry can be brutal, especially in the treatment of those involved, and it’s absolutely great that more media has been getting into the reality of it. ‘Imitation’, a K-Drama featuring Yunho of ATEEZ, set out to make some of these realities known and those bits were some of my favorite parts of the entire show. So how well did these two books really do in pushing the reality into the limelight?

ANNOUNCEMENT: As of next week we will be on vacation for two weeks, but then we’ll be back with regularly scheduled posts. See you soon!

K-Pop Confidential:

This book is mostly focused on the trainee lives of idols rather than having a small training section and rushing to the debut of the K-Pop group. Showing the glamorous life of a K-Pop idol is not the point of these books. This book specifically details the lives of the artists and the tough circumstances surrounding the realities of it all. When Candace first auditions in the US for the company, she does it more out of an obligation or proof for her friends than doing it because she actually wants her life to be that way. We see her battle with that as the book goes on and find the determination to stay, because it is all too easy to want to quit. And while I absolutely loved this book and really liked how in depth it went, I still had some issues here.

The Good- Obviously, this book really succeeds in doing what it sets out to do. From the beginning we see that Candace is dealing with very stone faced corporate individuals rather than ones who really seem to care about her. We learn that with some of them that isn’t true; but with some of them she is very much viewed as a commodity rather than a human being. When Candace is first being given a tour of the facility she will be training in, she sees a group of very young elementary school kids being trained and knows that they will eventually go into the same program she is going into. In fact, it makes her aware of how many of her fellow trainees have been training since they were small children. “But doesn’t this break child labor laws?” Yes, but not until recently. Very recently a law was passed in South Korea that means that idol companies will no longer be able to train minors over a certain amount of time a week and must allow all minors to attend school full time. This law has rocked the K-Pop world, forced many companies to completely rearrange the way they work, and is just the first step in what many hope is an ongoing battle to protect minors in entertainment. After seeing this, Candace is led to her trainee floor where her and the other trainees are essentially locked in and not allowed out except on weekends. However, in this book and in many real life companies, trainees are not allowed out during the first month at all in the hopes of stifling early urges to quit. No, I am not joking. The book goes on to talk about the panic attacks that trainees go through frequently, including fear that they will be punished and not allowed to leave to see their families. It talks about dietary restrictions and how taking away the little food they already have can be used as a way of punishment. Female idols get way less to eat than male idols who already barely get anything at all. The book details how trainee programs pit the girls against each other as well. Candace is bullied by a girl named Helena who was encouraged to make Candace want to leave by an adult telling her that they’d likely only debut one American-born Korean in a K-Pop group, so it had to be either one or the other. Candace even bears witness to another trainee group being told that the company put them on hold and that half of them would be eliminated immediately. The author pulls no punches. We see the weight measuring in front of your entire group in ‘Imitation’, but this also mentions how certain idols are encouraged not to swallow their spit and to stop drinking water in order to lose weight. You might think that all of this is unrealistic and absurd, but the sad fact of the matter is that this is all pretty common in trainee programs. In some companies more than others, but common nonetheless. And this book delivers all of this through an engaging plot that still manages to keep things a bit lighthearted without veering the book straight into depressing. I get pretty emotionally affected sometimes when reading books or watching media, and this book managed to not tap into that too deeply while still getting its point across, which I appreciated.

The Bad- If this book has one thing that it suffers from most, its character development. One thing I will say is that it tells you a lot that I still really loved this book when I am usually more character driven than plot driven. The plot was that fantastic! But the characters did feel a little lackluster. While Candace was an interesting main character to follow, it felt as though she remained stagnant throughout the book. She would learn lessons and become more determined, but her inner dialogue never really seemed to change with those new lessons and views. And I think part of that was because we saw that Candace was determined to prove her parents wrong, but Candace had a shorter amount of time to really demonstrate who she was beyond singing and proving her parents wrong. The other characters in her group are focused on minimally and only when they are major plot point relevant. This book has a love triangle, and I know I’m biased because I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, but I really wasn’t a fan of it here. One of her love interests is also a trainee who we know she thinks of as cute and lighthearted but has little time to demonstrate even that. When they start dating it feels like it comes out of nowhere because they’ve only had a conversation maybe twice, and the author tries to subvert this by putting in a time jump. But then the audience has no connection to the couple because we didn’t get to truly see the couple form and get closer. Then the author has this character called One.J who is the maknae and writer of the most popular K-Pop group of all time and is extremely popular internationally. (He’s basically a mix of Jungkook and Namjoon with more Jungkook.) And One.J is looked down on by the main character for a couple of meaningless things. Like kissing her when sasaengs could be a problem or yelling at somebody who wouldn’t give them privacy when he was literally trying to warn her about something pretty bad. He had also asked this person to leave very nicely like three times beforehand. She literally treats him like he’s not a human who’s allowed to show emotions and it drove me insane. Because too many people treat idols like that already. Overall I did really love this book! These things feel small compared to all the good that the book covers.

K-Pop Revolution:

While I really liked the first book, this one definitely had its ups and downs for me. What’s a little odd to me is that this book in general gets better reviews than the first one. But this one feels more like a work of fiction or a more soapy K-Drama to me. It certainly has lots of drama in it! But what really got me about this book is that it still set out to do some good like in the previous book, but because of a series of events that happen in the book, these pieces of immense good just don’t hit as hard. Like I mentioned before, this is more or less after the debut of the idol group. This book instead details the hardships of the lives of K-Pop idols. Or some of them at least!

The Good- This book picks up right where the last one left off! Which I usually don’t like, but I felt it was good here. Especially because this amount of material could not have been covered in one book and this series ends after the second book. There’s not another cliff-hanger, this is just a two parter and it really makes sense where the author decided to divide the story. Candace speaks out against the K-Pop industry in the last book and is now facing being sued. Until her company asks her back after a change in the CEO and claims that they’ll be a new revolution for K-Pop, and the new face of making the industry more ethical and human-focused. What this book does right is exactly what it did right in the first book. Expose the realities of the current K-Pop industry. It talks about how idols have almost every facet of their lives filmed. And how in these variety shows, even though they are supposed to show us the unfiltered versions of our favorite K-Pop idols, they don’t really do that. While these shows often start out from a place of showing the reality of the situation, they often make K-Pop idols choose elements of their personalities and over-dramatize them. Which means they come from a place of truth, but still don’t feel completely true or comfortable to the idol. And being filmed all the time, especially during what’s supposed to be down time like vacations, can be even more draining because those are the times when you most want to be comfortable in your own skin. It also talks about the insane schedules. Trainees have to train all day and usually only get about three hours to sleep if they’re lucky. Idol life is no different. Their feet are often awful looking and nailless from having to dance so much and their schedules involve even more. We’ve been taught that the schedule of having one album release, a press tour, and a concert tour a year is reasonable. It is not. Companies in the US have been taken down by their artists for overworking artists for having schedules like that. K-Pop artists often also have to do things like release solo tracks, do press for those, do elongated tours, and film K-Dramas within that time. Not to mention they do more variety shows as part of their press tours. My favorite group is ATEEZ and this really slapped me in the face with how inhumane their schedules often are. Because they have done all of these things that I just mentioned above in only one year before. The book also talks about how all K-Pop looks exactly the same and acts exactly the same, and how it hasn’t been a safe place for idols who are different races or sexualities. This book has a Black character and a queer character, and it does all that it can to empower those two characters and the K-Pop group that they are in. Honestly, I kind of wish this book was about their group and their rise to popularity. I wanted to know more about them! I also loved how this book tackled how female artists are blamed for more than male artists, especially when it comes to love related scandals. Too real!

