TumblingSaber Podcast – Episode 2

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Episode 2 of the TumblingSaber podcast is live and ready to go! We talk through our first thoughts on The Force Awakens and break down some of the film’s bigger moments, toss around some theories, and throw laurels at all of the characters, new and old alike!

Get in touch with the show! We want to hear from you!

@tumblingsaber, @AttackOfPanaka on twitter.

TumblingSaber on facebook

And don’t forget the brilliant music of Marcos Kaiser!


The Force Awakens: The Good, The Bad, and Questions



Most of the fans who would read this site have probably seen the movie by now so here we go with a discussion (including spoilers) on The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, please click away now (but please come back once you’ve seen the movie!)

The Good:

I did not expect to like all of the new characters as much as I did. Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, BB-8, Poe…I liked them all a lot more than I thought, and I really did think I’d like them from the very beginning. I thought Poe was going to be more of a smarmy cynic a la Han Solo (and thus inherit that mantle) but he’s really not that guy. Just as charming I suppose, but in a different way. Rey is incredible, Finn brings an energy and humor that we haven’t seen in Star Wars before and Kylo Ren is imbalanced and conflicted in a way that sets up very well for Episodes 8 and 9. BB-8 is as endearing as R2 was and he doesn’t come off as a gimmick at all. We also get to see Chewie unleashed in a way that we haven’t before. It was great to see him taking on more action than at any point in the past.

The visuals on Jakku may be the best thing about the movie from a cinemetography standpoint. Of course we got all of those shots in the trailers so they were not a surpruse, but seeing them on the big screen was amazing. Almost worth the price of admission alone. Can’t wait to see that on IMAX.

I’m not as disappointed as others are that the narrative so heavily steals from A New Hope. I saw The Phantom Menace the same way, with a kid living in squalor rising above his circumstances to destroy and enemy stronghold while losing a mentor in the process. I just see it as continuing the mirroring that Lucas started. I suppose it would have been nice to see something more original but as long as we’re talking about the Skywalker family saga I think we can expect things to repeat themselves to a certain degree.

Han Solo is back…albeit briefly. Not the noble rebel General, but the smuggler we first fell for. The wisecracking cynic is back, except he’s obviously not so skeptical about hokey religions and ancient weapons any more. This is Harrison Ford’s movie and he went all-in for his last ride as the Corellian cool dude.

Millennium Falcon: it was GREAT seeing our favorite hunk of junk unshackled from the limitations of stop-motion animation. Seeing it in action again was very gratifying and the way it was introduced was one of the movie’s welcome surprises.

The Bad:

Why the HELL was nobody there to console poor Chewbacca in the aftermath of losing Han Solo, his best friend for decades? We felt Chewie’s anguish when Han died and we all deserved the hug that Chewie didn’t get. Epic fail, Leia. Epic fail. He was shafted at the end of A New Hope, and he was shafted again here. That really bothered me and I find it borderline unacceptable that Chewie was left to mourn on his own in the corner while everyone else celebrated.

The sky/space battles were spectacles to be sure but lacking in any real tension or drama. I don’t know if that’s a by-product of the era of CGI where it’s too tempting to dazzle with visuals rather than focus on the people but I didn’t feel anything during the dogfights.

Starkiller Base. When I first heard that they were once again doing this gigantic world-destroying battle station, I was underwhelmed, regardless of how much bigger and more destructive it was. The stakes are still the same: a lot of people die. It doesn’t matter to viewers if a million or billion people die. Both are staggering numbers. Again, the mirror effect in action but if the justification is that the First Order is just that much more ambitious, then I think that’s weak. Predictably, we see the Starkiller base do what it was designed to do, but once again it was knocked out by stunt fighters seconds before it’s ready to destroy the good guys’ HQ. Let’s not go back there again, please.

