My magnanimous brother-in-law got me Disney+ to watch The Mandalorian, but instead I used it to watch The One & Only Ivan! It’s the most bittersweet gorilla living with humans movie since Buddy. I always weep at gorilla films. Why won’t Hollywood make more gorilla films that aren’t tearjerkers? Togo has Willem Dafoe & so many handsome puppers! It made me cry too! I further delayed watching the Star Wars show by prioritizing Marvel’s 616 documentary series. I agree with the author of Deadpool Bi-Annual #1 that Brute Force should have its own cartoon & toyline. Even moreso than Stranger Things, the Interwuzzle’s collective inability not to spoil this actually disinclined me to watching it firsthand as soon as possible.
So I eventually got around to watching it. Even later, I got around to editing together my blog review. (This blog takes place prior to WandaVision.) Has everybody else already seen The Mandalorian? If so, you’ll be innoculated from SPOILERS in this cold take. What it lack in thoroughness, it makes up in action figure pics. I’m gonna regret putting them all into one article where they’re germane instead of spacing them out into non-topical blogs!
This continues the stories set up by Dave Filoni in The Clone Wars (non-Genndy Tartakovsky edition) & Rebels. Disney didn’t purge those from canon when it bought Lucasfilm. So why didn’t it have him & Jon Favreau head up the writing for the sequel trilogy? They actually had a plan for their stories! Do I need to have seen those cartoons to understand what’s happening? I specifically refused to watch them!
This may have slightly more women & POC onscreen than the newer Disney flicks individually. It’s a big boost for diversity in directors thanks to Rick Famuyiwa (he also wrote two), Deborah Chow, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taika Waititi, & Carl Weathers. (Favereau, Filoni, Peyton Reed, & Robert Rodriguez are the other directors.) Oddly I’ve not heard as nearly as much moaning about “SJWs ruining Star Wars” on this project. BDH directs the introductions of all badass women in blue.
Unlike his droll turn in WW84, Pedro Pascal is the straight man to a murderer’s row of comedic guest stars. (Where’s Matt Berry?) So that’s why Max Lord looks familiar! Most sympathetic bounty killers are introduced as grizzled loners whose emotions are only turned back on after befriending an innocent child. Din Djarin bucks this trend by being a normal dude. It’s so refreshing how well adjusted he is. (Which reminds me that it’s officially 2021, & nobody has saved Teenage Bounty Hunters yet!) He’s somewhat lonely but still possesses a healthy range of emotions. While he’s proficient at bounty hunting, it didn’t turn him into a soulless monster. He has a supportive Mandalorian community that backs him up even when his decisions threaten all of them.
I appreciate that Favreau & Filoni described the show as a customized Boba Fett toy surrounded by pegwarmers. Was the initial marketing cagey about whether the eponymous character would be Boba Fett in different armor or a brand new character? Mando disappearing betwixt strobes on prison ship was really cool. Pascal had to go to the hospital before the first unmasking scene because he walked into a board after leaving the makeup trailer. So much for having two stunt doubles! Just like his non-stunt performer, Din says trans rights!
When people threw up all these pictures of Grogu immediately after the series premiere, I thought the reveal was that the titular character was a baby Yoda beneath his helmet. I was disappointed to learn they were just doing a Lone Wolf & Cub. I’m so glad I don’t have to call the Yodaling “The Child.” Why do fans presume it’s a Baby Yoda not Baby Yaddle? Its Midichlorian levels are outta this world! Grogu is better than Yoda because it eats everything & dresses like Darwin the Ikea Monkey instead of speaking in smug platitudes of odd syntax. It is adorably ravenous like a cat. This 50-year-old youngling was so hungry it almost did a genocide. Who were the dudes guarding it when Mando & IG-11 The Wild Bunch-ed in?
Now I have seen the Werner Herzog in a Star Wars. He justly shamed them into using the Grogu muppet as much as possible over CGI. Why didn’t Grogu kill Kylo Ren’s punk ass when he massacred the Jedi temple? I don’t believe Kylo could kill Grogu. My theory is that by the time that happened Grogu had already left Luke to become a tiny Mandolorian!
The scout troopers unable to shoot a can was the funniest bit. Apparently the Empire had snipers that specifically weren’t Fett clones? Why do Morak’s transport troopers have doors in the middle of their breastplates? EV-9D9, Jabba’s torture droid, got a job bartending the Mos Eisley Cantina, which now serves its kind.
