Milford Hutsell

Milford Hutsell

One last lesson…

Our first glance at the last we’ll see of Star Wars Rebels has arrived. The stakes have never been higher, and the fight has never been as perilous.

But the Ghost crew has never been more united. And this trailer balances those growing stakes with their determination to fight the Empire. There are moments of despair, revelation, and hope. These are the six that stood out to me.

1. Ezra’s journey.

More than anything else, Rebels has been the story of Ezra Bridger. And this trailer does a fantastic job of grounding you in his story before offering visions of his future. From his first steps into the larger world of the Force, to his (thankfully) brief dark side temptation, to his growing beyond himself to befriend clones, Loth-cats, and others throughout his travels, the opening to this trailer makes me thankful for such a fantastic Star Wars character, and excited for what’s to come.

2. My Emperor.

My Imperial heart leapt for joy when the unmistakable voice of Ian McDiarmid growled Ezra’s name. Not only is my favorite Star Wars character making an appearance in Rebels at long last, but his presence dramatically raises the stakes for these characters and signifies a larger importance to the proceedings. A man after unlimited power doesn’t get involved without very good reasons.

3. Powerful friends.

In “Twin Suns,” Obi-Wan told Ezra that he had everything he needed. It looks like Ezra finally got the message as friends and allies he’s made over the years (Hondo Ohnaka, Commander Wolffe, Ketsu Onyo, and Gregor) all show up in the trailer, ready to lend a hand in the fight for a free Lothal.

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4. Kanera continues.

The galaxy’s greatest couple continues to exemplify the qualities we should strive to show toward the ones we love. Devotion (Kanan does not look like he’s playing in that rescue attempt), confidence (Hera knows those stormtroopers are in trouble and almost appears sorry for them), and honesty (lying to your significant other about their hairstyle never works), are the keys to a healthy relationship.

5. Familiar fowl.

You tell me you didn’t gasp at the convor with a familiar color scheme and I’ll tell you you’re a liar. We all know where we last saw it. We’re all excited to see if we’re right. And we’re not gonna talk about it until it happens.

6. Mortis mythology.

The Father, the Son, the Daughter…and the deepest mysteries of the Force. The mythology of Mortis and the god-like beings that lived there has fueled speculation and debate since they were introduced years ago in The Clone Wars. Seeing Ezra stand before a representation of them that suddenly illuminates brings back all of that excitement. And readies you for a deeper dive into the nature of the Force itself.

Special Thanks

Over the years, the trailers for Star Wars Rebels have grown past simple advertising to become something greater, something more meaningful. They’ve become tone poems. While they show you what’s to come, they also inspire reflection and underscore the feelings you can expect over the course of a number of episodes.

That’s thanks to Lucasfilm senior editor Kevin Yost, who along with Dave Filoni has put together these trailers since the days of The Clone Wars. His artistry in creating these tone poems is always amazing to see, and I can’t wait to see him apply it to whatever’s next in a galaxy far, far away….

What did you see? What parts of the trailer grabbed you and haven’t let go? What are your predictions for the rest of the series? Let us know in the comments below!

Star Wars Rebels returns Monday, February 19, on Disney XD.

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 Show and talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.

It’s the beginning of the end…and the return of a legendary Star Wars villain.

Star Wars Rebels strikes back on Monday, February 19 (9:00 p.m. EDT), on Disney XD, kicking off a string of brand-new episodes, all building toward its grand series finale. The final episodes of the series will unfold over three weeks with two back-to-back episodes premiering every Monday night on Disney XD until its epic 90-minute conclusion on Monday, March 5 (8:30 p.m. EDT). The official key art for the final installments is below — a striking image of the Ghost crew facing the might of the Empire.

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In addition, one of Star Wars‘ greatest villains will make his series debut in these final episodes. As teased in a new Star Wars Rebels trailer (which you can view below), Emperor Palpatine will appear for the first time in the show’s history, voiced by actor Ian McDiarmid, who reprises his iconic role from the Star Wars live-action films. Star Wars Rebels is set prior to the original trilogy, when the Emperor reigned and continued to tighten his grip on the galaxy.

The viewing schedule, along with official episode titles, is listed below:

Monday, February 19

  • Premiere telecasts of “Jedi Night” (9:00 p.m. EST) and “DUME” (9:30 p.m. EST) on Disney XD and will be released on the DisneyNOW App (DisneyNOW.com) at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Monday, February 26

  • Premiere telecasts of “Wolves and a Door” (9:00 p.m. EST) and “A World Between Worlds” (9:30 p.m. EST) on Disney XD and will be released on the DisneyNOW App (DisneyNOW.com) at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Monday, March 5

  • Premiere telecasts of “A Fool’s Hope” (8:30 p.m. EST) and “Family Reunion – and Farewell” (9:00 p.m. EST) on Disney XD and will be released on the DisneyNOW App (DisneyNOW.com) at 10:00 p.m. EST.