I thought there would be more depth to Maz Kanata. Based on her voice-over work in the TV ads, I thought we’d find out more about her or feel more of her power. Maybe we still will but aside from Rey, she was the one I was most interested in. Cool character, but I was hoping for more

Random Comments:

I enjoyed the score quite a lot. Yeah there’s a lot of music that we can probably label as generic but I think that’s because we’re not used to it yet. Most of us old fans respond to the familiar stuff like Han and Leia’s theme, and the Force theme. We just haven’t had time to marinate in the new stuff yet. Remember, we didn’t get the Imperial March, Yoda’s theme and other memorable themes until ESB or later. I think it’s a tough act to try and match the Oscar-winning soundtrack to A New Hope. Still, Rey’s theme is great, and the Jedi Steps is very moving.

I was going to put this under “bad” but considering we knew it was going to be this way, I put it here instead. We knew that we’d see little of Captain Phasma but I didn’t think we’d get THAT little. She was almost an afterthought.

We all had to know it was coming, but it hurt nonetheless to see Han Solo die at the hands of his son. We all felt Chewie’s pain in that moment. If you didn’t see his death coming, then you don’t know J.J. Abrams that well, or the fact that Ford likely didn’t want to do more than one more movie. Couple that with the relatively unchallenged stroll they took through Starkiller Base and you had to know things weren’t going to go well.

Not sure how I feel about Finn lasting more than 3 seconds against Kylo Ren. Sure he’s a highly trained (possibly elite?) Stormtrooper but what does that say about Ren? And then for Ren to bow out against Rey? I get that he was injured from Chewie’s bowcaster but he’s not much of a warrior. Maybe that’s by design. Clearly his training is incomplete and he’s had nobody to practice with or against for years so maybe the “level” playing field is justified, but it felt weird.

A hearty “ha ha!” to all of the “Snoke is Plagueis” theorists. Sucks to be you.

And a big fat belly laugh to the “Where is Luke Skywalker?” crowd. A lot of you guys made a big deal about Skywalker’s lack of marketing exposure. You were told that his exposure indicates his role and most of you responded with “if there’s no Luke, it’s not Star Wars”, or “I’m boycotting if there’s no Luke”. Oops.

Speaking of boycotters, the whiny expanded universe crowd that threatened to spoil and/or boycott the movie are clearly doing a bang-up job, what with The Force Awakens tracking to shatter every box office record. Nice job, fellas. Mission accomplished!


The obvious: Who are Rey’s parents? They were clever enough to leave the door open to it still being Han and Leia (though they would have to have been induced by someone to forget about her), or Luke and an unknown woman. They certainly plant lots of seeds that point to Luke being the father, including the Skywalker family heirloom saber seemingly choosing her, and R2 coming to life when she appears as the base, when it 3P0 was clear that he wasn’t going to wake up until Master Skywalker returned.

Who her parents are will directly affect her relation to Kylo. Whether Luke or Han is her father, she’ll either be Ren’s sister or cousin. Both make for compelling stories but obviously a sibling rivalry would be more powerful.

Finn’s family? I’m not sure that’s relevant at this point but might still be an interesting point down the line.

Does Leia give up on redeeming Kylo Ren? Does she get personally involved where Han failed? Or does she see him as too dangerous and a lost cause? I don’t know of many parents who give up on their children but Leia, as always, has a ton on her plate and may be in over her head in trying to bring him back. Would fans forgive Ren for killing Han? They forgave Vader, but killing the long time coolest guy in the galaxy might be too much to overcome.

How did Ben Solo become Kylo Ren if he was under Luke’s training? How did Snoke infiltrate Luke’s academy?

I wonder if Rey is too powerful, too fast? To be clear, I adore the character. She’s impossible to not root for and fall in love with, but to go from where she started, to besting Ren in a lightsaber duel with relative ease in such a short time? I’m struggling with that, as much as it was great to watch on-screen. Thing about it: Luke could barely call his lightsaber to him after 3 years of training. She did it under duress in what amounts to days, with no training whatsoever. We can wallpaper over that and just say it’s the will of the force, but that’s a big question mark for me. I wonder if they went a little overboard in trying to ensure that the first female protagonist is untouchable and doesn’t need any help. All things considered, she might be on pace to become the most powerful of all Star Wars heroes, and that’s saying something.

While we’re talking about Rey, did she dabble in the dark side at all in her fight with Ren? It seemed like she was thriving off of her fury and we know where that can lead.


