This Father’s Day, celebrate pretzels infused with the dark side. Shaped like Lord Vader’s helmet, together with this tasty snack you can rule the galaxy.
These are no-boil pretzels, so they’re a little more bready, but still full of flavor with a nice crunchy crust. Add a healthy amount of coarse salt — it may be rough, and irritating, and get everywhere, but it sure is delicious on top of a crusty pretzel.
Darth Vader Pretzels
1-1/2 cups warm water
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil (to grease the bowl)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
In the bowl of an electric mixer add the warm water, sugar, and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes until it begins to foam.
Add the flour and butter and mix with the dough hook attachment until smooth.
Remove the dough from the bowl and set aside.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, then return the dough to the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for about 1 hour, until the dough doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and prep baking pans with buttered parchment or silpats.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Pull off a piece and roll it out into a long rope to form the outline of Vader’s head. Use more dough to create the eye and mouth details, press to secure.
Place the pretzels onto the prepped baking sheets. Brush the tops of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk mixture, then sprinkle with the coarse salt.
Bake for 12 -14 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.
Serve with mustard or cheese sauce. And embrace the flavor of the dark side.
Father’s Day is coming this Sunday, June 18 — and there’s still time to get something for dads who feel the Force. Check out StarWars.com’s gift guide below, featuring a wide-range of ideas for Star Wars-fan fathers, including everything from Star Wars grills to record players. So if you’ve had a hard time finding just the right thing, fear not. These are the gifts you’re looking for. (And if you forget to mow the lawn or turn off the light in your room, one of these just might get you out of trash compactor duty.)
For the dad who cooks like an Ewok making roast Han:
For the dad who’s a Jedi (or Sith) at work:
For the dad who is strong with the power of coffee (or tea):
For the dad who was there in 1977 (or just likes awesome action figures):
For the dad who feels music is the ultimate power in the universe:
For the dad who has his own speeder bike:
For the dad who says “Droid please!”:
For the dad who worships Darth Vader as much as Kylo Ren:
For the dad who would be too cold on Hoth:
For the dad who needs an armor upgrade:
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.
Does anyone not know Pez? Tabs of candy that you manually load into a dispenser adorned with, usually, the head of your favorite character, Pez was one of the first brands that made candy interactive and fun. It’s been a cultural mainstay, from neighborhood grocery stores to Seinfeld episodes, and remains both a nostalgic and modern favorite.
Created in 1927 in Austria by Eduard Haas III, Pez tabs were initially sold in tins, and only landed in North America in 1952. The now-classic flip-top design hit stores in 1955, leading to well over 1,500 different designs, with over 550 specific heads being sculpted. Today, the candy is produced in Connecticut, while the dispensers are manufactured in China and Hungary.
But it wasn’t until 1997 that Pez would meet the power of the Force. Here’s a run through the history of Star Wars and Pez, with many of the major releases over the last 20 years.
The first five Star Wars Pez dispensers were released back in the busy saga year of 1997. With the Special Editions at the forefront of people’s minds and Star Wars making a high-profile comeback in terms of merchandise, it was the perfect moment for Pez to pick up the license. The Pez range kicked off with a quintet of classic characters — Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and Stormtrooper.
There were also some eye-catching boxes holding the candy packets on shelves for fans of the day to enjoy, which are now highly desirable to collectors.
The prequel trilogy kicked off in 1999, and to mark this momentous occasion, Pez released four dispensers in advance of the May 19 premiere of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Oddly, none of the regular releases were characters from the prequels. Luke Skywalker in his X-wing pilots helmet, Princess Leia, Wicket the Ewok, and the first release of Boba Fett represented the original trilogy.
However, there was a box set which brought to life a scene from The Phantom Menace.
Take a look at the in-depth article by Matt Dracula about this quirky release and enjoy the video of Jar Jar doing his thing. As with many product releases around 1999, this was somewhat out-there and, as such, totally charming. Or creepy, depends on your point of view.
Three Star Wars Pez dispensers were released in 2002, the year Attack of the Clones landed in theaters. The simple man making his way through the universe, Jango Fett, Clone Trooper, and R2-D2 received the candy treatment.
2005 saw the arrival of the film that would (at that time) complete the circle, Revenge of the Sith. Pez went all-out to commemorate this epic event with 14 giant Pez releases.
