Star Wars Day

Taking a little detour from #TheBradshawChallenge momentarily to talk about Star Wars Day! May the 4th Be With You…always!! But especially today!

Let’s talk about ways you can celebrate!

1. Star Wars Marathon

This is the most ideal way to celebrate the day. But since the 4th falls on a Thursday this year, staying home and binge-watching Star Wars movies while eating a box of Wookie Cookies can be a little hard to accomplish. So maybe just choose your most favorite Star Wars movie and watch that today. My favorite is Return of the Jedi, so I will be watching that when I have a moment after work tonight!

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2. Rep Your Fandom

Another great way to celebrate today is to wear your fandom gear all day long! Here are some of my favorite Star Wars outfits as well as what I decided to wear today!

Today’s outfit:

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Other favorite Star Wars outfits:

styled by Star Wars Beep Boop Beep Clothing fblogger

Styled by Star Wars fblogger Her Universe

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3. Get in a Debate

Do you have anyone at work, at home, at the grocery story that likes Star Wars? Get in a debate with them. Say something about how much you love the prequels or that you think Jar Jar Binks isn’t the antichrist! That will kick start a quick conversation with any super fans in the vicinity and maybe make a new friend (or enemy depending on what you say!!)

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4. Spread the Love

A great way to decipher if someone is a true fan and potential new friend is to offer them the official greeting that must be said on Star Wars Day “May the 4th Be With You.” If someone says this to you, make sure to respond properly and to listen for those that do as well which is, of course… “And also with you!”

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5. Star Wars Book Club

Star Wars book club on Goodreads nerd blogger

Shameless plug coming up. If you are interested in going deeper into the Star Wars Expanded Universe, then my Star Wars Book Club is exactly what you should discover today on Star Wars Day. Head over the Goodreads and see what we’ve already read and what we are planning to read and jump in as you’d like. This month’s book is Thrawn by the incomparable Timothy Zahn.

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6. Tweet, Like, Meme, Gif, Post, Gram, Tumble, etc.

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Today is a day to embrace the social media juggernaut. Jump in with all you have and get involved in the inevitable fan fest that happens across all social media platforms today. What’s your favorite Star Wars Movie, tell me on Twitter? Do you have a favorite meme, share it with me on Instagram? Looking for someone to engage in step 3 with, connect with me on Facebook…I can debate the virtues of Hayden Christensen all day long!!

Don’t fight it. Join me!!
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7. Go Shopping

Today is a great day to have a little Star Wars shopping spree. Plenty of shops are having specials today in honor of Star Wars Day. Here are some of my favorite places to procure Star Wars merch… Her Universe, Beep Boop Beep Clothing, Think Geek, my local Goodwill and Salvation Army, Disney Store, and Etsy.

There are so many other way to celebrate Star Wars Day too. What are you doing today??

And May the 4th Be With You!

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12 Days of Star Wars

#12Days of Star Wars Instagram Challenge Nerds

Nerds!! There are only 11 days left till our eyes behold the next installment in the Star Wars saga. (10 if you plan on going on Thursday night!) This Star Wars is going to have a decidedly different flavor than the 7 that have preceded it. There will be no scrawl at the beginning of the film. It’s going to take place in a timeline that we are familiar with but with a whole slew of new characters. And I, personally, am on the edge of my seat waiting for opening night!! I can barely contain my excitement!

I’m doing a Star Wars Challenge over on Instagram to give myself an outlet for all my Star Wars joy! Come play! @nerdinthesand #12DaysofStarWars

#12Days of Star Wars Instagram Challenge Nerds

What are you most looking forward to seeing in Rogue One? Brand new characters like Jyn Orso, Captain Cassian Andor, K-2SO and Director Orson Krennic? The return of familiar characters like Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and Darth Vader himself? Perhaps you’re pumped to see how it’s going to set up the story to lead right into our beloved Original Trilogy? I can’t decide which part I’m most excited about.