The great Ludwig Göransson score sets a unique vibe. The end credit concept art is so spiffy! Why wasn’t there any for the last episode? I demand pretty pictures! Shouldn’t the First Order trooper get red reflection & Mando get blue to match the color symbolism of the earlier helmets & droids in the nifty Lucasfilm intro?
Beskar is the opposite of whatever stormtrooper armor is made from. Mandalorian armor wasn’t always the Star Wars equivalent of adamantium, hence the big dent in Boba’s helmet. Non-robots keep punching him there. Of course Beskar wasn’t even a thing until recently. Djarin’s shiny new armor makes it look like he’s wearing a Delorean. We finally get to see some vibro blades in action.
Mando & Cara Dune are the first beings to take down an AT-ST without the aid of Ewoks. Why didn’t Julia Jones get her name over the concept art portion of the credits for episode 4? Bonus points for the live action Loth-cat debut. (Loth-Mandos are a sweet mash-up!) Add boglings next!
Kuiil the Ugnaught said he worked for The Empire for three of Cara Dune’s lifetimes, but The Empire only existed for about two decades? Do Alderaan’s natives have very short lifespans like reverse Yodalings?
His name in Din Djarin? Knockoff Boba Fett’s name ought to be Ian Mandalore or at least Mandy Lorean! As soon as he becomes the Rocketeer, Din destroys a TIE Fighter!
It’s so satisfying to watch stormtroopers get wrecked by something other than blasters, as The Armorer demonstrates. Gina Carano & Mercedes Varnado/Sasha Banks get to put their action skills to use. Why cast Katy O’Brian as an Imp(erial), however, if they wouldn’t let her throw down with any of The Grogu Girls Get It Done Gang? This is SHIELD season seven all over again! (Least favorite Malick is in it too, so I guess they came as a package deal with Ming-Na Wen.)
This series makes Jawas much more villainous & Tusken Raiders sympathetic. I paused an episode at a moment where Timothy Olyphant’s head merged into a bantha. Imposter Boba Fett is a nifty idea Dark Horse inspired. The red lights added to Fett’s cuirass are distracting.
I’m ambivalent about the real deal being alive though. Did they retcon out Dengar saving Boba Fett after he escaped from the Sarlacc Pit in favor of Jawas? If so, good call! This is the first time Temuera Morrison has played him in live action. (Original Boba Fett, Jeremey Bulloch, died the day before the second season finale aired.) Boba knows how to save someone’s life by putting robo-guts into them?
According to HasLab, Razor Crest is significantly bigger than Slave-1. Mon Calamari literally tied it together after Din wrecked it like a dimwit. We got to see the ice spiders that Game Of Thrones failed to deliver on. The exorbitant teal macarons (inferior to macaroons) look like the kind Poison Ivy used to turn Alfred into an Ent.
Smiling Katee Sackhoff gets to reprise her cartoon role as Bo-Katan Kryze. She memorized her dialogue by having her fiance lob tennis balls at her face! How did Bo-Katan lose the Darksaber? Why wasn’t Axe Woves (SHIELD’s Simon Kassianides) in the finale with her & Koska Reeves? Rosario Dawson replaces Ashley Eckstein as Ashoka Tano though, to the chagrin of some Warsies. As someone who skipped all the CGI cartoons, I have no strong opinion about this or her backdoor pilot.
Space Gus Fring gets a great entrance rattling off trivia about snowtrooper E-Web cannons. So Moff Gideon & Dr. Pershing use Grogu blood to to make Snoke? Giancarlo Esposito kept breaking Darksabers. Darktroopers are Dubstep Cyclons. Aren’t they supposed to be silver-blue?
Why can’t Mandalorians remove their helmets in front of others to eat & drink without dishonor? This is a dumb rule. It’d make sense if they took their sustenance intravenously, but feeding tubes seems to be too scifi for them. How do Mandalorians refer to each other if not by their names? While it’s nice that Mandalorians aren’t homogeneous, why do its foundlings need to abide by such silly rules?
The debate about whether Boba & Jango Fett are real Mandalorians is irritating. They were the first Mandalorians introduced. Possibly retconning them out of being true Mandos is dumber than Marvel de-mutanting certain characters because movie rights were divided. Even if this is just Mando infighting, whether clones & foundlings are legit is unnecessarily confusing. Nerds will be arguing about this for decades!
I recommend watching Disney Gallery, which you wouldn’t necessarily realize is a companion piece based on its title. It’s kind of like DVD bonus features for this show. I learned the special sound stage they shot the series on is called The Volume, which sounds even more confusing. It explains all the fan service, of which there’s generally the right degree, so I don’t have too. They got volunteer stormtroopers from the 501st Legion.
Disney fired Gina Carano. Do we think Cara Dune is getting recast or just never appears again? If it’s the former, she can regenerate like a Gallifreyan into Katy O’Brian. Carano stuck her foot in her mouth so badly & consistently they’re no longer developing Rangers Of The New Republic. Why not just make it about Carson Teva since Paul Sun-Hyung Lee geeking out over being in The Mandalorian is wholesome?
The Mandalorian is indeed very enjoyable but not exceptional. This illustrates how far Star Wars had fallen that people lost their minds over it. (“My new project is just like this hugely successful property minus its selling point,” Tom Hanks) It’s a fun diversion with kinetic action that expands the SW universe beyond the Skywalkers (until the second season finale). Why is Disney+ following it with a show about Bad Batch clone troopers instead of Lak Sivrak, fan favorite cantina wolfman?
“I don’t need to worry about getting any of the Black Series The Mandalorian toys since I’ll never see the show,” 2019 me.
“Do I have a sudden urge to buy Black Series The Mandalorian toys? They’re going for how much these days?” 2021 me.
The exclusive Din Djarin & Grogu set literally sold out in under a minute of it being listed on Target’s site. (I was waiting for Triceratons to drop at the time.) On February 5, its site said this exclusive was in finally stock but not shippable. I couldn’t reach anyone in store by phone to confirm. After driving an hour, I learned the last one was sold there on 1/25. Why is Target’s system still terrible? Since this is THE SET everyone wants, why didn’t Hasbro produce enough? This is worse than the standard The Armorer not coming with all her accessories.
When is Fennec Shand getting toys? I need two so I can make one Melinda May. Do I have to wait until The Book Of Boba Fett drops?
Mattel’s plush Grogu with hover-pram is absurdly pricey, but can you put a price on adorable?
Jaxxon is finally getting a toy, but Hasbro dropped the ball on the Black Series “Carnor Jax.” Sure, charge fans $5 for a repaint that you don’t know the difference between Carnor Jax & Kir Kanos. (Has anyone fancast Rahul Kohli as either of them yet? He’d look sharp in crimson armor.)
Rogue One figures are being rereleased with updated face printing along with a few newbies. I’m glad I resisted Jyn even on clearance, but I don’t think these improvements are worth Hasbro’s inflated MSRP. Space Hannibal Lecter is exclusive to Target. Which suited body should I transplant his head onto? Why don’t we have Imperial disguise Jyn Erso yet? It is imperative that she includes two removable beacons so her toy can have the Mockingbird-style fights the movie’s climax denied her. I really thought her using a tonfa earlier would be foreshadowing. I’ve heard that some fans would even buy multiples to customize for Imperial displays.
“Do or do not. There is no try.” “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” Yoda is a confirmed Sith! (Ditto Obi-Wan.)
Harrison Ford doesn’t actually hate Star Wars. He just has incurred very specific plane crash induced amnesia.
It would’ve been way cooler if Darth Maul had ignited his second lightsaber blade through Qui-Gon Jinn’s head whilst his other blade was blocked in a parry. Since he was such an intimidating design, it would’ve been great if he’d been the Big Bad of the prequels instead of instantly dispatched. Ditto Count Dooku & Darth Grievous, who also got shortchanged by the focus on Palpatine. Instead of being mastermind behind everything, he would’ve been more compelling as an underestimated lackey wily enough to seize power upon the demise of his his master(s). He’d also be Dressalien. The prequels are bad because they insist Palpatine wasn’t born a prune face. I will die alone on this hill.
Why are you booing Darth Vader? He’s right about sand!
So Paploo, my only want out of the Heroes Of Endor set, is the only one not being released separately?
Is there an Ewok equivalent of Blackpink that sings “Kill This Yub Jub?”
The Irish Times ridiculing the notion of an Ewok head of state is an vicious insult to Chief Chirpa!