Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Return to Tatooine

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S1.E5. “Chapter 5, The Gunslinger”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Amy Sedaris, Jake Cannavale, Ming-Na Wen
WRITER/DIRECTOR:
Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
December 6, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
After stopping on Tatooine for repairs, Mando takes a job alongside a young bounty hunter.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So did we need to come back to Tatooine? No, not really. But I’m glad we did. Going to a classic Star Wars setting reinforces that this is, in fact, the universe we know and love. And yes, nostalgia is a factor. It’s nice to see Mos Eisley again.

I’m a little surprised they used pit droids, i.e. the “hit the nose” robots from The Phantom Menace. I don’t mind Episode I as much as some people do. But you’d think in this, the first live action Star Wars television show, you’d want to avoid allusions to what’s often considered the franchise’s worst film. (It’s not. But that’s another story.)

Question: Aren’t most rifles in Star Wars blaster rifles? If so, Peli Motto asking the droids to get her blaster rifle doesn’t really make sense. It should probably just be, “Get my rifle!”

Yeah. I’m nitpicking at that level, folks. But it’s because I care, damn it!

So he just left the child on the ship? That’s uncharacteristically stupid for Mando.

Dr. Mandible, the giant bug in the cantina, is also stupid. He makes his debut in this episode.

Fun fact: The Mos Eisley Cantina has a name. Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina.

Another fun fact: They squeezed Mark Hamill into this episode. He’s the voice of the droid at the bar (shown below). Apparently that’s the very same droid that spoke to Threepio in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi. What a remarkable coincidence…

I wonder if Mando would have taken Toro Calican under his wing before he picked up the child. Perhaps being a father figure softened him in short order.

That’s a recurring theme in the original Star Wars trilogy. The “scoundrel” who becomes a good man. The big one is Han Solo. But it applies to Lando Calrissian as well.

I must confess, I’ve never seen Agents of Shield, or much of anything else with Ming-Na Wen. But she makes a pretty good bounty hunter. And Fennec Shand is yet another powerful female character added to the Star Wars universe.

I don’t recommend watching this episode in a room with a lot of sunlight. I did so, and could barely make anything out during the nighttime scenes.

So the general consensus was that the person who comes to Fennec’s aid at the very end of the episode is Boba Fett. In the end, that obviously turns out to be true. That speaks to the amount of foresight the showrunners hopefully have.

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

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: An Icon Returns

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E6. “Chapter 14, The Tragedy”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Giancarlo Esposito
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Robert Rodriguez
PREMIERE DATE:
December 4, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
Mando takes Grogu to the planet Tython, where he’s intercepted by Boba Fett and Fennec Shand.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I wonder who came up with the name Grogu, and how long they’ve had it. You think they had that in mind from the get-go?

Slave I gets an awesome entrance in this episode. Not overstated. Just a simple fly-by. The ship is so iconic to Star Wars fans that a simple appearance, even from a distance, does all the work.

So what is that energy field that comes up around Grogu? Are we to believe it’s Force energy? That seems like the most likely explanation. Especially since Grogu passes out afterward.

“I’m a simple man making his way through the galaxy. Like my father before me.” Nice little callback to two different lines there. The first from Jango in Attack of the Clones. The second from Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi.

This stormtrooper ineptitude is becoming a problem for me. The fact that Mando, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand were able to fend off more than a dozen of them is pathetic.

Also, when a giant boulder is rolling toward you…MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, IDIOTS!

The sequences with Boba Fett and the gaffi stick were a sight to behold. Aside from the few swings we saw in the original Star Wars, I believe this is the first time we’ve seen one in action. Certainly to this degree.

The fight between the newly re-armored Fett and the stormtroopers is obviously some great fan-service. It did bring to mind memories of the Darth Vader slaughter from the end of Rogue One. The difference? In Rogue One, that sequence was there to bolster up the end of the film because it had so little in the way of character and story. In contrast, this Boba Fett stuff has been set up since the beginning of the season. And to say the least, The Mandalorian isn’t lacking in depth.

Moff Gideon wants to be Darth Vader. Bad. Real bad. To the point that he carries around a lightsaber. It’s kinda cute, actually.

