*TV SERIES RECAP: THE MANDALORIAN (Season 2)

The Mandalorian First season was excellent, but the second season is unbelievably fucking good. Here is the thing, if you are a hardcore Star Wars fanboy like myself, you are going to love season 2. if you disliked the sequel trilogy or barely stomached them as much as I did, then you are in for a special treat.

In this season, we continue to explore other parts of the galaxy. Also, the western sci-fi elements are still there, as well as some Eastern philosophical vibes. The show’s episodic nature makes it a lot more exciting to watch; I was impatiently waiting each week for a new episode to drop. And after the whole season was done, I binge through the entire thing in one sitting, well, almost in one sitting; I had to go to work at some point.

Season 1 brought forward everything we love about Star Wars, especially the original trilogy’s tone, but there really wasn’t any direct connection to the Skywalker saga. However, In this season, the Easter eggs begin to drop early on. The nostalgic nods are sprinkled brilliantly throughout each episode, and things are put in place for established characters to show up at some point.

The structure for every episode is nicely executed, and the side quests on every episode worked well for me. We get to explore new systems, new characters, new villains, and new heroes in each new episode.

Episode 1 — THE MARSHALL (Episode 9, In chronological order from season 1): Written and Directed By Jon Favreau.

Din Djarin AKA Mando (Pedro Pascal) has been tasked with reuniting “The Child” with the Jedi — he seems skeptical and somewhat reluctant at first, but as we all know; This is the way. 

Mando goes to a Tattoine mining town searching for a fellow Mandalorian to assist in his quest to reunite Baby Yoda with the Jedi. The mining town is called Mos Pelgo and is run by the local Marshal Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), who shows up wearing Bobba Feet’s armor. Cobb explains he bought the armor from some Jawas. Mando wants Cobb to give up the armor since it doesn’t belong to him. Cobb makes a deal with Mando to surrender the armor if Mando teams up with him and with some Tusken Raiders to destroy an underground Krayt Dragon.

Some of my favorite and most memorable highlights from this episode are Gor Koresh (John Leguizamo) playing this underworld crime figure type and the scene-stealing Pell Motto (Amy Sedaris). But Temuera Morrison showing up in the last scene was fucking amazing. Is he supposed to be Bobba Fett? Has he been living in the outskirts of Tattoine all these years? or is this mysterious character a member of the original clone army who has survived all this time living in hiding in Tattoine? Whatever the case might be, this was an extraordinary scene.

Episode 2 — THE PASSENGER: Directed By Peyton Reed — Written By Jon Favreau.

Mando’s mission in this episode is to transport a passenger to another planet safely. This passenger is referred to as “frog lady” who carries a jar of eggs to be fertilized and save her species from extinction. The main plot conflict here is that Mando’s ship cannot use the hyperdrive because it would jeopardize the eggs. She is putting them in a tough spot and making them vulnerable to pirates and space criminals.

There are a bunch of cool space chase scenes all over this episode. We get to see the Razor Crest battle and outmaneuver new Republic X-wing patrols. The idea of including the X-wing patrols in this episode was a rad decision. Probably the weirdest and most awkward episode of the season, but lots of fun and lots of cool visuals.

Episode 3 — THE HEIRESS: Directed By Bryce Dallas Howard — Written By Jon Favreau.

This episode has a lot to digest; Mando ends up in a compromised position and needs urgent assistance — when three Mandalorians show up to rescue Mando. They immediately removed their helmets, revealing their faces, which we know is believed to be forbidden by the Mandalore way.

The rescuers’ leader is Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), who is on a quest to capture the DarkSaber, which is currently in possession of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Important to note that Katee Sackhoff initially voiced the character in the animated series.

We learned that Mando belongs to a fundamentalist faction of Mandalorians who follow an ancient creed called “The Way.” On the other hand, Bo-Katan belongs to a different faction of Mandalorians called “The Watch.” We hear about a past war between followers of The Way and members of The Watch due to their conflicting ideologies. The Way stood against more progressive changes to their ancient creed, and thus division and infighting began.

There are so many well-executed action sequences all over this episode. The battle scenes in tight corridors within the imperial ship are excellent, pure Star wars fan service. The Razor Crest is left in bad shape by the end of the episode and literally falling apart

Episode 4 — THE SIEGE: Directed By Carl Weathers — Written by Jon Favreu.

The first thing I have to say is that Carl Weathers should direct more episodes. I was very impressed with how he put this episode together and the choices he made.