Darth Vader, Clone Trooper, R2-D2, C-3PO, Death Star, Chewbacca, Yoda, General Grievous, and Emperor Palpatine were available in an oversize format, and there were also some variants: Crystal Vader, Crystal Yoda, Crystal C-3P0, Bronze Chewbacca, and Pearl Grievous.
In this celebratory year, a Walmart glow-in-the-dark variant of Emperor Palpatine was released, as well as a Walmart 9-dispenser box set and a standard 9-dispenser box.
In addition, there were four regular releases including Emperor Palpatine, General Grievous, the Death Star, and a second version of Chewbacca.
The StarWars: The Clone Wars movie hit in 2008, and Pez released three dispensers the following year. We had our first Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Snips herself, Ahsoka Tano.
2012 and 2013
With the 3D release of The Phantom Menace in 2012, Pez released a duo of characters to commemorate. Darth Maul finally made it as a spring-loaded plastic candy dispenser, and Yoda saw a 2012 refresh. In 2013, we saw a new sculpt for the eternally popular Boba Fett, which arrived with a different paint job.
The Force Awakens was the big news of 2015, but before its release, Pez made four limited-edition regular-sized crystal Star Wars Pez. Crystal Vader, Crystal Yoda and Crystal C-3P0 returned, joined by Crystal R2-D2. The four also came in a box set.
The Force Awakens finally arrived in 2015. Kylo Ren, First Order Stormtrooper, Rey, and BB-8 landed first in Pez form.
The end of 2016 saw Rogue One releases, including the fearsome Death Trooper and a new version of the Death Star. These, alongside Darth Vader and the original trilogy Stormtrooper, were released in a special Rogue One gift set.
And that’s it for 20 years of Pez. Do you have a favorite Star Wars Pez dispenser? Let us know in the comments below!
Pez photos courtesy PEZ Candy, Inc. and Duncan Jenkins.
Mark writes for Star Wars Insider, the Official Star Trek Magazine, Geeky Monkey magazine, and Build The Millennium Falcon partwork, and co-hosts the RADIO 1138 and Take Cover podcasts. He’s an honorary member of the 501st and Rebel Legion and when he’s not talking, tweeting, or writing about Star Wars, he can usually be found sleeping, where he’ll most likely be dreaming about Star Wars.
Clone troopers. Battle droids. Naboo. A whole new war is coming to Star Wars Battlefront II.
The official Star Wars Battlefront II gameplay trailer debuted today at EA Play 2017, taking fans deeper into the highly-anticipated game — including a first look at Theed, capital city of Naboo from the Star Wars prequels. While this is just a glimpse of the map, the attention to detail for this location is unlike any seen in a previous Star Wars game, from the recreation of the Theed Royal Palace to the planet’s majestic waterfalls. The in-game footage of battle droids and clone troopers clashing is especially intense, with numerous combatants and vehicular combat including Naboo starfighters, AAT tanks, and vulture droids. Who knew the Clone Wars could be so much fun?
In addition, the trailer showcases Yoda dueling Darth Maul, Kylo Ren fighting Rey, and even more multiplayer battles, along with another look at the single-player campaign, which follows elite trooper Iden Versio after the destruction of the second Death Star. You can watch the trailer and check out a special preview gallery below.
One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, two StarWars.com writers discuss which single moment was the Empire’s finest.
The destruction of Jedha City is the Empire’s greatest moment, says Justin.
“Power! Unlimited power!” It’s not pride. It’s a promise. Palpatine’s declaration to Mace Windu as he pummels the Jedi Master with Force lightning is a preview to his former “colleague” of the galaxy that is to come under his enlightened rule. A galaxy in which no challenge is too great, no decision is questioned, and no force opposes his will.
And make no mistake, the Empire is Palpatine’s will. Its capabilities are the personification of his power, power the Sith worked one thousand years in secret to finally acquire. And there is nothing more powerful in the Empire’s arsenal than the Death Star.
The ability to destroy a planet… Think about that for a minute. No, really think about it. A government with the power to erase an entire people, their history, everything they’ve ever been or hope to be, all in the blink of an eye. It’s terrifying. And for an Empire ruled through fear, it’s perfect.
