Category Archives: Fandoms

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Meet Bail Organa: Princess Leia’s Real Dad

In one of my Spanish classes at BYU, there was a page in my textbook devoted to Latino actors that American students may have heard of. My professor pointed out that one of them, Jimmy Smits, had been in Star Wars. My classmates had no idea what he was talking about.

And I was like, “¿Por que no saben el padre adoptivo de princesa Leia?”  *smh*

Oscar Isaac and Diego Luna are cool, don’t get me wrong. I love both of their characters. But Jimmy Smits was here first. Jimmy Smits played Bail Organa in Attack of the Clones (briefly) and Revenge of the Sith, and he reprised the role for Rogue One. Bail Organa is the real MVP of supporting characters in the Prequels, if not the whole saga. This is not just because of the casting. And not just because he’s Princess Leia’s adoptive dad (although this point does have a lot to do with what I’m trying to say here). It’s because he’s a government leader and representative willing to stand up and speak out for what is right on important issues. To use the internet slang term, he is WOKE.

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Coruscant Daily

We don’t get more than a couple of scenes of Bail in Episode II. We do know, however, that he has been working very closely with Padme Amidala to stop the Military Creation Act. Bail is from Alderaan, which, like Naboo, has a people who are traditionally pacifist. As senator from Alderaan, Bail wants to keep the Republic from declaring war on the Separatists, instead encouraging diplomacy and negotiation. When the war breaks out and the Chancellor sends the Clone Army across the galaxy, Bail is not happy. He know that the galaxy is headed the wrong direction.

I didn’t know who he was the first time I saw Attack of the Clones. But something about his sadness in this moment stuck with me.

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The war starting doesn’t stop Bail from fighting to prevent the Republic from crumbling, however. Bail didn’t actually do much for me in the Clone Wars tv series (And it didn’t really explain what Obi-wan had done to “serve” him in that time). But he has Padmé’s back. And Padmé has his back. Bail Organa is an example of perseverance.

Voice Actor Phil Lamar played Bail in the Clone Wars tv series. Lamar came to Salt Lake Comic Con last fall, and at the Star Wars voice actors’ panel he said he’d go watch Jimmy Smits in NYPD Blue to figure out the voice and he used the line “Have the protocol’s memory wiped” from ROTS for reference.

Revenge of the Sith is where Bail Organa truly shines. We know from a series of deleted scenes for the film that Bail was working behind the scenes with Padmé, Mon Mothma, and a group of other concerned senators to protest the Chancellor’s excessive use of executive power. Even when that fails, he remains vigilant.

When he sees the fire at the Jedi temple, he KNOWS something is up. He’s not just a politician: he is a concerned citizen who sees the need to act. No Force superpowers, just a generous heart and a strong conscience. Just look at his face when the Clone troopers tell him to leave: he smells a rat.

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And then he watches a padawan get gunned down in front of him. That’s when Bail knows that something is REALLY wrong.

Although Bail had appeared onscreen earlier in the film, this is the part where we start paying attention to him. Bail gets his staff and leaves Coruscant to see if they could find any Jedi survivors and help them out—knowing very well that they would be risking their lives to do so. Like Padme, he believed that the galaxy needed the Jedi to preserve freedom.

I couldn’t tell you how he knew that Yoda was on Kashyyk—probably the news. But Yoda’s last meeting with the Jedi council was the meeting where they decided to send Obi-wan to Utapau. Yoda confided this to Bail, and Bail headed off in that general direction.

Meanwhile, Obi-wan Kenobi stole the late General Grievous’ personal starfighter and sent out an emergency broadcast.  The first answer he gets:

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“Senator Organa???”

WIth Obi-wan and Yoda taken into refuge on the Tantavie IV, Bail sits down to help the Jedi survivors make their next move. He is happy to help out with whatever they need him to do. He sticks with Yoda and is waiting to pick him up when he loses his battle with Palpatine.

Then it’s off to the outer rim to rendezvous with Obi-wan and…oh no. Padmé. Dying of a broken heart. Losing the republic she had worked so hard to save, losing the husband she had tried so hard to love–it was too much for her. And Bail has to watch one of his best friends and colleagues die. *sad feelings*

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*Sadness Intensifies* Den of Geek

He agrees to help Obi-wan and Yoda go into exile. As for the two babies that Padmé left behind, Bail immediately volunteers to take the girl.  

“My wife and I have talked about adopting a baby girl. She will be loved with us.”

My mom didn’t let me see Revenge of the Sith until about a year and a half after it came out. Before then, I asked her how much Princess Leia’s adoptive dad knew about where the twins had really come from. Mom said he’d been informed that she had a brother. I didn’t expect that he really knew about the whole Vader thing, though.

