Funerals in Star Wars

Funerals comparisonFans have leveled criticism at The Force Awakens for similarities to A New Hope. While many may not care overly, a few deem it lesser for copying the original. Did J.J. Abrams want to relive the glory of the original trilogy, or was it just the best choice? As a third option, could artistry be involved? A theory is rolling around noting how strange similarities in the prequels and original series line up. The funerals are one example.

Both trilogies end in a funeral, in very different circumstances, and bringing the trilogies to different emotional ends. The two dead—Padme and Anakin Skywalker—are two halves of a couple. The dark side kills both (Anakin kills Padme, Darth Sidious kills Anakin), the public mourns both deaths, and both died trying to protect someone from the Dark Side. In Anakin’s case it was his son Luke; in Padme’s case Anakin himself. Both scenes carry the importance of an ending era, and John William’s beautiful soundtrack highlights both.

There are plenty of differences, however, highlighting the different circumstances of their deaths. Anakin was burned in a funeral pyre in his Darth Vader suit. The western world used the funeral pyre as a common way to dispose of the deceased—often chieftains and notable warriors. On the other hand, Padme’s rested on a bed of flowers during her funeral—common symbols of love for the deceased. She nearly glows in the Naboo twilight.

A cycle of funerals

Scenes of the world they ushered in surround both funerals. Padme’s body proceeds down the capital of Naboo as Darth Vader and his master inspect the growing Death Star. While Darth Vader’s body burns his son sees the approval of the Jedi he once knew. Padme’s funeral comes with rebellion, civil war, and tyranny, even though it presents as peaceful, quiet, and beauty. Darth Vader’s comes with celebration, victory, and happiness, despite his loud, fiery, and sparsely-attended end.

This mix of notable similarities and differences bringing each trilogy to a close add even greater power to the Ring Theory (linked above). They further work to change our perception of George Lucas as a filmmaker, even after his distance from the movies.

More proof?
Qui-Gon Jinn's funeral
Qui-Gon Jinn’s funeral

There are two parts to the Ring Theory: first, both trilogies follow a pattern. Second, the trilogies mirror each other. We see Darth Vader’s funeral pyre at the end of Return of the Jedi, and a similar scene for Qui-Gon Jinn at the end of The Phantom Menace. Padme’s funeral is not mirrored, yet Luke and the other characters mourn Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom Anakin also kills.

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Qui-Gon Jinn Character Corner

Qui-Gon JinnThe man who got everything started for the Star Wars saga was Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn. It was he who first found young Anakin Skywalker, and took him to see the Jedi Council. Even though the Council saw a great deal of hate and anger, Qui-Gon encouraged them to admit the boy. Jinn was a maverick Jedi, one who was often in conflict with both the Jedi code and the high council, yet played a vital role in the legacy of the Jedi.

Born 92 years before the Battle of Yavin, Qui-Gon Jinn was from an unidentified planet and taken as an infant to train as a Jedi, as almost all are. Count Dooku took him as his apprentice at age ten thanks to a display of lightsaber skills. At the end of his apprenticeship, Dooku told Qui-Gon his one weakness: compassion for all life. He warned Qui-Gon betrayal was inevitable.

After becoming a Jedi Knight, Qui-Gon resisted taking a Padawan learner, stating he didn’t think he was ready. He discovered a boy named Xanatos who later became his Padawan. Years later, Qui-Gon, Xanatos, Qui-Gon’s longtime friend Tahl, and another Jedi traveled back to Xanatos’ homeworld, where his father, Crion, had become an evil tyrant. Crion tempted Xanatos, but Qui-Gon killed his student’s father to protect the life of another. Xanatos, enraged, attacked Qui-Gon, branding himself, and falling to the dark side. Xanatos escaped, and Qui-Gon, dismayed at his failure, announced he would take no more Padawans as apprentices.

Nine years later, Jedi Master Yoda encouraged him to find another padawan. Obi-Wan Kenobi was weeks away from his thirteenth birthday. He would become part of the Agricultural Corps unless a Jedi took his as a Padawan. Qui-Gon considered this a waste of talent, and Kenobi was quick to help their troubled transport. Qui-Gon’s mission took him to Bandomeer, where he found out Xanatos ruled. Though he tried to send Kenobi to his intended destination, Kenobi arrived in the nick of time to save Qui-Gon from his old student. Now master and apprentice, the two would battle Xanatos several more times before Xanatos committing suicide.

