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R.I.P. NIEN NUNB
Nien Nunb, Lando Calrissian's co-pilot at the Battle of Endor, met his maker last month, and as befitting the quiet hero, it seems like a lot of people didn't notice.
Upon repeated viewings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it's apparent he's engulfed in an explosion aboard the Tantive IV, which was the very first ship we saw when Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977.
I commented on Twitter about it and was met with incredulity from a number of places:
But it was quickly confirmed by Rae Carson, the author of the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker. The actor behind Nien Nunb, Mike Quinn, is reporting that the character lived, but I was able to confirm Nien’s death with others in the know.
The actor behind Nien Nunb, Mike Quinn, is reporting that the character lived, but I was able to confirm Nien's death with others in the know.
That being said, when you watch The Rise of Skywalker carefully, the bridge of the Tantive IV explodes just before Rey is able to reach out to the Jedi of the past.
It's sad to see him go, but he died doing what he loved: Defending the galaxy from fascists. It's been interesting to see the reaction from fans who felt this background character deserved a "nobler" death than the one he got. Were this Star Trek, his manner of death would have definitely earned him a place in Sto'Vo'Kor. There was an uproar when Admiral Ackbar met a similar death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but I'm personally not sure why anyone would have a problem with warriors dying in wars.
As you watch the film again, notice how much Nunb's loss aids in the emotion of the scene leading up to the Jedi reaching out to Rey.
It's a thing of beauty.
So, to Nien Nunb, we say, rest well and godspeed. We hardly knew you.
MAZ KANATA IN THE FLESH
Some fans might have noticed something different about Maz Kanata during her brief appearances in The Rise of Skywalker. In her previous appearances in the sequel trilogy, she's been a completely computer-generated character. For The Rise of Skywalker, though, Creature And Special Make-Up Effects Creative Supervisor Neal Scanlon set out to make her an animatronic.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Scanlon explained that this was his team taking the pioneering spirit of Star Wars and advancing their craft. He also said it was something the director pushed for because Maz was so intimately involved in the scenes with General Leia Organa. "She represented more to us than just an animatronic," he said. "[J.J. Abrams] wanted those that were involved in [the Leia] sequences to be intimately involved, and that included the animatronics."
It's an impressive bit of work and something to look out for the next time you see the film.
BILLIE LOURD'S LEIA
There's another scene in The Rise of Skywalker that's surprising: The flashback of Luke training Leia on Ajan Kloss. In it, we see a period-accurate Luke and Leia training and fighting before they take their masks off to reveal themselves. Leia's face in this sequence is taken from Return of the Jedi-era shots, but her body was played by none other than Carrie Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, who also portrays Kaydel Ko Connix in the sequel trilogy.
It's such a wonderful way to honor Carrie Fisher in her final Star Wars appearance. For more on the VFX behind Fisher's appearances in The Rise of Skywalker, check out our story here.
THE CLONE WARS - SIEGE OR PURGE?
With a new batch of episodes coming next month from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, people have, of course, been speculating about what we might be seeing in the seventh and final season.
We do know that one of the story arcs we're getting is "The Siege of Mandalore." And in the final episode of Season 1 of The Mandalorian, Moff Gideon mentions a siege of Mandalore and then wields the Darksaber. The timeline has caused a bit of confusion for viewers.
The Siege of Mandalore that we'll be seeing on The Clone Wars happens 30+ before the events of The Mandalorian and sets up a conflict between Ahsoka Tano and Maul that was hinted at in E.K. Johnston's novel Ahsoka. The Darksaber will play a role in that, as Maul is in possession of it, but because of Star Wars Rebels, we know that he remains in possession of it. We also know that the "Purge of Mandalore" hasn't yet happened by the end of Rebels through the expository history we get of Mandalore from Sabine Wren's character.
Then there's the fact that the last time we saw the Darksaber and the Mandalorians was just prior to the Battles of Scarif and Yavin.
The purge will have happened sometime after that. Likely in a response to the Mandalorians uniting against the Empire.
So when Moff Gideon refers to the "Night of a Thousand Tears" ― itself a play on the real-life events "The Night of Long Knives" and "Trail of Tears" he refers to a siege of Mandalore, but it's not the siege we'll be seeing on The Clone Wars. It's much more likely he uses the word "siege" when the Mandalorians use the word "purge" for the same event.
So, in short, don't expect a whole lot of answers for The Mandalorian on this upcoming season of The Clone Wars.
There are reports that the seventh season of The Clone Wars will bow on Disney+ on February 17, but there is no official confirmation of that. February is all we know.
STAR WARS RESISTANCE
This week sees a special two-part episode of Star Wars Resistance that you're going to want to check out. Griff Halloran, voiced by Stephen Stanton, gets a shot at some of the spotlight in these episodes, as does Lucy Lawless, making her Star Wars debut. These are fun episodes that raise the stakes as we head toward a conclusion that brings us closer and closer to The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars Resistance airs on Sunday on Disney and DisneyXD.
Until next week: May the Force be with you!