To avoid spoilers and allow fans to experience the episodes together during each telecast, new episodes will be available on VOD and digital platforms the day after their linear premieres. You can catch all previously-aired Star Wars Rebels episodes from Season Four on the DisneyNOW App.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

The odds aren’t good. I’m a rebel, so already the cards are stacked against me. My squad and I have to infiltrate an Imperial base. There are four of us against what I’m sure will be many, many more than that. Our mission, assigned by Captain Cassian Andor himself, is to recover a crate that’s housing some kind of secret data. We’re getting some help from this droid; he’s a little sarcastic for my tastes, but he gets the job done, so I can’t complain too much. What’s worse about this whole thing is that the base is on Mustafar, a lava planet. Will make you wish you were on Hoth, from what I hear. If you ask me, it sounds like a wild bantha chase. Hopefully it’s not.

We go in unarmed and undercover as stormtroopers, suiting up in the pristine armor that’s become a symbol of tyranny across the galaxy. It feels a little weird to even pretend to be the bad guys, but we look the part. Things go okay at first. We make it planet-side, ride a skiff up and go unnoticed. But I feel the blistering heat from the lava. The smell of burning atmosphere hangs in the air. We’re really here.

We make it to the armory and grab some blaster rifles off the wall. I’m kind of hoping we won’t need ‘em, but when something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And it does. One of the blasters goes off and just like that, the Empire knows we’re here. Troopers open fire, and even though we’re a little green as a unit, we instinctively form a strategy. “Up top, up top!” I shout, as bucket heads storm the bridge above. We engage and we’re holding them off, when I suddenly spot a security scanner on the wall near us. I blast it, not sure if that’ll have any effect, and take a moment to savor it when it explodes. But that was a mistake. I get clipped in the side and jump back from the shock. It’s not bad but I need to focus more, or at least be quicker. Finally, we take out the last of ‘em. We survived the first battle. But we’re just getting started.

This is a real Star Wars story. And it happened to me.

For so long, Star Wars storytelling has been primarily driven through film, TV, books, comics, and games. But there’s a new form that’s been added to the mix, and it is revolutionary: hyper-reality, or virtual-reality-driven experiences that incorporate touch, smell, temperature, and social play. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, by ILMxLAB and The VOID now open in Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in California and Disney Springs in Florida, as well as London, is the first such Star Wars hyper-reality experience. You wear a VR helmet equipped with headphones, strap on a force-feedback vest, and you’re immersed. You see only your Star Wars surroundings: fully-realized environments and lifelike characters. You can even reach out and really touch some of them. The experience breaks down a wall that previously existed, blurring the lines between movie and game and toy to create something new. Mostly, it’s just very special for anyone who ever ran out into the backyard and pretended they were a rebel hero in a galaxy far, far away.

“This is something people have dreamed about for a long time,” says Ian Bowie, lead designer of Secrets of the Empire at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB. “Stepping into the Star Wars universe. This fandom, especially, likes to not just watch it but be a part of it. To try to live it. You have fan films, you have fan fiction, you have people dressing in costumes. So being able to lean into that fantasy of what people have, what a Star Wars mission like this could be, what they would do… Going into that and figuring out ways that we could remain authentic was tantamount to each beat of it.”

The marriage of The VOID’s tech with Star Wars is both a no-brainer and a minor miracle of timing. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB division was founded in June 2015 with an eye toward emerging immersive technologies: virtual reality, augmented reality, real-time rendering, you name it. Early experiments led to experiences like Trials on Tatooine, a VR release that put fans into the role of a Jedi Padawan and had them wield a lightsaber, and Rogue One: Recon, a 360-degree video allowing the viewer to control an X-wing pilot’s POV. Secrets of the Empire is the most ambitious project for ILMxLAB yet, and The VOID – with its gear, centers, and own multi-sensory VR expertise — turned out to be the perfect partner.

“The VOID’s been working on the technology of this for a number of years,” says Cliff Plumer, CEO of The VOID. “But really, it was then finding partners to help drive the creative that would then advance what we could do.”

“With the Lucasfilm Story Group, we’re always looking for the right story for the right platform,” says Lucasfilm’s Diana Williams. “And with this being a new way of telling a Star Wars story, I felt that with what The VOID does well, [we would be] pushing Star Wars to be something new and something different and something exciting.”

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As this is new territory for Star Wars, there would be some learning. “At this point in time close up full on faces are difficult to do. uncanny valley and all that,” Williams says with a laugh. “That was always a big one. I had to always remind myself about it.” This being Star Wars, however, that wasn’t too big a hurdle, and it led to the undeniably cool idea of rebels-disguised-as-stormtroopers as a basic premise. Set prior to Rogue One, the script was ultimately written by acclaimed screenwriter David Goyer (The Dark Knight), and the final experience features both Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk reprising their roles as Cassian Andor (in a pre-mission video) and K-2SO, respectively.

Much of the actual experience was formed, however, right in Williams’ office. She, The VOID’s Curtis Hickman, Bowie, and others cleared out her workspace and taped the floor into sections, mirroring, more or less, the layout of The VOID’s Experience Centers. They walked through each beat, figuring out scenarios and other details. “We talked about the stakes and the emotion,” Williams says, “but also what am I doing, why am I doing it, and is this Star Wars?” In other words, everything had to make sense — cool-factor alone wouldn’t cut it. But this period of discovery also inspired some of Secrets of the Empire’s most memorable moments, when the benefits of hyper-reality could amplify traditional storytelling.