Which is why the successful test of the Death Star as seen in Rogue One is the Empire’s greatest moment.
It represents the Empire’s attainment of the unlimited power Palpatine promised. A destroyer of worlds awaiting his command to decimate any and all he deems deserving of destruction.
It represents the Empire’s final victory over the Jedi. Destroying a possible birthplace of the Order with the ultimate symbol of the Sith’s revenge posthumously rubs the noses of every dead Jedi in their defeat. The fact that kyber crystals that were stolen from them and pillaged from their holy sites to fuel the Death Star only adds further insult to injury.
It represents the end of the Republic and the beginning of an era of absolute, unquestioned Imperial rule. Because of the Death Star’s success at Jedha, Palpatine was emboldened to dissolve the Galactic Senate and give the power to run the galaxy to men and women answerable only to him. In the face of such awesome power, who will dare oppose the Emperor?
There’s a reason Leia calls this time in the galaxy’s history the Rebellion’s most desperate hour. In the face of a completed, fully armed and operational Death Star, they have no hope of victory without the strategic insight those stolen plans give them. And you know what? They learned that lesson from the destruction of Jedha City.
There is no greater moment for the Empire than this one, when victory was achieved in a horrifying and beautiful (Krennic’s words) display of power.
Unlimited power, indeed.
The dissolution of the Imperial Senate is the Empire’s greatest moment, says Brendan.
Instead of glory in battle, I decided on an understated yet incredibly historic moment: the dissolution of the Imperial Senate.
In A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin announces that the “Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern…the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently.” But this quiet moment doesn’t quite communicate the seismic revelation therein — that the galaxy, for the first time in over a thousand years, will be without democratically-elected representation.
It’s clear that Palpatine was fine with keeping the Imperial Senate around to ensure stability and give the appearance of normalcy, but it outlived its usefulness. Power players like Mon Mothma and, of course, the Organas, abused their diplomatic rank time and time again, which only made things harder for the Empire. In the aftermath of the Battle of Scarif, Senator Leia Organa even flaunted her immunity, and lied to Lord Vader’s face when her (red-striped, diplomatic) Corellian corvette was boarded.
The Senate remained an annoyance for the true leaders of the Empire, who had to bend over backwards to explain away events like the “mining accident” on Jedha. In order for the Emperor’s vision to fully succeed, this obsolete emblem of false democracy had to be discarded.
When Palpatine dissolved the Imperial Senate offscreen in A New Hope, he put his scheme’s last phase into motion. A strong system of regional governors (like Tarkin himself) made direct control over local systems from the Core to the Outer Rim possible. If things had gone according to plan, the Death Star would have replaced the Senate as a new icon, one that reflected the might and scientific prowess of the new order.
The Empire, no longer constrained by the old norms, was finally free to exert its military might against its enemies with its Navy and the Death Star. Flimsy norms and decorum could no longer protect figures like Mon and Leia from arrest, giving the Emperor the ability to crush his political opposition once and for all with his unlimited power.
Dissolving the Senate was the final move in Palpatine’s decades-long game of political dejarik and that’s what makes it great. Check and mate…goodbye democracy and hello dictatorship! As if Palpatine wasn’t clear enough in Revenge of the Sith, it’s crystal clear that by ditching the last remnant of the Old Republic in A New Hope, he truly is the Senate.
What do you think is the Empire’s greatest moment? Comment and let us know!
Justin Bolger is Lucasfilm’s Star Wars social media strategist and he doesn’t like the Empire… he loves it. Catch him occasionally on The Star Wars After Show and talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.
Brendan Nystedt was very afraid of Darth Vader hiding under his bed when he was five years old. Now, he writes reviews of consumer electronics for Reviewed.com. Please follow him on Twitter @bnystedt!
Most Impressive Fans is a feature highlighting the amazing creativity of Star Wars devotees, from cosplay to props. If there’s a fearless and inventive fan out there, we’ll highlight them here.
Artist and budding cosplayer Joanna Wallace could have used her own personal Obi-Wan Kenobi by her side as she embarked on her redesign of one-of-a-kind Ahsoka doll, an undertaking that required Jedi-like patience.
An action figure used as a practice test for custom painting ended up with a slightly melted face (sorry, Rey!), her first attempt at the Togruta’s montrals were too small even for the youngling, and hand-stitching the diminutive shift dress for the project proved to be more time-consuming than renovating her entire bathroom, she says.