I just know that every time a new Star Wars comes out I feel like I did in 1999 when The Phantom Menace came out and my friends, family and I waited in line for hours for that midnight showing.

I grew up with Star Wars (this you already know) so there was never a time when it wasn’t a part of my world. I don’t remember the first time I saw Episodes IV, V and VI. But I do remember when the news hit that George was finally going to give us a prequel trilogy. The impossible had become possible. There would be more Star Wars in our future!! I felt almost the same way in 2012 when Disney announced it’s acquisition of Star Wars and that  the purchase would mean that once again, the Star Wars universe would be expanding.

So yeah…I’m pumped! There is no fandom that hits me the way Star Wars does. No fandom has ever come close. And I think…no fandom ever will.

Get your tickets for Rogue One TODAY!

Prequels and Sequels and Spinoffs, Oh My!

If you are someone who is tired of seeing the same 7 or 8 franchises roll into theaters time and time again, I feel bad for ya, son. I got 99 problems, but that is definitely not one of them!

I LOVE them! And I’m not saying all of them or any of them deserve Oscars.

Look…it’s true, some of them are not good at all! But for every stinking sequel there’s a Force Awakens. For every sloppy spinoff, there’s an Agent Carter (her cancellation is not her fault!) or a Rogue One (which I’m already certain will be blowing us all away in under a month.) And for every poorly written prequel there’s a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And I’d watch a thousand bad prequels for the chance to get something as delightful as Fantastic Beasts in front of my eyes!!

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We are certainly living in the age of reboots, re-imaginings and big budget franchises. But again I say, I LOVE IT! When word broke that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and there would be a slew of new stories from that galaxy far, far away I was overjoyed. I love expanded universes. The deeper a story goes, the more involved it gets, the more I can lose myself in the fiction. That’s what makes the worlds of Harry Potter, Marvel and Star Wars so compelling and why they inspire the ticket and merchandise sales that they do.

Do you run the risk of overkilling something people dearly love? Of course. But the alternative is putting that franchise up in a box never to be touched. Never to be reimagined by someone who comes along and loves the world JK Rowling has created as much as JK herself. Art imitating and inspired by art is such a cool thing.

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JJ Abrams grew up on Star Wars, got into movies because of Star Wars and there he was directing his very own Star Wars movie. No matter what you thought about the film itself, doesn’t that inspire you?! JJ is one of us, one of our people (we the geeks) and he got to do what so many of us have only dreamed.

Just think, Harry Potter fans…think of the possibilities that the Wizarding World of JK Rowling holds for you. That world is not closed off. It’s not a 7 book, 8 movie story. There’s so much more and that means big things for you and your imagination!

So I say, prequel it up all you want, Hollywood. Just use Fantastic Beasts as a barometer on how to do it and do it well.

A House Divided

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No, I’m not talking about the current state of American politics. I’m talking about Star Wars.

I am an…avid lover of Star Wars, this you know. So is my cousin. But when it comes to The Force Awakens we have vastly differing opinions. Mine is one of love and effervescence, his of skepticism and tentative acceptance. My love of the Star Wars Universe is not more fervent or deep or borderline obsessive than his and yet, get us talking about The Force Awakens and Disney canon novels and we seem to be at odds.

He is not alone in his opinion and neither am I. And yet, he and I sat in the same living room when word came down the pipes that there were going to be more Star Wars in our near and extended future. The excitement, the childlike joy in both our eyes was the same. That nerdy, little twinkle lives in both of us. So what gives?

I recently came across a new Twitter friend who was as equally dismayed about The Force Awakens as my cousin, but unlike my cousin, who is very excited about the upcoming Rogue One, this friend was not at all excited about it.

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His Star Wars lives in a glass box. It’s incased in carbonite, in perfect hibernation, not to be touched or tainted by the outside world. Many fan people experience this when their favorite things get rebooted (i.e., Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, JEM, and most recently Ghostbusters.) Just like the mint condition toys that remain in their boxes with no scratches or scruff, so too should the movies remain. In some instances I agree and yet when it comes to Star Wars, I absolutely do not.