“One of the bigger challenges, shall we say, that went on for about 24 hours, was figuring out the blasters,” Williams says. “It was a great creative conflict between all three of us. Between me from story, Ian from design, and Curtis from The VOID. When we all decided that, yes, we’re going to be rebels going in disguised as stormtroopers, I’m like, ‘We’re gonna have blasters. I’m not gonna take the outfit and not take the blaster. You want to take the whole thing.’ But from Curtis’ point of view, if you have a blaster at the beginning, you’re not touching things. Your hands are tied, so you can’t do anything else. And then from a design point of view, it’s like, this is the stuff we have to do. So we had to really figure out a story beat to make it make sense why we don’t have blasters at the beginning.”

The result is a real “wow” moment. You see blasters lined up on the wall, and you have to reach out and take one. And then you’re really holding it, in real life. When you pull the trigger, your first-person avatar does, too.

“That’s kind of it coming together,” Bowie says. “I think that moment, that sense of discovery… This is your Star Wars adventure. If we just gave you a blaster at the beginning, that’s not a moment you’re going to remember. That’s not a moment that’s going to make you feel like resourceful rebel going into this base. The fact that you discover them yourselves, you set off the alarm, you cause your story to change inside of that. The whole blaster scenario basically set up our mindset of how we move into a story like this.”

And the general idea, or motivating factor for Secrets of the Empire’s creators, is that you are a character. The blaster segment is emblematic of that, as it forces you to do something and ultimately think about what kind of character you will be. Will you reach out to touch other things you see? Will you take chances? Will you be silent or talk to your squadmates? (Mine were complete strangers, but we did quickly fall into our roles. When one teammate tried to crack the security code for a door, I crouched in front of him to provide cover. And we would all shout commands in our best pseudo-Star Wars military speak.) Secrets of the Empire does reward creativity — especially Star Wars-style creativity. My team struggled, for instance, in cracking that aforementioned security code. (Look, you try memorizing a button pattern with stormtroopers blasting at you.) What I learned later was — well, I won’t say too much here, but my advice is to remember you’re in the Star Wars universe, and Star Wars tricks apply.

Spoiler alert: There are some major surprises, Star Wars-wise, in Secrets of the Empire. A potentially major piece of Star Wars lore is revealed — an ancient lightsaber that looks like none we’ve seen before. All Williams will say regarding the artifact: “Stay tuned.” And a legendary character makes an appearance, getting up close and personal. It’s a moment that will thrill anyone who has ever loved Star Wars. “There are so many layers in that moment,” Williams says, “that I think everything just came together so beautifully.”

Secrets of the Empire was completed, surprisingly, in roughly “10, 11 months,” according to Plumer. “We just kept learning and iterating, and there’s still things we’re constantly tweaking,” he says. Indeed, the experience is designed so that Secrets of the Empire can be tweaked and added to going forward, and ideas that couldn’t be included are goals for what may come next.

“There was an excitement with it being a new platform,” Williams says. “There was a lot of me running around and saying, ‘What about this?’, and they’re like, ‘Well, we can’t do this because of this tech reason or this or that, but let’s table it for now because that’s something we can work towards.”

“This is just the beginning,” Plumer adds.

Many of the talents behind Secrets of the Empire gather for the experience’s grand opening at Downtown Disney on Saturday, January 5.

The release of Secrets of the Empire stands as something of a landmark moment for both Star Wars and The VOID. One of the world’s most beloved franchises, now 40 years old, has taken its first steps into a larger world.

“To see the first time people go through and come out, that’s the most rewarding,” Plumer says.

“The most rewarding experience that I’ve had, the one that keeps coming to mind, was watching some people go through, and then when they came out I asked them, ‘How was it?’” Bowie says. “They said, ‘I was in Star Wars.’ I was like, ‘That’s great.’ They said, ‘No. I was in Star Wars.’”

“It’s really moving Star Wars forward,” Williams says. “Like, what are the other stories will we tell in this new medium that we can’t tell anywhere else?”

Tickets for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire are on sale now at TheVOID.com.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Finding Star Wars books for all ages is easier than ever. Younglings have a variety of titles at their fingertips, including Penguin Random House’s Little Golden Books Star Wars titles. The recognizable books with the gold foil spines explore the rich galaxy with retellings of the films and character collections with strikingly gorgeous illustrations.

Chris Kennett is one of the illustrators filling the pages of the Golden Books with unique art. He’s been a fan of Star Wars since he was eight years old. He first experienced the galaxy through seeing Return of the Jedi. He’d missed the Darth Vader reveal in The Empire Strikes Back, so he was kind of confused, but all the incredible creatures and aliens got him hooked. Watching the movies and playing with action figures all paid off years later when Kennett was contacted by Penguin Random House to work on the Star Wars Little Golden Books. StarWars.com spoke with him about landing the gig, Easter eggs, and his new release, The Big Golden Book of Aliens, Creatures, and Beasts.

StarWars.com: How did you work on the Little Golden Books come about?

Chris Kennett: It was just a random e-mail, forgive the pun, from Random House. The title of the e-mail was “Star Wars Little Golden Books.” I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, to be honest, because I thought it might be just some sort of advertising email, that these were coming out, and I thought, “Oh, now that’s good, that sounds fun.”

