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Review: Star Wars Insider Issue 201, Featuring Interviews with Joonas Suotamo and Matt Lanter, Plus New Original Fiction

Review: Star Wars Insider Issue 201, Featuring Interviews with Joonas Suotamo and Matt Lanter, Plus New Original Fiction

Star Wars Insider Issue 201 hits newsstands and mailboxes today, and there’s plenty of content to appreciate. Some featuress include interviews with Joonas Suotamo, Matt Lanter, and authors Rae Carson and Michael Kogge. Continuing the return of original fiction to the pages of Insider, there’s part one of a short story by Cavan Scott set during the High Republic era.

Sadly, this past December, we lost the legendary actor Jeremy Bulloch, the man who first breathed life into Boba Fett in the original trilogy. This issue of Insider honors Mr. Bulloch with a heartfelt tribute highlighting what he meant to fans, and what the fans meant to him. It was a loving relationship lasting 40+ years.

There are a few really fun interviews in Insider #201, starting off with a look behind the scenes of bringing Chewbacca to the big screen from A New Hope to The Rise of Skywalker. Neal Scanlan and Tom Spina discuss creating the Chewbacca suit, and the practicalities of updating the costume for the new films while keeping with the iconic look created by Stuart Freeborn.

Of course, creating the suit is only part of the magic of Chewbacca. What makes the Wookiee beloved are the traits brought to the character by the men who’ve worn the suit, starting with Peter Mayhew, and now with Joonas Suotamo. The charm and physicality of both actors make Chewie “Chewie” to fans of all ages throughout the decades. In this issue, Joonas shares how he approaches his performance of Chewbacca. His love and respect for the character drives home the fact Joonas was the prefect choice to assume the mantle from his iconic predecessor.

A favorite for many fans since the early 80s are the Star Wars Radio Dramas. Insider looks back at the audio dramatization of A New Hope 40 years after its initial run on National Public Radio, in addition to those for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and how they inspired the audio dramas of today. The radio dramas are a very special part of fandom. If you haven’t experienced them, they are definitely worth seeking out, and this detailed retrospective will undoubtedly inspire many to do just that.

Matt Lanter took over the role of Anakin Skywalker in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars from 2008-2014, and again in 2020. In this issue of Insider, the actor talks about the way he approached Anakin, and how his portrayal differed from Hayden Christensen’s live action performance in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. He also talks about his cameo in the first season of The Mandalorian and how it came to be. It’s an enjoyable read, and Matt’s enthusiasm for his role as Anakin and the friendships forged during the run of The Clone Wars is evident.

Speaking of The Mandalorian, Insider #201 features a recap of the first season that will be followed up with a recap of season two in the next issue.

Original fiction returned to the pages of Star Wars Insider in recent months with Issue 199, and continues in this issue with part one of a two-part High Republic short story written by Cavan Scott. “First Duty: Part One” takes place on Starlight Beacon and introduces Velko Jahen, newly assigned aid to Rodor Keen, head of Republic operations on Starlight. Velko’s new posting takes place in the aftermath of the Great Disaster, making things on Starlight more chaotic then they would be under normal circumstances.

Velko is immediately pressed into duty in the medcenter, where they are inundated with patients needing medical attention as a result of the Emergences happening due to the hyperspace disaster. It becomes evident the situation is tense as many of the patients are on opposite ends of political ideologies and/or conflict. Velko, while out of her depth, tries her best to help where needed. The situation quickly escalates as events take a violent turn.

Velko Jahen is a likeable character. You feel for her as she’s thrust into action beyond anything she was expecting, but steels herself as she sees her duty laid out. The story is centered on Velko so the other characters move in and out fairly quickly, which suits the rapid pace of “First Duty” as it leads to a shocking cliffhanger.

Other features in this issue of Insider include the influence of Star Wars on hip hop artist Cut Chemist, Rae Carson and Michael Kogge sharing their experiences writing novelizations for The Rise of Skywalker, a behind-the-scenes look at Jabba’s Palace, and much more. Just when you think you know all there is to know about Star Wars, Insider brings something new.

Star Wars Insider Issue 201 is available now.

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U.S. / CANADA SUBSCRIPTIONS: https://bit.ly/3brUMJn

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Thank you to Titan Publishing Group for providing a copy of Star Wars Insider #201 for review purposes.
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