The Bad- This book seemed to decide that the reality of the situation wasn’t enough and that’s where it really broke down for me; because bringing out the realities is what this book series did best. So when the author felt that there had to be unrealistic twists and turns, I wondered why we couldn’t have spent more time on the other issues that idols face. We talked about sasaengs in the last book but we didn’t see them in this book. We didn’t even get fully into the close relationship between idols and their fans, which is something I really wanted to see from this book. Instead we got this master plot from the CEO who was hiding her true identity to make some of the girls drop out and sabotage the group so that she could run the K-Pop industry the way she wanted, I guess. A good chunk of this plot was hijacked by this sudden appearance of this mustache twirling villain, when the real villain should have been what it was in the last book. The unethical practices of the industry. And while many of the messages came from that, that’s not where most of the plot was. No real life agency is going to sabotage a group they think will do really well and already have proof that they would do really well. If it gets them money it stays, if it doesn’t it goes is how most business work. A real life CEO isn’t going to suddenly maniacally laugh and claim that she was the daughter of another evil character this entire time. Also, the love triangle came back for no reason in this book even though it was pretty well settled in the last book. For some reason, Candace finally discovered that One.J is (gasp) a human being! And so has a crush on him again. It doesn’t help that this book spends absolutely no time on her actual boyfriend. In both books it really felt to me like One.J is the better choice just because he’s the character who’s most developed in both books. But then again, the main character gets pretty egotistical and annoying in this book and doesn’t really grow out of it. So I’m glad that One.J didn’t end up with her. I actually liked who One.J ended up with (the leader of the actually progressive group) and I wanted to see their relationship instead. I just wanted this book to be about the other group instead; rising up from nothingness to changing the world. An underdog story, like BTS with more likable characters! There was always something going on in this book, it never took a second to breathe, but not all of it was realistic. It made it feel stressful for no reason. I wanted to like this one after the first book but, I’ll say it again, it felt like it was lacking something by not being more centered in reality.

If you want to go pick up these books, go ahead! It’s honestly pretty hard to read the first book without reading the second, at least the first time reading them, because you really are lacking a part of the story. But don’t expect the second book to hit as hard as the first one. It still hits pretty hard, but I feel like the blow is lessened by having more unrealistic things happen. It feels more like it could be a fantasy than the first book did. But still, these books bring forward a lot of really good points about the industry and a lot of realities I wish more people would know and understand. I just wish I had connected with the characters a little more! But connecting these realities to things I know groups that I like went through was truly heartbreaking. Good to know, but heartbreaking.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Theme Parks: What’s Going on With the Disney Parks in Florida?

Promotional photo for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. Rights go to Disney Parks and Resorts as well as photographer Matt Stroshane.

Hey! Hallie here!

If you keep up with politics at all you know that Florida isn’t the safest place to be at the moment. You’ll also know that Disney has been having issues with the new environment as well. Or rather, the governor has attempted to give Disney problems for refusing to conform to his ideals while Disney lawyers have made him look like a giant idiot. This hostile face-off continues with the news we heard recently. Disney, while in the process of opening new offices in Florida and moving a large amount of their California staff to the state, has cancelled all of their plans and is moving their staff back to California. There’s a lot to discuss around this giant move, and on top of that we have news about Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the immersive Star Wars hotel experience now closing permanently in September. So what does all this mean for Walt Disney World? Let’s speculate!

Disney Moving Out of Florida:

Yes, Disney’s moving their staff out of Florida. Back when Bob Chapek was still calling the shots at Disney, the decision was made to start a complete move of Imagineering to offices in Florida. This was a move worth billions of dollars that would have opened up thousands of high-paying jobs for the state. For those who don’t know, Imagineering describes the branch of Disney that works on attractions for theme parks, cruise lines, hotels, and any other location that provides entertainment to guests. So it’s easy to see that a lot of their plans surrounding the move to Florida included Walt Disney World itself and the expansions they’ve been promising in the parks. But now that Iger’s back on the scene and properly pissed off at DeSantis’ poor attempts to undermine Disney’s efforts of inclusivity, all of that’s off the table. The offices they were building to make the Imagineering base are now no longer under construction, and the cast members that were moved to Florida are being offered aid to move back to California. Luckily, a large chunk of the cast members set to move to the state have not moved yet. Construction on the Florida offices was delayed before Disney even made this move, so a lot of employees merely had their moving plans cancelled rather than finding themselves stranded in Florida. This is still stressful for many cast members and Imagineers, but the decision has been mostly praised by cast members who have voiced their displeasure at Disney World’s past refusal to stand up for their marginalized employees. But without Imagineering moving to Disney World, what will happen to their big expansions and future projects?

This is just speculation, but unless DeSantis drops the issue or leaves office all together, it’s likely we will see an indefinite hiatus on most large projects. We already heard from a Disney chairman that expansions will be put on hold. To me, that sounds like the Epcot expansion we heard about at D23 is going to be the biggest project we know of that’s going to be affected. I can’t see Disney doing the major work of clearing out and replacing the various out-of-use warehouses that have existed in Epcot for years now while DeSantis is still waging a losing war against them. Especially considering that we can expect Walt Disney World attendance to drop this summer with all of the news coming out of Florida. The major construction costs just won’t be worth it for them, nor will major changes to the parks bring the attention they want. And that’s on top of the fact that they want to give the state of Florida as little money as possible at the moment. I’m not certain this change will effect singular rides like Tiana’s Bayou Adventure since work on it is already underway, but who knows? If DeSantis continues to push his luck we could see a halt in Disney putting any major amount of money or time into Walt Disney World for the time being. Here’s to hoping that they turn all of that attention to the other Disney Parks in the meantime! I’d love to see more imagination be brought to California and the parks overseas, and they’ve already drawn up more expansion ideas for California’s parks for the city of Anaheim to view.

Galactic Starcruiser:

Now that we’ve talked about the largest Walt Disney World news, let’s talk about the major Disney fail we saw happen in Florida. While Disney has been doing nothing but winning against DeSantis, their entire treatment of the Galactic Starcruiser hotel experience has raised eyebrows since its announcement. At first the idea of an immersive hotel based around Star Wars was exciting. Star Wars has a huge fanbase that has always wanted to escape into the galaxy far, far, away, and the Galactic Starcruiser promised to give fans that feeling more than even Galaxy’s Edge. The Starcruiser, rather than being a regular hotel, instead invited guests to spend two nights as part of an original Star Wars story where they could mingle with characters, complete important tasks for either the Resistance or the First Order, participate in lightsaber training, fly the starcruiser itself, and watch dramatic scenes unfold around them. The hotel was also designed to block out the outside world and keep up every appearance of guests staying in space, with their access to the park being mostly through Galaxy’s Edge. It was a LARP hotel, or live action role play hotel, taking immersive entertainment to the next level. But the lowest cost for individuals remained around $2000, and families saw price tags closer to $7000, which for many was more expensive than an entire week at Walt Disney World. The pricing kept people away, and though those who attended enjoyed their time in the hotel, no one could rightly recommend throwing away all of your money on the experience.

Reports of the last few months confirmed that the hotel was becoming a bit of a ghost town, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that it’s permanent closure has now been announced for September. Statements from the Disney Parks have been framing the hotel as an exclusive experiment meant only to try out immersive entertainment tactics, but we all know that’s not entirely honest. The amount of time and money it took to bring this idea to life clearly indicates they thought this would be a rousing success and not a limited, experimental venture that would last less than two years. This closure is deserved, but there’s reason to feel cautious about it. Despite its major drawbacks, the hotel was a major step forward in terms of live entertainment. Now that it’s failed, a lot of investors will pin it on the immersive nature of the hotel and not on the giant price tag, which is a shame. Immersive entertainment pairs so well with theme parks, and brings so much enjoyment to guests, that it would be a shame to write off large immersive events like this. I’m hoping that if anything, they bring some of the ideas from the hotel to Galaxy’s Edge now that the hotel is off the table. After all, the idea of guests regularly chatting with characters and becoming a part of the story were ideas that were promised to us for Galaxy’s Edge but didn’t entirely make it into the parks. This is their opportunity to fulfill their promise, or at least bring those aspects to the parks for new projects instead of saving them for “premium boutique experiences”. But I suppose we’ll have to see where this failure takes Disney. As always, it will be money that decides their next steps.

The main take away from this post? Don’t go to Disney World for your Disney fix this summer. DeSantis has made Florida unlivable for the LGBTQ+ community and evidently for any company that wants to keep their free speech. Florida doesn’t deserve your money. But Disneyland in California is still happily accepting visitors and is soon going to hold their first Pride Night! And there’s always the other Disney parks around the world that have plenty of fun attractions to explore. Also, even though we’re celebrating Disney’s big middle finger to Florida right now, we can also celebrate the fact that they finally learned the hard way that catering their theme park experiences only to the rich doesn’t work. Let’s hope we see bigger changes come from that.

Don’t so anything fun until I get back!


BTS: Why ARMY is Changing

Promotional photoshoot photo of (from left) Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Min Yoongi (SUGA), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Kim Taehyung (V), Kim Namjoon (RM), Park Jimin, and Jeon Jungkook. Copyright goes to BTS and HYBE.