But after five months of meticulous work and dedicated eBay searching, Joanna turned a little mermaid into her own unique creation, a youngling Ahsoka she proudly displays in her Minneapolis, Minnesota, living room.
And there may be a young Asajj Ventress and a little Leia in Joanna’s future to add to her collection.
‘Rabid’ rebel fan
Joanna, now 31, has been a self-described “rabid fangirl” for all things Star Wars since she was a child growing up in Arizona, escaping the heat in her grandma’s pool while her uncle hovered over the water dressed up as Darth Vader.
By the time the Special Editions hit the theaters, the 10-year-old was struggling with her parents’ difficult divorce and, beyond providing a distraction from the turmoil, “[Star Wars] really showed me that there was hope,” Joanna says. “It showed me that these people who were put in this horrible, difficult situation fought their way out of it.”
She collected the action figures and consumed every Star Wars book she could grab, but at times, she was chastised and bullied for enjoying what was seen by some as a franchise for boys, she says.
As an adult, Joanna helped run The Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics, a site dedicated to creating a positive atmosphere for fans to share their love of Star Wars without fear of being bashed for their gender or for preferring the prequels over the original trilogy, she says. “We don’t allow people to talk about not being a true fan,” Joanna says.
During a trip to Disneyland soon after the release of The Force Awakens, she got a glimpse of how the fandom is changing to be even more inclusive for the next generation, as she noticed little boys who wanted to be brave and scrappy like Rey. “I was moved to tears multiple times,” she says. “Kids don’t see that gender thing now. To them, Star Wars isn’t a boy thing. It’s just a really cool thing.”
Lessons in chemistry
That 2015 trip to California, a joint celebration of Joanna’s 30th birthday and her mother Susan Williams’ 60th, also planted the idea for her Ahsoka custom doll, after she found herself gazing at a display of Disney Animators’ dolls.
Instead of waiting and wishing for a version like the child Ahsoka glimpsed in the Clone Wars TV series, Joanna decided to create her own. By day, Joanna oversees enrollment and advising at Capella University. By night, she’s just starting out in the hobby world of cosplay and prop building, relying on her artistic training from her days at the New School for the Arts & Academics in Tempe, Arizona. “I paint. I sew. I teach myself whatever I need to do.”
Still, jumping from 2D painting to 3D design meant she would need to practice. She found an inexpensive Rey figure from the Black Series line, and decided to repaint the scavenger’s face.
“And there were a lot of lessons there,” Joanna says.
Lesson one — acetone is a lot harsher than the desert sun of Jakku. After soaking the action figure in the chemical melted down some of the head, Joanna had to perform some literal plastic surgery to re-sculpt and fix the features. “She still looks kind of melty,” Joanna says.
Feeling confident enough to begin, she combed eBay to snag a used $15 Ariel doll from the Disney Animators’ Collection — with just the right expression to evoke three-year-old Ahsoka being discovered by Jedi Master Plo Koon on Shili.
A close shave
To make room for the montrals and head tails, Joanna hacked away at the doll’s thick red locks, sacrificing her razor and relying on a clay-sculpting tool toward the end to get down to the roots.
Joanna covered the vinyl doll head-to-toe in gray primer, then painted on the perfect shade of orange for Ahsoka’s skin tone. A final coat of matte polyurethane helped conceal any brush marks and sealed the acrylic paint to it wouldn’t rub off over time with handling.
Ahsoka’s wide blue eyes were easy enough with Joanna’s background. “I, once upon a time, lived off commissions from doing pin-up art,” Joanna says. “So I have no problem doing eyes and human features.”
But getting the white facial markings symmetrical was a challenge, requiring a few attempts and a little sand paper to remove the lines that just weren’t quite right. “That drove me nuts,” she says.
For Ahsoka’s head tails, Joanna made her first foray into foam anatomy, taking cues from cosplayer Jedi Manda’s YouTube tutorial. But ultimately she settled on sewing spandex around the foam innards after a trial with liquid latex ended up soaking through the fabric and cracking in the process. She painted on the blue markings and then stapled the soft headpiece to the doll’s head, covering the seam at the forehead with a handmade clay crown.