They blew up the Razor Crest! I didn’t see that coming…

I’ve never liked Temuera Morrison as the voice for the helmeted Boba Fett, especially the way they swapped out Jason Wingreen’s voice for his in The Empire Strikes Back. I have no issue with Morrison playing the role at large. But when he’s got the helmet on? Give him a voice like Wingreen’s. If Darth Vader can have a voice modulator, so can Boba Fett.

Some questions that still haven’t been answered: How did Fett survive the Sarlaac Pit? I think the general consensus is that he climbed out. But did somebody rescue him? When was he rescued?

If they do end up doing a Boba Fett series, this is some of the ground the first season should cover.

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

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: The Samurai

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S1.E4. “Chapter 4, Sanctuary”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal (Voice), Gina Carano, Julia Jones
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
November 29, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
Mando and the child seek sanctuary on the planet Sorgon, but are drawn into aiding a village against vicious raiders.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Oddly enough, Pedro Pascal wasn’t there for the filming of this episode. He was apparently on broadway doing King Lear at the time. Apparently the performance we see in this episode comes from a combination of stunt doubles Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder. Apparently Pascal and Wayne worked closely together in developing the title character. What’s more, Wayne is the grandson of screen legend John Wayne. Ironic, considering what Mando has in common with a lot of the characters John Wayne played…

When Mando looks at the child and says, “Stop touching things,” he briefly becomes the personification of every parent who’s ever had a toddler.

Here we have Cara Dune, played by Gina Carano. Mrs. Primary Ignition isn’t sold on Carano as an actor. Me? I think she’s perfectly adequate for the role she’s in. The one aspect of the character I’m not completely sold on? The tiny Rebel Alliance/New Republic tattoo she has on her cheek. She’s supposed to be making her living as a mercenary, right? Isn’t that an odd thing for a mercenary to keep tattooed on her face? You’d think she’d want the thing removed.

The samurai film influences on The Mandalorian are quite evident in this episode. And that’s even if you discount the fact that this village on Sorgan matches many depictions of such places in feudal Japan. You’ve got the nomad warrior sought out by a community of innocents to help them overcome an invasive evil. Thus, he trains the villagers to fight alongside him. It’s essentially the same plot as the classic film Seven Samurai, by Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa was famously one of the filmmakers who inspired George Lucas during the conception of Star Wars.

On the subject of connections to Lucas, our director for this episode is Bryce Dallas Howard. She’s, of course, the daughter of Ron Howard, who starred in Lucas’ first big hit, American Graffiti. She’s gotten quite a bit of praise for her work on The Mandalorian, and rightfully so. Carano credits Howard with helping her figure out how to best translate the Cara Dune character from script to screen.

The combination puppeteering/CGI work with Baby Yoda is at its strongest yet in this episode. It blends so seamlessly. It’s not a fair comparison, given the near 20-year gap, but it’s a far cry from how fake CGI Yoda looks in Attack of the Clones.

I give a lot of credit to Julia Jones, who plays Omera, Mando’s kinda/sorta love interest in this episode. She performs the hell out of her scenes here, playing off someone who essentially has a bucket on their head. Now that’s acting.

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

Posted in Television

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.

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: #FireGinaCarano?

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E4. “Chapter 12: The Siege.”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Horatio Sanz
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Carl Weathers
PREMIERE DATE:
November 20, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando reunites with Greef Karga and Cara Dune to take out an Imperial base.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m happy to see Cara Dune again. But I had no idea her actress, Gina Carano, was such a heat magnet. #FireGinaCarano is apparently a thing on Twitter because of her views about the trans community, COVID-19, masks, and the Democratic party. Instead of spouting off about this, I’ll simply invite fans, viewers, and readers to come to their own conclusions…

Mrs. Primary Ignition popped for Baby Yoda putting his arms in the air as the ship lands. Cuteness quota: Reached.

Carl Weathers, who plays Greef Karga, directed this episode. He’s got several directing credits. But nothing as high profile as this. Based on how well this episode turned out, I imagine he’s got many more directing gigs coming his way.

“The Siege” has a lot going for it. We’ve got familiar faces from last season. But we’ve also got a really nice balance of action, excitement, and intrigue. I wouldn’t put this episode in the same league as “The Prisoner” last season. But it was still a thrilling watch.

Listen carefully during the classroom scene. You’ll hear the protocol droid say the New Republic is headquartered on the planet Chandrila, as opposed to Coruscant. Makes sense. Coruscant had become synonymous with the Empire. Best to start fresh somewhere else.

