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Of the Star Wars ice fox and other unsung heroes

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away, I was a young girl, standing upon a wooden platform atop my swing set. Peering through my grandfather’s binoculars, I’d scan the fields surrounding me, searching far and wide for signs of Imperial Walkers. Like any good rebel, I’d carefully crafted the escape route and battle plan for the moment these towering menaces appeared on the horizon.

Only later did I learn that the AT-AT were built not just as 65-foot tall, deadly demonstrations of Imperial might, they were also created to wreak psychological terror upon those who resolved to bring them down.

A glance upon an army of these mechanical monsters thundering toward you, and one might abandon any hope of victory, desperate to survive and fight another day.

The magic being that in Star Wars, as in life, ingenuity, bravery, and blind luck could often lead to prevailing against odds that seemed impossible to overcome.

Our most desperate hour

It’s likely no coincidence that as we live in times of tremendous uncertainty, we turn to this classic series to provide a reprieve from the galaxies swirling about us.

We’ve witnessed our heroes and greatest hopes being struck down unexpectedly. We struggle to trust in the knowledge that this fall means we will become more powerful than possibly imagined.

We intertwine the underlying messages of Star Wars with reality as we dress our children as the same characters that once we were dressed as.

We emphasize the importance of being a warrior; of moving forward despite fear; of resisting against dark forces. We do this buoyed by the hope that perhaps we might spare our children from having to return to the same battlefields that once we fought upon.

We look to our old heroes as we search for new ones, slowly recognizing that perhaps beyond searching, we must become.

Star Wars ice fox: A guiding light

As the trailers for The Last Jedi crept out, Star Wars fans immediately began to dissect them, offering theories and plot lines after painstakingly studying the clips over and over. Despite multiple horrible possibilities, nothing struck worry in me quite as much as the ice fox creatures that fleetingly scurried across the screen.

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What were these creatures? Would harm befall them? (Spoiler: I am the person who during a film agonizes over the thought that an animal might get hurt. I am not alone in this.)

We’ve learned that the Star Wars ice fox is called a vulptex, and that a pack of these luminescent wonders are vulptices. Inhabitants of the abandoned, mineral-rich Crait (a previous hideout of the Rebel Alliance in the first trilogy), these crystal fox were born of the concept that as they “consumed the planet’s surface, they became crystalline,” according to Neal Scanlan, leader of the Star Wars creature shop.

As we’ve come to discover with the unsung heroes in our own lives, the ice fox is likely to play a role greater than initially believed:

“They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet,” Scanlan says. “So there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness should provide a guiding light to our heroes.”

Those who strive without seeking attention, diligently and faithfully, despite not seeing the spotlight or receiving accolades, have oft-proven to be the best-prepared among us.

The capacity to carry on, believing that the greater good will prevail, exists thanks to the abilities of quiet heroes willing to sacrifice all, in order to protect and defend the Republic.

To all of my fellow Jedi, welcome to Star Wars Week on The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce. May The Force, as always, be with you.

Jenn Vande Zande
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December 11, 2017
Jenn Vande Zande

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