Then as I clicked and read further into it, they said they’d followed a number of artists online and that I was one of them, and asked if I would be interested in working on a Golden Book. That completely blew me out of the water. I know there are many, many fantastic artists around the world — I follow lots of them myself — so to be sort of chosen from a huge pool of talent was really exciting and really quite humbling as well.

StarWars.com: You’ve illustrated a variety of characters and beings for Little Golden Books titles The Empire Strikes Back, I Am a Sith, and others. Did Random House have those titles in mind for you or did you get to choose?

Chris Kennett: I got a choice of doing two books at first, A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back. I was very, very torn about which one to choose, because obviously A New Hope is the one that started it all, and it brought lots of other people into the universe so that was on the top of my list for a long time. But the more I thought about it, the more I sort of started to sway towards Empire, because it was my favorite movie of the three. 

StarWars.com: Did you have to adjust your style it all to match what they wanted for the books?

Chris Kennett: It took me a few attempts, actually. My natural style is very cartoony, big eyes and big expressions, so I had to tone that down quite a bit. The Little Golden Books are a little stylized, but not too stylized in a way. It did take a lot of experimentation on my part, but they were very patient with me. They worked through it with me and gave me guidance like, “pull this back” or “make the eyes smaller.” They [the art direction team at Random House] approve from rough thumbnails that show the likenesses and page placement.

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StarWars.com: Your new Golden Book project is The Big Golden Book of Aliens, Creatures, and Beasts. How did that project been different from the others?

Chris Kennett: It’s double the size in every aspect, so in actual physical size and in length as well. There’s lots of really great scenes in this. A thing I like about doing these sort of anthology kind of books if you like, you get to jump into all the areas of Star Wars. The only movie book I did was Empire Strikes Back, so what these books allow me to do is illustrate parts from other movies that I didn’t get to do first time around. There’s lots of really cool stuff like the arena scene in Attack of the Clones, like with the acklay. And the cantina scene, as well, that’s something I didn’t get to do in the original first round of books, so that’s another thing checked off the list. There’s lots of really good fun stuff in this one, so it’s been possibly my favorite so far.

StarWars.com: We don’t always spend a lot of time with the aliens and creatures in the films; they don’t necessarily have a ton of screen time. What sort of images did you collect?

Chris Kennett: Most of them were really prominent in my mind, but I went back to the films and references images on the internet — usually for costumes. That’s the biggest help for me, is getting those costume details down. I definitely am conscious and aware of doing things that I would like to see as a fan, and I know those details are important to them.

One example of that is from the I Am a Droid book with a page with the two bounty hunters. I had a free rein on that page, which I don’t often get because usually it’s quite specifically what they want shown on every page, but that page was different. It was just [described as] two bounty hunters were arresting some aliens and so on. That was all that the brief was, so I actually made the two characters Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba. I thought would be fun, to see them getting into trouble since they’re wanted in so many systems.

StarWars.com: It’s nice that you can tip your hat to some of your favorites when you have a chance.

Chris Kennett: Yeah, it’s nice to stick a few little characters in the background if you have time. With the power droid, I really, really liked it as a kid, but I never got the figure itself. So, I like to use him whenever I can.

StarWars.com: Since you’ve illustrated droids, spaceships, creatures, and everything else, I’m curious what the most challenging subject has been?

Chris Kennett: I guess just getting the likenesses down for human characters probably is probably the biggest challenge. Aliens and spaceships, not a problem, but occasionally, one character will just kind of elude me a little bit. It’s a tricky line to walk because of being stylized but not too cartoony. You still need to capture the character. 

StarWars.com: As a fan of Star Wars, what have been the most “pinch me” type of moments for you with your work on the Golden Books?

Chris Kennett: That definitely happened when I got the job on the very first book. It was completely, “Why me, what’s so special?” sort of thing. All the way through that entire process, and even just getting an email saying, “We’re just sending this off to Lucasfilm.”

Every now and then you sort of just take a step back, and when you actually pick up a book, or if you see it in the shop, that’s when it sort of still really hits home again. That feeling of, “That’s right, I’m doing this thing, and it’s going into shops and people are buying it and getting excited about it.” Particularly these books because new generations of kids are getting to get excited about Star Wars.

Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.