Star Wars is not the pristine tale of a perfect world. It doesn’t live high up on a shelf never to be touched by human hands. The Force is messy. The Jedi are flawed. The Dark Side is tempting. The stories of Star Wars are as scratched up as the humans who enjoy them.

Some poor sad soul out there might tell you that even the original trilogy is imperfect. Most fans will openly admit that the prequels are far from perfect. And there are some that call the new age of Star Wars an abomination, nothing more than a ploy by the House of Mouse to sell toys and keep us all tethered to consumerism.

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One could argue that all art, once it becomes popular, wrestles with that very dilemma. Make money and “sell out” or retain “freedom” by appealing only to the cult collective. Star Wars manages to walk the line between mainstream and absolutely nerdvana. No small feat.

Perhaps some of the fanboys and fangirls who aren’t excited about new stories from the Star Wars Universe are afraid. They’re afraid that what they love will be tainted by Muggles who don’t have the deep abiding love of that galaxy far, far away and are only in it for the pop culture references.

To be honest, I do have to bite my tongue when some poor little Muggle girl, who knows nothing, starts misquoting my beloved Star Wars.

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But it also opens the door for me to maybe make a new friend and to be a part of her story, even if it’s just to say “So, you like Star Wars, huh?”

Star Wars is and has always been about bringing people together. It’s a story of family and heroes and darkness and light. It’s all the best things put on a screen. And I count all Star Wars as my top favorite movies because they’re all connected for me. Sure, I have favorites. But the connecting story and the greater world of the Star Wars Universe is what I love. And if I get to see any part of that world, I find myself to be incandescently happy!!

After all, I am, at times, as poorly written as the love scenes in Episode II. I am, at times, as annoying as Jar-Jar Binks in Episode I. I, at times, obtain moments of triumph and victory like in the Throne Room in Episode IV. And I even, at times, experience heart break like with Han’s death in Episode VII.

We are human. And it’s easy for us to pick things apart. It’s easy to read into everything and see the bad and miss the good. I’m saying…be messy with me. You don’t have to love all Star Wars equally. But keep an open mind for what the future of the Star Wars Universe might hold for us. Allow it to play in the mud.

Don’t you think there were fans out there who were not eager for a sequel to Star Wars? People who thought it would suck? People who thought George was just out to capitalize on his success and make more money? Who cares if he was, we got The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi out of the deal. What would have happened if Star Wars had stayed in it’s glass box, high up on a shelf? Perish that thought!

Pink!

When I was a kid, I hated pink, with a vengeance. My deep and utter loathing extended into middle school and high school and even into college. I thought myself to be a cool-colors kinda girl, gravitating to blues, greens and purples instead of pinks, oranges and yellows.

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My insistence on the evils of a mere color were, to the modern me, a bit of a head-scratcher. Why did I hate it so much? As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always loved Disney Princesses and they are not above wearing pink. There was a time when I eschewed all things girlie in favor of all the toys and franchises that my brother liked. Power Rangers (hello! Pink and Yellow Rangers, anyone?), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Rafael and Michaelangelo were always my favorite… red and orange), X-men (I loved Jubilee who wears…yellow) and then, of course, Star Wars.

Looking back, the signs were all there. I’m a warm-colors hurricane and there’s no getting around it. I’m not sure when I began to let the pinks and reds and yellows into my life. There was no turning point for me.

One day I hated pink, the next day…pink water bottle, pink yoga mat, pink notebook, pink skirt, pink dress, pink pillow, pink hair, etc. Pink had invaded and it was like I had finally accepted the real me. The pink-loving, Princess dreaming girlie girl who loves Star Wars and Marvel and Power Rangers, who has a sword collection and is way too prepared to survive a zombie apocalypse.

