Hello again. I'm sad to say the questions have not been pouring in, and so I must implore my audience to send me some of theirs. You can send them as always to email@example.com.
An upcoming event worth mentioning is Celebration VI, which I will be attending as one of many thousands of awe-struck fans. That'll start on the 23rd, and I may have a special post that weekend in the general realm of saying what a great time I'm having and wish you were here etc, but I'll save that for then.
Brian C. asks:
"Why do we all know that Ewoks are called what they are when they never use their name in the movies?"
Well, I don't know which way the answer came first, truthfully, as it happened some time before I was born and that particular snippet of information hasn't crossed my ears.
However, there are two ways for certain that the information would have leaked first, and once out through those channels, another to explain why everybody knows they're called Ewoks.
So the first two ways are fairly simple: the movies had novelization tie-ins, released right around the time of the movies (probably before, as the case seems to be with such things.) If I had to bet where the name was known from first, it would almost certainly be the Return of the Jedi novel, which refered to them as Ewoks at some point. The second would be the toys.
There's big money in selling swag, and you need a name to put on the box. Children buying Ewok action figures would have recognised the characters and then associate the name on the box with it.
It's worth knowing that in the end credits, they are referred to as Ewoks, though at no point in the dialogue is it mentioned. Also, anyone with their hands on the script could have also read it in the stage directions.
But the big third reason, which I think is truly the reason everyone knows they're Ewoks--and shamed is the SW fan who doesn't know the Ewok Leia meets first is named Wicket--is that there was a cartoon and two direct to TV movies, which were almost as bad as the Star Wars Holiday Special, or so I'm lead to belive[1. I've seen the Holiday Special. I don't know if I'm up for the Ewok Adventure or its sequel. I would say no one knows why they were made at all, but it smacks of Spaceballs II: The Search for More Money.].
And there were the children's comics based around them as well.
After a certain point, it became hard to not know they were called Ewoks, especially when small children could mock you for not knowing something so obvious.
Curt H. asks:
"Do Mandalorians have special forces or are they already the special forces? What would be the best comparison between Mandalorian special forces if they exist to the Imperial Royal Guards?"
Mandalorians are a warrior culture. Every man, woman, and child is a warrior. Some are better than others. I find it helpful to think of the Spartans, though their women weren't warriors, they were a culture of warriors, and in an environment that allows the best to survive and continue on, they're all pretty good at what they do.
There have been some that stood out among their peers, Boba and Jango both being up there. Of course, they were both Mandalore for at least part of their lives--Mandalore being roughly like a King or other central leader, but without the kind of absolute power we would associate with that title. But indeed Mandalores were often the best, rising to their rank through skill of leadership and fighting, not through bloodlines.
Mandalorian mercinaries have often been called "supercommandos", and I think that title is rather apt to begin with. This actually refers to the fact that Mandalore Jaster Mereel created the Supercommando Codex, which was essentially a code of honor for Mandalorian mercs.
The Republic's Clone Troopers were all clones of Jango Fett, as previously noted a Mandalore and one of the best. The flash training that they all received Jango helped create. As a result, they all recieved in their training ideas of Mandalorian culture, effective making them Mandalorian, as it is a culture and not a species. The general troopers were all fairly modified from Jango's original DNA. They were made more docile and obedient, etc.
However, above them there were the Republic Commandos. They were less modified in those ways so they could be more independent thinkers, and a squad of four of them were one of the greatest forces someone could reckon with, especially as those squads were ones they were brought up from birth in, so they knew each other as well as they knew themselves.
Above the Republic Commandos in training and lethal efficiency, were the Advanced Recon Commandos, or ARC Troopers, and they even received personal training from Fett. The only way their DNA had been tampered with was to accelerate their growth. The ARC troopers tended to act independently, and were pretty much like facing down Fett, though they had the militaristic draw back of kind of being mentally unstable and likely to desert.
Those troops, while some of the earliest, came after Kamino's first experiment with Fett's genome: the Null-ARC troopers. They made only twelve, and in addition to accelerating the growth rate of these troopers, they also tried to improve them. They all had genius level IQ's, eidectic memories, and were extra aggressive. If Kal Skirata hadn't had their lives spared, then they would have been exterminated as failed experiments, but he did, and brought them up to be ridiculously awesome genius commandos, with the only drawback of all being slightly insane.
In general, most Mandalorians would probably rate somewhere between Republic Commando and ARC Trooper, with some better than ARCs, and some little better than regular troopers.
The Imperial Royal Guard, on the other hand, was composed of the best members of the Stormtrooper Corps, which were then sent to the Imperial Royal Guard Academy where they were further trained and essentially brainwashed into being fanatically loyal to the Emperor.
Their reputation is legendary. I suppose it has to be, as I don't think I've ever seen or read about them doing anything[2. THe caveat being "in what I've read." I'm fairly certain there are comics and such where they kick ass and take names, as that's where all the cool pictures of them come from.].
I'm not saying they can't, I'm just saying that in what I've read, they're usually just sort of silently hanging around the Emperor. And the one time they might've really had an epic battle in defense of their Emperor is when Yoda walks in casually and dispatches the two Red Guard (the predecessors of the Royal Guard) at the end of Episode III before he and Palpatine have their fight.
I mean, it was Yoda, so they were fairly screwed, but they didn't even really react, except to fall over dead from all the awesome that was in the room.
The Royal Guard could probably hold their own against a Force user for a while with their standard issue Force Pikes, and they have heavy blaster pistols under their robes if they want to shoot some stuff up, as well as some heavy armor that didn't impede their movements.
If ever there was going to be an epic fight, twenty Mando Supercommandos vs. twenty Royal Guardsman would be a sight to behold. Particularly if the Guards thought they were fighting to save the Emperor. I tend to lean towards the Mandos coming out victorious, if for no other reason than the Beskar'gam they wear is not only armor, but loaded with a much more diverse arsenal of weaponry that could really help win the day.
So I guess the real answer to the question is four words: "flamethrowers and thermal detonators."
-Michael DiTommaso, the Star Wars Geek