Zen to Sassy: The Jedi Spectrum

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M: K and I REALLY want to be Jedi.

K: Like REALLY BAD.

M: But, some aspects of Jedi-ism have us concerned. No, not the “no-attachments” rule. The only thing I’m attached to at this point in my life is my laptop and my favorite pair of fake pants.

K: The no attachments rule honestly sounds like the excuse I’ve been needing at every family gathering for the last five years to explain why I’m not dating anyone.

M: No, the thing that really concerns us is that whole… “accept everything as the will of the Force” thing–the whole “be chill” part. For while attachments we have none, chill we are not.

K: Preach. Lucky for us, there’s a bit of a, shall we say, spectrum within the Jedi Order. In an “on a scale from Anakin Skywalker to Luminara Unduli, how Zen are you?” kind of way.

M: Anakin “human disaster” Skywalker to Luminara “so Zen even Yoda rolls his eyes” Unduli. This wide of a range allows for a special specimen of Jedi. The Sassy Jedi.

K: The only kind of Jedi we could possibly be, because the Zen Jedi (even the ones we like) are just way too chill. About the good emotions as well as the bad ones. I don’t know that I could go without getting really excited as well as getting really angry.

M: You see, the Sassy Jedi do indeed experience this range of emotions. They just express all emotions as Sass. Obi-Wan, despite his severe emotion-repression, is about the perfect example. Instead of expressing his feelings, he either bottles them away… or lets them out in the form of extreme sarcasm.

K: He is the most obviously “sassy” of the Sassy Jedi. He can’t help himself, it spills out everywhere.

M: Flirting with Ventress, talking back to Dooku, being quippy with Anakin…

K: Seriously, it’s almost a problem. Except not, because we love him so much. There are a couple of other Jedi that fall more on that end of the spectrum too. For example, Aayla Secura, who, when asked if all Jedi are reckless, responds “Only the good ones.”

M: (*girl crushing so hard*) Yes, Aayla may not be as snarky as Obi-Wan, but she’s got style, is always up for a fight, and seems to acknowledge that emotions do, in fact, exist. I’d also put Even Piell on this list, now that I’m thinking about it. That one-eyed… thing *looks up species* Lannick has had ENOUGH.

K: Master Piell is another Sassy Jedi who doesn’t necessarily “sass,” but who isn’t so concerned with keeping his emotions in check that he won’t tell you what he thinks of you to your face.

M: That’s probably how he lost his eye, honestly.

K: I think Kit Fisto is also a Sassy Jedi. Like yeah, in that Clone Wars arc on Mon Cala, he’s super chill about the eels constantly shocking him, which is very Zen. But when he first sees them, he’s all “Ooh, eels! Very dangerous!” Like, he’s not…excited, exactly, but he is interested. Which is very Obi-Wan.

M: OMG, so Obi-Wan. “Which do you think it will enter? The ear or the nose?” (S2E7, look it up). Yeah, Kit Fisto takes on danger and life-threatening situations as if they’re a complete joke. He just grins through it all. It’s rather delightful.

K: What a gem.

M: I have a few Jedi I need help categorizing, but let’s move on to Zen Jedi to get a full idea of the spectrum first.

K: In that case, let’s start at the extreme Zen end of things: Luminara Unduli. It’s not that we hate Luminara…

M: Because hate is not the Jedi way.

K: And she does get the job done. It’s just… she’s the show off kid in class and sometimes that gets REALLY old.

M: I think an ANECDOTE is in order.

K: By all means!

M: So, in the Geonosis arc in Clone Wars (season 2, episodes 5-7, literally one of my favorite arcs), she is unbearably Jedi. The deal is that she and Anakin are going to create a distraction at the front gate of a droid factory, while Ahsoka and Luminara’s padawan, Barriss, sneak in through an underground system of tunnels and blow the thing up from the inside. A nerve-wracking situation all around.

K: Indeed. But guess whose nerves are not wracked?

M: Kriffing Luminara. Is she worried about Barriss dying? Nah, she’s willing to be unattached to her padawan.

K: *cue Anakin sputtering with shock*

M: Is she worried about the padawans getting lost? Nah, she made Barriss MEMORIZE the entire ancient tunnel system.