Writers need to start being careful about stormtrooper dialogue. Specifically, parroting lines from the original trilogy. Remember, these movies have been ingrained into people’s minds for 40 years now. So a seemingly harmless line like, “Alright men, load your weapons” can harken back to a very specific moment, and take you right out of the episode.

Another stormtrooper gripe: During the shoot-out sequences I found myself wishing one of our heroes, specifically Karga or Mythrol, would take a non-lethal blaster bolt. Just to show that these stormtroopers can in fact hit a target more than once in a blue moon.

So our base, it turns out, is actually a lab. We don’t find out what exactly they’re doing, but we know it involves blood from Baby Yoda. Given the child’s strength in the Force, that means these experiments could involve the creation of Snoke, or even the Palpatine clone we see in The Rise of Skywalker. On the other hand, it could simply be a matter of Moff Gideon creating clones to serve as the Dark Troopers we see at the end of the episode.

And yes, Dark Troopers were a thing in the old canon. I’m anxious to see them in action.

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

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian – The Genius of Baby Yoda

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S1.E2. “Chapter Two: The Child.”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Misty Rosas, Nick Nolte (voice)
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Rick Famuyiwa
PREMIERE DATE:
November 15, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
After the Razor Crest is stripped for parts by Jawas, Mando must retrieve a bargaining chip in the form of a beast’s egg.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda, is a stroke of genius. Walk into a Target, Walmart, or Costco these days and you’ll see why. His diminutive size and not-so-diminutive cuteness appeal make him a marketing gold mine. In the grand tradition of Star Wars merchandising, his visage begs to be put on clothes, posters, and of course toys. Frankly, I’m shocked we didn’t see more Baby Yoda merchandise as the first season was in progress. That’s a giant missed opportunity you’d never associate with a titan like Disney.

But at the same time, Baby Yoda teases at answers to questions Star Wars fans have had for decades: What species is Yoda? Why are there so few of them? Did something happen to them? Did they get wiped out? Are they somehow tied into the Jedi and the Force? When you add it all together, Baby Yoda has that rare combination of geek appeal and corporate appeal.

Indeed, the Jawas are back. I remember seeing an “Offworld Jawa” action figure in stores, and wondering what the deal was. The irony is if you came into this episode as a relative newbie, you wouldn’t think they were offworld, i.e. not on Tatooine. Sadly, Arvala-7 is yet another indistinguishable desert planet.

The sequence with Mando chasing the sandcrawler reminded me of a level from Super Star Wars, the old Super Nintendo game. You play as Luke, climbing all over the thing and slashing at Jawas with a lightsaber. That’s basically what Mando is doing here, sans lightsaber.

In terms of the Kuiil character, voiced by Nick Nolte, it’s funny to me how once you know what a voice actor in question looks like, you sometimes start to read their face into the character. For instance, Kuiil looks like Nick Nolte to me, even though they objectively don’t share many features.

“I’m a Mandalorian. Weapons are part of my religion.” I love that line. It’s my favorite in the series thus far.

The hero fighting a big monster is a recurring theme in the George Lucas Star Wars movies. You’ve got the snow monster in The Empire Strikes Back, the rancor in Return of the Jedi, the arena monsters in Attack of the Clones. Depending on how liberal you want to be with the concept, you can extend it to various other moments in the Star Wars saga.

Odd as it sounds, I appreciated how muddy Mando got during the fight with the… *checks Wookiepedia*…mudhorn? That’s the name they came up with?

Anyway, the mud added a bit of a grittier texture to the whole thing. I can’t imagine it was fun to film. But it was appreciated.

So Baby Yoda uses the force to lift the mudhorn into the air so Mando can make the kill. Obviously, this only lends credence to the theory that Yoda’s species is somehow linked with the Jedi and the Force.

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

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Giant Space Bugs

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E2. “Chapter 10, The Passenger.”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Amy Sedaris
WRITER:
John Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Peyton Reed
PREMIERE DATE:
November 6, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando attempts to bring escort someone to a nearby planet, but crash-lands in an icy cave filled with gigantic spiders.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

In hindsight, I don’t know why I expected them to follow up on Boba Fett in this episode. Especially given the buzz about a new Boba Fett series. I just figured, given Mando has Fett’s armor, that they’d be on a collision course. To add insult to it all, Mrs. Primary Ignition seemed surprised that I was surprised.

