STAR WARS: Refreshing Mandalorian Canon with Rebels
This week’s theme is refreshing the old into the new, and since you know me and this probably isn’t your first S7ar Wars (if it is – hello!), you know that usually means canon. Our canonical contributions this week are Mandalorian in nature and coming with tomorrow’s Star Wars: Rebels, while something I finally reckoned with from Rogue One and an old prop make up the remainder. Chronologically in-universe, we can start with the earliest…
This week on Star Wars: Rebels, Sabine is going to come into her own as a Mandalorian and as someone who hangs around with Jedi to try and convince the Mandalorians who aren’t allied with the Empire to join the Rebellion. To do that, she’s going to have to wield the Darksaber, stolen from Darth Maul’s creepy lair of memorabilia on Dathomir. Maul and the Darksaber were left on Dathomir in the Maul comic book Son of Dathomir, but before Maul had it, it belonged to Pre Vizsla, a Mandalorian. Pre Vizsla was the leader of Death Watch before Maul killed him and took the Darksaber. He claimed in Star Wars: The Clone Wars that his ancestors had stolen the Darksaber from a Jedi temple, now we get a little more background on that.
This is mostly new information including Tar Vizsla, the Mandalorian Jedi Knight. This seems somewhat at odds with how the relationship between Jedi and the Mandalorians, Pre Vizsla and his Clone Wars era beliefs about a warrior culture that needs to combat the peaceful “New Mandalorian” way have a history of when the Mandalorians would often clash with the Jedi Knights and win, something that continued to happen after the Darksaber was reclaimed from the Jedi Temple…presumably during the fall of the Old Republic.
This is providing a lot of good story for Sabine and the Mandalorians while, once again, threatening to push the canon back to encompass some Knights of the Old Republic canon, like more about both the Sith and Mandalorian Wars (Mandalorian Wars have been mentioned in new canon, but I don’t think the Sith Wars have yet, unless there’s some Phantom Menace stuff I’m forgetting). There are a lot of details that could be pulled into new canon by exploring the Mandalorians’ relationship to various Republics, Empires, and Rebellions…namely Revan, right?
Darth Revan and the events of Knights of the Old Republic I & II have been on the borders of Star Wars: Rebels since Malachor appeared in season two. That included the famed line from Ahsoka that there’s “always some truth in legends.” Malachor was the planet scarred by an unnamed event that became “off-limits” to Jedi…explaining it’s absence from The Clone Wars animated series. If these were the old Expanded Universe days, I could go on for much longer about the Mandalorians, the Darksaber, and what the reveal of a Mandalorian Jedi could mean…but we’re not in those days, so it’s all speculation.
If you stop to think about it, the legend of a Mandalorian warrior is one of the most iconic Star Wars design images. Since Jango Fett was used as the basis for clone troopers, and clone trooper armor is a riff on Fett’s Mandalorian armor, that tracks the design of battle armor from clone trooper, to Stormtrooper, to First Order Stormtrooper, all vaguely riffing on a Mandalorian helmet. If the whole basis of the reputation of a Mandalorian is “we’re warriors that can stop defeat Jedi,” it’s no wonder their armor design has ended up being a sign of strength. Now, there’s a whole Mandalorian Jedi Knight with a Darksaber dropped into the new canon and things get a little less cut and dry…unless – of course – we reintroduce more Old Republic lore.
Otherwise in Star Wars, we’re still in the January lull letting Rogue One take the banner position of highest grossing movie of 2016. Not to return to the boat on Tarkin Digital Resurrection (I’m for it), but based on the recent statement from StarWars.com that Lucasfilm is NOT looking to re-create Carrie Fisher as General Leia for any future Star Wars films, I thought I’d loop back to Rogue One’s Pincess Leia cameo.
Unlike when Tarkin appeared on screen, the re-appearance of A New Hope Princess Leia struck me as incorrect visually somehow. Obviously, it’s because there’s an actress playing Carrie Fisher playing Leia who got a digital face overlay, so it’s not going to look 100% convincing, but while Tarkin was really doing it for me (how hard can it be to make Peter Cushing look good in Death Star lighting?), the one shot of Princess Leia saying “Hope” really got to me.
I was finally able to find a clear screenshot of the moment with digital Leia (my still looks like it was taken from a camera pirated file, which is gross and icky, so don’t download that shit or film your showings):
It took me about three minutes of looking at it and visually trying to peel away the contrast and color problems that come from this being an unofficial still before I realized what was bugging me: That’s Empire Strikes Back Leia’s face on A New Hope Leia’s body.
Hear me out:
There’s something about Carrie Fisher’s cheeks in the first film (“face fat” she would joke about for the rest of her career, and it was hilarious because I never considered it fat) that wasn’t replicated for some reason or another. Maybe it’s because changing the dimensions of someone’s face is even more difficult that overlaying a digital mask? I know if I’m just “liquefying” stuff in Photoshop that I can get close, but it looks like a top-heavy anime character:
I’m not trying to say it’s dumb or didn’t work, let’s just assume it’s just tough to get these things picture perfect. Groundbreaking visual effects are hard!
It’s just odd to me as a viewer to see an “older” face on the youngest live-action version of Leia we’ve seen (okay, except the baby in Revenge of the Sith, shut up).
Last little Star Wars tidbit from the week isn’t about anything new, but it is about reviving an old Star Wars thing with some new interest. During his internet show Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest where he comes across interesting geek collectables and artifacts, a collector brought a very special prop that Luke wasn’t prepped for: his actual Return of the Jedi prop lightsaber, the very same one that was adapted from Alec Guinness’ stunt saber from A New Hope.
Just in case you needed to see both of Luke’s original lightsabers returned to him in your lifetime – that happened, like, 11 months sooner than expected.