This episode’s side quest is for Mando and friends to break into an old and almost abandoned imperial base operating in Nevarro. The thing is that this imperial base is not entirely abandoned and is full of Stormtroopers. There are also Speeders and Tie fighters, which are direct throwbacks to the original Star Wars trilogy.

Mando returns to the planet Nevarro from season one to perform emergency repairs on his ship. We get to see Cara dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) return to the story. Also, we have the return of Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) from the first episode of season one.

Episode 5 — THE JEDI: Written and Directed By Dave Filoni.

Man, this episode kicks some major asses. Mando arrives at a forest system called Corvus, where he is supposed to find a Jedi. He finds Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who I guess has been living in hiding for all these years. In the way this episode is presented, I get the sense that Ahsoka has been living like a Ronin warrior.

We learned Baby Yoda’s name (Grogu), and we have a small cameo by Michael Biehn, but most importantly, the foundation for the Ahsoka Tano spinoff series is set in motion.

Episode 6 — THE TRAGEDY: Directed By Robert Rodriguez Written By Jon Favreau.

I loved this episode where things move at a fast pace, and we get to see Robert Rodriguez execute some of his trademark action sequences; Rodriguez fits Star Wars like a glove and should be involved in future Star Wars projects for sure.

The monster size revelation here is that Bobba Fett (Temuera Morrison) is alive and back in the middle of things. They decided to make Bobba Fett’s armor look small and tight-fitting, which I do not have any issues with; let us remember that Bobba is older, and it makes sense that he has somewhat outgrown his armor. I wasn’t a big fan of Bobba Fett growing up, but this series got me overly excited about the idea of Bobba Fett being back in the Star Wars Universe. He still remains fresh and exciting, as we have so much more to explore about this character.

Baby Yoda goes to an ancient Jedi temple and sits on a rock that serves as a medium to connect with other Force-sensitive beings throughout the galaxy. We get to see Dark Troopers introduced, and they are AWESOME.

The only small beef I had with this episode was trying to understand a continuity issue regarding Mando’s jet pack. Maybe I need to watch this episode again and see if it makes sense.

Episode 7 — THE BELIEVER: Written and Directed by Rick Famuyiwa.

This episode is pretty intense; Migs Mayfield (Bill Burr) is back and teaming up with Mando this time to access a base that holds information on Moff Gideon’s coordinates. Bill Burr shines bright here. Mando taking off his helmet for a good chunk of this episode is pretty compelling stuff.

Episode 8 — THE RESCUE: Directed by Peyton Reed  — Written By Jon Favreau.

This is where everything comes together beautifully. Some of the most exciting and suspenseful moments in all Star Wars history happens in this episode.

The Mando fight scene with the Dark Trooper is terrific. Moff Gideon is creepy as fuck, especially when he delivers this epic line; “Assume I know Everything.” Gideon and Mando dueling it out was also a pretty fantastic scene. We learned that the DarkSaber could only be taken by winning it in combat.

Then we have the build-up to the most astonishing surprise in recent Star Wars history. We see a lone X-Wing showing up, then a cloaked figure emerges from the X-wing, lights up a green lightsaber, and awesomeness ensues.

By now, the whole world knows that Luke Skywalker was the mysterious figure arriving on the X-Wing. Luke’s battle scenes were out of this world, similar to Vader’s Rogue battle scene. Also, R2D2 showing up was glorious, and of course, the emotional scene between Mando and Baby Yoda was very touching. All in all, this was a special episode and a gift for hardcore Star Wars fans such as myself.

I was not too impressed with Luke’s de-aging. This is the same company behind Nick Fury’s de-aging in Captain Marvel and Michelle Pfeiffer in Ant-Man. So I assume that those productions had bigger budgets, and higher emphasis was placed on CGI effects. Hopefully, as we advance, we get to see an improvement in Luke’s de-aging special effects.

MANDALORIAN SEASON 2 FINAL THOUGHTS:

I have to say that this season opens up the door to fix what Rian Johnson and Disney did to Luke in a big way. The timeline of his arrival in the show makes sense since Luke is supposed to be starting a Jedi Academy, and Grogu could become the star pupil.

The Book of Bobba Fett is coming out in December 2021, and I’m beyond excited to know that Robert Rodriguez will be behind this project.

When it comes to Star Wars, There is no such thing as too much fan service. Mandalorian has delivered two unforgettable seasons. This is precisely what we hardcore fans have been hoping for all along, unlike the sequel trilogies that lacked a singular vision. The Mandalorian under Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni seem to be organically following a singular vision in terms of knowing exactly where the show is heading and what the endgame will be.

I am looking forward to more Star Wars content from Disney+.

