An Andor, “Reckoning” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Andor
EPISODE:
S1:E3 – “Reckoning”
STARRING:
Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgård, Fiona Shaw, Adria Arjona, Antonio Viña
WRITERS:
Tony Gilroy
DIRECTOR:
Toby Haynes
PREMIERE DATE:
September 21, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
As the manhunt for Cassian comes to a head, he gains a new ally in Luthen Rael.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Our opening scene with young Cassian (Or are we just flat out calling him Kassa?) inside the ship features a nice contrast between the boy’s ragged clothes and the highly technological spaceship interior. Oddly enough, I really like his shoes, and that hey have to be held together with a rope or a vine or whatever that is. It’s nice visual storytelling.

That first scene between Cassian Andor and Luthen Rael is a strong one, as the two characters feel each other out. I liked their dynamic immediately. Very well acted by Diego Luna and Stellan Skarsgård.

I usually don’t like Disney+ releasing more than one episode at a time. The Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere, for instance, consisted of two episodes. In that same vein, these first three episodes of Andor all came out on September 21. But while I’m not a fan of the tactic, I can see why they did it in this case. It takes three episodes for the plot of Andor to really get going, which doesn’t happen until Cassian and Luthen meet.

“Rule number one: Never carry anything you don’t control.” That’s a good line from Luthen. Very apt for Star Wars, particularly this type of Star Wars content.

So Stellan Skarsgård’s character is obviously going to be a mentor of sorts for Cassian, as evidenced by the various rules he starts spitting out quite early on.

Perhaps this is a weird thing to notice, but I liked Cassian’s blaster in this episode. It reminds me a little of Rick Grimes’ gun on The Walking Dead.

The falling debris sequence in the warehouse was memorable. Probably the first truly memorable thing about Andor. I enjoyed it.

Great character moments for Syril Karn, as he quivers at having a blaster held to his head by Cassian, then gets tied up. I wouldn’t be surprised if that serves as a motivator for him this season.

This episode is a marked improvement over the first two. It felt like business really picked up, and the plot started moving along. As I’ve discussed, my big desire for this series is that it make me like and care about Cassian Andor. I can’t say it’s done that yet. But at least I had a decent time watching this episode.

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

An Andor, “That Would Be Me” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Andor
EPISODE:
S1:E2 – “That Would Be Me”
STARRING:
Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, James McArdle, Antonio Viña
WRITERS:
Tony Gilroy
DIRECTOR:
Toby Haynes
PREMIERE DATE:
September 21, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Cassian must work discretely in the shadow of the Pre-Mor Authority.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

About 15 minutes in, I had to stop the episode because I was falling asleep. I think this is the first Star Wars movie or show to get me to do that. That’s not exactly an honorable distinction…

But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and say I was tired.

Fiona Shaw plays Maarva Andor, Cassian’s (presumably adoptive) mother. She’s been in a variety of things. But Harry Potter fans will recognize her as the actress who played Petunia Dursley, Harry’s aunt.

If I’m not mistaken, Shaw and Warwick Davis are the only two actors to have been in both Star Wars and Harry Potter movies. Jude Law will join them when Star Wars: Skeleton Crew comes out next year.

Alex Ferns plays Sergeant Linus Mosk. He has a pretty decorated resume. Most people might recognize him as Commissioner Pete Savage in The Batman.

It’s a little frustrating that these flashback scenes with young Cassian don’t have subtitles. Generally they’re used when someone speaks a different language in Star Wars. I’m not sure why they aren’t being used here.

I don’t dislike the tribe stuff itself, though. Occasionally I’ve pictured young Anakin being from a tight-knit tribe and jungle environment like this in Episode I, as opposed to recycling Tatooine from the original trilogy. It might have been a very different movie. Perhaps a better one?

Stellan Skarsgård joins the Star Wars universe as Luthen Rael. He’s a solid addition to any cast. Granted, he doesn’t do much of anything. But he’s there…

That’s more or less the story of this episode, actually. Nothing really happens. We set a few things up, like the alliance between Syril Karn and Linus Mosk, Bix lying to Timm about what she’d been doing, etc. We also introduce Luthen Rael and Maarva Andor. But as far as the plot actually moving along? The spot we’re in at the end of this episode isn’t much different from where we were at the end of the premiere.

I can’t deny that there’s an audience for this darker, more gritty side of Star Wars. One might, tongue in cheek, call it “the dark side of Star Wars.” A lot of people liked Rogue One. And as we now have various Star Wars TV shows coming out, there’s a place for this kind of thing. But here’s one thing I’ll say…

Mrs. Primary Ignition is a casual Star Wars fan. She really liked The Mandalorian. She tolerated The Book of Boba Fett until it essentially became The Mandalorian, at which point she enjoyed it. She was initially interested in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but eventually lost interest. After seeing these first two episodes of Andor, I realized I can’t put this show on for her because she’ll fall asleep. I’m the big Star Wars fan in the house, and if it put me to sleep, what hopes does she have?

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “To Catch a Jedi”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E19 – “To Catch a Jedi”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Nika Futterman, Matt Lanter, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane
WRITER:
Charles Murray
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
February 23, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
A fugitive Ahsoka is pursued through the depths of Coruscant.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Apparently this episode, “To Catch a Jedi,” is named for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 film, To Catch a Thief. Apparently I need to brush up on my Hitchcock, as I couldn’t help but think of the show To Catch a Predator. I can’t have been the only one…

No? Just me? Got it.

Yoda’s initial call is to send Anakin after Ahsoka. But it’s Mace Windu who actually says the sensible thing: That Anakin is too emotionally compromised to be involved in the pursuit. Ultimately, after a little encouragement from Obi-Wan, they do send him after her. But from a writing standpoint, it might have made more sense to have the council hold Anakin back, and then have him defy them by searching anyway.

Question: Where do photos of Jedi come from? The Republic has a photo of Ahsoka (shown above) that they use to announce her fugitive status to Coruscant. Did she pose for that photo, perhaps for records purposes? Or was that supposed to be a candid shot of some kind? You’ve got to assume the Jedi keep records, which would naturally include photos. But if that’s a posed photo, why is she scowling like that?

I ask all this because we saw a similar posed photo of Obi-Wan Kenobi during his self-titled Disney+ series.

I appreciated that they had both Ahsoka and her mystery Jedi assailant using hand-to-hand combat (Teras Kasi perhaps?). It reminds the viewer that the Jedi are capable of much more physically than just swinging lightsabers.

It was nice that they went back to Asajj Ventress for this episode. It would, after all, wind up being the penultimate episode aired on Cartoon Network. The show wasn’t near its true ending, but an ending of sorts was approaching…

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

An Andor, “Kassa” 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, or Kassa. 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.