An Andor, “Episode 1” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Andor
EPISODE:
S1:E1. “Episode 1”
STARRING:
Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, James McArdle, Antonio Viña
WRITERS:
Tony Gilroy
DIRECTOR:
Toby Haynes
PREMIERE DATE:
September 21, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Cassian Andor becomes a wanted man.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let me say this straight away: I did not like Rogue One, the movie to which Andor acts as a prequel. I didn’t think any of the characters were sufficiently developed. The only one with any charm or heart was the robot, K-2SO. It’s always seemed to me like people were fooled into thinking they liked the movie because of all the classic Star Wars stuff in it, along with its darker tone, which I admit does appeal to a large group of fans. But for me, a dark tone by itself doesn’t cut it. I need something underneath the dark packaging to sink my teeth into.

I don’t expect to change people’s minds about Rogue One. At this point, people believe what they believe. Furthermore, I don’t expect Andor to change my mind about Rogue One. But the good news is, changing my mind about Rogue One isn’t what Andor needs to do. This show’s job is to be good in and of itself. What I hope for Andor more than anything is that it does something Rogue One didn’t do: Make me like and care about Cassian Andor.

Disney+ premiered Andor with its first three episodes. It did something similar with Obi-Wan Kenobi, dropping the show’s first two episodes on its premiere date. Apparently, releasing multiple episodes out of the gate helps the show make a bigger splash in terms of viewership. Me? I’d be happy with a single episode premiere. It draws things out, makes the experience of the show last longer, etc. (Plus, it makes it easier to review.)

In our opening scene, we get the time stamp “BBY 5.” Star Wars geeks know this means five years before the Battle of Yavin, i.e. five years before the original Star Wars film. But more casual viewers? They won’t have a clue what that means.

Was that an intergalactic strip club Cassian went into in the opening scene? This being Star Wars, somehow I expected more Carrie Fisher style slave girl bikinis.

We knew we were likely going to get some scenes with child-aged Cassian. He had that line in Rogue One about being in the fight since he was six. It looks like he comes from a world that’s not overly industrialized. The group he and his sister are in looks vaguely tribal.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was bored by this episode. But it did feel like there wasn’t much happening. I’ll chalk it up to first episode exposition and character introduction. But I won’t be inclined to be quite as nice next time…

Okay, I get it. Cassian has lots of friends and connections. Did we need to establish that four times? First there was the Brasso character. Then we had Bix Caleen and Timm Karlo. Then there was the encounter with Nurchi and Vetch. Finally, we had the little exchange with Pegla. Am I supposed to care about these people? The only one that really accomplishes that goal is the Bix character, played by Adria Arjona.

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan #5 Micro-Review – Doing the Best with the Least

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Star Wars Obi-Wan 5, cover, 2022, Phil NotoTITLE: Star Wars: Obi-Wan #5 (of 5)
AUTHOR: Christopher Cantwell
ARTISTS:
Adriana Melo, Wayne Faucher (Inker), Dono Sanchez-Almara (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Phil Noto.
RELEASED:
September 14, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This final issue is the best one to come out of this Obi-Wan mini, and yet it’s the one where the least actually happens. It’s simply a tale of our hero showing compassion to an injured stormtrooper.

On the cover, Phil Noto looks like he’s channeling a little bit of Mike Mayhew’s take on the character.

All in all, this mini-series wasn’t mind-blowing. But it did make for a nice companion to the Obi-Wan Kenobi show on Disney+.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: “Hello There.”

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Hello there, Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith

The Scene: After jumping down into a fray of droids to confront General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi announces himself with a simple, “Hello there.”

George Lucas Says (via the Revenge of the Sith commentary track): “This, when he jumps down into the room and says ‘Hello there,’ is a direct appropriation of the line where Alec Guinness first comes into [A New Hope], and sees Artoo and says ‘Hello there.’ We wanted to do that one little tip to where we were going with the character and Alec Guinness.”

I Say: At face value, this is just a cute little moment. But almost two decades later, it’s clear they got more mileage out of this line than they ever intended to. It’s been so meme-worthy that they had Ewan say it in the final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I just hope that from here on out, we don’t have to hear Obi-Wan say that line all the damn time…

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

Toy Chest Theater: Darth Vader by Ash Betton

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This is one of those shots that made me wonder, “How’d they do that?”