K: *cue Ahsoka sputtering with shock*

M: And then, when Ahsoka saves the day and everyone’s happily reunited, she doesn’t celebrate. NO, she just turns to Anakin and says something obnoxious about trusting in the Force or whatever. Such a goody-two-shoes.

K: The thing is, Luminara does EVERYTHING right, as far as the Jedi Code is concerned, but it’s super off-putting. In the movies, we see a lot of Obi-Wan and Anakin, and then later, Luke, as our Jedi protagonists, and we can understand and relate to them. But with characters such as Luminara, we see what the Jedi are technically supposed to be like. You can see why ordinary beings in the Star Wars universe find the Jedi a little bit cold and unreachable.

M: And why they see them as absolute mysteries. BUT, Luminara is an extreme. There are other Zen Jedi who are lovable as all hell. By which I mean Plo Koon.

K: Plo!!! Everyone’s adoptive Space Dad.

M: Plo does follow the Jedi Code diligently, but he does it with such intense compassion that he’s delightful. I seriously MELT every time he calls Ahsoka “little ‘Soka.”

K: It is TOO CUTE. And his relationship with his clones is the best. They call themselves “Plo’s Bros” for pity’s sake. But despite all of that apparent attachment (that most talked-about Jedi sin), Plo is very Zen.

M: Yes. He’s very calm and calculated. I’m thinking of that episode when he and Ahsoka go on a mission?

K: Haha and he’s like “what has Skywalker been teaching you, little one”?

M: Yeah! He’s just like looking cool as kriff in his really, really cool cloak and talking to people. P.S. I love his cloak.

K: Ahsoka spends a lot of that episode struggling to be patient–they’re tracking baby Boba Fett and a bunch of bounty hunters, and like her decidedly not-Zen master, Anakin, she doesn’t like waiting for the action to start. Through it all, Plo stays calm, thinks everything through, and makes all the right decisions. Because he is one with the Force, and the Force is with him, probably.

M: And his patience is also what makes him such an amazing adoptive Space-Dad! This is a more general observation, but I love that whenever the Jedi are considering an issue, he always seems to be the one asking more questions and looking at things from a different angle. He is definitely a think-before-you-act kind of guy.

K: Yes, for sure. It’s clear the rest of the Jedi Council rely on his patience and understanding when they’re struggling with all the decisions they have to make.

M: GAH PLO I LOVE YOU. Okay, also in the “Zen but cool” category: Shaak-Ti.

K: Shaak Ti, my actual queen. Hmm, she’s a little further along toward the Sassy side, but still definitely in the Zen camp I think.

M: Yes, she’s not quite as “emotions not allowed” as some of the other Zen Jedi, but she’s so incredibly… cool throughout all of her adventures. It would be very hard to get her riled up.

K: There’s a reason she’s in charge of the clones on Kamino–she has all the patience of a kindergarten teacher mixed with the take-no-crap attitude of a drill sergeant.

M: Dude, perfect comparison! I just love how she sweeps into a room, being this scary-beautiful, beautifully-scary entity, and takes charge. I think I’d find her as intimidating as crap.

K: But also I would trust her with my life.

M: In the deleted scenes of RotS, there is a scene from a discarded subplot at the beginning of the film when Anakin and Obi-Wan are tracking down Grievous. In this version, she was captured by Grievous during the battle of Coruscant. When they find her, she only gets to apologize and say goodbye before Grievous kills her. It’s not a long scene, but she does make an impression. She’s so calm. It’s that moment that really makes me think of her as Zen. Not even being faced with death will cause her to lose control.

K: But even though she’s so Zen, you do NOT want to cross her. (I’m looking at you, creepy Kaminoan doctor from Season 6.)

M: OH MOST DEFINITELY NOT. She’s on the justice side of the Jedi.

K: Exactly. So, we’ve got an idea of what the spectrum looks like. Who are the Jedi you struggle to place?

M: Well, the two headliners, Yoda and Mace. Yoda is very zen pre-RotS, but I mean… Senile Yoda is a whole other creature.

K: True, true, but consider the following: Yoda is the one who teaches the younglings. All of the prequels-era novels I’ve read describe Yoda as this unpredictable eccentric. And of course, there’s my favorite “Lost a planet, Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” He is sassy, that one.