The Force Awakens does a great job of giving us a dose of nostalgia while serving as a gateway for a new generation of fans. While ultimately (and predictably) leaving us with more questions than answers, the movie is massively entertaining. The Force Awakens does have a few points that don’t sit so well with me; but they’re either minor, or will be further fleshed out in future episodes. I find that leaning on A New Hope is simply a case of Star Wars being Star Wars, so I can’t take issue with that too much. Having the same structure as A New Hope did leave for some predictable moments, however, so we were sort of robbed of something entirely new.

The groundwork is definitely laid for a great new trilogy stuffed with compelling new characters. Not that it means anything because I’m not a critic, but I give it 4 out of 5 stars, and I rank the 7 movies:

2. ANH
4. TFA
6. TPM

I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you liked this review, please consider liking the TumblingSaber facebook page!

Did Carrie Fisher Spill Some Episode 8 Beans?


The Force Awakens hasn’t even opened to the general public yet but that doesn’t mean Episode 8 rumours can’t pop up while we wait. In the age of the internet, nothing is ever truly deleted forever, but that doesn’t stop the powers that be from trying. The Daily Mail posted a piece where they report that Carrie Fisher fired off a tweet (that has since been deleted) containing an image of one of Leia’s supposed costumes for the as-of-yet unnamed sequel to The Force Awakens. You can read the entire story here but the big takeaway here is the costume being worn by Fisher in the photos. It’s her in a long black gown.

Nothing happens by accident in Star Wars, so of course the insinuation is that the black gown represents Leia being in a dark place. What do you think? Could Leia take a walk on the dark side in Episode 8, or is she in mourning? Spoilers for The Force Awakens would suggest the latter, but either way something pretty rotten would have to happen in The Force Awakens for either of those things to happen, right?

If you want to see the images, head on over to the Daily Mail.

Introducing Star Wars to the Younglings


What’s the “right” way to introduce children to Star Wars? Obviously the answer (if there is one) to this question depends on how old the child is, how mature they are, and what your values are as a parent.

I assume that most parents of young kids today were brought up on the original trilogy, and are bullish about ensuring the same magical experience for their kids as they had through those three films. But what about showing them the story in linear fashion, starting with The Phantom Menace, and ending with Return of the Jedi? If you’re crazy about them, then you might be more inclined to go down that path, but might be gun shy about the dark material of Attack of the Clones (mom dying in son’s arms), and Revenge of the Sith (choking pregnant woman, dismemberment, burning a body). Or do you do it through the Force Awakens as a new start, and a way for them to experience Star Wars as a member of their generation?

Of course, it’s 2015 and Star Wars has grown in to the biggest of hollywood properties so there are gateways to the galaxy far, far away though animated series, books, comics, video games, and toys. Each of those could also be a way in.

In my case, my daughter’s first exposure to Star Wars was as a four year old to the Clone Wars animated movie. I figured she’d love Ahsoka, and I was right. She’s her favorite character and she adores her. Since then she’s turned five years old, and has latched on to Rebels, seen and enjoyed The Phantom Menace, as well as A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. She’s enjoyed all of them, but still, Star Wars to her is Clone Wars and Rebels. She’s aware of The Force Awakens and wants to see it, but I’ll have to determine first if it’s fit for a five year old. Your mileage may vary.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or @tumblingsaber.

They Like It! They Really Like It!


Last night was the premiere of The Force Awakens in Los Angeles, and a very select group were lucky enough to see the movie: the stars and creators of the film, as well as some hollywood elites who also happen to be huge fans. Perhaps we can consider them, and their feedback a little bit biased at this early stage, but it certainly sounds like J.J. Abrams has delivered.

Check out the piece on Variety. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers. Just a lot of reinforcement to put your mind at ease that the next instalment of the Star Wars saga is one that we will all enjoy.


How Much Will The Force Awakens Make Opening Weekend?


TIME Magazine lays out the predicted range for The Force Awakens opening weekend haul at anywhere between $180 million and $220 million domestically, which would smash the December release record held by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which made $85 million in North American theaters during its opening weekend.