Hi! It’s Annie!

There’s been a lot of tension and confusion in the fandom right now. And by a lot I mean, definitely more than normal. And with this new amount of negativity in the fandom, a lot of ARMY are reasonably scared. I mean, we used to have the reputation of being the most positive, kind, and supportive fandom anywhere ever. We coordinated amazing events for change for the better, we protected the boys from racism on multiple occasions, and we went through all of BTS’s highs and lows unwaveringly with them. Which is why it is truly jarring when ARMY log into Twitter every morning to see other ARMY getting into another absolutely needless Twitter battle and why it was absolutely heartbreaking and undeniably true when Namjoon said that ARMY had changed in a recent live. And while he did say it for a particular reason, which I will get to later, the undeniable truth is that ARMY has changed. But starting to compare ARMY to fandoms that have been glaringly toxic from the beginning isn’t helping and it isn’t a one to one comparison. So in this post I want to talk about how we got here and why this is not the end of the kindhearted ARMY fanbase that we all know and love. There is absolutely hope for the future! We have to hold ourselves accountable for the unhelpful things we’re doing before we get there though.


I think the first thing all of us have to acknowledge is that changes, whether they are a good thing or a bad thing, always come with some form of struggle. Changing for the better takes a lot of strength and sacrifice, and it can leave people feeling unstable. When BTS, a year ago at this point, announced that they were taking a break it raised a lot of fears for ARMY like changes are bound to do. While we all knew that this change would absolutely be for the better because it meant that our boys were taking care of their mental health; it raised the common fear that this break would end up being permanent. No matter how many times the boys assured us that it wouldn’t. And just to assure you, ARMY was never alone in this fear! Namjoon expressed in a live that he was afraid they would come back and everyone would have forgotten them! (Never going to happen, Joonie!) It’s ok to feel afraid; what isn’t ok to do is judge them for taking this much needed break or constantly scrutinize everything they do to try and determine whether or not they’ll come back. A few people have judged certain members for how much it seems like they may or may not be hanging out with other members. Firstly, we do not see how much time they spend together and secondly, even if we did it doesn’t speak to their relationship as brothers or to the status of the band itself. Yes, BTS is like a family. But imagine only seeing six members of your family for years and years and barely getting to meet with or even talk to anyone else. Using some newfound freedom to expand your social circle would not suddenly mean you don’t love that family.

Things also came to a head when BTS took their military service decision in their own hands and all decided to go. I personally can’t say that I’m supportive of a system that forces people into the military; at the same time I acknowledge that I am not sharing borders with a country that has a dangerous government like that and don’t know how to respond to such a situation. A lot of fans, especially international fans, were absolutely livid that they hadn’t gotten an exemption sooner and many people were fearful when their enlistment became more scattered than some people originally thought. Again, none of this was or should have been any of our choices. It is for them to choose and them alone, and we should all support them in these decisions. It’s time to stop reacting to every military decision regarding them with anger. But whatever side of this decision you were on, this is another fear that started to create a divide in the fandom. Fear usually divides. ARMY who had never fought before were suddenly at each other’s throats. Even though, again, this was never a decision for any of us to make. This divide has continued.

Solo Work:

This divide that I’m talking about was only made worse by the way certain fans have handled the separate solo work for each individual member that has come out. And yes, I do think we should all be giving their solo work a listen. But I am also not going to condemn people for not listening to everything that comes out. I’ve said this so many times on this blog, but I’m a Namjoon bias. He’s one of my ults if not my actual ult. He is legitimately one of my favorite people in the world and I mean it sincerely when I say that he changed my life. I have been keeping up with all of his solo work, but I’ve noticed that a lot of other Namjoon stans have been going after other ARMY for not listening to some of his recent collaborations. I don’t think that going after people for what they are or are not engaging in is the best course of action here. I completely understand it when you’re calling out people who call themselves ARMY but won’t listen to any of their Korean work and will only listen to their English songs. It’s absolutely deserved there. But there are people who don’t have time, or the attention span, or show their support differently. Some fans show their support by streaming while others have more of the attention span to write or create fan art or engage in other ways. Many ARMY have become recent multi-stans and are just trying to figure out how to divide their time between groups. Being a multi-stan is a good thing for K-Pop! We also know that solo work fights have led to bad fandom places in other fandoms before. Let’s all be a little more understanding of each other! And I hate it, but certain members getting more attention than others has always been in every K-Pop fandom. Even in BTS. We all know that the hyung line fancams always got less views than the maknae fancams. This is not something new. Let’s all continue to support all of the boys in the absolute best way that we can!

Unhelpful Behavior:

On top of the fighting over decisions that should be BTS’s and theirs alone, and fighting over solo work streams; there have been other issues going on that don’t look great. Namjoon has actually seen and mentioned the fighting between ARMY on lives and spoken out against it. Which should have been our first clue. But this is not why Namjoon said that ARMY had changed. A little while ago, Namjoon went on live to talk about the concert in LA directly after their concert. I remember this very clearly because this was the day that I went to the concert and I remember watching his live on the car ride home! It was my first ever K-Pop concert! In this live several people asked Namjoon to marry them in the comments and he expressed that this type of comment made him uncomfortable, especially because it is a short comment that is usually spammed and drowns out some of the more meaningful comments. This was a boundary that Namjoon set and communicated to us. Why did some of us not listen? Recently, Namjoon and Yoongi have talked even more about these comments. (Shout out to the guy in the band for Yoongi’s recent concert who had the message on his phone!) In some situations it can be funny, but for ARMY in general we need to stop using it especially because they’ve expressed discomfort regarding it. This was the context of Namjoon saying ARMY had changed. If they express a boundary we have to honor that! ARMY have also been randomly going after other fandoms for non-issues that make no sense. Like today got7 was trending because two members got seven tattoos and ARMY started accusing them of copying BTS. BTS does not own the number seven. In fact, seven is in that group’s literal name. What are you doing? Not long ago ARMY started accusing Kai of EXO for trying to skip enlistment and making fun of him for the fact that his company made a true mistake and he had to last minute enlist. That is a loss for everyone. For him, his fans, everyone. He wasn’t trying to skip; that was just a sad situation all around. Why did ARMY feel the need to rain down on him and his fans who were already hurting?

Trauma and Hope:

I personally think this partially comes from an over-protective nature that we’re seeing in ARMY. The fear of change resulted in a divide and an anger that the fandom is still reeling from. Not only that but other things have come up that we haven’t been able to protect the boys from. Like their information being sold by sources close to them and now these insanely terrifying accounts of stalking and death threats. And it feels like HYBE isn’t doing enough. But reacting with this anger and this amount of overprotection also serves absolutely no-one, especially not our boys. We can call for action, absolutely! But we shouldn’t be turning our anger on other fandoms by imagining slights against BTS. It is understandable that the fandom is reeling right now, but that doesn’t justify any of this behavior. It never will justify any of this behavior. We really owe some fandoms apologies. Like I said, it makes sense for the fandom to be reeling and making some mistakes at a time where we’re going through change. This doesn’t mean that the fandom is doomed. We just need to acknowledge our flaws and grow! It’s part of growing pains for ARMY! We haven’t always been a toxic fandom, in fact for the most part we haven’t been before this. Which means that we absolutely have the tools to pull together and repair. But acknowledging our mistakes and making ourselves better for the boys has to come first before we can get there!

I really believe that ARMY can become that warm place of belonging again! Even if it’s in smaller groups; I know it’s more difficult to control since there are a lot more of us now. But there’s hope for safe spaces in ARMY enduring! Especially because we are all inspired by all of these incredibly kind men. So don’t lose hope!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Theme Parks: Galaxy’s Edge vs Avengers Campus

Professional image of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland as taken by Andrew Long. Copyright goes to Long and the Disney Parks.

Hey! Hallie here!

Recently my sister and I were able to go back to Disneyland after several years being away from the parks, and no surprise, we had an amazing time. Disneyland is still at the top of the theme park game when it comes to rides, ambiance, and overall enjoyment. But what stood out to us most on this trip was the newer themed areas in the California Disney parks. In Disneyland that area is Galaxy’s Edge, the big budget Star Wars land that opened pre-pandemic. In California Adventure that area is Avengers Campus, the smaller land that opened post-pandemic. Both are made to be immersive hubs for fans of by far the biggest franchises Disney has their hands on at the moment. But despite the fact that both lands aim to transport fans into the universes that we’ve always wanted to escape into, they both succeed in different ways. And though I do love them, they both also fail in different ways. So I’m putting these two areas head-to-head to decide which is better to visit as a fan. I emphasize better because, honestly, if you’re a fan of Star Wars or Marvel you’ll have an amazing time in the parks regardless of the outcome of this post. With that said, let’s get to comparing these two!