M: Oooh, good point. He speaks in riddles and you have to guess that some of that is just him messing with people. I guess a lot of when we see him, especially in RotS, he really has the weight of the galaxy on him. So sassy he may be, but worried he is.

K: But when Luke comes along, he’s given up on worry–it’s too late for that, so why not freak the kid out by stealing his flashlight and hitting his droid with a stick?

M: “MINE!” I LOVE YODA. Mace is also an interesting one. He’s very Jedi, but he takes NO crap, and always seems level 1000 annoyed with Anakin.

K: With Anakin especially, but also with everyone in general. It’s almost like he’s the Sith version of Zen instead of the Jedi version. He’s got that “controlled rage” feel about him. Emphasis on the “controlled.”

M: (Speaking of Sith, I’d rate them on a scale of “Palpatine takes Anakin to the bubble ballet” to “Palpatine jumps up and does a 920 degree Force spin while shrieking.”)

K: (I approve this scale.)

M: To finish off, I think there needs to be some sort of… side category. This would be the “Jedi Troll.” Super Zen, definitely trolling you.

K: Ok, I’ll bite, who would be in this category?

M: Qui-Gon Jinn.

K: OH OF COURSE.

M: Like he’s too much of a Sassy jerk to be a Zen Jedi, but he’s also so sanctimoniously Zen with his “Living Force” stuff. And we love him.

K: We do.

M: WAIT, we’ve forgotten to place one important Jedi– Ahsoka! Where do you think she’d be on the scale?

K: Definitely Sassy. It’s just a matter of degree.

M: Yes. Because she is Sassy. She’ll always be, it’s very innate. But I think her decision to leave the order is about the most Zen thing a Jedi in her situation could do.

K: Hmm, yes, I can see that.

M: I mean, yes, it’s not a “JEDI” thing to do, but it displays the more pure traits of the Jedi Code. “Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge.”

K: She also does have that more serious side that lets her be more Zen than she first appears.

M: Basically she’s perfect.

K: She’s probably the kind of Jedi I would want to try to match. Sassy, yet Zen.

 

Zen

Luminara Unduli

Plo Koon

Ki-Adi-Mundi

Adi Gallia

Shaak Ti

Mace Windu

Ahsoka Tano

Kit Fisto

Aayla Secura

Even Piell

Yoda

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Sassy

Extra Sassy Anakin Skywalker

Troll: Qui-Gon Jinn

 

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Skywalker Family AU: Padawan Edition

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K: Few things have the power to reduce me to mush the way fanart and/or headcanons featuring the Skywalkers all living happily as a family sans Anakin’s Fall does.

M: Seriously. I’m not one for AUs, generally speaking, but despite the fact that I love the prequels and their place in the Star Wars story, it sometimes seems… unfair that the prequel folks don’t get their happy ending, while OT folks do (ignoring you, TFA).

K: Exactly! And it’s not like I’m saying I wish this is how things actually worked out. No matter how much I cry and wail about the Star Wars, I love the emotional resonance amid all of the tragedy. And you can’t get the powerful resolution of RotJ without the equally powerful devastation of RotS. But it sure is nice to dream sometimes!

M: Especially where it concerns little Leia and Luke getting to interact with their awesome parents & parents’ friends!

K: *squeals about the cuteness* Obviously, given both of their affinity for the Force, they would be training as Jedi in this AU. (Also in this AU, the Jedi are totally cool that Anakin and Padme are married and had kids in the first place, because why dream if you don’t dream big). Which means we get to think about who would train them!

M: Little Luke and Leia, tripping over their robes, calling out to Master… Who?

K: A lot of people who share our enjoyment of this AU have Anakin training them. And in many ways, that would be the cutest thing.

M: Seriously, especially because we know how much Anakin loves to teach (see: Ahsoka), despite his unconventional ways.

K: And despite how much he initially protests. We also know he likes kids (see: Clone Wars Gambit: Siege pages 108-110, aka my cause of death). Dadakin would have been a glorious sight to behold.

M: But the thing is, in this AU, Anakin has also had extensive therapy, and knows that being his children’s Jedi master probably isn’t the wisest thing, despite his need for control. He’d rather just be dad.