When I finally saw it, I learned that Bail knew quite a lot.

According to Bloodline, Bail. knew. EVERYTHING.

The fact that Bail and his wife Breha had adopted Leia meant a lot to me, considering that I have a brother who is adopted. If Bail had any qualms about making the biological offspring of Anakin Skywalker—dark lord of the Sith Darth Vader™—a princess, they weren’t important. What Bail counted on, correctly, was that Leia was also part Padmé—a fearless warrior and politician. Bail keeps the movement he started to resist the Empire going, and Leia ends up front and center of it. Logic would dictate that if you want to hide your child from the Sith, that you don’t want them in a place of prominence. Leia is the princess of Alderaan, and at a young age she is an aide to her father in the Senate and helping out the rebellion in her spare time. When she’s 18, Bail steps down from his senate seat to work for the Rebellion full-time, and Leia has the reins. It’s a subtle payback to the Emperor’s favorite henchman, hiding the daughter he doesn’t know about in plain sight and using her against them. If anything, Bail has a sense of humor. But he also had a sense of where Leia’s strengths could be put to good use—and of what Padmé would probably have wanted for her children.

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Star Wars Anonymous <3 <3 <3

Bail Organa is very good at being unruffled. He doesn’t show his emotions a lot, which is handy if you’re a politician. Instead, he shows his quiet strength through working for the common good. He proves that you can stand up to evil without expressing violence or anger through your behavior—you fight back by being a leader.

He is known, of course, for building the Rebel Alliance. What started as a movement to protest the political corruption in the Republic and later Imperial senate resulted in a military group devoted to overthrow the Empire by force of arms. It is anything but what a man of Bail Organa’s character and ideals would want, but he contributes to it because he believes that the galaxy would be a much better place if the Republic was restored—because he does NOT believe in what the Empire stands for, because the Empire’s system of government will NOT give the galaxy the freedom and justice it deserves. And because chances are, the Alliance can’t use its political muscle or influence over public opinion to topple the Empire.

He did not intend to start another full-scale war to overthrow the Empire. There are hints in Rogue One and A New Hope that the Rebel Alliance had influence in the Imperial Senate, enough to make Imperial bigwigs nervous, so it would have been more of a political party (naturally the Senate being dissolved in ANH would moot that). The Rebel military, ideally, was supposed to help protect and serve people in the galaxy who were threatened by the Empire. But what the Alliance was doing required lies, deception, and breaking the law, things that Bail would otherwise never condone.

If Bail Organa had had any notion, at the outset of his political career, that near the end of his life he would be working to overthrow a government, he probably wouldn’t have believed it.

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The Mary Sue

Then along came the Death Star. He and Mon Mothma knew what was at stake. It was a weapon that could destroy entire planets—Bail and his entire homeworld would be destroyed with it. The Empire could use it to control anyone or anything they wanted.

In spite of the disapproval of the Alliance Council, Rogue One went and did the thing anyway. So with Bail and Mothma’s approval, the Rebel fleet went to Scarif to help out.

It seems that Bail had trusted Mothma enough to tell her what really happened to Obi-wan Kenobi after the Clone Wars. And he was going to send Leia to get Kenobi, and that would sooner or later lead to her finding her long-lost twin brother and learning about her origins. Not only was the Rebel Alliance going to war, but his daughter was going to be fully involved from that point on. Those were some big decisions for Bail. It couldn’t have been easy.

Someone on Tumblr recently pointed out the following:

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Bail and Breha probably never found out that Leia’s mission had been carried out by R2-D2. They never lived to see her escape and lead the Rebel Alliance to victory. It’s kind of depressing, when you think about it. A lot of things about Alderaan getting blown up are depressing, but mostly Leia losing her whole family. And the galaxy suffering the loss of yet another of its greatest activists.

In another recent popular sci-fi movie, a character having a crisis over discovering his father’s identity was told, “He may have been your father, but he weren’t your daddy.” This is Leia’s relationship to both of her dads summed up. Darth Vader may have been her biological father, but the man who raised her, the man she was proud to call father, was Bail Organa.

shorelle: Bail would be a pretty rad space dad; here he is helping bb Leia with her hair. HEADCANON ACCEPTED:


Bloodline by Claudia Gray opens up with a dedication of a statue of Bail on Hosnian Prime. Leia gives an awesome speech:

“It was my privilege to know him as both a leader and a father….He taught me so much about politics, leadership, and war, but above all he taught me that no price is too great to pay for our ideals….My father gave us one legacy more precious than any other–a galactic peace. All of us here today have inherited the responsibility to preserve that peace from this day forward.”