The Rides:

This category is not one of the categories that’ll be a close call. Both areas boast two rides, but Avengers Campus comes with a bit of a caveat. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout’ was created before the rest of Avengers Campus and is now considered part of the area, but when Avengers Campus opened the public was promised two new rides for the land. One, ‘Web Slingers’, was opened along with the rest of Avengers Campus while the other, an unnamed project that has changed multiple times since its original announcement, has been permanently put on hold. Disney has even debated opening the gift shop they had planned to go along with the new ride, but those plans have appeared and disappeared periodically. That let down is definitely points against Avengers Campus, but let’s look at what we do have. ‘Mission Breakout’ is a really fun ride and one of Disney’s more successful overhauls of an already existing attraction. While some are still very upset over the demise of California’s ‘Tower of Terror’, the elaborate exterior, fun storyline, and amazing soundtrack really have won me over. It isn’t the most technologically advanced ride, but it doesn’t have to be. It simply has to be an excellent drop ride, and considering Disney went the extra mile to change footage and songs to make each ride experience different, I’d say it succeeds. ‘Web Slingers’ is a bit of a different story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun. Peter Parker is an amusingly bumbling host and shooting webs at targets like Spider-Man isn’t a bad time at all. But it’s a really simple screen-based ride with little to no immersion in a park that already has a screen-based game attraction.

Galaxy’s Edge, much like Avengers Campus, opened with only one of two rides promised to the public available to ride. But unlike Avengers Campus, this was because they were making the finishing touches on their main ride, ‘Rise of the Resistance’. At the time I wondered if the wait would be worth it. After my last trip to Disneyland I can confirm that this ride would have been worth any wait. This isn’t just an imaginative attraction that relies heavily on excellent animatronics and practical effects in order to completely engage guests. It’s almost an interactive performance. The story recruits all guests to the Resistance, starting them off with a briefing from Rey before they’re taken to a shuttle. This shuttle isn’t the ride by the way. It’s a show area before the ride where you experience flying into space and getting captured by the First Order, all under the care of an amazing animatronic who, once again, isn’t even part of the ride yet. After that, First Order officers escort you to interrogation where you are then saved by members of the Resistance who THEN escort you onto the ride for your great escape. Which includes a droid at the front of your car who interacts with everything that happens on the ride, at least four impressive animatronics, and sets that are so flawless you completely forget you aren’t in the Star Wars universe. Galaxy’s Edge wins with this ride alone, but ‘Smuggler’s Run’ shouldn’t be looked over either. The animatronic Hondo Ohnaka in the line for this ride is another one of Disney’s best animatronics, and though the ride is mostly a video game for riders, it’s certainly a fun video game. Plus, you really can’t beat the detailed interior of the Millennium Falcon you walk into right before the ride starts.

Winner: Galaxy’s Edge by a mile. ‘Rise of the Resistance’ might be the best ride I’ve ever been on.

The Lore and Characters:

Strangely, Galaxy’s Edge and Avenger’s Campus take two extremely different approaches to explaining the presence of the lands and the characters who live there. Avengers Campus takes place in a timeline where “the snap didn’t happen”. But it’s a bit more than that. This is a universe where none of the major tragedies in the MCU happened. Characters like Tony Stark and T’Challa are still alive and well, and everyone is friends with each other regardless of their current status in the MCU. What that means is we get more characters and more character interactions. Characters are constantly either on balconies monitoring the area or on the ground greeting guests. Some characters choose to wander while others stand in designated spots to invite guests to take pictures. Many characters, even when they are in designated spots, will spirit guests away to new adventures, often to poke fun at other characters walking around. So while nothing in Avengers Campus is impactful to the MCU, it does allow for engaging guest experiences.

Galaxy’s Edge takes place during a specific time period, the time period that occurs around the sequel trilogy but before its ending. You won’t find characters from the prequels or even the original trilogy walking around. You’ll only find characters like Rey or Kylo Ren, or characters who could have feasibly been active during this time like Boba Fett or Din Djarin. What’s the purpose of being so strict about the time period in Galaxy’s Edge? Because Galaxy’s Edge is canon. The planet Batuu, which is the planet we are visiting when we step into Galaxy’s Edge, is an actual planet mentioned often in the canonical Star Wars books. Characters here are also more sparse and don’t interact with each other as often. After all, the Resistance can’t risk getting into an altercation with the First Order, and Disney can’t risk characters interacting who perhaps shouldn’t be interacting yet in canon. So while Galaxy’s Edge lends more importance to what happens in the land, less interaction meant I had less fun observing the characters as a guest.

Winner: Avengers Campus. Avengers Campus puts most of its focus on the characters and it definitely pays off.


I’ve talked a lot about immersion in this post and it’s for good reason. Immersion is what both of these areas are aiming for, which means its the main thing I want to critique as a guest. First off, neither Avengers Campus or Galaxy’s Edge chose to replicate an actual location from either the Marvel or Star Wars franchises. In my opinion, this was a bit of a mistake. Fans like to escape into the worlds they fell in love with on the screen, not a location that seems like it could vaguely be a part of that world. Which is why people rave about stepping into Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter more than they rave about stepping into Batuu. Regardless, both are still well crafted areas that try to insert themselves into their movie universes in their own way. Avengers Campus does so as essentially a military base that houses hubs for Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Ant-Man. The details, like the Quinjet sitting on the roof of one of the buildings or the graffiti on the walls signed by Miles Morales, really pull it together. But the area also doesn’t have much space, so even separate areas like the ancient sanctum that houses Stephen Strange’s show sits right in the middle of everything else. It really doesn’t feel like you’re stepping into the world of the MCU until you see the characters. Before then it feels more like you’re looking at an amalgamation of “greatest hits” from the MCU, which isn’t much helped by the ‘Mission Breakout’ area that sits at the end of Avengers Campus and very clearly looks as though it existed before the rest of the campus. I will say though, the MCU soundtrack music does help get you in the Avengers mindset when you’re visiting.

Galaxy’s Edge has a much larger area, and once again, relies on details to immerse you. Aurebesh, or the Star Wars alphabet, is either used or imitated on every sign. Cast members will greet you with “bright suns” or “rising moons” and they all have some kind of story explaining how they came to Batuu. Familiar ships are docked all over the land, including the beloved Millenium Falcon. Instead of soundtrack music, DJ Rex, the droid who can be seen in Oga’s Cantina, plays cantina music over every speaker. There are even parts of the land that are designated for the First Order or the Resistance, clueing you into their warring presence on the planet. The main issue with Batuu is perhaps that it focuses too much on immersion. Shops, in order to seem like humble establishments run by locals, are far too small for Disneyland crowds. There’s also the fact that the land looks a bit bland at parts in order to create the cohesive look of a rundown haven for those on the run. But that goes back to my criticism of Disney deciding to create their own planet rather than recreating a place fans have wanted to visit for a long time.

Winner: Galaxy’s Edge although this is closer to a tie than I was expecting. In some ways, I do like the way Avengers Campus attempts to surround you with familiar things from the movies. But I always prefer commitment to an immersive environment over an amalgamation of random locations.

That makes the winner Galaxy’s Edge! I can’t say this was a surprising conclusion. Galaxy’s Edge had a far larger budget and focused much more on immersion. To the point that they decided to make Batuu canon to the Star Wars universe in order to make the guests who visit it a genuine part of the Star Wars universe as well. But Avengers Campus is enjoyable in its own right, and I wouldn’t recommend missing it. After seeing what both of these places have to offer, I really do want to see Disney step fully into immersion and bring a location from the screen to life. I think they could blow away the competition if they made a genuine effort to transport fans to a place they’ve always dreamed of going. I personally would have loved if Galaxy’s Edge had taken the form of Naboo or even Tatooine. But for now, I’m more satisfied with what they’ve created than I thought I would be, and I highly recommend visiting both Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus if you have the chance!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!