K: That would be more than enough of a satisfying challenge, I’m sure. Also, him trying to train Leia would just end in disaster, can you imagine the ARGUMENTS?

M: OH DEAR I CAN.

K: Padme would laugh. And then tell Anakin to let someone else do it.

M: So, who else? I mean, if this is sans Fall we have the whole of the Jedi Order to choose from… but obviously we have our favorites.

K: Yeah, we’re not letting someone like Luminara Unduli get her hands on Luke and Leia. (Although, that could be entertaining in a terrible, train wreck way).

M: I feel like Leia would end up pranking her in some horrible way, or desperately trying to break rules just because Luminara is such a stickler, which would continue to escalate until Yoda had to intervene and split them up…

K: And Luke would just be so scared of getting something wrong and so miserable from trying to do something ridiculous like memorize every junction in 200 meters of convoluted tunnels that he’d never learn anything.

M: Plus, Luminara doesn’t have a great track record with padawans. (See: Barriss Offee) (I’m a terrible human, forgive me.)

K: (She had it coming.) So, there’s one option eliminated, not that she was ever really a choice in the first place. There’s a much more obvious choice though, of course. Our other favorite Space Dad.

M: OBI-DAD! Or, in this case, Obi-Uncle? Uncle-Wan.

K: Too cute! Of course they would both love him so much anyway, since he would be over at their house CONSTANTLY and they probably get into fights about who gets to be his padawan while they’re still younglings.

M: GAH the cute. I mean, we see how easily Luke gets attached to Obi-Wan after knowing Crazy Ben for approximately 3 days. And who can blame him? He’s cuddly! And behind his innate Jedi-ness there’s a twinkle in his eye and a heart of gold.

K: But sadly, as we learned when Qui-Gon first offered to take Anakin as his apprentice in TPM, no Master can serve two padawans. So a decision must be made.

M: I feel like the obvious decision is Luke, just because they actually do train together, albeit briefly.

K: Yes, and I think that Obi-Wan would be so relieved to have a padawan like Luke for a change. Like yeah, Luke’s had his fair share of bad choices and reckless moves, but he APOLOGIZES for them. He’s really humble when he makes mistakes. And he says where he’s going before he flies away in his X-wing to do dangerous things.

M: Luke is a darling soul.

K: In the now non-canon EU his favorite drink is hot chocolate for pity’s sake.

M: GAH ADORABLE. I mean really, let us not get caught up by his (brief) whining in ANH. Really, he’s game to do anything, cares deeply about his friends, and is fairly soft-spoken.

K: I can just picture him and Obi-Wan finishing a lightsaber sparring session and then just hanging out sipping tea and discussing whatever weird theory about healing crystals has been discovered in the past few weeks. Because let’s face it, they’re both nerds.

M: They’d read books about Jedi history together and Obi-Wan would teach him about animals. It all sounds very relaxing haha.

K: Indeed. Which, who ever heard of a Master/Padawan relationship being *relaxing*? Maybe this isn’t the best scenario after all.

M: So, Obi-Wan trains Leia? First thoughts… UM, ADORABLE. Why had I not thought of this sooner?!

K: The sheer number of times Obi-Wan would put his head in his hands and say “You are JUST like your father, may the Force give me strength.” But secretly he’d love it.

M: I mean, we’re talking all the benefits of the Skywalker/Kenobi partnership without all the trauma and competition. This is an older, wiser, softer Obi-Wan who has the patience to handle a feisty Skywalker and the life experience needed to bite back sarcasm.

K: Not that Leia needs him to cut back on the sarcasm as much as Anakin did. She can dish it right back, girl’s got her mother in her too.

M: I think Leia would make Obi-Wan LAUGH.

K: Which he NEEDS.

M: DESPERATELY! Imagine Leia trying to use a Jedi mind trick on him as a round-faced 8 year old. That might be enough to get him to full on belly laugh. And I think Leia would adore him right back. He’d be game to chuckle while she uses him as a verbal punching bag, rather than correct her right away.

K: He’d challenge her to solve problems on her own and come up with solutions to tricky things. There’d be absolutely NO patronizing. Which is the kind of mentoring she needs.

M: Yes, he’d see that innate talent and pull it out, and then not buckle underneath her sharp tongue and stubbornness.