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The problem was that I thought the two were mutually exclusive. Because girls like pink and don’t love action movies and boys hate pink and only talk about GI Joe, right? Of course, that’s not right. I wasn’t right back then. I just didn’t know better or really realize that there is only about .5% of the world’s population (maybe a little more) that cares about those traditional gender assignments. They care about girls being in “their place” and boys being in “their place.” (Whatever the hell that means.)

These are the same geniuses that are upset that there’s a female lead in the new Star Wars movie (actually they’re pissed about The Force Awakens and Rogue One.) They hate the idea that there will be ladies busting the Ghosts on the big screen soon. And they probably really, really hate all things pink.

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The joke is on them because the world has changed and is changing everyday. Girls like whatever they want. Boys like whatever they want. We all share a planet, so fighting about it seems like a big waste of time, if you ask me!

So ladies…go bust those ghosts and kick ass in space and like pink if you want or if blue just butters your bread…like that! You do you.

Men…you do you too.

And to the .05% population of haters out there that just love to hate…you can do you too, cause no one else is gonna do ya with that attitude!

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#NerdsLove

February is the month of love. Which often illicits a “Yuck” and an eye roll from me. Instead of my usual “down with love” attitude, I decided instead to share the things I love with my instapeeps. And the best part is that a bunch of you joined my challenge and shared the things you loved with me! Check out the hashtag #NerdsLove for more from everyone and each individual hashtag below for more specific expressions of love.

Me? I love it all! @NerdintheSand
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#NerdsLoveStarWars
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#NerdsLoveLaughing
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#NerdsloveGaming
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#NerdsloveAnimals
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#NerdsLoveZombies
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#NerdsloveJaneAusten
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#NerdsloveSports
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#NerdsloveStarTrek
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#NerdsLovePizza
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#NerdsLoveFashion
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#NerdsloveBuffy
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#NerdsloveDeadpool
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#NerdsloveMarvel
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#NerdsloveLOVE
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#NerdslovePresidents
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#NerdsloveFitness
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#NerdsloveConventions
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#NerdsloveDancing
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#NerdsloveTravel
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#NerdsloveSand
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#NerdsloveFamily
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#NerdsloveMondays
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#NerdsloveSocial
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#NerdsloveKiddos
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#NerdsloveFriends
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#NerdsloveHarryPotter
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#NerdsloveDisney
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#NerdsloveMusic
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#NerdsloveSpring
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It’s never too late to share what you love. The hashtag #Nerdslove is not going anywhere! Do you love something? Share it!
We’re all nerdy for something.

Nerd in the City Book Club is on Goodreads

Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in theaters, I attempted to make my way through the old canon of Expanded Universe materials. But since I only started in January of last year, I didn’t get very far. There is just so much to get through and I am a slow reader. I like to take my time with books and really live in them for a little while.

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So…my mission failed.

But I will not be discouraged by my lack of accomplishment. Instead I will embark on a new endeavor and I want you to come along for the ride. Over on Goodreads, I’ve started a Nerd in the City book club. 1 book a month…totally doable. And we are starting with The Phantom Menace novelization, which is the first canon book according to the Disney Reading Group.

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I know…it’s not original canon. And I know that some of you are still stinging from the pain of the disbanding of it. My very own cousin, Wesley, refuses to read any of the new stuff in solidarity with George Lucas’ vision for the Star Wars Universe.

But, reader…the past is the past. It’s time to move forward. The old canon isn’t going anywhere and if you happen to have about 15 years on your hands in the future, then you should definitely dive right in. I intend to finish that mission one day, when I’m old and gray and have nothing but time.

As for right now, I want to prepare myself for Star Wars: Episode VIII which will be released in December of 2017. If my calculations are correct and barring any unforeseen book releases, if we start reading The Phantom Menace in February, we should be reading The Force Awakens novelization by November 2017 which is complete perfection. What a great way to immerse in the SWU while we suffer the pain of waiting for the next movie. (Pain may be a bit strong.)