Promotional photo of (from left) Son Dongju (Xion), Yeo Hwanwoong, Lee Seoho, Lee Keonhee, and Kim Geonhak (Leedo). Copyright goes to ONEUS and RBW Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I would just like to thank ONEUS for one of the best birthday presents I could have ever gotten this year. A comeback the day before my birthday? First a concert near Valentine’s Day and then a comeback almost on my birthday? Seriously, I feel so spoiled by them. And this comeback is just as amazing as I knew it would be. This release was heavily anticipated by many for so many reasons, one of them being that this is their first comeback after they’ve all been through so much. They already had to tour as a recent five member group and they discussed how difficult that was for them. That aside, they were all extremely involved in this mini album! More so than they have been in previous releases. They really moved into an era where they are all more involved with every piece of their music and I’m so happy for them! Not only that but they’ve already gotten millions of views on their newest MV and this album actually also included a pre-release song that also had its own MV. Meaning, we have two MVs for one mini album and I’m so all over both of these! I’m going to get into this amazing album because the songs have been running in my head for the past few days! If you haven’t listened to this album yet or seen the MVs, go and do that already! What are you still doing here?

Intro: LETHE:

This intro is far too good and it gives a pretty solid taste of what the album is like. For this album they really went for more emotion evoking sounds and pieces. It seems that to do this they took a bit from movie soundtracks and really went for more epic pieces and a mix of orchestral sounds. This is pretty clear in the intro. This piece feels mysterious, almost noir, in sound and has a darker and more playful tone to it. The message of the intro also begins a trend throughout the album. This song talks about being tormented by the memories of someone and the desperation to erase those memories. This message is powerful and the desperation in it makes it well deserving of the more epic sounds for it. While this is still a short song, it absolutely packs a punch.


When I first heard this song, my brain wasn’t exactly sure how to piece it together. The verses are a bit slower and have a more sensual sound, while the chorus pieces are epic and loud. The chorus itself absolutely continues with the epic soundtrack feel and orchestral sounds. The use of emotional sounds like this was one of the things that brought me to ONEUS in the first place. This absolutely isn’t uncommon for their music and is probably one of the things they do most to convey specific emotions in their songs. This song is about wanting to erase the memories of someone and your time with them, and the torment of getting over that person. They even evoke emotions specific to TOMOON in this song by mentioning the severing of a red thread. If you didn’t know “Red Thread” is one of their most emotional songs describing their deep connection with each other and with TOMOON. So this mention was purposeful and adds to the deep meaning of the song. But the orchestral bits also give way to some EDM style beats for the dance break that seamlessly blends back into the orchestral sound. It is absolutely addicting. Something about it just clicked with my brain. I’ve had this song stuck in my head for two days now and it’s showing no signs of going away any time soon. And Seoho’s vocals in this song are insanely good and satisfying. This firmly cements him as one of the best current vocalists in K-Pop. And I liked that we got some of Geonhak’s lower harmonies back for this too.


ONEUS usually bases their MVs off of a certain aesthetic more than anything else. For this MV they went statuesque to fit with the theming. They also went for an icier feel to the background and a good mix of black and white outfits for the boys. My favorites of the outfits that they show in the MV have them all in flowy white shirts with suspenders. Keonhee specifically looks amazing here with his sleeves partially rolled up. Apparently their designers listened to all of the women who rightly say that a partially rolled up sleeve is one of the most attractive looks on a guy and absolutely ran with it. They all looked like various versions of Prince Eric from ‘The Little Mermaid’ and I am not quite sure how I survived it. It was also so nice to see Hwanwoong so easily slip into his new role as one of the main rappers here. He absolutely killed it and the emphasis they put on him made me so proud! I was worried about how the choreography would look for this song because it can be really difficult to choreograph for orchestral sounding pieces. I’ve only seen a couple of groups do it successfully and while ONEUS has done it before, they haven’t used such an orchestral impact in the chorus before. Obviously, ONEUS killed it here too. They have a more graceful style of dance that incorporates more lifts than other groups and it fit perfectly here. The dance didn’t feel clunky and it kept the flow of the song going very well. And oh my gosh Geonhak’s hair is so long, I absolutely love it! Can we also talk about how pristinely beautiful Xion looked in all of the mirror scenes? And Seoho at the end of belting that note? So satisfying. They all looked so damn good in this MV! How is this legal?

Unforgettable and MV:

The memories theme continues here with the idea of missing someone. But this one has more of a hopeful sound to it that feels very summery. It kind of feels like that type of emotional song that you feel like rolling down the windows and blasting on the way to the beach. It has a sentimental feel to it; a background sadness that makes me feel like this is absolutely a song you could shout sing to while crying. Or am I the only one who does that? …Anyways, this MV has a bit more of a story to it. And it’s absolutely unexpected. The MV feels a little bit like “I NEED U” by BTS, but if you didn’t know what was going to happen next because it’s told in real time instead of with flashbacks. We begin the MV with a bunch of shots of the boys having fun together. We do see individual shots of what looks to be them reminiscing, but we see a lot of them having fun in mostly abandoned areas. They added some choreography here which, again, I was nervous about the choreo matching with the song. But they were able to do it perfectly and they have such a graceful style that it matched the style of the song just fine. You see glimpses of sad scenes throughout, but any of the sadness that the boys portray is immediately cut off and you aren’t sure what to think. And then at the very end of it, they all meet up at one of their usual abandoned haunts and look up to find what is essentially the next major extinction event and watch as it happens. There are no clues that it’ll happen before this and I think it’s a very clear and clever symbol for erasing the memories. It was so interesting to have the MV unexpectedly end in that way!


This is the main song that Keonhee and Geonhak (Leedo) worked on. They talked about how proud of it they were in the most recent interview video that they came out with, especially with how the vocals came out. I love how calming and smooth this song feels which adds to the lyrics that talk more about spending time with someone you don’t want to let go of. There’s a feeling of blissfulness with it and the light whistling and humming throughout adds an almost domestic feeling to it. Just adding to the pile of delusions of TOMOON. Though to be fair we already kind of were there after they released the domestic bed teasers of them during the MALUS promo (specifically Geonhak who wasn’t wearing a shirt). They are very good at making us all feel very delusional. I really like the more calming songs that still have a bit of a groove to them and this is one of those. The boys did such an excellent job on this one. I’m so proud of this mini album; there are absolutely no skips to be found here!

Halley’s Comet:

This is another one that really hits hard. I don’t know how to explain the feeling of the song beyond the fact that it really has Disneyland fireworks vibes. It has that hopeful sound with emotionally packed vocals. It makes you feel like you’re watching the climax of a Disneyland fireworks show. I would absolutely die if Disneyland actually did include this, because it would be perfect. Speaking of which, Hallie and I were just there for our birthday so expect more posts about that coming soon! The lyrics also feel absolutely worthy of a firework show. It references the sparkle of a memory of a person and talks about making their way back to that person, including outright saying that they love that person. And, once again, the vocals of all the boys here are phenomenal. The song almost made me cry the first time I heard it because their voices pack so much emotion in such touching lyrics. Thank you for another crying song ONEUS!

I am so incredibly proud of them and proud to be part of TOMOON with this release. To know how much they went through and how much they poured into this mini album is nothing short of incredible. I’m in complete awe of them. I firmly believe that ONEUS is one of the most underrated fourth generation groups right now. All of their songs are bops. This is a no skips group! They’ve all put so much work into each and every comeback, they tour for so long and go to so many events, and they still need larger numbers of fans to get them to stadium level. This is the goal everyone! I’m so glad that their MV for “ERASE ME” already had almost nine million views as of writing this. Let’s keep this going! I know I’m streaming the hell out of this album and their MVs and you should too! They deserve it! And if you haven’t checked them out completely yet, you should. They are all the absolute sweetest and have the most epic tracks as well as the most graceful dancing. It’s a powerful mix! Give them your time and attention! You won’t regret it!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Star Wars: Grand Admiral Thrawn’s Journey to ‘Ahsoka’

Screenshot of Thrawn, as voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. Copyright goes to Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm.

Hey! Hallie here!

Yesterday was May the 4th, or as us Star Wars fans know it, Star Wars day! Because I’m posting a day afterwards I’m adopting Return of the 5th rules though, which means I’m focusing my celebratory Star Wars post on the Dark Side. With all the buzz around ‘Ahsoka’ now that we just got a new trailer during ‘Star Wars Celebration’, I felt it was best to discuss one of my favorite Star Wars villains of all time, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn isn’t a force user, but dismissing him for that is just as smart as dismissing Leia for not wielding a lightsaber. He’s one of the most intimidating villains we’ve ever seen in the galaxy far, far away, and he’s by far the most intelligent. However, if you aren’t a fan of the Star Wars books or animated series, you may not have seen this character before the ‘Ahsoka’ trailer was released. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with this character, and for those of you who are but may not know his full story or just want to reminisce, here’s a look at how Thrawn made his way into the Star Wars universe.