K: I feel like they’d settle into a rhythm so fast. And then they’d be unstoppable. Also they’d gang up on Anakin ALL THE TIME.

M: “Leia, let’s put sand in your father’s robe pockets.”

K: “Way ahead of you, Master Kenobi.” Also can you imagine down the road when Han inevitably enters the picture and not only does he have to face Anakin, but there’s Obi-Wan, deceptively inviting him in for tea and then just scaring the crap out of him.

M: Bahahaha, I mean Han and Obi-Wan already know how to irritate each other so perfectly, but Han would have to hold it all in because Leia would be fiercely loyal.

K: For sure. Han would have to pass the Obi-Test before she gave him a chance.

M: A nerve-wracking thing indeed from a man known for his deceptive maneuvers. UM YES, I’m sold on this partnership. And it would also be a second chance for Obi-Wan to be a master, this time fully prepared and not under the pressure of fulfilling the dying wish of his master.

K: And no matter how exceptional Leia is, she’s not “The Chosen One” which is another relief for poor Obi-Wan’s sense of responsibility. With the experience of training Anakin, and more years of wisdom under his belt, I bet he’d be very good at helping Leia control that Skywalker rage she’s got lurking in her veins. With a lot of humor, and a lot of patience of course, but also with an open and serious warning if things got bad. I think he’d try really hard not to dance around her–and she’s too direct to take it anyway.

M: She’d dig the straight answer out of him, anyway.

K: Which is another reason she’d be good for him.

M: Yes, I think Leia would teach Obi-Wan a ton. “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is,” after all. But that leaves Luke without a master!

K: And we can’t do that to Luke! So…who gets to train the one Hufflepuff to come from the Skywalker-Amidala bloodlines? (Wait, I tell a lie, Shmi.)

M: Well, there are wealth of Jedi masters who we love and got to know in Clone Wars and EU novels. Plo Koon, primarily. Another stellar Space-Dad.

K: I do love Plo, and he would adopt the twins whether he got to train them or not. He can’t help himself.

M: Adoptive Plo’s Bros! But none of them have as much of a connection with the Skywalkers, or would be up to taking on the offspring of The Chosen One.

K: Not to mention his wife, the former Queen of Naboo (and probably Chancellor of the Republic in this AU if we’re being honest, she’s got the nerves of steel required). But yes, a daunting task.

M: I know a person not properly daunted by daunting tasks! Ahsoka KRIFFING Tano.

K: AW YEAH. (Because Ahsoka also gets to stay with the Jedi in this AU!!) But really, Ahsoka is the best. And she would be a GREAT Master.

M: Especially with Luke! Ahsoka is feisty and a touch reckless, like Anakin, but she also has this intense maternal side. She’d push Luke out of his comfort zone, but not scare him off.

K: She’d see the toughness inside him, because it does exist. He’s a ray of sunshine, but sunshine can give you sunburns if you’re not careful. She’d show him how to make the best use of his not-inconsiderable talents. Plus they would just have a lot of fun. They’d do a lot of flying together and sparring and stuff. I can see them going on lots of training field trips and coming back covered in mud and grinning. She would DEFINITELY call him Skyguy Junior.

M: OMG that’s adorable. I think what they have in common, which is what would make their relationship work, is their sheer enthusiasm.

K: They’re also both really hopeful people. They have a pretty good handle on their emotions (Obi-Wan has control of his emotions but only because he brutally represses them). And they enjoy a good display of acrobatic daring-do (see: Luke does a flip off the end of an execution plank).

M: (also see: Ahsoka always) Yes, I think together they’d be intensely energetic. And then, on the flip-side, I think they both have the same style of seriousness. RotJ, Clad-in-Black Luke reminds me of Ahsoka’s more serious, grown-up side. They’re both very thoughtful people, underneath the goofiness and flipping.

K: Oh for sure. I imagine their partnership as one that leans toward teasing more than arguing. And they’d take the time to really listen to each other’s concerns. It’d be one of those pairings where they head into battle with only a quick look at each other to determine their plan. They would know each other really well.

M: In terms of their differences, I think Luke would balance out Ahsoka’s wildness. By the time she’s older she has a really great hold on her temper, but Luke’s sensitivity would help her continue to fine-tune that.