Five out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

The Mandalorian (Season 2). Streaming on Disney+

*MOVIE RECAP: TOGO

First of all, I am surprised Disney did not release this movie out in theaters back in December of 2019 or early 2020 and opted instead for a direct to streaming release. I think Togo would have provided excellent competition against CALL OF THE WILD (FOX), which came out in theaters in early 2020, and it was not well received and performed somewhat poorly at the box office.

Some of these direct-to-streaming movies don’t usually get much attention, mostly because people are quick to assume that the quality of those films is not as good as theatrical releases.

However, I enjoyed TOGO more than I expected; I thought it was a fun movie.

I always thought BALTO was the hero of the world-famous “Serum Run” of Nome, Alaska, in 1925. I thought Balto completed the run covering over 600 miles of treacherous, snow-covered terrain while transporting antitoxins desperately needed to combat a diphtheria outbreak.

Man, was I wrong… Balto wasn’t the hero I was led to believe. It was TOGO all along.

The 1995 BALTO movie completely misrepresented the real story of the Serum Run and wrongly established Balto as the lead sled dog throughout the entire run, which was actually a relay run. Balto only completed the final 55-mile leg of the relay. A remarkable achievement, indeed, but erroneously glorified by Hollywood. In reality, TOGO was the lead dog who accomplished the majority of the incredible feat—covering 264 miles.

This TOGO movie would have looked gorgeous on the big screen, considering all the magnificent visuals, the terrain, the snow, the mountains, the ice lakes — they are all perfect and tailor-made for a theatrical experience.

The accuracy of the real Serum Run story is impressive. Minor details of the real story are highlighted and covered pretty accurately, with just a few exceptions here and there, so kudos to director Ericson Core and screenwriter Tom Flynn. The relationship between Togo and his trainer, Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe), is emotionally moving. Dafoe’s acting keeps things interesting, especially while delivering monologues in multiple solo scenes.

TOGO is not so much a retelling of the famous Serum Run of 1925 but an attempt to revisit a legendary real-life story. This is a hero’s journey that continues to amaze and inspire.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

Streaming on DISNEY+

*MOVIE RECAP: CAPTAIN MARVEL

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) finally catching up and giving female superhero characters their own front and center movies is long overdue…. (Cannot wait for Black Widow, 2020).

Captain Marvel is essentially the precursor to Avengers Endgame, putting the last piece of the marvel cinematic universe puzzle together — I confess that I waited until most of the Avengers movies were available on streaming to catch up… (thanks Disney+).

I am not a massive expert on MCU or DC Extended Universe (DCEU), but I consider myself to be a fanboy of some of the individual characters like Captain America, Winter Soldier, and Thor. I have been reading this excellent comic series: Red Skull by Joshua Williamson and Hail Hydra by Rick Remender I highly recommend them. The Captain America movie trilogy is fantastic, by the way —watch all three in one seating if you can.

I have some mixed feelings regarding Captain Marvel — there were a bunch of things I liked, and a few I did not: The Stan Lee appreciation opening logo was awesome. Everyone should stand and clap whenever this new logo hits the screen. Sam Jackson’s de-aging CGI was impressive. Jude Law is always fantastic in whatever he is in, and he is exceptional here again. Ben Mendelsohn, as Talos, is pure joy to watch. The twist with The Skrulls storyline was my favorite part, and the end credits easter eggs/spoilers are also pretty cool.

However, it was hard for me to connect with Captain Marvel as much as I connected with other marvel characters or even Wonder Woman. Trying to turn Captain Marvel into MCU’s version of Wonder Woman was not a success, which is what this movie attempted to accomplish — Simply put, she is not as charismatic as Wonder Woman. I saw a bunch of online criticism surrounding Brie Larson’s performance, but I cannot entirely agree; I think Brie Larson is an outstanding actress… the hell with it; she is an Academy Award-winning actor. So If you want to blame anything, blame the script.

We all know where Captain Marvel fits within the hierarchy of Superheroes. We all know she is the most powerful Avenger in the MCU, so we know the stakes are low as far as danger or vulnerability is concerned. Plus, we know where she and the rest of the superheroes will end up — which makes this movie just a simple origins story and, in a way, an introduction to Carol Danvers/Vers AKA Captain Marvel to a casual and more extensive audience. Even as an origin story, this movie rushes in and comes off as flat and unoriginal.

There was way too much military jargon and overplayed military terminology being used. Even the friendship between Rambeau and Danvers was not compelling enough for me. Annette Bening was terrific, but I felt like her Supreme Intelligence/Dr. Wendy Lawson’s character needed more screen time.