$180 million seems to me a little conservative, while $220 would set a new record by a long shot. With mild weather across North America, weather should not be an impediment to getting out to see the movie. The only question in my mind is whether or not it plays in enough theaters to push it past Jurassic World’s $208 million opening weekend. It’s scheduled to release on over 4,100 screens, but is that enough? 4,100 screens wouldn’t even put it in the top 10 releases of 2015, according to data provided by box office mojo.

I think the record is poised to fall, but of course, I’m biased.


See John Williams at Work


If you consider hearing some music to The Force Awakens a spoiler, then don’t watch the video here. But if you simply can’t wait resist (I couldn’t), then check out this 8-minute video, featuring a few short snippets of the new soundtrack. A few shots of the movie are in there as well, so if you’re avoiding everything until you see the movie, you’d best click away now.


Tumblingsaber Podcast – Episode One!

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Holy moly, it’s alive! The first episode of The Tumblingsaber podcast is here and ready to invade your ear holes! Get on board on the ground level as we talk about The Force Awakens, recall our cinematic experiences from the original and prequel trilogies, . We also get in to our expectations for The Force Awakens, discuss some theories, kick around the idea of social media etiquette, and a whole lot more!

Special shout out, and a huge note of thanks to the amazing Marcos Kaiser. You’ll hear his music in the intro and at the end of the show. It is simply amazing, you definitely need to go and check out his work.

To get in touch with the show:


@tumblingsaber / @AttackOfPanaka on twitter



Star Wars Rebels: Legacy Review


“You’re always there when I need you most.”

– Ezra, to Kanan.

Talk about dialogue with dual purposes. In an episode where Ezra is feverishly looking for his lost parents after an intense force vision, there’s a lot of meat on that bone. It’s a reminder that Kanan, for all intents and purposes is, along with Hera, (who says “we’re family) Ezra’s parents. It could also be a bit of foreshadowing, as these types of lines are often spoken not too long before the subject of said line is taken away.

“Legacy” was certainly the saddest episode of the season, if not of the entire series. You could feel Ezra’s impatience and frustration as he moved mountains looking for his folks. Impatience and frustration…not prized character traits for a Jedi. It was perhaps another glimpse in to a potential dark future for Ezra, who again flashes his rapidly growing power when he served Agent Kallus a warning shot that he is not some twerpy kid to be messed with. Ezra’s desperation to find his parents finally boiled over when he rushed both Inquisitors, simply because they were standing in his way, not because they’re bad guys who need to be dealt with. Had Kanan not channeled his inner Hawkeye, it surely would have been the end of Ezra. Again, a foolhardy and brash decision that smacks of dark side leanings. With no support of the Jedi kind outside of Kanan and Ahsoka, (neither of them being full-fledged Jedi) who would pull Ezra back from the brink if that’s what it came to? Who would stop him if he went over the edge?

I also find it interesting how once again we return to Lothal, after the Force vision led Ezra there. There’s something special about this planet other than being the main setting of season one, and Ezra’s home world. In the larger scheme of things, we see just how small the Rebel Fleet has become…if that is indeed all that’s left. With seemingly so few resources, it’s going to take some work to get to the point where we see a fully formed group by the time A New Hope rolls around.

Ezra finally finds closure with his parents…or does he? Ryder Azadi (Prisoner X-10) confesses to know his parents, and their fates. Sadly for Ezra the news is less than happy but something tells me that there’s more than meets the eye with Azadi, and that the situation around Ezra’s parents isn’t as wrapped up as the episode wants us to believe it is.

As a last observation, it’s interesting to see Rex removed from the core group, and spending time on the Rebel command ship with Commander Sato. It makes sense on two levels, as his experience as a high-ranking clone and insider knowledge of how the Empire might function would serve the Rebellion well, not to mention that the show is about Ezra and the crew of the Ghost. Rex and Ahsoka may be fan favorites and they’ll have a larger part to play to be sure. But it would be too easy to let the weight of their characters overshadow the entire series, so we’ll have to live with secondary roles for Rex and Ahsoka for now.

We seem to be at the midseason break, presumably to let The Force Awakens have the titanic wide berth that it commands, but the back half of the season certainly looks like it will be full of action and surprises.

Thoughts and comments are always welcome! If you enjoy what you read here, please give a follow @tumblingsaber.