K: Anakin would be so proud of them both, gosh. Also of Leia, of course.

M: And after a long day of training they’d all get together for family dinner.

K: I can see it now: Padme’s had a long day in the Senate, so Obi-Wan insists on cooking. Or trying to. Ahsoka and Luke take over when things start burning, (letting Obi-Wan retreat to observe quietly in the corner with a cup of tea,) even though Luke is hardly tall enough to reach anything and has to Force-float ingredients into the pot. Leia tells her mom all about the latest stunt she pulled on her twin while they were supposed to be meditating, with lots of hand gestures and getting up to demonstrate exactly what happened. Anakin just sits on the couch with his arm around his wife, smiling. Or maybe giving her a foot rub.

M: It’s the life Anakin always wanted with his mother, and the life he wanted to create for Padme and his children.

K: Ok, quick, let’s leave them there before I start crying. And-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after-the-end.

May the 4th Be With You

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It’s Star Wars Day! To celebrate, we have each made lists of moments that make us happy from each of the Star Wars movies. May the 4th be with you!

K

TPM: I love Obi-Wan’s face at the end because everyone else is smiling and triumphant while Obi-Wan is finishing the movie the way he started it—with a bad feeling about this.

AotC: I love the scene in the droid foundry when Anakin’s arm is stuck and there are blades chopping all around him because it seems like he’s going to lose his hand a la Luke in ESB, but that doesn’t actually happen until later.

RotS: I love the way the music goes away and it’s completely silent right as the mask goes over Anakin’s terrified face and then…the first Vader breath. Chills.

RO: I love the sight and sound of Vader’s lightsaber igniting in the black hallway. I think I stopped breathing in the theater.

ANH: I love Leia saying “Somebody’s got to save our skins,” because she’s supposedly the one being rescued and then she rescues her rescue party. Anyone who says Leia is a damsel in distress is just so, so wrong.

ESB: I love the tiny moment when Lando has to physically drag Leia away from shooting stormtroopers during the escape from Cloud City. She is going to make the Empire pay for taking her boyfriend, so help her Force.

RotJ: I love when Luke does a flip off the execution plank, catches his lightsaber, and just kriffing wrecks Jabba’s henchmen. It’s his biggest Jedi moment in the original trilogy and I cheer through the whole thing.

TFA: I love the way the Force theme swells when the lightsaber goes shooting into Rey’s hand. I about stood up and clapped the first time I saw this scene.

 

M

TPM: Padme: “The Queen will not approve.” Qui-Gon: “The Queen doesn’t need to know.” Padme: “Well I don’t approve.” He’s a troll, she’s a queen, it’s a great moment. Bonus points: the knowing look Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan share just after Padme reveals her identity.

AotC: Obi-Wan getting a drink after the chase on Coruscant. Never fails. I laugh every time.

RotS: So many feels in this movie, almost chose “You were my brother Anakin, I loved you.”  but we’re celebrating so I’m going to go with the moment when Obi-Wan wakes up to find he’s hanging from Anakin in an elevator shaft. I just love how big his eyes get and how he bear hugs Anakin.

RO: UH WHAT ELSE I love Vader igniting his lightsaber in the dark hallway. But, since K already chose that… I’ll have to go with just a few seconds later when Vader force slams the rebel soldier into the ceiling. It’s the most Anakin we’ve seen Vader and it’s beautiful.

ANH: Luke standing beneath the twin suns, the force theme playing… just the most Star Wars Star Wars moment, and a kriffing beautiful shot to boot. It’s where it all began.

ESB: YODA. YODA. YODA. More specifically, Yoda’s Theme is my favorite piece of Star Wars music.

RotJ: This film has the best dolly-in in cinema history. It happens when the Emperor is electrocuting Luke– he’s obviously going to lose or die if something doesn’t happen soon– and it cuts to Vader– and there’s this little dolly in. It’s this perfect moment that, because of the camera movement, projects so much emotion onto Vader’s mask. It’s the moment he returns to the light. The moment he decides to become Anakin again, and do the right thing– save his son! The whole series leads up to this moment, and it’s served, perfectly, by a dolly in.

TFA: Rey adding “and you will drop your weapon!” when she first does a Jedi Mind Trick.