In 41 BBY (Before the battle of Yavin) Qui-Gon and the Jedi Tahl realized a mutual attraction for each other. They decided to obey the Jedi code and not act on their feelings, however. Qui-Gon began to have visions of Tahl in potentially fatal circumstances, and he offered to accompany her on her next mission, which she turned down. When the council lost contact with her, he and Obi-Wan decided to look for her. They found her trying to infiltrate a group responsible for kidnapping and ransoming leaders’ children, and her cover was swiftly blown. Tahl was kidnapped, and the leader of the group, Balog, paralyzed her inside a sensory deprivation device to deter the Jedi. Though he defeated Balog, Tahl passed away with Qui-Gon at her side.

His friend’s death prompted a terrifying change in Qui-Gon Jinn. He swore revenge on Balog, and stopped at nothing to him and the rest of his group down. It was only when he heard the voice of Tahl telling him to stop did he realize the destructive path he was taking. Though he remained on the light side of the force, his personality changed dramatically after Tahl’s death. He and the Jedi council clashed during this period leading up to the battle of Naboo and the events of Episode I. This prompted his adoption of Anakin Skywalker as an apprentice against their wishes.

Behind the Scenes

Liam Neeson portrays the character in Episode I, though George Lucas had toyed with the idea of making him younger. Neeson’s voice is used in Episode II, and was going to be in Episode III before the scene was cut. A rumor among Star Wars fans is a piece of fabric draped across a piece of furniture in Episode IV is meant to be the same gray poncho his master wears in Episode I, though it is unconfirmed.

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Sebulba Character Corner

Give us a smile, Champ

Podracing – one of the galaxies most dangerous and difficult sports – has for itself a number of high-profile figures, such as goofy Ben Quadinaros, the long-limbed Gasgano, and the journalistic Clegg Holdfast. But none was greater, or more famous, than the Dug Subulba. Today we’ll be looking at the storied life of this ill-tempered little racer, up to and past the Boonta Eve Classic.


Born in the city of Pixelito on the planet of Malastare, Sebulba was a mean-spirited and angry creature, like many Dugs. Born a slave, he eventually bought his freedom after exhibiting his incredible podracing skills. Quickly becoming the star of the podracing circuit thanks to his ability to use all four limbs with fine motor control, he built his own podracer and dominated the races using destructive tactics — frequently injuring or killing other racers — but was never punished.

Now living a decadent and expensive lifestyle, Sebulba became involved in slave-trading rings, and owned a number of Twi-lek slaves himself. During races, Sebulba was dedicated to winning at any cost; cheating was a common and intended action. Sabotaging rival podracers, pressing them into on-track obstacles, and modifying his own podracer to include dangerous weaponry were all standard tactics.

Sebulba concept art
Sebulba concept art

Sebulba was a constant favorite to win any race he was a part of, but his luck would temporarily change during the Boonta Eve Classic, the single race that future Jedi and Sith Anakin Skywalker would participate in. Sebulba roared to an early lead but Skywalker caught up to him in the end, disabling his engines (destroying both sides in the process) and leaving Sebulba sitting in the middle of the course in his small cockpit.

While the loss was a blow to Sebulba’s fierce pride, he recovered quickly. After purchasing Anakin’s podracer and rejoining the circuit the next year, Sebulba began again his reign of podracing terror. After a while, Sebulba retired and allowed his son Hekula to fly his podracer. Hekula raced in the Boonta Eve Classic, six years after his father lost to Skywalker . . . and also lost to Skywalker. Hekula crashed his podracer, being a rookie, and Sebulba emerged from retirement, forbidding Hekula from racing again.

Sebulba would again challenge Skywalker to a race using his new Plug-F Gargantuan, a remake of his original racer. The result of this race is unknown. Sebulba’s grandson, Pugwis, continues to tradition of racing, and thankfully is more talented than his father, taking after his grandfather instead.

Behind the scenes

Sebulba is an entirely CGI character, played by voice actor Lewis MacLeod (a frequent Star Wars voice actor). A dug can be seen in Episode II, during the air speeder chase, and it was thought it was Sebulba, but is in fact a character named Seboca. Sebulba is a playable character in the video games Star Wars: Episode I Racer and the game’s sequel Star Wars: Racer Revenge.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this short history of the galaxy’s greatest and meanest podracer; come back soon for more fun fan and costume information!