The scandal about her birth father a few months later makes everyone forget, of course. But Leia and Luke have always been a good example of the impact a nurturing family can have, in spite of a wayward nature.

(Also Hosnian Prime gets blown up in The Force Awakens…did that hurt Leia, to lose one more reminder of her father? BRB crying)

We also read in Bloodline that A) Bail was going to tell Leia the whole truth eventually, when the Sith were no longer a threat, and B) Bail and Breha loved their daughter very much and they were so proud of her.

I was beyond delighted that Jimmy Smits decided to reprise the role of Bail Organa for Rogue One. And I was speechless when he did this for the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars:

So that’s it, I’ve gone and shown my appreciation for an obscure but very important Star Wars character. What Bail Organa did made a huge difference. I hope that this post will inspire you to make a difference, too. But I must say: hey, Lucasfilm, if we’re getting novels about Leia, why not the man who raised her? He’s already cool for doing the right thing, but when you look closer, he’s actually kind of complex.

Read More:

The Mary Sue: A Tribute to Bail Organa

Tumblr Meta: The Tragedy of Bail Organa

Tumblr Meta: Bail Knew it was Time

Short Fanfiction: A Custody Lawsuit

Fanfiction I wrote: My Jedi Character Goes to Alderaan

Tale as Old as Time: Why ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a Favorite Fairy Tale

Ask me what my favorite Disney movie is, and I’ll tell you it’s Beauty and the Beast. Because it’s simply the best. “Beauty and the Beast,” “Belle,” and “Be Our Guest” are among my favorite Disney songs. Belle is my third-favorite Disney Princess after Aurora and Mira Nova, and Belle set the Disney trend for strong female heroines. Plus her golden ball gown is gorgeous. The movie has some of the most quotable lines (“You should learn to control your temper” and “if it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it”) . There’s a million little things I like about Beauty and the Beast.

The recent live-action remake I think could have been handled differently, but it has some fun nuances to it. One of my biggest takeaways from the remake, even before I got around to seeing it, was the need to ask myself a question: why is ‘Beauty and the Beast’ a popular fairy tale and what is it about it that appeals to us, particularly the Disney version? In discussing this topic, I will wax very personal and, at times, spiritual.

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An Extraordinary Story

David Delbar, one of my BYU friends, once told me in passing that he liked to collect and compare different versions of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I asked him if he would share a few thoughts on the subject:

Pinning down a fairy tale’s appeal is no easy task, but one aspect of the story that has universal application is the union with the Other. Our version, which was transmitted through Leprince de Beaumont, was originally written for school girls, and it is possible that the tale was meant to prepare young women for their eventual marriage, a frightening event where the strange bridegroom no doubt seemed an unruly beast. Its modern appeal to men might be the contemporary story’s focus on awakening manhood, where the transition between boy to man is mediated through the angst and anger-filled teenage years. In either case, the idea of love mediated by magic, the hope to love and to be loved in return, is a basic human desire. That Belle and the Beast overcome insurmountable obstacles to obtain this precious relationship no doubt gives us a vicarious hope that we can do likewise.

That about summarizes it, but let me put it in my own words, in 2000 words or more.

The original fairy tale is a fable on the theme that kindness, goodness, and love are superior virtues to beauty and vanity. There are hundreds, thousands of other folktales the world over with similar messages, warning those who hear or read them to not be deceived by outward appearances. And it’s a theme that plays out a lot in real life, because what you see on the surface of something or someone can be vastly different from what is inside.

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ stands out because we have a heroine who simply likes books and wants to save her father, and a beast who lives in a castle filled with odd delights. Retelling ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is, for some, a chance to explore magic and worldbuilding—what kind of creature is the beast? Who are his servants? How were they enchanted? How is the maiden entertained in the castle? It also touches on the most tender, most desirable of human relationships, that of romantic love. Love is the theme of the archetypal test that the heroine faces: she can have whatever she wants if she lives in this palace with a hideous beast, and if she falls in love with him he will turn into a prince, and she will have achieved an ideal standard of living. It is a fantasy in every sense of the word that plays on human desire (material comforts and romantic love with an attractive partner) but at the same time makes us question what we would do to get them—or even if they’re important.

Retellings of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ can sometimes explore other themes as well. My mom’s absolute favorite book is Beauty by Robin McKinley, which is about a heroine who has to come to terms with her own self-worth while she stays in the castle. I, however, took a better liking to the weirdly amazing Rose Daughter by the same author, where Beauty gets on her hands and knees to save the Beast’s rose garden.

