Like the animated series before them, the latest Star Wars: Forces of Destiny comic books from IDW Publishing expands our understanding of key characters in the galaxy with new adventures.
But more than just filling in scene gaps and backstories, transporting us back to favorite planets, and reuniting us with old friends and new aliens, the stories build on an essential piece of wisdom that makes the focus of the Forces of Destiny micro adventures a little different from the rest of the universe.
Instead of sweeping story arcs and epic space battles, with a style reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons from the '80s and '90s and a run time under three minutes each, Forces of Destiny hones in on the everyday struggles, the smaller moments that are no less important for building character, vignettes that study the impact of compassion, teamwork, kindness, and ultimately perseverance.
The five-issue run of comic books released in January gave us new stories about Leia, Rey, Hera, Padmé, Ahsoka, Rose and her sister Paige.
These stories celebrated the success and achievements of these brave heroines, but perhaps most importantly, the format gave us a glimpse into their minds, a chance to search their feelings in a way that isn't always so apparent by witnessing their actions or what they articulate alone.
In Leia's story, we see her worshipfulness struggling to work with a tauntaun, a departure from her usual approach of taking control of the situation at hand. Her internal monologue highlights her own self doubts, and the emotional battle to put on a brave face as a leader of the rebellion even when she and the rest of the rebels are bone weary and tired of running.
She fails. She falls down. She gets buried in an avalanche.
And she emerges. Because even the truest heroes will lose sometimes, but they. Always. Get. Back. Up.
Surely, other Star Wars adventures have covered this ground, but never quite so directly addressing the anxiety of it all.
Which brings us to Rose.
She's just a kid, a tinkerer, an animal lover. These are hardly the traits normally extolled as the virtues of a hero.
And yet, she is one. Despite her youth, she is wise and she comes up with ideas that the more jaded fighters around her can't even fathom. Her abilities as a builder and mechanic are literally what keep the fleet and its fighter pilots in the sky. Despite her own self-doubts, she has a sister and a general who respect her contributions and unique perspective, helping to build up her confidence to later stand up to foes and even heroes of the rebellion who seem to be endangering the mission.
For Hera, Rey, and Padmé and Ahsoka, the lessons are equally subtle.
Fighting an adversary isn't always about marching directly in front of the enemy on the front lines of combat. Resistance can be strategic, tactical, nearly imperceptible but nevertheless persistent and ultimately victorious.
Those who have been hurt, abandoned, trampled upon need not treat others the way they've been treated.
And to get to that moment of triumph requires attention to the smallest details, and often those minuscule moments are what led heroes to their greatest battles and achievements.
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