Another day then, Boba.

I don’t say “That’s stupid” very often during this show. But I said it when we got to the Mos Eisley Cantina, and Peli Motto is sitting across from what appears to be a giant space ant. They didn’t even dress it up to look like some kind of alien ant. It’s just an ant. Yeah, that’s stupid. Apparently he even has a name: Dr. Mandible.

Our titular passenger is simply referred to by Wookiepedia as “Frog Lady.” But at least Frog Lady looks like an alien who could exist in the Star Wars universe, as opposed to the giant ant. I bought her.

Mrs. Primary Ignition popped for Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who played one of the X-Wing pilots in this episode. Lee is one of the stars of Kim’s Convenience, which is a pretty fun show. I, of course, pointed out that the other pilot was played by executive producer Dave Filoni. And oh, how she cared…

Were people really upset about Baby Yoda eating the eggs? Was that really a thing? We don’t have enough to be concerned about in the real world, so we have to get mad about what a puppet does on a TV show?

So here we are on the totally-not-Hoth planet of Maldo Kreis. On the upside, it’s the same ice planet we saw in the first episode. Some nice continuity there.

The giant spiders in this episode immediately reminded me of a TV movie called Ice Spiders. Someone did a write-up of it on the old site. I’ve never seen it. But honestly…do I really need to? The title pretty much says it all.

Once again we have giant space bugs. But unlike our friend Dr. Mandible, at least they made these spiders look a little more alien by adding a mouth and teeth. *shudders*

Every time there’s some sort of giant spider monster in a movie or TV show, my mind immediately jumps to some of Rupert Grint’s dialogue in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. “Follow the spiders! Why couldn’t it be follow the butterflies?!?”

Someone, somewhere, is writing a fanfic about Mando and Frog Lady getting it on in that pool. You don’t have to read it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I don’t think there’s ever been a bad episode of The Mandalorian. But coming off last week’s episode, it’s difficult not to see “The Passenger” as a step down. That’s a shame.

I suppose that’s just what happens when you follow Boba Fett.

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

Posted in Toys

Toy Chest Theater: The Mandalorian Collection, Vol. 1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As the trailer for the second season of The Mandalorian just dropped there’s no better time than now to bask in this show’s glory. We’re doing it with Rob Watches The Mandalorian, and we’re doing it here with “Toy Chest Theater.”

Enjoy!

Mando and the Child by Spencer Witt.

Mando and the Child by Bryan Konstantine.

Mando, the Child, Kermit, and Robin by instanobitoys.

Mando and cantina by Andy’s Toy Photography.

Mando and Cara Dune by mandalorianrunt.

 

Posted in Astonishing Art

Astonishing Art: The Mandalorian by Ken Lashley

By Rob Siebert
Hero of His Own Space Western

You know what book I miss? X-Men Gold. Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men book is so ambitious right out of the gate, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for a story with so many characters and convoluted plot threads, X-Men Gold was delightfully simple and accessible. I didn’t have to comb through Wikipedia once.

The inaugural artist on that title was Ken Lashley. In honor of Star Wars Day, here we have Lashley’s take on The Mandalorian courtesy of his Instagram account. I love the texture on Baby Yoda. The coloring by Juan Fernandez is also really dynamic. Perfectly suited for the Star Wars Universe.

Honestly, that show can’t get back quick enough. It’s the kind of thing the world really needs right about now.

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

Posted in Astonishing Art

Astonishing Art: The Mandalorian by Chelsea Lowe

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Y’know what the world needs right now? Well, a lot of things. But you know what would be really nice? More of The Mandalorian. That’s part of what drew me to this poster by Chelsea Lowe.

One of the things that made the show stand out the way it did was its devotion to that Spaghetti Western aesthetic. The same aesthetic that served as an influence to George Lucas in the development of the original Star Wars. Case in point? Han Solo. Heck, the Mos Eisley Cantina scene as a whole.

This piece brings to evokes promotional posters for films like Pale Rider, The Outlaw Josie Wales, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Lowe perfectly captures the feel of The Mandalorian.

For more from Chelsea Lowe, check out her official site, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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