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My friend, the author Jenni James, has written two novel versions of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, one for her Faerie Tales series which she is in the process of adapting for a film, and Beauty is the Beast. She shares the following:

The most intriguing part about Beauty and the Beast is the growth and the ability to not just hope for love, but believe in it, feel it, and learn from it. I think we can all learn from the hard lessons the beast goes through. There are many times when we close ourselves off from the world, only to find it much more kind and forgiving than we imagined. My whole goal as an author is to leave the reader happier and with more hope than when they first picked up the book. It’s stories like Beauty and the Beast, that truly help bring magic to others and are the easiest and most fun to write.

The Disney Masterpiece

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast came out right before I was born. I grew up watching it on VHS. It was entertaining when I was a small child, but when I got into high school I fell in love with it because I absolutely related to it.

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I was just like Belle when I was in high school—well, maybe I wasn’t quite as assertive. But I was a girl who loved books and had big dreams stuck in a “provincial town” for school. I had barely been diagnosed with Autism. I didn’t have any close friends. I didn’t really fit in. (A couple of online personality quizzes I’ve taken recently suggest that I am still Belle in BOTH Disney versions!).

As I got a little older, wiser, and sadder, I started trying to teach myself to be social and to reach out to people around me. But it was difficult, and the results were not immediate. I assumed that because it was difficult for me to socialize that there was something wrong with me. I assumed because I had different interests from other people, because I didn’t know how to socialize normally, because of other obstacles in my personal life that made me feel terrible about myself, that I was a monster. In fact, I was accused at one point of being too arrogant to accept the friendship of those around me because I was too good for everyone else. And that wasn’t a complete falsehood.

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Not a human. Not a person. Not a part of the crowd.

In other words,

I was the Beast.

I did work to improve my social skills, and those efforts paid off, but there wasn’t really a clean-cut ending to my fairy tale, even though for a long time I pretended that there was. Because, ten years later, I’m still asking myself if I really learned the lessons that I needed to, and if I’m really “normal” after everything I went through.  In other words, have I really left the Beast—the dark side of my inadequacy—behind me?

I do know what changed though. I changed into a person who wanted to be able to love and respect others and to carry out friendships with people who were different from me. I learned that I was capable of becoming a better person. And I guess if you want to look at it in a better light, I am the Beast in the sense that I am learning to be more “human.”

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I guess it doesn’t hurt to think of myself as both Beauty AND the Beast. In a way, the story kind of ties back to that conflict of feelings within each of us—light versus dark, peace versus anger. The Disney version is unique because Belle and the Beast both have to deal with their stubborn sides. They put aside their issues to show respect to each other. And then they connect because they realize they are both, in their own ways, different.

Lessons from a Legend

There are two major themes in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that I want to talk about. The first one is true love. There are many different kinds of love, but the truest, deepest love that one person can have for another person is the selfless kind, the kind that In the LDS Church we call Charity (see 1 Corinthians 13 and Moroni 7: 45-48). True love is loving someone without regard for their appearance or their flaws, and being willing to do whatever it takes to make that other person happy. It is a kind of love that can exist in any relationship.

Now, let me be clear: the moral of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is to not fall in love romantically with an undesirable person on purpose. People who are disadvantaged need to be lifted up. You don’t need to marry them or make them your best friend. But you do need to be kind and treat everyone with respect. And if someone you love needs help, let them know that you love them.

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And loving someone doesn’t mean that you approve of everything they do or you ignore the things they do wrong. You can invite them to change, and if they don’t you still love them. That’s the kind of love that Charity is.

The song “Beauty and the Beast” is about the miracle of finding romantic love. But it is also about the more important love that lies underneath, the change of heart that comes with getting to know another person and accepting them for who they are.  Relationships and friendships of every kind change us, some of them tremendously. And that process of developing love of any kind for another person has a strange beauty all its own. Learning to love, especially learning to love again after that feeling has been lost, is a miraculous, sometimes painful process. Acceptance in spite of the obstacles of human pride and frailty includes, but is not limited to, acceptance of oneself.

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Secondly, there is the theme of transformation, or more importantly redemption. No one is perfect, but there are some people who feel like their faults make them not as good as everyone else. What makes us imperfect can, in fact, make some people feel like monsters, and society often describes vice as being monstrous. People who sense their weakness want to change, to become better. Trying to change yourself can be difficult. We put in the effort, and it can seem like it isn’t working. But then suddenly doing things differently becomes easy. Our outlook is different. The burden is easier to carry. The force that creates this change is ultimately a power beyond our own. We do not control the change, we simply choose to allow it. 

