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.

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 wampa 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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: 10 Lingering Questions

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I might have been the last die-hard Star Wars geek to see The Rise of Skywalker. Such things are the case when you’ve got a six-month-old. You can’t very well bring an infant with you to a movie with this many pew-pews and explosions. Although you just know that somebody, somewhere, totally did.

At this juncture, a traditional review is essentially pointless. So I thought I’d try something a little different, and just ask some questions. Some you’ve probably heard by now. But certain others, perhaps not…

In case it needs to be said at this point, ***SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!***

1. Why so much?
The most common complaint I’ve heard about The Rise of Skywalker is how overstuffed it is. It seemed like J.J. Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio were trying to make up for lost time, i.e. The Last Jedi. They had to straighten everything out with Palpatine, Snoke, Kylo Ren, the Sith, etc. We had to send our heroes on a bunch of different quests, then deal with Rey’s parentage, have Leia die, and then have the biggest space battle ever you guyz.

As such, the pacing is way too fast. We barely have time to digest anything. You can call that a non-stop, rip roarin’ action adventure if you like. But those quieter character moments are every bit as important, if not more. Rey and Kylo had their share. C-3PO did too. But we didn’t have time for anyone else.

My question is, why overstuff it so much? For instance, going to the planets Kijmi and Pasana. For me, the most interesting planet in this movie was Kijmi, where we met Kerri Russell’s character. Why not just have Rey and the others take the Falcon straight there, find out where the Sith McGuffin thing is, and skip Pasana all together? Did we really need yet another desert planet in the Star Wars universe? They could have found Lando, done the TIE Fighter stunt, and faked Chewie’s death just as easily on Kijmi, and it would have saved us some time.

2. Has Disney learned its lesson about planning this stuff out in advance?
It’s amazing to me that the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with its dozens of movies featuring different characters and settings, exists under the same umbrella as this new Star Wars trilogy, which couldn’t stay consistent through three consecutive films.

We learned from The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson that by the time he signed on, the Disney/Lucasfilm brain trust hadn’t figured anything out beyond The Force Awakens. To this day, that’s staggering to me. They had access to Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Not to mention George Lucas himself. And yet they couldn’t be bothered to at least come up with some basic bullet points? If you need to change course at some point, then do so. But at least draw a friggin’ map before you start the trip…

3. Was Chewie really that upset over the whole medal thing? Both The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker go out of their way to “fix” something with Chewbacca.

In The Force Awakens, fans called foul when, upon their return from Starkiller Base, Rey got a hug from Leia, while Chewie seemingly walked by unnoticed. Remember, Han Solo, Leia’s former husband and Chewie’s BFF, had just been killed. By his own son no less. So in The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson had Leia exclaim, “Chewie!” and then give him a big hug. A cute little wink. Harmless.

Since the original film, it’s been a running joke that while Luke and Han got medals for destroying the Death Star, Chewie was left empty-handed. Kind of funny, but again, harmless.

And yet in this movie, after the battle is won, Maz Kanata gives our fuzzy friend one of those Death Star medals. (Presumably Han’s?) I get the gesture. But in a movie that’s already so long…why? After more than three decades, was Chewie still sore that he didn’t get a trinket? It’s not like they made him sit in the audience. He was standing up there with them! He ain’t easy to miss, either.

Also, where does Maz Kanata get her original trilogy collectibles? We never did find out how she got her hands on Luke’s lightsaber…

4. Is there a “cutesy character quota” in every Star Wars project now?
Everybody seemed to like Babu Frik, the little puppet who worked on C-3PO. With a fanbase as divisive as this one can be, something universally praised is a pretty big deal.

Between Babu Frik and Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian, I’m starting to wonder if there’s going to be a “cutesy character quota” every Star Wars project has to meet from here on out.

“Well Mr. Feige, I like what you’ve turned in here. But let me ask you this: How would you feel about adding a baby Ewok?”

5. What’s the deal with Palpatine’s body?
I don’t have an issue with them bringing Palpatine back. They shouldn’t have needed to, but that’s another story. If the Jedi can come back as “Force Ghosts,” then there’s no reason Palpatine couldn’t have used some kind of Sith alchemy to preserve himself after death. It fits with all that talk about cheating death in Revenge of the Sith.

And yes, there is a comic book that uses a similar concept with Palpatine transferring his consciousness into different bodies. Dark Empire, circa 1992. There’s even a similar line that we hear in The Rise of Skywalker about how, “It was not the first time I died…Nor will it be the last.” (Shown above.)

However, the movie doesn’t get into specifics about what exactly is going on with Palpatine. Is it a cloning thing? Is that somehow his original body? I’m hoping the novelization clears up the specifics of what exactly it is.

6. Really? Palpatine’s entire throne room survived the second Death Star explosion?
Because this movie, like the prequels, relies way too heavily on original trilogy nostalgia, Rey and Kylo Ren wind up fighting inside the remains of the second Death Star, which crashed on Endor. Including the Emperor’s throne room.

Point blank: This was stupid. Not just that we had to go back to Endor, but that so much of the second Death Star survived at all, much less the Emperor’s damn chair. We were going to see Palpatine later on anyway. There was no reason to have it in there other than a lazy play at nostalgia. Ditto for when Wicket made that cameo for no real reason.

