Rob Watches The Mandalorian: From Animation to Live Action

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E3. “Chapter 11, The Heiress.”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff, Mercedes Varnado
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
November 13, 2020
SYNOPSIS: 
Mando meets a trio of his own kind, and winds up taking on the Empire once again.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode requires a decent amount of exposition, only some of which we actually got. Katee Sackhoff’s character is Bo-Katan Kryze. Long story short, her sister was the duchess of Mandalore. Thus, her trying to get the Darksaber. 

“The Purge,” meanwhile, was when the Empire killed most of the Mandalorian people, forcing the survivors into hiding. All this stuff was covered between the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon shows.

I’m fairly certain this is the first time we’ve seen an ocean dock in live-action Star WarsIt makes for a different vibe. I like it. That’s one of the things that’s been so great about The Mandalorian. It shows us the Star Wars universe from different angles.

When Bo-Katan dropped out of the sky, Mrs. Primary Ignition exclaimed: “It’s a lady Mandalorian!” I’m hoping there were a lot of little girls in the audience saying the same thing.

There’s been a lot of talk about what a “true” Mandalorian is. We know Jango Fett and Boba Fett weren’t. And now we get talk that Din Djarin isn’t. Can we maybe get some clarification on this issue? I’m a Star Wars geek, and even I’m confused….

I was curious to see how they’d credit WWE’s Sasha Banks, who plays Koska Reeves. They used her real name, Mercedes Varnado. Which makes sense, of course. I’m not the world’s biggest Sasha Banks fan. But I was proud of her for this. She even got a decent number of lines and wasn’t just a muscular body in the background.

Even after all this time, I’m still getting used to Star Wars music that isn’t a classical score. Case in point, the sort of industrial-style beat they had going during the action sequence aboard the Imperial ship. It works. It’s just not traditional Star Wars.

Hey! Stormtrooper! When you see a grenade rolling toward you, maybe…I’unno…kick the damn thing away instead of staring down at it like a friggin’ nincompoop!!!

And there it is. Destination: Ahsoka Tano. Here’s my question: Katee Sackhoff voiced Bo-Katan Kryze for the cartoons, and now she’s playing the role live. Did they even ask Ashley Eckstein if she wanted to play Ahsoka? Nothing against Rosario Dawson, of course. But it seemed like Eckstein was up for it. Yes, Dawson is a renowned on-camera actress, as opposed to Eckstein who’s more famous for voice acting. But Eckstein had a hand in the creation of the character. She should have had the chance to play Ahsoka if she wanted it.

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.

Rob Watches The Mandalorian – The Galaxy’s Best Halloween Costume

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E1. “Chapter 9, The Marshal”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Timothy Olyphant, Amy Sedaris, John Leguizamo
WRITER & DIRECTOR:
John Favreau
PREMIERE DATE:
October 30, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Din Djarin’s search for the Jedi bring him to Tatooine. There, he encounters a familiar set of armor.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The first minute or two of this episode is fantastic. Like the opening moments of Chapter 1, it’s a tremendous tone-setter.  And our hero once again gets an excellent entrance. I particularly enjoyed the graffiti on the walls. Have we ever seen graffiti in the Star Wars universe? I’m inclined to say no. At least as far as the movies are concerned.

Whenever we see the Din Djiarin in some kind of hand-to-hand combat situation, it always feels so hard-hitting. That’s a credit not just to the fight choreographers and the performers, but the sound team as well.

The Mandalorian is great at disguising established actors. I’d never have guessed in a million years that was John Leguizamo. Ditto for Horatio Sanz last season.

Mos Pelgo is a nice addition to Tatooine. It feels like one of those sparsely populated, desolate old west towns, which is a nice way to distinguish it from Mos Eisley and Mos Espa.

Upon seeing Timothy Olyphant’s character, Cobb Vanth, Mrs. Primary Ignition asked me, “Is he a new character, or have we seen him before?” My answer was that he’s new, but apparently that’s not the case. He makes some appearances in Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath novels, which are set closer to the events of Return of the Jedi. I must admit, I’ve read two of those books and didn’t remember him…

Vanth looks like a kid in a Halloween costume in Boba Fett’s armor. But of course, that’s the idea.

So the big monster shows up on screen, and Mrs. Primary Ignition asks me what it is. My answer: “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a krayt dragon.” Low and behold, moments later they call it a krayt dragon. Now there’s something I did remember from a Star Wars book.