‘Beauty and the Beast’ hints at the Christian awareness of human nature, the fact that our flaws make us “bestial” in the sight of God. Repentance and self-correction pave the way for Grace and forgiveness, affects that are very real but can be described as a supernatural and miraculous change that comes because of Love, especially Divine Love. And with becoming a different person, ironically, we discover our “true“ self. The change of heart and understanding is captured so beautifully by this story. It is through the actions of love—kindness to strangers, compassion to friends, the everyday patience between husband and wife, sacrifice and generosity, the mediation of Christ—that we do the things that change our nature. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is evidence of the truth in the statement, “Fairy Tales are more than true, not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” People who love this story see it as evidence of this truth, even if they don’t understand it.  You don’t have to be a beast. You CAN overcome.

The wonders of an enchanted castle are nothing in comparison to the real miracles that the story is about: coming to understand someone else, and having a change of heart. Wrongs can be righted, scars can be healed, opposition and pain can be removed. You think that change isn’t possible, and then suddenly you see the difference. It’s the reason I’m drawn to redemption stories, like that of Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, or The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes, but by now I’ve given you an earful about both of them in my other posts. Simply put, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a metaphor for redemption. It is a story that encourages us to believe in the impossible, especially when it comes to seeing the good in others.

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In the Beauty and the Beast reboot, Mrs. Potts sings the following at the finale that I think describes what I am trying to share with you.

“Winter turns to spring

Famine turns to feast

Nature points the way

Nothing more to say

Beauty and the Beast”

Beauty and the Beast is a story about overcoming. It’s about the human hope for things that we think are impossible: acceptance in the face of opposition, love in spite of hate, and monstrosity being overcome by the beauty of goodness.

40 Years of Star Wars: The Editorial

On this day forty years ago, Star Wars: A New Hope came to cinemas.

Forty years ago. Think of it. That was before a lot of us were born. Some of us have parents who weren’t even born then. Some of us have parents who were there in the summer of 1977 who went and saw it and then saw it again and again and again, and who were there for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

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My Thoughts on the First Star Trek Discovery Trailer

Remember that time when CBS was going to release their all new Star Trek Discovery series in January 2017? Yeah, that didn’t happen. You remember, it was going to feature that really hideous ship. The one that left almost all of us wondering: What are they thinking? If you don’t remember, here was the “First Look” from July of last year:

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Liz’s 12 Takeaways from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 over two weeks ago. I’ve been either too lazy or too tired to write down my thoughts about it. But it’s time to stop procrastinating.

Jake wrote a very awesome and succinct review of it already that put in words more of my general thoughts about the film. So I’m taking a different approach as to what I got out of this movie and listing some of the specifics. Assuming most of you have seen it by now, I felt free in including spoilers as necessary.

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Doctor Who: Oxygen- We Need to Talk

Oxygen, the latest Doctor Who episode just premiered on Saturday, and we need to talk about it. Normally, I try to make these kinds of posts spoiler free, but not this time. Please consider this a friendly and courteous spoiler warning. There is an image right after this paragraph, and then there will be spoilers, so if you have not seen the episode, please stop reading after this paragraph, go and watch the episode, then come back and we can discuss.

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Can Wonder Woman Save the DCEU?

The DCEU is in trouble. How much trouble depends on who you ask, but almost everyone agrees that not all is well in the house that Batman built. They need someone or something to step up and deliver a solid win in their movie franchise. A win like they haven’t seen since Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. A win they’ve been wanting while watching their competition, Marvel, have success after success. Simply put, the DCEU needs a hero. Or maybe a heroine. Wonder Woman is that Heroine. She can deliver a film that connects with existing fans while expanding the fan base further into the mainstream.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Following the success of 2014’s Guardians of the GalaxyMarvel wasted no time putting together a follow-up. Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was announced, the anticipation from fans has been building. Could the sequel live up to the fun and pure entertainment of the original? Or was the original an example of almost impossible to duplicate lightning in a bottle? Read on to find out as I present my spoiler free review of GOTG Vol. 2.

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40 Things I Love About Star Wars, Part 4

This week I am going to round out my list of 40 things I love about Star Wars. But I have decided that this is only the beginning of celebrating the 40th anniversary of this franchise. This year, I want to write a total of 40 posts about Star Wars, both for TGM and my personal blog, The Jedi in Jeans. We’ve got a long ways to go, so stay tuned! Enjoy May the 4th this week, if you have a minute with all the other fandom shenanigans going on.

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National Superhero Day- 10 Favorite Superheroes

Today, April 28, is National Superhero Day. Right now, it is one of those made up holidays, but it should be a real national holiday. To celebrate, I have put together a list of 10 of my favorite superhero characters. Read on to find out who made my list this time around, and then let me know what your list would be.

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