Sebulba and Anakin's podracers
Sebulba and Anakin’s podracers

Shmi Skywalker Star Wars Character Corner

Shmi Skywalker
Shmi Skywalker

We’re back to our monthly character corner segment, the time when we take a deeper look at some of the characters you’ve come to know and love from the Star Wars series. This week’s character is Shmi Skywalker, Mother to the Chosen One Anakin Skywalker.


Born seventy-two years before the battle of Yavin, Shmi’s family was captured by pirates at the age of six, and sold into slavery. She was taken from one planet to another, serving as a house servant and, as she grew, a cleaning servant. Many of the masters were cruel to her, but one in particular, Pi-Lippa, taught Shmi technical skills and other abilities. At about the time of Pi-Lippa’s death, Shmi became pregnant with Anakin.

Her next master, Hutt gangster Lord Gardulla the Elder, had no such altruism for her slaves, as she allowed Anakin to participate in the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace, despite believing it was impossible for him to win. Gardulla lost the two slaves in a bet to Watto, a similarly cruel master. Shmi became even busier as Anakin grew, attempting to keep him safe and out of trouble. She passed on her mechanical skills and knowledge to her son, who began to make many things.

Shmi and Anakin meet Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and, as we see in Episode I, Anakin is taken to train and become a Jedi himself. Shmi remained in Watto’s service for a time. While the Toydarian had mellowed, the junk shop also began to fall on hard times. A moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars purchased her, immediately freeing her and asking for her hand in marriage. Even though she had a place in the Lars family, Shmi still waited for Anakin to return to her.

About a month before the Clone Wars started, Shmi was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders while she gathered mushrooms. After searching for nearly a month, Lars was forced to give up the hunt. Shmi remained alive, beaten and dehydrated but holding on to her memories of Anakin. It was at this time that Anakin began having nightmares about his mother’s death. Episode II shows us his journey back to Tatooine, and his encounter with his mother’s final moments, and his leap toward the dark side after the destruction of the Tusken Raider camp.


While her screen time is relatively short, her impact on the series is huge. Her capture and death is what leads Anakin to talk to Chancellor Palpatine in the first place, and her death – followed by Anakin’s brutal slaying – leads the way to his eventual turn to the dark side. His turn to the dark side also prompted Padme’s death after the birth of Luke and Leia, setting up the entire original trilogy.

Behind the Scenes:

Shmi is portrayed by Swedish actress Pernilla August. It was revealed she would be playing Anakin’s mother in 1998. In the Phantom Menace game adaption, Shmi is voiced by Carolyn Seymour, with Pernilla reprising her role in a Star Wars: The Clone Wars season three episode (Overlords).

Shmi Skywalker


We hope you’ve enjoyed this Character corner; come back soon for more fun fan information!

Holiday Star Wars costumes

Christmas is nearly upon us, and you may be trying to find a great last-minute costume for the Star Wars fan in your family. We’ve collected the most popular Star Wars costumes for kids during the Holiday season below:

#5: Deluxe Jedi Kids Robe

Holiday Star Wars costumes
Deluxe Jedi Kids Robe

Our very first Holiday item is a generic one, and it’s no surprise this is one of our most popular items for kids. This long, heavy-weave robe, featuring an attached hood, is a great item to let your child become any of the famous Jedi characters from Star Wars, their own original characters, or any outfit that requires a long, comfortable brown robe!

#4: Deluxe Anakin Skywalker Kids Costume

What child wouldn’t want to look just like the main hero of the Star Wars prequel movies? This fun outfit is the perfect thing for a young force-user that’s ready to fight against droids and Sith. From the overwhelming excitement of the movies to the fun and adventure of the Clone Wars television series, this costume is the perfect fit!

#3: Deluxe Darth Vader Kids Costume

The greatest villain to ever grace the silver stage can be here for Christmas with this fine costume! The Dark Lord of the Sith and right-hand man to the Emperor, Darth Vader is perhaps the most memorable movie character to ever make a pop-culture splash.

#2: Deluxe Princess Leia Girls Costume

Make her a bastion of girl-power this year with a costume based on the amazing first appearance of this legendary character! The Deluxe Princess Leia Girls Costume is a classic long white dress that will make your girl look like the pinnacle of space royalty!

#1: Deluxe Luke Skywalker Kids Costume

It’s simple to get a costume of the most famous hero in the entire galaxy! From his low standing as a poor Tatooine moisture farmer to the most powerful Jedi that has ever lived, Luke Skywalker is the classic hero tale, and the most popular Star Wars kids costume for this Holiday season!

Now you know the most popular items; don’t miss out on getting a last-minute stocking stuffer or present!