Guardians of the Galaxy–Mission: BREAKOUT! (April 20, 2017) — The glimmering exterior of The Collector’s imposing Fortress looms over the skyline at Disney California Adventure Park. The all-new attraction Guardians of the Galaxy–Mission: BREAKOUT! debuts May 27, 2017 at Disney California Adventure. Guardians of the Galaxy–Mission: BREAKOUT! will take guests through the fortress of The Collector, who is keeping his newest acquisitions, the Guardians of the Galaxy, as prisoners. Guests will board a gantry lift which launches them into a daring adventure as they join Rocket in an attempt to set free his fellow Guardians. The epic new adventure blasts guests straight into the “Guardians of the Galaxy” story for the first time, alongside characters from the blockbuster films and comics. As guests join Rocket in his attempt to bust his pals out of The Collector’s Fortress, they will experience randomized ride experiences complete with new visual and audio effects and music inspired by the popular film soundtracks. (Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort) Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., is the centerpiece of Fantasyland and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Surrounded by placid water, beautiful flowers and whimsical topiary, the Disneyland landmark beckons park visitors to explore the different realms of the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
(Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort) With its turn-of-the-century architecture and lush gardens, the Main Street station offers the first point of entry for those who wish to soak up the scenery on a grand circuit tour of Disneyland park aboard one of the trains of the Disneyland Railroad which run on bio-diesel fuel created from recycled cooking oil used throughout the Resort. (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland) RADIATOR SPRINGS – Guests at Cars Land are immersed in the town of Radiator Springs, reminiscent of places found along historic Route 66 and inspired by the Disney•Pixar film, “Cars,” The entry to Cars Land, Inside Disney California Adventure Park, is a paved road with numerous automotive nods. Cars Land features immersive family attractions showcasing characters and settings from the film, including one of the largest and most elaborate attractions ever created for a Disney park: Radiator Springs Racers. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort) AROUND AND AROUND – The King Arthur Carrousel attracts guests of all ages to take a spin in the heart of Disneyland Park. Located in Fantasyland, the carrousel has 85 beautiful, antique horses that are carefully maintained year-round. The wooden steeds on this timeless attraction are hand-carved. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort) Inspired by the transportation system that once served Southern California, the Red Car Trolley at Disney California Adventure park transports guests along Buena Vista Street and through Hollywood Land. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort) Standing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, where magical storybooks come alive, Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Minnie Mouse welcome visitors from all over the world. Combining classic favorites and exciting additions, Disneyland park is an essential part of a Southern California vacation. (Disneyland) HOWDY, PARTNER! – Woody and Buzz Lightyear – characters from the Disney-Pixar “Toy Story” animated film series – pose in front of Toy Story Midway Mania! at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland) GRIZZLY RIVER RUN – Embark on a white-water rafting adventure along the foaming torrents of the Grizzly River and up the craggy granite mountain ominously known as Grizzly Peak. The 6-minute journey through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains culminates in a thrilling, spinning plunge down a runaway river. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland) STAR WARS LAUNCH BAY — In the heart of Tomorrowland, Star Wars Launch Bay is the central locale for guests to celebrate all things Star Wars. Disneyland park guests are welcomed to this multi-sensory space with the iconic phrase, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Once inside, they may encounter beloved Star Wars characters, play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, explore galleries full of treasured memorabilia and authentic replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, step into a Star Wars-themed cantina, and have access to Star Wars merchandise. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort) At the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., the landscape helps tell the “story” of the resort. More than 800 species of plants grow at the Disneyland Resort, making it one of the most extensive and diverse botanical locales in the western United States, and the Horticulture team carefully maintains the plant life found throughout the resort. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

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STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO The epic, fully detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. remains on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts ‘A Galaxy of Stories’ pavilion throughout D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. The stunning exhibition gives D23 Expo guests can up-close look at what’s to come on this never-before seen planet. (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories, at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) A GALAXY OF STORIES AT D23 EXPO- Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, ‘A Galaxy of Stories,’ at D23 Expo. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience.(Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) BOB CHAPEK UNVEILS STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL at D23 EXPO — During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek welcomed invited guests as he unveiled a first look at the epic, fully detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. This stunning exhibition remains on display in Walt Disney Parks and ResortsÕ ‘A Galaxy of Stories’ pavilion throughout D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) BOB CHAPEK UNVEILS STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL at D23 EXPO — During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek welcomed invited guests as he unveiled a first look at the epic, fully detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. This stunning exhibition remains on display in Walt Disney Parks and ResortsÕ ‘A Galaxy of Stories’ pavilion throughout D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks) BOB CHAPEK UNVEILS STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL at D23 EXPO — During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek welcomed invited guests as he unveiled a first look at the epic, fully detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. This stunning exhibition remains on display in Walt Disney Parks and ResortsÕ ‘A Galaxy of Stories’ pavilion throughout D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

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Spoiler warning: This article discusses specific characters and events from Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Hera.

The Empire is closing in.

When Hera was first summoned to the Fekunda Outpost, she hoped to add the farmers there to the rebellion’s supply chain. Instead, she finds a society in danger of becoming enslaved in a hostile Imperial takeover and in need of her guidance to wage their fight.

If you’ve ever wondered what Hera and Chopper get up to in between episodes of Star Wars Rebels, this third installment of the new Star Wars: Forces of Destiny five-issue series from IDW Publishing delivers an answer.

Throughout January, we’re sitting down with the rotating cast of talented creators behind the mini-series to get a behind-the-scenes look at each issue. This week, writer Devin Grayson and illustrator Eva Widermann, who teamed up on Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Hera (available today), e-mailed from the Bay Area and Bavaria, respectively, to tell StarWars.com about the artistic importance of Commander Zhou’s perfect coif, the subtle art of resistance, and learning to listen to Spectre-2 (because I think we can all agree there’s no point in arguing with the future General Syndulla).

StarWars.com: This really feels like the Hera we’ve come to know and love on Star Wars Rebels. Devin, you spot-on captured her voice in every panel! You’ve been writing Batman comics for 20 years and racked up many other credits as a comic writer for the Marvel universe. What’s it like to step into the shoes of a new character and explore the Star Wars universe as a whole?