Dressing a tiny Togruta
Then it was time to outfit the tiny Togruta; it seemed like Joanna was almost finished with her masterpiece.
“The costume was like the worst part,” Joanna says. She and her boyfriend, Aaron Porter, restored their own home with less hassle than creating the diminutive A-line shift. “This little dress…took me longer to do than renovating my bathroom.”
Joanna wanted to stay true to the dress design from Dave Filoni’s concept for the 3-year-old version of Ahsoka, which involved hand stitching the geometric patterns and diamond details. The dress easily took twice as long as the rest of the custom design, Joanna says. “It’s so little and so many little pieces and all the decorative stitching. It just felt like it took forever.”
But for about $40 in supplies and second-hand toy purchases, she has her very own Padawan perched in her living room.
Joanna plans to create more Star Wars tykes in the future, she says, sometimes stopping by the Disney Store at the Mall of America to peruse the other offerings in the Disney Animators’ line. “Belle would be a good Rey,” Joanna says, and Merida’s lopsided smile could easily be repainted to match Hera’s grin.
And with one set of head tails already successfully completed, “I’d probably do it right the first time,” Joanna jokes.
The Most Impressive Fans Q&A
Who is your favorite Star Wars character?
Princess Leia, hands down. Both Leia and Carrie Fisher have been huge influences on my life.
Which Star Wars film ranks highest on your list?
The Empire Strikes Back!
What’s your first Star Wars memory?
I remember playing with my neighbors Star Wars toys (particularly the tauntaun) in the ’80s before I had even seen the movies.
Do you have a favorite scene?
Oooh, that’s tough… Probably the Battle of Hoth, followed closely by the escape from Jabba’s sail barge.
If you had to choose: join the rebels or live the Imperial life?
Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.
Rebel pilots. True heroes of the fight against the Empire and, from a certain point of view, some of the bravest but often overlooked characters of the Star Wars saga. We want to know which fearless flyboy (or girl!) is your favorite. Let us know who you picked and why in the comments below!
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.
Hand to her heart in the landmark Star Wars Rebels episode “Secret Cargo,” Mon Mothma declared war on the Empire from her place on the front lines of the rebellion. It was then and there that she solidified her role as a Star Wars icon.
For two decades, the ginger-haired senator from Chandrila had exhausted political tactics while secretly assembling the disparate cells that would one day form the Rebel Alliance.
With the Empire’s attack on the people of Ghorman, the time for her declaration had come. What followed would either go down in history as the birth of a movement or Mon’s almost certain death at the hands of the government that had publicly denounced her as a traitor.
To see her go underground after publicly condemning the Emperor as a tyrant suggested she was leveling her accusation then fleeing to hide.
Instead, using the HoloNet to boost the signal, Mon shouted into the abyss a call to arms, a rallying cry to anyone who was listening and willing to fight.
There were no guarantees. Her speech, broadcast from the cockpit of the Ghost, could have been ignored. For a moment, perhaps she believed that it was or, worse, that those listening were too tired, weak, or terrorized to fight the oppression outright.
But Mon had long believed in the power of hope.
She stood there, unapologetic and unwavering, hoping she was right.
And they came. One by one, ships appeared out of hyperspace, a whole fleet of like-minded rebels willing to lay down their own lives for freedom.
As a political leader, Mon had long served righteously and with dignity. She was a staunch critic of the Clone Wars, using her position in the senate and the allies she found there in Bail Organa and Padmé Amidala to wage a different kind of battle — persuasive speeches intended to help end the conflict. Mon was outspoken for the people of her planet and the galaxy at large, a naïve young diplomat who still believed in a peaceful resolution to the Emperor’s warmongering ways.
But Palpatine only grew stronger, and the senate deteriorated until it became little more than a theatrical show.
Still, Mon forged ahead. She waited. She took calculated risks, and even after Padmé’s death, worked closely with Bail to align everything they would need on the day the Emperor and his warmongering went too far.
The attack on the people of Ghorman ignited the spark that set the loyalist plan into motion, for the group swore no loyalty to the reigning leader, but instead loved, above all else, the ideal Republic.