Ash Betton shows us Darth Vader as we saw him at the end of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Pretty quick turnaraound, too. That episode is only a couple weeks old.

No, but seriously. How’d he do this? It’s not like they have a “Vader with his mask broken” action figure out…yet.

Darth Vader by Ash Betton

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part VI” Review

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi poster, Owen LarsSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part VI”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (voice), Joel Edgerton
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton, Stuart Beattie, Hossein Amini
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 22, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan must face Darth Vader once again.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We got a lot of callbacks in this episode. We got some Empire Strikes Back with the ship being chased by a Star Destroyer, Vader on the bridge, and the musical callback to John Williams’ score. We got another later in the episode with Luke’s line, “I’m not afraid.”

We had some more more verbal callbacks with Ewan’s lines, “I will do what I must,” (Revenge of the Sith) and “Then my friend is truly dead” (Return of the Jedi). Palpatine (more on him in a bit) had one about Vader’s thoughts being “clear.” One can even make an argument for Reva’s hunting of Luke in the dark being a nod to Return of the Jedi.

All…interesting choices. I’m not sure I would have gone quite that heavy. But there it is.

Ha! After Obi-Wan says, “I will do what I must,” he does what I’ll call the “Obi-Wan pose” (shown below), with the lightsaber in one hand and his other extended outward. Great little touch.

The second fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader was about what it should have been. Obi-Wan had a little bit of his mojo back, but was still doing a lot of evading.

That broken Vader helmet thing was done on Rebels. So there is a certain cheapness to doing it again. But I’d argue this was more effective, by virtue of us having the involvement of both Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones, as well as Ewan McGregor.

This episode gave us what I thought was the show’s only major misstep: Obi-Wan knowingly leaving Vader alive. That’s an objectively stupid move. At least in Revenge of the Sith, he thought Anakin was dead when he left Mustafar. But here there’s no excuse. Obi-Wan has accepted the notion that the Anakin he knew is gone. He’s standing in front of Darth Vader, who has slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands of people. The right thing to do would have been to finish the job.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI, pose

What boggles my mind is that they could have easily had the Grand Inquisitor fly in with a squad of TIE Fighters and attack Obi-Wan, prompting a hasty retreat. Or something like that. But to just leave the evil dictator alive when you’ve got him right where you want him? Nope. Fail. So is Obi-Wan now culpable in every life Vader takes from here on out?

Reva’s redemption obviously opens the door to more stories with her. Supposedly she has her own series in the works. I can’t say I’m dying to see her story continue. But who am I kidding? I’d watch. If nothing else it would be poetic justice for all the racist crap Moses Ingram got.

Great to see a Palpatine cameo from Ian McDiarmid. He’s always great. Poor guy had to lie about it at Star Wars Celebration.

There’s been a lot of talk about Leia’s outfits in this show being reminiscent of stuff she wore in the original trilogy. But I’d argue her final outfit in this episode, and the series itself, was very similar to what Luke wears on Tatooine. That’s fitting, for obvious reasons.

So…Obi-Wan just stopped by Alderaan for a quick visit? That’s a little weird. They couldn’t have done that via the holo-communicator?

I can already here the crybabies out there calling foul over Obi-Wan meeting Luke. But Luke did know who “Old Ben”was in A New Hope. There was nothing there to directly contradict him meeting Leia, and there’s even less to indicate that he hadn’t met Luke at least once. Maybe even two or three times. Cool your thrusters, fanboys…

Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI

Aaaaaaand of course Liam Neeson made a cameo as Qui-Gon. I called it. They couldn’t not pay that off after Obi-Wan spoke to him multiple times over the course of the show. I’m happy Liam Neeson is back in the Star Wars fold. I enjoy the Qui-Gon Jinn character. Quite a bit, actually.

There was a time period where Star Wars really harped on hope. Especially in Rogue One and The Last Jedi. But in its own way, Obi-Wan Kenobi was about hope too. Specifically, Obi-Wan regaining the hope he lost so many years ago after Anakin’s fall. Thankfully, this series didn’t point at it the way those movies did.