Devin Grayson: Thank you! It was a delightfully surreal experience because, on the one hand, getting to write in the Star Wars universe felt like going all the way back to one of my very first experiences with a fictional landscape. The mythos is so deeply etched into my imagination; it’s a familiar and accessible place I’ve been playing in since childhood. But on the other hand, though I know I would have loved Hera as a little girl, I don’t think I would have understood her the way I feel I can at this stage in my life. She’s involved in this struggle for balance that feels so authentic to me, both in terms of juggling multiple roles — ace pilot, inspiring leader, resistance fighter, devoted mentor, den-mother, conflicted daughter — and also in terms of making peace with her own drive. Her intensity and focus are obviously huge assets, but at the same time, they’re elements that potentially threaten her capacity for intimacy and contentment in her personal life. To some degree or another, I feel like that describes every woman I know over the age of 30!

Shout out, too, to the amazing Vanessa Marshall. It was so helpful having her voice as a touchstone.

StarWars.com: And Eva, from the very first page you demonstrated a keen eye for illustrating Hera’s skill as a pilot and her concentrating-to-avoid-Imperials face. You previously illustrated a comic for the official Star Wars Rebels Magazine, so you had some experience aboard the Ghost when you came into this project. How did you try to make this comic your own?

Eva Widermann: Drawing comics for the Star Wars Rebels Magazine really opened another door for my professional career and I can’t stop thanking all the people involved that kept kicking my bum to go and give it a try after I was informed that Panini Germany was looking for another artist to join the Star Wars Rebels Magazine crew. Star Wars Rebels fascinated me from the beginning and I remember the first time I got to draw Hera for only one or two panels. I wished I could draw her more often… Well, my wish came true.

StarWars.com: I love all the new characters in this issue, especially Lemnos! What was your creative process when you sat down to collaborate on this comic? Did you come in with a list of things you definitely wanted to accomplish here (like, including Chopper)?

Devin Grayson: If I’m remembering correctly, my directive was simply: “a mission Hera goes on with Chopper on the Ghost in between episodes.” I don’t know that you can tell a story about Hera without including the Ghost, and I was super-psyched to get to play with Chopper, but it actually took great restraint not to include the rest of the crew — especially Kanan, because my writing has always been about relationships and there’s so much great stuff going on there! But I only had one issue, and one of the things I really wanted to show about Hera is how good she is at reading and inspiring people, and although at some level she’s continuously doing that with the entire team we know and love, I thought it might be more powerful to show her doing it with characters she was meeting for the first time. There’re kind of two types of leaders: the ones who define and spark the movement, and the ones who keep that fire burning by quietly helping people find their place in it. Hera’s arguably both, but I really wanted to show that second part in action.

In terms of Lemnos, he surprised even me. Originally I had him slotted for a less pivotal role, with the idea that Au B’ree was going to be the main focus of Hera’s efforts, but Hera was like, “Nope, she already knows what she’s doing, he’s the one who needs to come with me and test himself…” And, you know, there’s really no point in arguing with Hera, so I followed her orders.

I just also have to mention, in praise of Eva, that Zhou’s haircut was, like, really important. To him, of course, but also in terms of my conception of him. When I first saw Eva’s rendering of him, I was over the moon. There’s no better feeling than when someone you’re working with completely understands what you’re trying to communicate. Oh, and she put those pictures of his parents in his room of her own accord, and there honestly could not be a better prop to anchor his characterization. Perfection!

StarWars.com: I’m curious about how Eva’s sketches and stylistic choices influence the writing itself and vice versa. When you’re working together, which do you tackle first, the writing or the art?

Devin Grayson: I’ve always worked writing first, which means that Eva was working off of a full, completed script. But I know that the artists are the visual experts and so I try to temper my natural bossiness and leave them room to express themselves within the story.

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Once she started working, we e-mailed back and forth to clarify a few things, but mostly I just got to sit back and watch her bring the pages to life. Our colorist, Monica Kubina, is hugely talented, as well, and our editor, Denton Tipton, was really committed to helping us get the issue exactly where we wanted it, so toward the end there was a lot of collaboration – e-mails going back and forth with like, two paragraphs gushing over one another’s work and then one sentence about a small tweak or edit. Because of the short timeframes we’re usually working in, comic-working relationships tend to develop toward the backend of projects, with people starting off not knowing one another and ending up as passionate collaborators.

StarWars.com: What does Star Wars mean to you on a personal level? And how has the Forces of Destiny series changed or amplified that?

Devin Grayson: The original Star Wars trilogy lit up my childhood and informed almost every let’s-pretend game I played between 1977 and 1980, but I have to admit that I fell off a bit during the prequels era. More recently, my husband and 10-year-old have been really into the movies and TV series, so I sort of started paying attention again over their shoulders. And even though I assume Star Wars Rebels was created to get or keep kids invested in the Star Wars universe, I have to admit that Hera and Kanan’s relationship was what got me completely hooked again. I practically shoved [my husband] and my step-son off the couch to get a closer look. Next thing you know, I’m buying movie tickets and reading licensed novels and doing what my husband calls “deep dive character research,” because almost every time I get attached to fictional beings that way, I end up writing them down the line. And sure enough…!