Prior to Mon’s stirring speech in “Secret Cargo” there was little to connect that idealistic young senator meeting secretively to discuss sacrifice and democracy and the stern woman who later emerged as the leader of the Rebel Alliance. At the end of the war, speaking to her brave volunteers as they prepared to put a stop to the second Death Star in the Battle of Endor, her remarks were succinct if not clipped. By then, she was a leader who still took a moment to weigh the cost of war, remembering the brave Bothans and others who gave their lives to restore freedom for the rest of the galaxy, but preferred to sit back while others held the floor.
From the rebel base on Yavin 4, Rogue One showed the same stoic and wise leader calmly orchestrating the mission for the Death Star plans, albeit a slightly younger version. And although she seemed almost pleased when Jyn’s final mission ensnared the rest of the rebel fleet in the battle of Scarif, she refused to sanction the action without the full support the council. Mon knew that shared governance was worthless if she went against the majority’s rule, and to do so would have made her no better than the Emperor himself.
The Mon of Rebels encompasses all of these qualities and so much more.
Surely, she has that same stoic temperament and measured tone as she regretfully informs Ezra there will be no one from the Alliance coming to his aid while the Atollon base is under attack. To do so would jeopardize everything they have accomplished, potentially destroying all for which they have fought, and suffered.
She takes time to be kind, sharing a drink with Hera in a simple gesture that shows her compassion, gratitude, and parity with the other rebel fighters.
When the Ghost comes under attack during its refueling rendezvous with Mon’s ship, she shows no hesitation in getting her hands dirty helping Chopper. She isn’t too dainty for the task nor does she seemingly give a thought to the loss of her own craft; she does what is needed in the moment and leads by example.
She is a powerhouse with clear blue eyes and a courageous heart.
This is a leader simultaneously on the cusp of greatness and the precipice of utter annihilation. At her wits end, she has just openly accused Sheev Palpatine of atrocities against the people and essentially called him a murderer. “This massacre is proof that our self-appointed Emperor is little more than a lying executioner, imposing his tyranny under the pretense of security. We cannot allow this evil to stand,” she intones.
There will be no escape this time.
A refugee and an enemy of the Empire, her only choice is to forge ahead, risking everything including her life, and birth the movement she believes in.
Floating just above Dantooine, Mon’s rousing condemnation of Imperial corruption and her declaration of war on the Empire is a defining moment for the cause, Rebels, and her character.
“For too long I have watched the heavy hand of the Empire strangle our liberties, stifling our freedoms in the name of ensuring our safety. No longer!”
This is the Mon that, as architect of the (capital-R) Rebellion, set the tone for other brave leaders who would later emerge among the ranks, Leia Organa and Hera Syndulla among them.
There is a sadness about her, but she cannot be dissuaded from her belief in democracy. This is the woman who would become the first Chancellor of the New Republic and begin to set things right.
It would have been easy for her to have grown bitter after years of futile efforts on the senate floor, pushing back subtly and carefully against a supreme leader with emergency powers and a murderous legion of mercenaries at his disposal. She has certainly questioned if her efforts produced any results.
But here we see Mon in all her glory, soldiering on, leading the charge and cementing her status as a Star Wars icon.
“Are you with me?” she asks.
Yes, we are.
Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.
With the Washington Redskins selecting DE Jonathan Allen No. 17 overall and the Detroit Lions selecting LB Jarrad Davis No. 21 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, performance trainer Tom Shaw has now worked with 147 NFL first-round choices, many of which he trained at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Shaw – a renowned performance coach who has trained the likes of 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys), Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Calvin Johnson (retired, Detroit Lions), Chris Johnson (Arizona Cardinals) and Peyton Manning (retired, Denver Broncos), among others – gave us his thoughts on his class of 2017 rookies and how he thinks they will perform at the next level.
Disney: Who’s your Khalil Mack this season? Who will fly under the radar but have a standout season?
Shaw: Jarrad Davis (Florida) is going to have a great rookie year. He was injured the last half of his college season and he kept playing on it. And that’s what makes him different. Other guys get hurt, and they don’t play. This kid, all he does is care about football. His preparation, work ethic, dedication, knowledge of the game. He always wants to get better. That’s Khalil Mack (Oakland Raiders DE, 2x Pro Bowl player, 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year), that’s Bruce Irvin (Oakland Raiders LB)…that’s a guy that I think is a guarantee.