By far, Captain Marvel is the least impressive of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero movies; nonetheless, some interesting and compelling parts make this movie worth watching a couple of times.

Two out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿

Captain Marvel (2019).

*TV SERIES RECAP: THE MANDALORIAN (Season 1)

Well, we finally have a live-action Star Wars TV show… and what a show it is.

I signed up for Disney+ back in November of last year, and as soon as the streaming service was up and running — I wasted no time on binge-watching the whole thing. However, It took me a while to write up a quick blog post about it. Mostly because throughout the last few months, I have continuously been watching the first season multiple times.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), also known as Mando, is a Bounty Hunter who takes on bounty hunting jobs and gets paid upon delivery of the fugitive. Mando is a member of a warrior culture called Mandalorians, known for their unique way of life and a strict code of ethics. You can either be born or adopted into the Mandalorian culture…. (Jango Fett was supposed to be a Mandalorian who went rogue). We learn that weapons are part of their religion, and they never remove their helmets in front of other people. Pascal is excellent here playing this character while wearing a helmet, and the way he uses his body language and tone to project Mando’s mood is remarkable.

The show takes place about 5 years after Return of the Jedi (before Force Awakens). The Galactic Empire is no more, and there are rogue imperial factions still roaming around the galaxy.

The force, Jedi or Sith, is never mentioned in any way. There are Easter eggs all over the place — you gotta pay attention and maybe watch it multiple times to notice things.

By now, everyone knows about “The Child,” or Baby Yoda, which is what we will call him for now until we learn his real name next season. We know very little about Baby Yoda and his origins We know “The Client” (Warner Herzog) has been tracking Baby Yoda, and they want something from this force-sensitive child. We also notice the cloning symbol of the Kamino cloners from Attack of the Clones on the uniform of Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahl).

Could this child be a clone of Master Yoda? Or a test subject for clones? Or maybe a clone of future Yoda-like clones?

…. and here are some things I found to be pretty interesting:

We finally get to see “force healing” officially become part of the canon (before we got to see Rey use force healing on The Rise of Skywalker). We get to see some awesome droids, especially the bounty hunting droid IG-11 (voiced by Taika Waititi). We have jet-flying Mandalorians, mercenaries, assassins, and all kinds of cool, exciting characters. We visit Tattoine and our favorite “wretched hive of scum and villainy” in Mos Eisely spaceport. Jawas get some much-needed screen time. We also have some castaway storm troopers working alongside former agents of the Empire before the creation of The First Order.

All in all, The Mandalorian is a well-crafted, entertaining show. There is a space western vibe to it, leaning towards the vibe and spirit of Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV), closer to Rogue One in tone. I sense a Sergio Leone influence here — I only wish each episode was an hour instead of shy of thirty minutes. Hardcore Star Wars fans will love this show…. Kudos to Jon Favreau and his team of writers: Dave Folini, Rick Famuyiwa, and Christopher Yost.

Five out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

The Mandalorian (Season 1). Streaming on Disney+

*Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Movie Recap-Spoilers)

I needed a few days to reflect and collect all my thoughts regarding The Rise of Skywalker (TROS). It is a movie, you need to see more than once or twice to process it thoroughly, and sadly, I can summarize by saying that although it is not bad, it is definitely not good.

I still blame The Last Jedi (TLJ) for this mess of a movie, and the current emotional state of the hardcore Star Wars fandom. All I can say is that the Skywalker dynastic heritage and the messianic legacy of the first six films are wasted away in this new trilogy. The Script for The Rise of Skywalker relies heavily on legends and canon material, which was definitely a good idea, but it is not something the casual fan is familiar with. Which makes certain aspects of the storyline hard to understand, unless you are incredibly familiar with legends and canon material. Throughout most of this movie, there are so many twists and turns thrown at the audience in an overwhelming pace.

There is lousy editing, plot lines skipped, or past over. Darth Sidious, shows up alive right from the beginning of the film with a simple cliff notes explanation of how he is still alive; it felt weak and lazy storytelling. There is this long history of Star Wars villains being thrown down a shaft of some kind and somehow surviving the fall, case in point; Darth Maul. So, why didn’t they start there and explain what happened when Vader threw him down the shaft on episode V?. Maybe he opened a portal into a new realm or something along those lines.

Right from the opening text scroll, The Rise of Skywalker distances itself from The Last Jedi as much as possible. “The past must die” was essentially the central message of The Last Jedi, but the past is pretty much alive here, completely ignoring the entire premise of The Last Jedi, which was a F*&% You to Rian Johnson.