Eva Widermann: Just like Devin, I grew up with Star Wars surrounding my childhood. I’ve always been more of a high fantasy/medieval fan rather than sci-fi, but I remember watching the re-digitized trilogy in the late ‘90s and I thought, hey, Star Wars is kinda high fantasy… just in a galaxy far away. I also really enjoyed the following movies, and mostly for the visuals — I couldn’t stop looking at the costumes and designs and the concepts. Dressing a Galaxy is still one of my favorite art books! Of course, being married to a Star Wars fan and eventually working on the Rebels comics and digging deeper into the Star Wars universe has intensified my fascination. I just look forward to showing the Hera comic to my son one day and hope he enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed drawing it.

StarWars.com: The Forces of Destiny animated series is about small acts of kindness and bravery, and in this case that means Hera training some would-be rebels the subtle art of resistance. Why did you choose this theme for Hera’s story?

Devin Grayson: I pitched a few different stories, all focusing on different aspects of Hera’s character: I had a story that focused more on her piloting and one that examined her role as ad-hoc den mother to the crew of the Ghost. But I’m glad we went with Hera the Leader, because it feels very timely to me. What better question right now than how do you inspire people to action when they’re already feeling overwhelmed with the daily struggle of existence: their families and their communities and their jobs? How do you recognize when it’s necessary to fight back and what are some ways you can do that without putting everything you love at even greater risk? Hera’s someone who can answer those kinds of questions. She understands that to motivate people, you have to see both what they’re capable of in that particular moment of time, and also what they have the potential to achieve down the line. I wanted to try to show what that might look like.

StarWars.com: How would you describe this mini adventure in your own words? Did you have any input on which character you would focus on?

Devin Grayson: I would say that this is a story about how one person can mobilize a community. Or, more specifically, it’s a story that attempts to demonstrate Hera Syndulla’s leadership skills, and the impact she has on even the people she meets only briefly.

StarWars.com: What was the biggest challenge in this project?

Devin Grayson:  In order to show how effective Hera is at inspiring people, I had to let her point them in different directions and then get out of their way to some extent. That felt like a risk since I only had a limited number of pages to communicate how special I think she is. I hope that you can feel her in the story even when you can’t see her.

StarWars.com: Devin, what was your favorite part of this comic to write?

Devin Grayson: I amused myself by making up my own key for Chopper’s dialog, which I can actually translate word for word, and I really enjoyed the strained dynamic between Mettic and Zhou. But my very favorite part was thinking about how Hera would communicate to people what she saw in them. Sometimes she’d feel she could just tell them, like with Au B’ree, sometimes she felt she had to show them, as with Lemnos and his bravery, and sometimes she decided it was better not to say anything at all, like in the face of Burl’s idealism, which I think she hoped would grow and mature into something that someone else could safely channel down the line.

StarWars.com: And Eva, what was your favorite page or scene to illustrate?

Eva Widermann: Obviously, every page which featured Hera. No, I really liked the part towards the end where Hera has a one-on-one talk with Au B’ree at night by the waterfall.

StarWars.com: And when you look at the finished comic now, what are you most proud of?

Eva Widermann: The fantastic teamwork all while living across the planet. It was the first time I joined forces with a colorist, as well, and Monica Kubina was an incredible partner to work with. Devin was always there for me when I had any further questions and she was quick with explaining parts of the story or sending references. Just a big massive THANKS to all of you!

Devin Grayson: I’m very pleased that we had the chance to show a female being bend-in-the-wind strong instead of tough-as-nails strong. The characters in the Star Wars universe tend to carry a great deal of symbolic weight, but at the same time, they’re always unique individuals, which is what gives us room to care about them. It feels awesome to have been able to participate in such dynamic, generation-spanning storytelling.

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. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them!

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.

Yuki Shibaura‘s simple paper cutting knife is an elegant weapon, her patience not unlike the concentration and focus required of a Jedi in training. As she makes another slice, the subject of her latest intricate kirigami piece comes alive from what was recently just an ordinary blank piece of paper.

And although the longtime Star Wars fan assures me anyone with these same simple tools can create their own paper cutting art, her decade of experience with the craft shows through in the fine details of her work.

The likeness of her latest piece is unmistakably a grizzled and world-weary Luke Skywalker. To celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Yuki made the work exclusively for StarWars.com and took some time away from her art to talk more about her impressive skills with a precision knife and her favorite Jedi masters from her home in Osaka, Japan.

The Force is her ally

At 46 years old, Yuki can still recall the excitement of seeing the original Star Wars in the theater for the first time with her father. “It was shown in Japan in 1978, so I was seven years old,” she says.

Some of the plot details eluded her, but the heroes she discovered in Luke and Han made an impression from the start. Still, Star Wars was just one of many interesting films and animations that intrigued her young mind, eventually inspiring her to go into a career as a designer at a video game production company.

Then the Special Editions hit theaters.

Through the eyes of an adult, the then 20-year-old film, newly restored and revamped, turned her into an unabashed fan overnight. “I became able to understand the story and the wonderfulness of the design as a sci-fi movie,” she says. And she came away with a newfound appreciation for the crazy old man she discovered in Ben Kenobi, inspiring a future cosplay of her own.

When she started dabbling in the hobby of paper cutting 10 years ago, Star Wars was an obvious choice as both subject matter and inspiration, counting the likes of illustrators Tsuneo Sanda and Star Wars poster illustrator Drew Struzan among her favorite artists.