Obi-Wan Kenobi went by fast, didn’t it? But the show, despite its critics, delivered. I’d still argue The Mandalorian is better. But not by much. Obi-Wan Kenobi has been, and perhaps should be, judged by very different standards. People came in with much higher expectations. But I honestly don’t see what more the show could have done to appeal to fans new and old. For that, I tip my hat to it.

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

Toy Chest Theater: Obi-Wan and Leia by Victor Garcia

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I couldn’t help but dip back into the “Toy Chest Theater” bag this week when I saw this shot of Obi-Wan and Princess Leia from Victor Garcia.

Garcia has an entire page filled with Star Wars shots using the figures by Hot Toys. But this shot spoke to me because of Leia’s unexpectedly large role in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show, which ends today. Obviously Ewan McGregor and Vivian Lyra Blair have played the roles there. But this shot of Obi-Wan and Leia as we first saw them has a nice, vintage, classic Star Wars feel to it.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Victor Garcia

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

Toy Chest Theater: Obi-Wan Kenobi by @jdv_edits

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Tomorrow, Obi-Wan Kenobi wraps up on Disney+. While the series definitely has its share of critics (Some Star Wars fans really hate Star Wars…), I’m among those who’ve enjoyed the series overall.

In that spirit, here we have a Lego image from @jdv_edits, depicting the scene in “Part IV” where Obi-Wan holds back the ocean water from rushing in through the window. I think that what pushes this pic over the edge is how it’s lit. It’s not an exact replica of how that scene on the show was lit. But it’s enough to make it look like it should be in one of those Lego Star Wars games.

Lego Obi-Wan Kenobi, jdv_edits

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part V” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part V”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 15, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan, Tala, and the Path must escape an Imperial attack.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a little confused as to why people are questioning how “canon-friendly” Obi-Wan Kenobi is, because of this new connection we’re seeing between Obi-Wan and Leia. Granted, there’s nothing in A New Hope that suggests they knew each other. But there’s nothing that says they didn’t, either. The two character don’t even have any shared screen time in the movie. The closest they come to contact is when Leia presumably catches a glance of the fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

And yes, Leia is a little formal with Obi-Wan in the transmission that Artoo delivers. But it’s presumably been almost a decade since they’ve seen each other. A little decorum isn’t uncalled for. Thus far, Obi-Wan Kenobi fits into canon just fine. At least as far as I know.

Before our recap, we get a warning: “There are certain scenes in this fictional series that some viewers may find upsetting.” Given the temperament of a lot of the fans, it seems like that’s the kind of warning that should come before every Star Wars show…

These are the flashbacks I’ve been looking for! Granted, Hayden Christensen doesn’t look much like the teenager that Anakin is supposed to be. But it almost doesn’t matter. Even as someone who’s willing to be critical of the prequels and their shortcomings, it’s thrilling to see him in the role again.

Wait, I’m confused. In his transmission to Obi-Wan, Bail says: “If he’s found you, if he’s learned of the children…”

He’s talking about Darth Vader, right? That seems to imply that Obi-Wan tipped Bail off that Anakin had survived as Vader. But when did he do that? Why did he do that? That “If he’s found you…” line is frustrating in that it unintentionally raises nagging questions.

We learn here that Reva was a youngling that Anakin stabbed during Order 66, but survived. Her fixation on finding Obi-Wan was wrapped up in her hatred for Anakin, and that he couldn’t prevent Anakin’s fall and subsequent slaughter of those close to her.

This works fairly well as Reva’s motivation. I like that she’s after Vader more than she is Obi-Wan. It speaks to the idea that all these Sith secretly hate each other, and when the chips are down will turn on one another.

And so Tala dies a heroic death via thermal detonator. Yeah, that feels about right. You knew she wasn’t going to make it through the series. You just knew it…

Someone who evidently will make it through the series? The Grand Inquisitor, who returns at the end of the episode. Many speculated this might be the case. And his big line, Revenge does wonders for the will to live, don’t you think?” is awesome.

By the way, does the Grand Inquisitor have a name? We briefly see the rank of Grand Inquisitor bestowed upon Reva in this episode. So we know it’s a title, not a name. So what is Rupert Friend’s character’s actual name? Did Rebels ever cover that?

