The group of rebels responsible for stealing the Death Star plans in Rogue One was ragtag but scrappy. Each member of the team brought different skills to the mission, and Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus came as a packaged pair. The former Guardians of the Whills from Jedha were sparkling gems and sources of humor and hope in a film filled with darkness. Their friendship, their kind and supportive words for others, their mad fighting skills... all of their traits made them stand out.
Plus, moments like this:
Come on. That silly line says volumes about Chirrut and his spirit. It's not ridiculous; it's a character beat that adds to what we know about him.
A new middle-grade novel available on May 2, Guardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka, gives us many more such moments with Chirrut and Baze. Set after the Empire has made themselves at home by taking over Jedha and after Saw Gerrera has arrived with his partisans, the story centers on Chirrut and Baze as they wrestle with their position in the universe and how/if they'll take a stand against the Empire. This is how Guardians of the Whills makes the characters even more awesome:
They Don't Have the Answers
Chirrut and Baze used to know their purpose. They served as the Guardians of the Whills and watched over the Disciples of the Whills at The Temple of the Kyber. The Empire's arrival negated everything about their lives. Now, they exist as best they can, gathering information and staying under the radar. They discuss what they can and should do to fight back. They're uncertain, and I admire that they don't cower from reality despite not having the answers.
Chirrut's Sense of Hope
Similarly, I'm in awe of Chirrut because he holds on to hope. He still has faith in the Force. It's what his mantra, "I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me," boils down to. He can feel the Force sometimes, and with it by his side, he looks ahead and hopes even when the situation is dire. And the situation gets downright tragic.
As mentioned in Rogue One, Baze isn't as invested in the Force as he used to be. He comes across as a bit jaded and untrusting in Guardians of the Whills. He believes in his friend, but he also believes they should be doing more. He's torn between taking action and staying out of it because what the consequences of his actions could be. Baze ultimately fights, but he's always aware of the price of the lives he's taking.
Side note: The story goes into how Baze gets the massive weapon he uses in Rogue One, and it's rather great. Baze is charming as hell in that particular chapter.
I'd say devotion is a key theme in the book. Chirrut is devoted to the Force. Baze is devoted to Chirrut. Their beliefs and how those beliefs guide their actions add depth to both of them.
The mettle of the former Guardians is tested again and again by the Empire. As the insurgency increases, the Empire pushes back harder. Stormtroopers commit more violent acts; they leave no stone unturned. It would be tempting to bury one's self as far underground as possible. But not Baze and Chirrut. They stay determined and keep doing what they must.
If you want friendship goals, look to Baze and Chirrut. They don't have the luxury of going to brunch or other hallmarks of modern friendship; their relationship is forged in faith and fire. They quarter together, make decisions together, and always think of each other. They're rarely without each other in the book, and they practically finish each other's sentences. The bickering you know from Rogue One is one thousand percent present and delightful.
How They Fight for Innocents
Baze and Chirrut have carefully considered what they can do to help the ravaged Jedha and its citizens. The Empire's occupation means basic survival supplies are scarce. The duo focus their efforts on helping two sisters who run an orphanage—the kind of facility that wasn't necessary on Jedha before Imperial forces arrived. These guys...
Though these notes aren't specifically tied to Baze and Chirrut, I want to point out two other exceptional parts of Guardians of the Whills. First of all, each chapter opens with a selection from the in-universe "Collected Poems, Prayers, and Meditations on the Force." They're fascinating insights into how people believe in the Force, and they're worth reflecting upon. Secondly, if you wanted to know how Saw Gerrera made the bad situation on Jedha worse, this is the book for you.
What was your favorite Chirrut and Baze moment in Rogue One? Let me know in the comments.
Featured Image: Disney Lucasfilm Press, Lucasfilm, Tumblr/Constance
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