Simple tools, complex art

Yuki quickly learned that the art form can be somewhat unforgiving. Each work is crafted from a single piece of sturdy Tant origami paper, so one slip of the cutting tool and a Jedi subject can easily lose a hand. “If I cut off the part I should not cut, I will start over from the beginning,” she says. Trying to mend the error simply mars the overall aesthetic. “Of course, it is possible to fix it if bonding is done using tape,” she says, “but I think it is not beautiful. It is no longer ‘artwork.’”

Yuki has had her share of redos, but now she rarely makes a misstep and her pieces have become more complex over time. As Yoda would say, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”  Or as Yuki puts it, “Every time I made a mistake, I learned how to avoid mistakes.”

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To make her latest piece inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Yuki turned to Photoshop to draft her design and printed a template on plain copy paper to act as a stencil of sorts. She avoids putting the ink directly on the finished paper because it can leave behind traces of color and distract from the overall clean look. Then she gets to work, slicing through the two layers to remove key sections and reveal the art she’s envisioned. Old Master Luke, for example, required painstakingly small cuts to give his beard and cloak the proper textures. A stylized design like tongues of flame surround him, completing the work on black paper. The piece is showcased by overlaying it over another solid piece of paper or another background.

Smaller pieces can be finished within a few days, while larger works can take weeks. A complicated Rogue One design that included Princess Leia, Jyn and Galen Erso, a menacing Death Star backdrop, and Yuki’s artistic rendering of hope took a month and a half to complete, she says. Although she primarily works with characters, faces of such well-known heroes and heroines pose a challenge to translate into the paper cut art form. If the features don’t look exactly right, it will be the first thing someone notices, she says. And thin long pieces, like strands of hair, pose their own difficulties because of their delicate nature. Those fragile wisps are easy to tear by accident.

For her larger works of art, Yuki’s template is portioned out into sections. It’s one of the lessons she’s learned through practice. “As I cut them, the white paper that remained in the part where cutting was done became an obstacle,” she says. Her fingers or the blade itself would get caught, sometimes tearing the paper beneath and forcing her to begin again.

But the tools and supplies are easy to find and she says the most important thing to know before trying it for yourself is that anyone can do it with enough patience and time. “The only thing needed to make paper cutting art is a piece of paper and a cutting knife. It’s so simple,” she says, “but I can cut out very complicated pictures with only these basic tools.”

And she says it’s important to start simple, like with a design like the Imperial or Rebel Alliance emblem.

Next up, Yuki hopes to keep working on perfecting her ability to capture that old wizard Obi-Wan Kenobi and she plans to give herself a new challenge with an intricate battle scene set among the stars.

She’s already dabbled in drawing starfighters, turning a painting into a folding fan for a functional piece of artistry that takes a classic cultural symbol and gives it a little galactic flair.

But the long and lean X-wing design is filled with small details that will have to be carefully cut into kirigami art. “My work so far was often themes with characters,” she says, so capturing the drama of combat is uncharted territory. “It is a battle scene where battleships and fighters are intertwined…It will be very complicated. It is a big challenge for me,” she says.

Like most artists, Yuki is her own harshest critic, even dismissing her earliest Star Wars-inspired work as “not very good.”

But she kept practicing and refined her technique, and she’s come a long way from that simple silhouette of Anakin and his master Obi-Wan standing back-to-back, lightsabers ignited and ready, to craft pieces so beautiful, they truly belong among the clouds.

Be sure to check out Star Wars Kirigami by artist Marc Hagan-Guirey for more on this incredible art form!


The Most Impressive Fans Q&A

Who is your favorite Star Wars character?

Obi-Wan Kenobi!

Which Star Wars film ranks highest on your list?

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. I LOVE Obi-Wan Kenobi in this film very much!

What’s your first Star Wars memory?

About 40 years ago when I was a little child, I went to a movie theater with my dad and watched A New Hope. In Japan, sci-fi animation was a fad at that time, with robots, science, future technology. I thought that they were very cool, so I became interested in Star Wars. I couldn’t understand the story well, but I enjoyed Star Wars very much!

Do you have a favorite scene?

The lightsaber duel of Anakin and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. I often practiced this scene with my Star Wars geek friends using a toy lightsaber!

If you had to choose: join the rebels or live the Imperial life?

Join the rebels! If it is possible, I’d like to become Jedi Knight!

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. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them!

These are the mobile wallpapers you’re looking for. (Because they’re Star Wars mobile wallpapers!)

If you wish your mobile device had just a little more Star Wars style, you’re in luck. StarWars.com is excited to offer the below wallpapers featuring some of the saga’s most iconic characters, ships, and creatures. Whether you’re more of a porg or Palpatine devotee, or just want to show your allegiance to the Resistance or First Order, you’ll find a wallpaper that’s right for you. Just save an image and set it as a wallpaper in your device’s settings.

May the wallpapers be with you.

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StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Here’s where the fun begins.

The official synopsis for Solo: A Star Wars Story was revealed today, offering some new details on the upcoming film. Read it below:

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

While not much else is known about the film, director Ron Howard has documented his experience making Solo: A Star Wars Story on Twitter and Instagram throughout production — with everything from set photos to shots of his morning coffee. StarWars.com has compiled all of his updates in one post, which you can view here.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated for release on May 25, 2018.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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