Timothy Zahn and the Original ‘Thrawn Trilogy’:

Every time we talk about Thrawn, the first person we have to mention is his creator. That isn’t Dave Filoni, who created the series ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ where Thrawn first appeared on screen, but Timothy Zahn. Just like now, there have always been various authors willing and able to tackle storylines in the Star Wars series that fill in gaps between movies or tell entirely new stories of their own. In the nineties, Timothy Zahn was one of those major authors. Among other stories he created what is known as the Thrawn Trilogy, a series of books where Luke, Leia, and Han went up against the next most powerful threat in the Empire after Palpatine, Grand Admiral Thrawn. In these books Thrawn was dangerous not because of his power, but because of his strategic skills. Thrawn would study his enemies, their pasts, their tendencies, the history of their culture, the art of their culture, all to be able to get inside their heads. And it was incredibly effective. Every time Luke, Leia, or Han thought they had backed Thrawn into a corner, it was revealed he anticipated their plan and they played right into his hand. He was like an evil version of Sherlock Holmes, only ever able to be outsmarted when the characters targeted his need for control. I read these books a long time ago because my aunt was kind enough to lend me her old copies, and though Leia has always been my favorite Star Wars character, I can’t deny that Thrawn was the best part of this trilogy. He was fascinating to read about and scary in a way that felt more real than Palpatine with his force lightning. That’s all thanks to Timothy Zahn. But clearly, the Star Wars universe has changed since these books came out in the nineties. So how did Thrawn make his way into canon?

Disney and ‘Star Wars: Rebels’:

When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, one of the first things they announced was that the books that had been written as side stories to the Star Wars movies were no longer canon. This angered a lot of fans, but in a way it made sense. Disney wanted as much room to play with the Star Wars timeline as possible, and so many books had been written by that point that it may have been limiting. Still, that left authors like Zahn out of Star Wars with nothing to show for the work they had put into fleshing out the universe. That is, until ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. When season three of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ came around and a new villain was needed to make the ending season feel intense, Dave Filoni and the creatives behind ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ settled on Thrawn. They were all huge fans of Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and they thought the presence of that character was the perfect thing to up the stakes of the final ‘Rebels’ season. Though they didn’t consult Zahn when bringing the character into the animated show, a lot of love for the character was apparent in his writing. His intelligence and ability to anticipate the Rebels was very much intact. His strategy of learning about his enemies and even collecting art from various cultures were major parts of his character. They even threw in sneaky references to other characters from the trilogy. All that and they cast Lars Mikkelsen, who brought the perfect amount of intelligence and coldness to Thrawn’s voice. Zahn said in interviews he was flattered by and pleased with the use of Thrawn in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. And fans were just as pleased with it. In fact, the reaction to Thrawn was so positive that they asked Zahn to come back and write another Thrawn trilogy, this time about how Thrawn came into power in the Empire. And best of all, it’s canon.

Thrawn Now:

Now that Zahn is back behind the writing for Thrawn, we have a lot of new content to enjoy. First there’s the first of Zahn’s canon Thrawn series’, which includes ‘Thrawn’, ‘Thrawn: Alliances’, and ‘Thrawn: Treason’. Then there’s the newest Thrawn series that just ended. That one, known as ‘Thrawn Ascendency’, includes the books ‘Chaos Rising’, ‘Greater Good’, and ‘Lesser Evil’. Then, ‘Ahsoka’ is coming to Disney+ in August. That series will pick up where ‘Rebels’ last left off, and for Thrawn, his return is a pretty big mystery. SPOILERS for the end of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. At the end of season three, Thrawn was defeated by Ezra when Ezra used the Purgils, or space whales, to catch Thrawn off guard and hold him captive on an Imperial vessel. Unfortunately, Purgils are known for randomly jumping into the far reaches of space, which sent both Ezra and Thrawn together into the unknown. Both have been missing for a long time by the time ‘Ahsoka’ starts, so it’ll be interesting to see where the two ended up and how they managed to escape. I’m extremely excited to see Thrawn here for multiple reasons. One is, of course, the fact that this will be the first time we see live action Thrawn. Second is that he will once again be played by Lars Mikkelsen, who is such a good Thrawn that I can’t imagine anyone else playing him. And third, they consulted Timothy Zahn this time which means we get an even more accurate Thrawn. But ‘Ahsoka’ might not be the only place we see Thrawn in the near future. He’s been name dropped quite a bit in ‘The Mandalorian’, so we might see him across various series. Wherever he ends up, I’m excited to see the chaos he’ll bring to the Star Wars universe.

I adore the character of Thrawn and I really enjoyed exploring the history of Thrawn for this post! Part of this was definitely preparation for ‘Ahsoka’, but to be transparent, I’m also starting ‘Thrawn’, the first book Zahn wrote for Thrawn in canon, and I’m hoping to review it here on the blog soon! In the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed your May the 4th and your Return of the 5th. Especially those of you who got to go to big events like ‘Star Wars Nite’ at Disneyland. I’m very jealous. Especially the people who were surprised with the secret characters, Luke, Leia, and Anakin. Seriously, so jealous.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Studio Ghibli: ‘Spirited Away: Live On Stage’

Screenshot of (from left) Satoshi Hashimoto and Kanna Hashimoto in ‘Spirited Away: Live on Stage’. Copyright goes to GKIDS and Studio Ghibli.

Hi! It’s Annie!

This event happened last week, but if you weren’t aware, the three hour stage production of ‘Spirited Away: Live On Stage’ was shown at select theaters as part of ‘Fathom Events’. This is a stage show from Japan that professionally adapted ‘Spirited Away’ into a full fledged theatrical phenomenon. Seriously, it was gorgeous and the attention to detail was unmatched. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an amazing on stage adaptation and that’s saying something considering I studied theatre in college. Japan double casts at least the main roles in most of their shows and this one wasn’t any different. I actually really love that this is something that they do because double casting in the US is often only done with parts played by children. (Though one of the reasons they do it is because there are more shows per week in Japan.) We’re starting to see more double casting for emotionally demanding roles, but overall double casting is just more humane to the actors. Almost every role that you play is emotionally demanding in some regard and usually also very physically demanding. This production in particular involved a lot of climbing and running across the stage, especially for the actresses playing Chihiro, so it was nice to know that they got a little bit of a break. Some theaters who participated in showing this event played it for the entire week, but most theaters only had two days. So they actually showed one cast on one day and the other on the next. For reference, I saw the first cast which was Kanna Hashimoto as Chihiro and Hiroki Miura as Haku. There will be some SPOILERS ahead for this, just in case you do find a way to stream this after the event is over or you plan to buy it!

The Adaptation:

If you’re worried that the play might vary too much from the original story, don’t be. There’s really nothing to be worried about there. There is no plot point left out and the set itself is insanely alike to the settings from the movie. The show is equipped with a massive rotating set that depicts the village, the stall where Chihiro’s parents become pigs, the bridge, the bathhouse, and even the bedroom where Chihiro and Lin stay within the bathhouse. It’s extremely ambitious to take on all of these places, but they somehow depict each place perfectly and really make the audience feel like they’re looking at a completely different set. The rotating set is taken away to reveal sets behind it for places like the train and Zeniba’s house. The set was gorgeous and looked straight out of the movie as well as including direct imagery from the movie. Almost all of the symbols on the bridge or within the bathhouse were kept. This production also made use of puppets that were all so good. The giant Haku dragon was a highlight of the entire production for me and I wanted my very own Boh mouse puppet, it was easily one the of the most adorable puppets I’ve ever seen. And the tiny soot sprite puppets also easily stole my heart. Calling back to the fact that this had an insane amount of details, Chihiro also takes off her socks only once in the boiler room but uses her shoes twice, just like the movie. An extremely small detail that just showed me the extent of research that every person involved put in. The live production had the same comforting and mystical feel that the movie gives me every time I watch it. Not only was it beautifully made for the stage, but they were careful to make it evoke the same emotions and feelings as the original work. This is the best you can get as far as adaptations go.