Disney: Who are a few guys who won’t get drafted high or at all, but will still have an impact at the next level?
Shaw: Trevor Knight is a quarterback from Texas A&M. If he gets in the right situation, Trevor’s my next Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys QB). I couldn’t get [Jon] Gruden to bring him on the show [Gruden’s QB Camp on ESPN], and he wasn’t invited to a lot of stuff. But he got invited to the NFL Combine and he did better than every quarterback there. He ran faster, he jumped higher, did the shuttle faster, he tested well. Trevor Knight’s a kid that’s gonna be great.
I think Matt Milano (Dr. Phillips High, Boston College) may not get drafted, but he’s a kid that can come in and end up playing. And he’ll make the 53-man roster because he’s going to be another guy that’s a worker. He won’t have any issues, coaches will fall in love with him; they’ll know he’s gonna be [on the field] where he’s supposed to be and not running all over the place. He’ll play his position (LB).
There’s another kid named Rodney Adams (WR, USF). Rodney is the kind of kid that he’ll need to be in the right situation. If Rodney is in the right situation where he doesn’t have any pressure on him, he will shine. He could really do well.
Taquan Mizzell (Virginia), a running back. He was very successful in the ACC, but wasn’t invited to anything. Dak Prescott threw with him when he was here for the Pro Bowl. He threw with all the rookies, but he said to Taquan, “I’m gonna get you on my team.” And Dak has the ability to tell the offensive coordinator and the pro personnel director and the owner, “We need that kid,” which he said he was going to do. He called me and asked for all his stats, so I sent them to him. He’s a kid that I think could be really successful. He can do everything. He was a 5-star out of high school and he chose Virginia, he chose to stay home. He could have been gone anywhere and succeeded. I think he’ll do a lot better in the pros.
Disney: Jonathan Allen was selected No. 17 overall, by the Redskins. What are those factors that he needs to succeed at the next level?
Tom Shaw: Without a doubt, being on the right team with the right support system, and not having that pressure that you have to be successful. Look at Dak Prescott. Even though he was the starting quarterback, they really weren’t putting it all on him. He had a running back, he had a great OL, he has receivers, so it wasn’t all him. But for some guys, it has to be all them. They have to make plays instead of just trying to do their job.
Disney: Last season, Prescott trained with you. What is it about him that leads you to believe he won’t fall victim to sophomore slump this season?
Tom Shaw: Once you start getting a big head and you start doing marketing and promotions, and you stop training like a lot of guys do. As soon as they become celebrities, they forget where they came from. They forget how hard they worked to get here. Dak’s not that guy. Dak was here for the Pro Bowl and he came and worked out with the rookies between Pro Bowl practices. Then he came back and stayed here for three weeks and worked the whole time to get better. He couldn’t care less about who’s starting because he’s gonna outwork everyone in the building. That’s Dak. Some guys take every opportunity they can to make money off the field, and football becomes secondary. That’s not Dak Prescott.
Propelled by pixie dust, more than 27,500 runners – including nearly 14,000 from California – are participating in the 6th annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry at Disneyland Resort while celebrating Mothers’ Day weekend. Runners will soar along the 13.1-mile Tinker Bell half marathon course, which takes participants throughout the Disneyland Resort area and the streets of Anaheim. This year, nearly 5,000 runners will spread their wings and fly in the Pixie Dust Challenge by running the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon, one of four races held at the Disneyland Resort, is one of the top women-focused race weekends in the country.
Below is a schedule of Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend events:
|runDisney Health & Fitness Expo: at Disneyland Hotel Exibit Hall||Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry|
|Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.||Never Land 5K • Main Street U.S.A.,
Friday, 5 a.m. start
|Friday, Noon – 8:00 p.m.||Tinker Bell 10K • Start/Finish:
Saturday, 5:30 a.m. start
|Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.||Tinker Bell Half Marathon • Start/Finish:
Sunday, 5:30 a.m. start
Media interested in covering the weekend events must contact Disney PR in advance to arrange for credentials. Media must be on location no later than 3:00 a.m. for live coverage of the start and finish lines for the half marathon.
Onsite Media Contact:
(714) 457-7293 (cell)
runDisney Media Contact:
(407) 566-5743 (office); (407) 202-3179 (cell)