Anyways…the invitation is open. The virtual cookies have been baked and my virtual living room is very comfortable. So I hope you bring a friend!

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The Redemption of Kylo Ren

The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!

Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.

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Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.

Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.

Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.

We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?

All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.

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In the meantime, I invite you to come join my Nerd in the City book club on Goodreads. So much delicious Star Wars Expanded Universe reading material to dive into and dissect!! Do not miss out!

Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

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Last week, an article was released on Retro Zap called “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” Finding it rather interesting, I posted it to my various social media sites encouraging my followers to read it. One of my favorite Twitter friends had a response and this is it:

THERE ARE SPOILERS!! Of course there are spoilers. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet and have come to my blog, then you’re sorta asking to be spoiled, aren’t you now? 

Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

by Michael Burgett

“By now, most everyone has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens numerous times (I say most everyone because it’s still behind Avatar & Titanic in worldwide box office). And there have been a wide range of articles written about the movie and every nuance that could be found within it.  One that was interesting, brought to my attention by my friend Liz, was an article entitled “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?

The article itself doesn’t necessarily answer the question, although it does tell what Ben can possibly do to overcome what has happened.  But the question still hangs there….is Kylo Ren redeemable?

Granted, we are asking this question and are only one film into this trilogy of Star Wars films.  We do not know the journey that took Ben Solo to Kylo Ren.  We do not know the journey that will take place in the next two films.  What we do know is the actions that Kylo took in The Force Awakens.  He killed his own father, Han Solo.  For many, that may seem to be the unredeemable offense.

But let’s imagine we’re back in 1980.  We have just walked out of the movie theater after watching The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.  We have watched Darth Vader and all the evil things he had done.  We will have had two films to base our opinion of him.  If someone came up to you and asked “Is Darth Vader redeemable?” what would our response have been?  I would guess that most would respond with a resounding no.  He was portrayed as one of the ultimate villains.  He is “THE bad guy” when you think of bad guys.

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However, as we came to find out in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader was redeemable.  He found redemption and became Anakin Skywalker again.  It was not without doubt.  Most everyone even in the Star Wars universe thought that it wasn’t possible.  It was not without sacrifice.  Vader had to sacrifice his life to save his son from Emperor Palpatine.  But it did happen and that redemption changed the course of history in the Star Wars universe.

We saw one act of deplorability from Kylo Ren.  Granted it was a pretty deplorable act that he did.  But if you compare him to Vader (and in many ways that’s what he himself is trying to do), he is no less redeemable.  By the time we get to Return of the Jedi, Vader had committed numerous deplorable acts to both people he loved and people he didn’t know.

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So I would say that yes, Kylo Ren is redeemable.  Deep down, we all like and root for a redemption story because it gives us hope.  Hope for a brighter future.  Hope for change.  If Darth Vader can change, if Kylo Ren can change, then maybe anyone can change.

The question then becomes “Will Kylo Ren be redeemed?”  That is the tougher question to answer.  It is one thing to say if someone is redeemable, it’s another to say whether they will or not.  One may be given all the opportunities in the world to be redeemed and not take them.  For all we know the scene with Kylo and his father may be the last time or it may just be the first time there is the opportunity for redemption.

We will have to wait and see how things transpire in the next two films.  Kylo Ren stands at the same crossroads with the same opportunity to respond to redemption as his grandfather did.  He will have that same choice to make.  And we will be on the edge of our seats to see how he responds.”

 

Michael Burgett is a nerd in a different city. He has a blog called “There and Back Again” and is a part of a podcast called “Reactor Radio.” Go check out all the things Michael is up to and follow him on Twitter at @MichaelBurgett

Reader, what do you think? Is Kylo redeemable at all? Or is it just a matter of time till he is redeemed?

I will be posting my thoughts on this matter tomorrow. Stay tuned…