The Actors:

I thought everyone was amazing and also involved with the cast is Mari Natsuki who was actually the original voice actress for Yubaba! Everyone played their roles amazingly, but I really want to talk about the two leads. Kanna Hashimoto was a very believable Chihiro. Obviously, she is an adult playing a child but that never really comes across in the show at all. There was never a moment where I questioned whether or not she was playing Chihiro as too young or it felt like her own age slipped into the character. She was a believable little girl and a very believable Chihiro. There’s a moment in the movie when Haku gives Chihiro onigiri and as Chihiro eats it she begins to full on sob. This is a moment in the movie that never fails to get me to tear up. I full on cried with her during the live production because she really made you feel the moment as an audience member. But as amazing as the entire cast is, my favorite member of the cast was Hiroki Miura as Haku. I know, I know, I’m incredibly biased. I haven’t talked much about Ghibli before, but I really love it! And while ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ is my sister’s favorite movie, ‘Spirited Away’ is mine. Haku has been my favorite Ghibli character since I was introduced to the content, so going into this I was a little wary about Haku and how he was going to be as a character. Haku is a character type that I consider to be my kryptonite, which is the comfort character. The type of character who comes into a scene and you feel just as relieved as the main character to see them because it feels like everything’s going to be ok. This isn’t just a part of the character backstory or a detail of the character, this is a vibe that emanates from the character. It’s an energy you just sort of have to have that’s completely nonverbal. As an actor, emanating a nonverbal energy has to be one of the most difficult things to do. And yet, Hiroki Miura made me cry several times because he had that comforting energy in excess. He had this unwavering strength while playing Haku that also accompanied this extreme gentleness when dealing with Chihiro. Haku was a force any time he stepped on stage and I loved every moment of it. Hiroki Miura is also first and foremost trained as a dancer, so the graceful dragon transformation dancing he did was mesmerizingly beautiful. Especially when it began actually entwining with the fluidity of the puppet. I already loved the character of Haku but seeing Hiroki Miura’s take on Haku impossibly made me like the character even more than I already did. I can’t explain how emotional I got at seeing one of my comfort characters being brought to life in this way. It’s genuinely something I’ve thought about every day since I saw it!

The Message:

I think that one of the reasons why ‘Spirited Away’ is one of the most popular Studio Ghibli films is because the story is so relatable. At first glance it doesn’t necessarily seem that way. A lot of people have described it as being purely fantasy and have compared the story to ‘Alice in Wonderland’, but I think the story greatly differs from Alice’s adventures and are far more relatable to real life than some people give it credit for. I think, especially as we grow up, many of us can relate to suddenly finding ourselves in a dark place where we feel nothing but fear. The journey that Chihiro goes through is one from a place of intense fear to a place of determination and love. Unlike Alice who just wakes up at the end of her story, Chihiro is able to take her experiences with her in a very real way. She’s grown as a person and has become so much stronger. She’s made real connections on her journey and learned more about unconditional love and compassion. Chihiro won’t forget her journey not because it was strange, but because it was formative and a character building experience for her. And also because she can’t forget the kindnesses that she was shown. I think, whether we know it or not, we all have a Haku when we’re going through times like this. My Haku was a bit more literal in the form of Namjoon of BTS. If it weren’t for me listening to Namjoon’s words of advice and comfort, I would not have gotten as far as I did on my own personal journey. Namjoon was such a comfort to me and the reason why I was able to navigate certain things I had to do to get better. And the dragon comparison really fits him. Dragon eyes and all that. All of this hit me really hard while I was watching the live version because watching it in this form suddenly made the story feel even more personal to me. This is already a comfort movie to me, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch this live version without sobbing. I must have cried at least three times watching this in the movie theater. I think there’s something about something so comforting and with such hopeful messages being plopped into real life right in front of you, and being performed live at that, that makes it feel so much more real. If this story means as much to you as it means to me; you have to find a way to see this! Just be prepared to cry. Maybe bring tissues.

I really hope that more live theatre becomes accessible like this. If you live in the US you probably know that Broadway isn’t doing that well right now and it’s really no surprise. With the expenses involved going up, the prices also get majorly jacked up. Meaning that they’ve priced out most people who can no longer see those productions. When it comes to productions in Japan, I’ve always wanted to see one and haven’t been able to travel to Japan yet as much as I desperately want to. I wasn’t exactly sure what I thought this was going to be like, but it blew my expectations so far out of the water. This is probably my most emotional reaction to a piece of media, including live theatre, that I’ve had in a very long time. I think live productions can evoke those emotions better than a lot of other pieces of media. Because this is real emotions that you’re seeing in real time. This isn’t something that has been edited and cut together, so it really does come off as more emotionally raw. And I think that it’s a shame that there are so many people that still haven’t seen productions of this caliber because they truly can be life changing. I really hope that we see more productions like this so more people can be exposed to live theatre and can experience live theatre from places it’s difficult for them to get to. If this is somehow still in a theatre near you, you have to check it out! I promise you it is a hundred times better than most (all) movies you’re going to find at your local movie theater and it absolutely deserves the watch. It is emotional and gorgeous and I will be crying about it for ages. I want to say another huge shout out to everyone involved in this production! Now I’m going to go cry about it some more.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Star Wars: Should Tech Come Back in Season 3 of ‘The Bad Batch’?

Screenshot of Tech from the season two finale of ‘The Bad Batch’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’ve been talking a lot about ‘The Bad Batch’ recently. It’s, in my opinion, one of the most imaginative shows in Star Wars right now with some of the most fascinating storylines I’ve ever seen in the franchise. But if you’ve kept up with my posts on the show, you know that my relationship with it has been a bit rocky. I’ve criticized it for the spotty character development amongst the cast, and most recently, SPOILERS AHEAD, for killing off the character of Tech in the season two finale of the show. Despite my obsession with this show, I had an extremely negative reaction to Tech’s death and I made it very obvious in my review of the season. But Dee Bradley Baker’s take on the situation, which he shared at Star Wars Celebration, has a lot of fans wondering if the initial negative reaction of many fans might be incorrect. Should Tech come back? Or is it best for the character, and for the show, for him to stay dead? I certainly have my opinion, but let’s look at why I feel so strongly about Tech’s potential demise.

The Dee Bradley Baker Argument:

First we should talk about what was said at Star Wars Celebration. While many Tech fans zeroed in on the subtle hint from Michelle Ang, the voice of Omega, that this goodbye to Tech might not be permanent, many other fans turned their focus to Dee Bradley Baker’s statements about mourning Tech. Dee Bradley Baker, when talking about how much he would miss Tech, said that he consoled himself with the fact that Tech went out the way any clone would want to go out. Making an intentional decision to sacrifice himself for his brothers and his family. His last words were even “when have we ever followed orders”, fully cementing that this was a choice he made on his own as opposed to the control the Empire attempted to exert over the clones. A lot of fans found that this observation gave Tech’s death too much purpose for it to make sense to bring him back. But though I do admire Dee Bradley Baker and appreciate his opinion, I don’t believe this gives enough meaning to Tech’s death to justify it. Because the point of the clones is individuality in the face of being viewed as one unit of disposable beings, not for each clone character to end their story as “any clone” would want to. I appreciate that Tech died with the freedom to choose his death and the people he would die for, but I don’t want his death to focus on the clones as a whole. I want his death to focus on closing out his personal character arc. So the real question is, is his death a satisfying conclusion to the character arc Tech was given over the course of the most recent season?

Tech’s Character Arc:

Tech’s character arc for season two touched on a couple of things. First there was his emotional expression. The season opened on Tech having grown closer to Omega as a teacher and older brother. Through his relationship with Omega he frequently found himself at odds with her because of his more logical approach to most problems. This culminated in an argument halfway through the season, where Tech snapped at Omega for frequently bringing up her sadness over Echo’s decision to leave the Batch. In the resulting conversation Omega accused Tech of not caring about Echo’s departure, at which point Tech seemingly alluded to being on the autism spectrum by explaining that he processes emotions differently than everyone else but feels no less than they do. After that we saw Tech’s emotional side take center stage. He started to show support for Omega when the other members of the Batch doubted her, started to pursue a romantic relationship with Phee, and was the main advocate for getting Crosshair back from the Empire. The next thing his character arc explored started in episode one, where Romar Adell spoke to Tech about the people who existed outside of the Separatists during the war and were still thriving despite the rising Empire. It reminded Tech that there was more to life outside of war, leading to Tech discovering a talent in riot racing and a potential home on Pabu. So did his death address any of these storylines or bring them to a satisfying close? I don’t really think so. Despite trying to find a life for himself outside of the war he still died in the war against the Empire, and his decision to sacrifice himself was another case of logic and calculation first and foremost. I unfortunately don’t feel anything in his character arc really came full circle with his demise.