At the end of the episode, Reva discovers Bail’s recorded message to Obi-Wan, which reveals Luke’s location. I had a feeling things would come back around to Tatooine at the end. And I’ve got a theory about how things may go…

Years ago, in conjunction with the release of Revenge of the Sith, Dark Horse Comics put out an anthology miniseries called Star Wars Visionaries. In one of the stories, “Old Wounds,” a revived Darth Maul arrives at the Lars Homestead looking for Luke. (This was obviously published years before Maul was canonically revived on the Clone Wars animated show.) Obi-Wan arrives and a battle ensues. But ultimately, it’s Owen Lars who surprises Maul with a head shot, killing him instantly…

Could we be looking at a similar scenario with Reva in the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale? It would be consistent with the Owen Lars we saw in the first episode

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part IV” Review

Darth Vader poster, Star Wars Obi-Wan KenobiSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part IV”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr. 
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 8, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan and Tala infiltrate enemy territory to find Leia.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s talk about this straight away: There was some buzz last week about a second season of Obi-Wan Kenobi. As much as I’ve mostly enjoyed the show so far, as far as a second season is concerned, I’m lukewarm at best. From a story perspective, Obi-Wan is supposed to be in seclusion for the 19 years between A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith. As a fan, I can buy that he briefly leaves Tatooine for a desperate situation. But if you go back to that well again, you might be pushing it too far.

Now, if they want to come back for something involving one of the other characters, perhaps even the Darth Vader miniseries that some have been buzzing about, I might be game for that. But more Obi-Wan? Nah, I think I’m good.

Then again, they can always change my mind with the right story…

In the opening minutes of the episode, we see Darth Vader in his…rejuvenation tank? Is that what it is? Is there bacta in there?

I had a thought about Darth Vader earlier this week: I’m not sure I’m a fan of Obi-Wan Kenobi showing us Anakin’s face. The unmasking of Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi is such a pivotal moment. Arguably the moment the entire original trilogy built to. Showing us Anakin’s face here waters that down a little bit, doesn’t it?

That was one of the few things I liked about Rogue One. They gave us Darth Vader in the tank, but didn’t show us his face.

Then again, Mrs. Primary Ignition had a good counterpoint to that argument: Who’s watching Obi-Wan Kenobi before they finish the original trilogy? In the modern era, that number is about as minuscule as it’ll ever be. Future generations might be another story, I suppose…

Bacta tank, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan came out of his bacta tank before his wounds could fully heal. Does that mean he has burn scars on his body? That feels appropriate. And of course, we never saw Alec Guinness with his shirt off in the original trilogy. So there’s nothing to contradict it. Nice touch.

The planet name Jabiim rang a bell for me. In the Legends continuity, i.e. the old Star Wars publishing canon, is was the site of one of the most brutal and bloody battles of the Clone Wars. So brutal and bloody, in fact, that if I’m not mistaken there was only one survivor: Anakin Skywalker.

Indira Varma plays Tala. Mrs. Primary Ignition tells me she and The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal played husband and wife on Game of Thrones. I must confess, I’m not a big enough Game of Thrones fan to remember that. I do, however, remember Pascal’s character having a pretty gruesome death scene, with his eyes being pushed back into his skull. Because that’s just how they rolled on Game of Thrones.

So that big fortress we see the Inquisitors is actually called Fortress Inquisitorius? That’s kinda lame. Then again, when you’re that sadistic and evil, I guess you can call your base whatever you want, and dare anybody to laugh at you…

I was taken aback, mostly in a good way, by how scary certain parts of this episode were. Leia being strapped into a torture contraption. The Jedi tomb with all those dead faces staring out, one of which being a child. I actually had to pause the episode at one point because my two-year-old daughter walked into the room. Powerful stuff, man.

Reva, sky, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

I can’t believe that Vivien Lyra Blair wasn’t even 10 years old when they shot this. Imagine being that age and performing intense scenes like this, while also feeling the pressure of playing a character like Princess Leia. She’s young, but she’s got my respect.

It bears repeating James Earl Jones really has mounted a comeback with his performance here as the voice of Darth Vader. After Rogue One and Rebels I had my doubts. But even at over 90 years old, the man has still got it.

Leia reaching out and holding Obi-Wan’s hand was a nice way to close out the episode. A great little display of humanity.

Question: Is Obi-Wan Kenobi wasting Hayden Christensen? We’re four episodes in, and his work has been mostly confined to the Darth Vader costume, with some shots of him the rejuvenation tank thrown in there. There’s nothing wrong with that, strictly speaking. But when they announced him for this show, I naturally assumed we were going to be getting flashback sequences. Something perhaps set during the events of The Clone Wars cartoon show, with Obi-Wan and Anakin in corresponding costumes. Maybe even a Rosario Dawson cameo as Ahsoka.

Is that asking too much? Maybe. Maybe not. And granted, we still have two episodes left. But all these years after his performances in the prequels were ridiculed, I think Christensen deserves to flex his acting chops a little bit. I can’t help but want that for him.

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part III” Review

Leia poster, Star Wars Obi-Wan KenobiSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part III”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (Voice)
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman, Hossein Amini, Stuart Beattie
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 1, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan and Leia are hunted on the mining world of Mapuzo.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I mentioned previously that, going forward, Star Wars needs to take a break from setting shows in the desert. Going forward, the franchise also needs to work on avoiding what I’ll call “the Baby Yoda effect.” That is, sticking the hero or heroes with a child over the course of their journey. Specifically one that’s strong in the Force. The Mandalorian obviously did that with Grogu. The Bad Batch did it with Omega. Now this show is doing it with Leia.

To be clear, I’m not saying children shouldn’t be used in Star Wars stories. I just want to avoid Star Wars telling the same kinds of stories over and over again.

James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader. He’s always been the voice of Darth Vader, and as long as he’s alive and wants to do it, he should be the voice of Darth Vader.

That being said, I had some slight issues with his performances in Rogue One and what I’ve seen of Rebels. My contention has been that he doesn’t sound as mean or as evil as Darth Vader should. Not like Darth Vader, but rather, Mufasa saying Darth Vader’s lines. Am I imagining it? Am I expecting too much? Maybe and maybe. But that’s my argument and I’m sticking to it.

However, I’m pleased to say that thus far, that problem hasn’t been present in Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is the best James Earl Jones has sounded as Vader since Disney purchased the franchise. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to good direction, Mr. Jones simply having a good day in the recording booth, or something else. Either way, I’m grateful for it.

Obi-Wan’s hallucination of Anakin from a distance, dark cloak and all, was a brilliant touch. Great shot too.

When Hayden Christensen was announced for this series, I figured they’d use him for flashback sequences. I’m sure those are still coming. But that’s another, clever way to use him without the Darth Vader suit.

Fifth Brother, played by Sung Kang, doesn’t have a conventional name the way Reva, the Third Sister, has one. But might I suggest…Hat Guy. Because that’s a variation on what most people, especially those of us who haven’t seen him in Rebels, are calling him.

Zach Braff provides the voice for Freck the transport pilot. Is that how they got him to star in that Cheaper By the Dozen remake for Disney+?

“Hey man, do this and we’ll throw in a part in Star Wars.”

“I am what you made me.” That line, delivered by Vader to Obi-Wan, is great. The entire presentation of Darth Vader in this episode is fantastic. The sense of terror and dread in his scenes is palpable. He truly comes off like the monster he is.

That’s especially true when he drags Obi-Wan through the flames. He wants to torture, maim, and disfigure his old master. But he also wants to savor the moment. Those shots of the Darth Vader suit in the light from the flames looked great too.

Leia offering to go forward on your own so Tala can go back for Obi-Wan is a nice little character moment for her. One of numerous character moments the show has given her thus far.

Well, so much for Obi-Wan’s first use of a lightsaber in a decade being a memorable moment. Still, I appreciate that he was largely helpless against Vader, and that we didn’t jump right into a super-choreographed sword fight. The man hasn’t been a Jedi in 10 years. To say his skills would be rusty is an understatement…

So…why did Vader let Obi-Wan go? The camera stayed on him for awhile, which seems to imply that he was pondering his next move. My only guess is that he figures he can follow Obi-Wan’s trail, and perhaps sniff out dissenters. That would seem to be the only thing that makes sense.

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