Part of me was disappointed that we started season two out on Tatooine. The Mandalorian has been so good at adding to the mythology of Star Wars, I’d have appreciated them either going somewhere new, or returning to one of the new locations from season one. On the other hand, the show has also been good about breaking new ground with classic Star Wars stuff…

Having the sand people use sign language was a stroke of genius. And yet it didn’t contradict anything from the movies. We’d never seen the Tuskens communicate directly with humans. Not in the movies, at least. But the Tusken language can be learned, as Din illustrates.

The music we hear when the Tuskens arrive in Mos Pelgo, and during their subsequent journey to the abandoned Sarlacc Pit is amazing. Pitch perfect work by Ludwig Göransson.

Boba Fett must have had a faulty jet pack. First an errant strike from Han Solo sends Fett into a Sarlacc Pit. Then a strategically placed strike from Din sends Cobb Vanth flying.

Question: When the dragon swallows Din, why doesn’t he fall victim to the stomach acid, or whatever it was that the monster puked up on to the Tuskens? Some of it appears to be on his armor. Is that what protected him?

So at the end of the episode we see a mysterious figure that is undoubtedly Fett. I give the show credit for not immediately bringing a classic character back in his classic outfit.

It’s always good to come out of an episode with questions that need to be answered. We certainly have no shortage of those here. Based on the few seconds we’ve seen of Fett, it looks like the last five years or so have been rough for him. But how does he have eyes on Din Djarin? Is he masquerading as a Tusken Raider? Is that why he has the gaffi stick? And what will Din think of Fett when they inevitably meet? As Fett isn’t a true Mandalorian, you’ve got to believe there won’t be good feelings there…

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.

 

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Wait, That’s Not Hoth!!!

***As the second season of The Mandalorian rapidly approaches, it’s time to take a look back at the foundation laid by the first season. This is “Rob Watches The Mandalorian.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This opening scene is, of course, our tone-setter. And once of the best I’ve ever seen. As far as space westerns go, you can’t do much better than this. Our lone gunman walks into a saloon, finds trouble, and has to shoot his way out. Everything is perfect.

For whatever reason, when I think of The Mandalorian the first thing that comes to mind is that poor guy getting cut in half by the door. Maybe it’s because, like the series itself the whole thing is so damn smooth and cool.

So why is this snow planet not Hoth? Because, as Admiral Piett told us in The Empire Strikes Back, “The Hoth system is supposed to be devoid of human forms.” Originally I was miffed that a later episode took us back to the friggin’ Mos Eisley Cantina, but we couldn’t go to some random bar on Hoth. Whoops…

That’s a problem Star Wars creators are running into these days. The more films and TV shows that are made, the harder it is to make all these planets feel distinct and different. A lot of the worlds in the sequel trilogy, for instance, look alike.

Our blue friend, who I don’t believe has a name, is played by SNL alum Horatio Sanz. I knew I recognized him from somewhere…

Is this the first time we’ve seen a bounty puck? There certainly weren’t any in the movies.

Practically every Star Wars project has to do the cantina. Or at least some version of a cantina. Some setting where aliens from various different worlds come together for a drink or a party or the like. In this episode alone we get two of them. At least The Mandalorian had the guts to take a stab at the Mos Eisley Cantina, the cantina setting, later on.

I love that the client, the guy that hires Mando and really gets the plot moving, is part of this tiny little faction of Imperials, complete with a few beat-up looking stormtroopers. It’s a great bit of world-building. It’s one thing for Mando to say the Empire is gone. It’s another thing for us to actually see what it’s been reduced to.

Whenever I watch the scene with Mando trying to ride the Blurg and talking with little Kuiil, I always think of the prequels. If the prequels had blended practical and CGI effects as seamlessly as The Mandalorian, people would talk about them in such a different light. They’d still be badly written, but at least they wouldn’t look like giant video games.

In writing this, I at one point had in my notes, “I’m happy they didn’t give him a quirky droid sidekick.” A character like K-2SO in Rogue One or L3-37 in Solo. That’s another Star Wars trope people have to be mindful of going forward.

Then I realized, “Oh wait, they did give him a quirky droid sidekick.” It’s just that IG-11 isn’t around the whole time.

I do like IG-11, largely because his presence in the climactic shoot-out sequence explains how IG-88 works. In The Empire Strikes Back, IG-88 was essentially just a tall prop that stood next to Boba Fett and the other bounty hunters. It couldn’t have been on screen for more than a second or two. But like many a bit player in Star Wars, it gained a cult following. But of course, we never got to see the IG-88 in action. We were never meant to. As such, I always wondered how this tall, seemingly cumbersome, ridid-looking robot was supposed to do the same job as Boba Fett…

Turns out, these IG droids may be all of those things. But they’re also fast, and make for a hell of an action scene!

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