What We’re Losing if Tech Doesn’t Come Back:

This is the main thing I always look at when a character either dies or is written off a show. What did they bring to the show, and is it too costly for the show to lose? Tech, at the time he died in ‘The Bad Batch’, was one of very few fully developed characters. Season two did a lot of work explaining and exploring his character, but didn’t do much work for any of the other characters. As of now, Tech, Omega, and Crosshair are the only main characters that can boast satisfying storylines, whereas Echo was pushed to the side for most of the recent season, and both Hunter and Wrecker haven’t gotten much development since the beginning of the show. Moving past that, Tech also brings representation for the neurodivergent community. Even if you’re a fan who doesn’t believe that Tech’s statements in season two confirm him as on the autism spectrum, you still can’t deny that his mannerisms, responses in conversation, and reactions to unfamiliar situations are clearly inspired by neurodivergent tendencies. So either way, he represents the neurodivergent community and remains the only character in Star Wars who obviously does so. That representation is priceless, especially when the one romantic relationship we were getting in season two involved Tech. That’s not a storyline most neurodivergent characters get. In my opinion, an excellently written character like this who gives a voice to the underrepresented is not something the show can afford to lose.

A popular question Star Wars content creators are being asked right now is “Would you rather Tech stay dead or be tortured by the Empire?” I really don’t like this question. If you’re a Tech fan, your first inclination is never to say you’d rather he be tortured by the Empire. Clearly Tech himself would rather be at peace, and no one’s wishing the character suffering. But the question doesn’t address the real problem with Tech’s death. Because the problem isn’t that I’m not honoring the character’s sacrifice, but that I don’t feel the sacrifice makes sense for the character’s story. Now, this entire post is operating around the idea that Tech is dead. And I’m not sure I totally believe that. Falling deaths are suspicious when we don’t see a body, and Michelle Ang definitely had some interesting things to say during Star Wars Celebration. But I’m definitely afraid we won’t see Tech again and I firmly believe that if we don’t, it will be a giant mistake.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Star Wars: Sabine Wren Has Always Been Great

Screenshot of Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren in the ‘Ahsoka’ trailer. Copyright goes to ‘Star Wars’, ‘Lucasfilm’, and ‘Disney+’.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Sabine Wren has been my all time favorite Star Wars character since I was a young teenager. I personally get into media more because of characters than anything else, including plot. If a show, movie, book, or anything else doesn’t have a specific character that I feel attached to, it is much more difficult for me to get into that thing. And while I really loved the world of Star Wars and some of the characters; when I first binge watched the prequels and the original trilogy, I didn’t really feel super connected to any of the characters. Around this time ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ first started airing and suddenly I was absolutely into Star Wars because I loved the character of Sabine Wren. I fell in love with her immediately. And throughout the years many Star Wars fans have told me and other fans of ‘Rebels’ that we weren’t true fans of Star Wars because we liked the show or had favorite characters that came from the show. So imagine my absolute excitement when they announced Sabine Wren as a main character in ‘Ahsoka’, which is basically a semi-sequel of ‘Rebels’, and because of that the series began to be more widely accepted in the fandom. But Sabine isn’t just good now because she’ll be getting an increased amount of substantial characterization in a live action format. Sabine Wren was always great! Some people just didn’t see it. Here are some reasons why people in the Star Wars fandom have put Sabine down for years and why they’ve always been wrong.

“Mandalorians can’t wear pink!”:

Why not? Seriously, why not? One of the main arguments here, was that the only reason why they made her armor pink was to appeal to little girls. And whether or not that was part of their decision in deciding the coloring of her armor is neither here nor there. What do you have against the color pink? A lot of criticism has been thrown at particularly women over the years for trying to bring the color pink into fandom spaces where it “doesn’t belong”. But while a natural color that exists in nature that is simply a mixing of red and white somehow “doesn’t belong”, they are perfectly fine with literally any other color as long as it doesn’t feel too feminine for them. This fandom really has no excuse since Sam Jackson pulled purple into it. And it’s also a franchise in a fictional world! Introducing one color does not suddenly make that world less fun or less valuable. On top of that, we’ve known for a little while that Mandalorians forge their own armor. This wasn’t quite expanded on until ‘The Mandalorian’ was released, but it was part of the lore. In fact, Boba Fett’s armor is a bit more creatively painted than most other Mandalorian’s armor. Sabine Wren is an artist who no longer lives on Mandalor. Her armor being crazy colors is not only interesting to look at but entirely realistic. I personally think Mandalorian armor wouldn’t be as fun to look at if it all was silver like Din’s. There’s no reason to be offended by the color pink. None. And women should not be shamed for making OCs who wear pink or for liking characters who wear pink.

“Mandalorians don’t act like that!”:

I assume this was because Mandalorians have been largely portrayed to be pretty stoic. But ‘Clone Wars’ proved that Mandalorians weren’t all like this long before Sabine Wren came into the picture. I’m honestly not quite sure why Sabine was looked down on for having a more sassy and spunky personality type. Not every Mandalorian should act the same way and Boba Fett and Bo Katan definitely showed Mandalorians acting in a way that was more than just disciplined. I feel like once Din Djarin became a character, people used him to point fingers at other Mandalorians; saying that this is what they should have always been like. I think to say that content that has come before is completely wrong because you want an entire group of people within a franchise to act exactly the same way is a bit ridiculous. Let the writers be creative with what they want to do! Not only that, but people seem to forget that we’re talking about Dave Filoni here. A man who is widely accepted to be one of the best writers in Star Wars. I love that Sabine has a smart mouth and a creative side to her. It gives her more depth and character! There was so much done creatively to make Sabine Wren stand out from the moment she stepped on screen. You knew who she was just by looking at her, but they still had plenty of surprises in store. I love her characterization!

“Mandalorians don’t wield lightsabers!”

The idea that the Mandalorians have a darksaber was controversial from the moment it was introduced. And it’s still a question within the fandom of whether or not this should be a thing. But it is undeniably cool, whether or not you believe that force wielders should be the only ones who get to have lightsaber type weapons. Sabine, however, has wielded Ezra’s lightsaber on multiple occasions and I’ve seen people have issues with that too. However, Sabine went through a rigorous training process to learn how to wield a lightsaber. We see her train with both Kanan and Ezra, and struggle to learn how to adapt it to her own fight style. This is just another piece of her story that was very in depth and added to her characterization. I am so excited to see her wield Ezra’s lightsaber even more in the new series!

“She was made for kids!”:

I’m sure this is an accusation that has followed Star Wars content for years. Many fans have been accused of liking something for kids. So why then fling these accusations at other Star Wars fans? Star Wars has always been for whoever wants it! In fact, most content is like that. Being an adult is already a scam, so why tell people what they can and can’t watch and what they should and shouldn’t grow out of? Dave Filoni didn’t write ‘Rebels’ for kids, he wrote it for any Star Wars fan. There’s actually a series of videos that they came out with before the release of ‘Rebels’ that feature Filoni animatedly talking about what he was excited for and what he felt fans would be excited for. Just like ‘Clone Wars’; this isn’t a show just for children. ‘Ahsoka’ adapting it only proves that this has always been a completely valid and truly exceptional addition to the Star Wars universe. Seeing Ezra and Sabine grow up over the course of the series just made you feel like you were close with those characters. Sabine starts the series at sixteen and ends it at twenty-one. I am so excited to see her story continue even beyond that.

I love Sabine. She’s such a strong female character that they never stripped femininity away from. She kicked ass and wore pink and that is all that I ever aspire to do. I am one of those people who loves pastels, particularly pink, and I always have and will continue to wear it. She also showed a young me that you don’t just have to have one personality type to love pink. And on top of all of that badassery, she also had tons of character depth and was created to be relatable. I grew alongside her. And to now as a twenty-something see her come to life in this new way is so magical to me. But I should have never had to defend myself for Sabine being my favorite character. She shouldn’t be a character who is just accepted now that she’s getting the live action treatment. We need to stop judging people for what kind of Star Wars content they connect with the most. Sabine has always been great and I’m so excited to see her again and grow with her some more!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie