Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Ahsoka Arrives

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2:E5. “Chapter 13: The Jedi”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Diana Lee Inosanto, Michael Biehn
WRITER/DIRECTOR:
Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
November 27, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando journeys to the planet Corvus and meets Ahsoka Tano.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This is the first episode of the season not written by Jon Favreau. Dave Filoni, who was integral in the creation and development of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, serves as both the writer and director. That’s fitting, of course, given who makes her live-action debut here.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: There’s a certain amount of injustice in the fact that Ashley Eckstein isn’t playing Ahsoka. Nothing against Rosario Dawson. She does a fine job here. But Eckstein deserved to take a crack at the role.

A question that’s been asked, but bears repeating: Why doesn’t Mando know more about the Jedi? Not just because his people were at war with them at one point, but because at this point in the timeline the Jedi haven’t been gone that long. The Empire

So beskar armor can block lightsabers. That’s convenient. Not necessarily a bad thing, though.

So Baby Yoda has a name: Grogu. Not that it makes much difference in terms of the “Baby Yoda” nickname. That thing is sticking.

The affection shown between Grogu and Mando in this episode is heart-warming. Obviously, we knew they had become close. But things like Mando cheering Grogu on during the Force exercise with Ahsoka reinforce that in a really impactful way. In that moment they literally feel like father and son.

We pretty much knew Filoni would throw in some fan-service lines, right? That’s really all those references to Yoda and Anakin were.

Once again the eastern, samurai-esque influence on The Mandalorian is quite evident here. Perhaps most notably in the look of the village on Corvus. Much like “Sanctuary,” it feels a lot like something you’d see from Akira Kurosawa

I can’t say I was incredibly surprised to hear Grand Admiral Thrawn’s name mentioned near the end of the show. He’s a loose end in the franchise, and a character they continue to use via Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novels. So it makes all the sense in the world to bring him in as a villain for Mando. I’d love to see him as early as next season.

So Ahsoka sends them to an old Jedi temple, with the idea that maybe a Jedi will sense Grogu. Naturally, this brings up questions about Ahsoka and Luke Skywalker, and what they know about each other. Canon buffs know that at some point, Luke knew about Ahsoka. And given his strength in the Force, one would think Ahsoka knew about Luke (and possibly Leia). But to my knowledge, there’s never been a story in which they meet. That seems like a book, or even an animated movie that’s just begging to be written.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Astonishing Art: Star Wars and Marvel by Melissa Thomas

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Awhile back, I stumbled on to the artwork of Melissa Thomas. I really wish I remembered how I found her. Then maybe I could do it again, and with any luck find more art that’s this much fun!

Thomas’ work is clearly inspired by some of the classic Disney animated films. You can easily see one of her characters walking out of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, or Mulan. Thus, it’s fitting that she so often uses it to depict characters from the Star Wars and Marvel universe.

Below are a few of my favorites among Thomas’ work. For more, I would encourage you to check her out on Behance, Instagram, and Twitter. She also has a store over at Society6.

Visit one of Thomas’ pages, and you’ll see she’s a big fan of The Clone Wars. Her Anakin Skywalker is particularly strong. The above sketches were my first exposure to her work. I wasn’t the only one to appreciate it, as the official Star Wars Instagram account re-posted it. Talk about reaching your target audience…

Obviously this one is much more refined. We have a filter over an actual still from Attack of the Clones, with Thomas giving us her take on Anakin and Padme. For yours truly, the sharper angles in the facial structure evoke some of the newer movies, as opposed to some of the classics. Anakin is giving me bit of a John Smith from Pocahontas vibe. That Disney romance charm is definitely there, though. She the refined product of royalty, and he the boyish charmer. If only Hayden Christensen had been allowed to be this likeable.

The premise of this one is interesting to me. Rey and Finn in an office setting. Two Star Wars characters in a setting that’s not at all like Star Wars. We’re almost journeying into alternate universe territory. This one actually reminds me of Paperman, the black and white short they put in theaters with Wreck-It-Ralph. Paperman is in black and white. But go watch it, and hopefully you’ll see what I mean.

We’re venturing into Marvel territory here, as Thomas captures the heart-wrenching goodbye we saw from Peter Parker in Infinity War. The big, tear-filled “Disney eyes” literally make the whole image. Thomas gives the piece just the right amount of emotional gravitas, without going too far. Peter is going away, but he doesn’t necessarily have the time to really process it. And just as he starts to process it, he fades away. Beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last one is a simple sketch. An older one, at that. It’s based on a famous promotional shot of Harrison Ford for the original Star Wars.

I’m comparing the live image to the sketch because the latter is a perfect illustration (no pun intended) of how Thomas captures a character’s essence, while still maintaining her own style. In the photograph, Ford is playing it cool. He’s emotionally inaccessible. Thomas, on the other hand, gives Han a little smile. He’s every bit the charming rogue he should be. But the smile gives it that touch of Disney magic that Thomas is going for. So simple, yet so effective.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.