I was musing the other day about what exactly what it was about the Star Wars television shows that I loved so much more than the movies.
I’ll be the first to say when it comes to Star Wars, I have a deep love of the Filoniverse. I liked the Originally Trilogy growing up, and the Prequels are… a thing (that I’ve come to appreciate more because of the tv shows). But it was Clone Wars that gave me my love of Star Wars. Then Rebels deepened that love. Now as we’re getting into the second half of Resistance season one, I’m feeling that same joy and love.
A lot of it really comes down the television format. I had a discussion one time with a friend comparing Bodhi Rook from Rogue One to Hera Syndulla from Rebels. He was saying that Bodhi was far more underdeveloped than Hera which was upsetting for him since Hera was from a “kids show.” I pointed out that of course she was more developed. Bodhi was in a movie that clocked in a little over two hours. Hera had four seasons of the television show with multiple episodes focused on her. Of course she would be a fully fleshed out character by the end of it, because she had more screen time. I really love the television format, because you get more time with everyone to tell a longer story. Imagine some of the characters from the movies were in television. You might have more time to get to know them better.
Oh wait, we’re already doing that in Resistance with Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma. Hell, Phasma only had a little more than three minutes in both of her movies according to IMDB. She already as surpassed that in Resistance and the season hasn’t even finished yet. I like that we get more time focusing and developing these characters in this format. It makes me very excited to see what the live action shows will do, especially with the Cassian Andor show.
Lately, I’ve started to appreciate more and more the little things in the shows as well. I first noticed it in the Resistance episode “The Platform Classic.” We meet Yeager’s brother Marcus, and they have a rocky past surrounding Yeager’s family. At the end of the episode, they resolve some of the conflict, but Yeager doesn’t fully forgive his brother.
I started thinking how nice it was to get a small story like that. Unlike Clone Wars, while it did have self contained stories, it was part of a bigger war. I realized recently that there are very few episodes of Clone Wars where the main characters of Ahsoka, Anakin, and Obi-Wan are by themselves dealing with character driven things NOT connected to the war. They each have focused episodes, but it’s not just about their core group by themselves. I can only really think of the Mortis Arc that focuses just on them outside of the war.
Recently, we covered the episode “Fighter Flight” from Rebels on my podcast, and I had the same similar thought I had with “The Platform Classic.” It’s a simple story where Zeb and Ezra are fighting, and Hera sends them shopping together. And then they end up stealing a Tie Fighter. Sure, they fight the Empire, but it’s not the main story. The focus is Zeb and Ezra becoming friends and getting over their differences. It’s a character driven episode that pushes them through a very small conflict.
This is why I like the television shows so much. In the movies, everything is just dialed up to eleven at all times with either a Death Star looming or a Starkiller Base destroying everything. They have all the massive big bads that need to be dealt with. And sure, the television shows have this too with Darth Maul, Tarkin, Vader, and now Phasma and the First Order. But the shows can take more time having smaller adventures. We can have an episode of Resistance where Kaz and Torra hang out, and we get Torra’s feelings of her dad stifling her. We can have episodes of Rebels where Zeb and Agent Kallus get stranded and have a heart to heart of Rebel vs Imperial ideals. It’s these character driven episodes that build the shows. It’s something that is lacking in the movies, because there’s simply not enough time to cover these moments in two hours.
It’s a reason why I love the Filoniverse. I wish we got more quiet little episodes in Clone Wars where it’s nothing but character work, but Rebels and Resistance are bringing those to the table.
Not everything in Star Wars needs to be at the level of the Death Star. Conflict can be character to character and still drive an interesting story.
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