To quote Luke, “That was a cheap move.”

7. Couldn’t R2-D2 have gotten in on the fun? Artoo has never been a main character. But he always had a prominent supporting role in both the original and prequel trilogies. George Lucas had a soft spot for him. He could be an unlikely hero, while also providing some comic relief.

But in this sequel trilogy, Artoo really only serves one purpose: Plot convenience. In The Force Awakens, he completes the map to Luke. In The Last Jedi, he convinces Luke to talk to Rey about the Jedi. In The Rise of Skywalker, he’s there to restore Threepio’s memories. Yes, he flies in Poe’s X-Wing during the end battle. But that’s supposed to be BB-8’s job, isn’t it? What’s more, it really should have been Artoo at the Lars Homestead with Rey. Assuming she’s setting up her own little Jedi Academy there, he’d be a great source of information, having spent all those years with Anakin and Luke. Instead, she brings BB-8.

It is indeed BB-8 we have to thank for Artoo sitting on the sidelines like this. I like the little guy and all, but he essentially took Artoo’s job as the resident hero droid. With BB-8 around, Artoo had nothing to do. That’s a damn shame. As one of the more iconic Star Wars characters, he deserved better.

8. What was with all the dead Jedi voices Rey heard?
Yes, the prequels turned out pretty rough. Even so, hearing the voices of Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), and yes, even Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) during Rey’s big crowning moment was awesome. Like much of the film, it was hard to digest it all. But apparently, in addition to Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, we also heard TV characters like Ahsoka Tano and Kanan Jarrus.

But while I loved it, I have to ask…how?

In the prequels, the first one to learn how to retain your consciousness in the Force, i.e. become a Force Ghost, was Qui-Gon. In the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, a spectral Qui-Gon taught both Yoda and Obi-Wan how to do it. I think it’s fair to assume Luke learned how to do it at some point after the fall of the Empire. But what’s the story with everybody else? Presumably, none of those other characters had the chance to learn that ability.

And as long as we’re on the subject, how did Anakin appear as a Force Ghost in Return of the Jedi? It was less than a day after he died!

The only explanation I can come up with is that Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and the others are somehow able to reach out to whatever spectral trace remains of their fallen comrades, and allow them to briefly speak. Or in certain special cases, even grant them the ability in the moments after their death, i.e. Anakin in Jedi. Given this is the Star Wars Universe we’re talking about, it’s about as plausible as anything else…

Would this whole trilogy have been better if Poe had died in the The Force Awakens?
According to a documentary among the special features on The Force Awakens Blu-ray, the Poe Dameron character was originally supposed to be killed off. I can only assume it would have been in the TIE Fighter crash on Jakku. But Oscar Isaac had been killed off early in some other movies, and didn’t want to do that again. The filmmakers obliged.

So, if I’m understanding this correctly, the only reason Poe made it through the movie is because Oscar Isaac would have declined the role otherwise? Um…what? He’s a great actor, but did Star Wars really need Oscar Issac that badly? If he wasn’t up for the role, I’ve got a hunch there might have been other actors willing to step in. I mean, y’know, maybe a few?

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What could The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker have been like if they hadn’t had to balance Poe’s plotlines along with everyone else’s? Imagine how much more time they could have devoted to Finn’s development. We could have skipped all that Canto Bight stuff, and maybe had Finn be the one in conflict with Holdo. They might not have felt the need to cram so much stuff in. We could have gotten a little more breathing room…

10. What happens now?
The interesting thing about The Rise of Skywalker compared to both Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, is that despite being the final chapter of the trilogy, there’s so much more meat on the bone from a storytelling perspective.

Just off the top of my head…

– Rey attempting to succeed where Luke failed, starting her own low key Jedi Academy based out of the Lars Homestead on Tatooine. She’s now in a position to redefine what it means to be a Jedi. There’s probably two or three movies worth of content there alone. Especially if Finn is Force sensitive, as the film seemed to suggest. Maybe weave in a potential romance between the two? That obviously contrasts with the old Jedi ways.

– Assuming the 82-year-old Billy Dee Williams is willing and able to do it, a follow-up on the question of Jannah’s lineage, and whether Lando is her father. Bring Threepio and Artoo along. Why the hell not?

– What happens with the government now? Is the New Republic gone? Do they have to start from scratch? If so, how? Almost everybody died when Starkiller Base blew up the Hosnian system. Maybe look at it from Poe’s perspective? As one of the de-facto leaders of the Resistance, he’d undoubtedly get looped into things. Finn too.

– After Order 66, Darth Vader, the Inquisitors, and the Empire at large hunted and killed the surviving Jedi. The Resistance can do the same thing here with surviving Palpatine loyalists and First Order figureheads. Is the First Order even completely gone?

Granted, much of this depends on whether they can get the actors back. Neither Daisy Ridley or John Boyega seem anxious to come back. I can’t imagine Oscar Isaac is, either.

In the end, I think the reason there’s so much uncharted territory here is because, sadly, there’ve been so many missed storytelling opportunities with these new movies. I didn’t necessarily dislike The Rise of Skywalker. I didn’t totally hate The Last Jedi either.

But by the Force, imagine what those movies could have been…

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.