The parts I liked the most:

  • They did the best they could with Leia without relying too much on CGI.
  • Rose Tico not being in the movie long was a good thing. Her character annoyed the hell out of me. 
  • Lightspeed skipping was pretty awesome
  • Kylo putting his mask back together was necessary, and another significant F*&% You to Rian Johnson.
  • Lando returning was a good idea, but he should have been back earlier. Once word got around on Han’s death, that is where Lando should have made his return to the series, so basically, he should have returned on The Last Jedi
  • Flying Stormtroopers was a good thing.
  • General Hux being the spy and getting killed off, was the only way out for Hux, who had been reduced to an inconsequential and buffoon-like villain in The Last Jedi.
  • General Pryde was a great addition, and there seems to be a backstory between Pryde and Palpatine — maybe the novelization of the movie will explain further.
  • The story of the former Stormtroopers putting down their weapons as an act of defiance against tyranny was a great inclusion to the story.
  • Zorii Bliss seemed like a cool character but her backstory and past history with Poe did not advance forward and we are still in the dark about their relationship.
  • Epic lightsaber battle on top of the wreckage of the second death star. My favorite lightsaber battle of this trilogy.
  • Leia’s death was well executed. She dies holding Han’s medal. Very touching. 
  • Chewie’s emotional moment when he finds out Leia is dead was powerful.
  • Han solo showing up and having an emotional conversation with Ben similar to their conversation on The Force Awakens was very touching.
  • For the first time in this entire trilogy, we get to see the Luke Skywalker I wanted to see or a resemblance of the Luke I was hoping for in The Last Jedi. Here we see Luke as a force ghost, and as Rey throws her lightsaber into the fire, a hand catches it, and out of the fire, Luke emerges, saying: “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect.” Giving another severe F*&% You to Rian Johnson.
  • Here is where Luke begins to undo everything The Last Jedi did by admitting that he was wrong. Then we see an awesome flashback of Luke training Leia, where she outduels him and drops him on his back. Here Luke explains that at the end of Leia’s Jedi path, she sensed the death of her son, which prompts her to surrender her lightsaber to Luke and tells him that it will be picked up by another who will finish her journey. Luke digs out Leia’s lightsaber and gives it to Rey. This was the highlight of the movie for me. 
  • Luke then raises his old X-wing out of the water in a throwback manner similar to how Yoda raised the same X-wing in Empire Strikes Back. That scene was pure fan service, and I loved it. 
  • Kylo using Leia’s lightsaber to kill the Knights of Ren, was a cool, badass scene. 
  • As Rey reaches out while battling Palpatine and hears from every Jedi that ever existed was almost perfect, and we get to hear from Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda, Luke, Leia, Ahsoka Tano, Anakin, Mace Windu. However, what I wanted was to see all those Jedi’s force ghosts appearing behind Rey as she defeats Palpatine. Well, that is how I would have written it. 
  • Ben Solo using his Force healing powers to bring Rey back to life, followed by an epic kiss, was magical. Ben smiling, redeeming himself, and then dying, while at the same time the bodies of Ben and Leia disintegrate into force ghosts was excellent. 
  • The shot of Endor and the Ewoks was cool. 
  • Maz Kanata giving Han’s medal to Chewie was another emotional fan service moment. 
  • Luke and Leia’s force ghost in Tattoine looking over Rey as she takes the Name Rey Skywalker was a transcendental moment for this trilogy.
  • Rey’s yellow lightsaber at the end is very significant. It is associated with an important school of thought within the Jedi order; The Sentinels
  • The twin sun setting was a perfect shot to bring this trilogy to a close.

The Parts I disliked the most:

  • It was the right choice to bring Palpatine back, but his return should have been explained differently, worked slowly into the story. Palpatine’s contingency plan is part of the canon. There was a plan in place if somehow the rebel alliance were to succeed in defeating the empire. The canon and legends talk about Palpatine’s search for immortality, and his obsession with the unknown regions, his obsession with cloning, his obsession with essence transfer, and cloning himself. Cloning a force sensitive being is complicated and not a simple thing to accomplish. Also, let us remember his dark side pitch to Anakin about Darth Plagueis on Revenge of the Sith — so the pursuit of immortality has always been crucial to Palpatine’s plans. Also, the plothole of Palpatine’s family is abysmal. In Rian Johnson’s movie, Rey was a nobody. In The Rise of Skywalker she is a Palpatine. I am fine with this, but the explanation of her parents and Palpatine’s family is weak.
  • Palpatine used to have some of the best dialogue of the entire prequel sequels. Here, his dialogue is unremarkable. 
  • Snoke was a clone?. He was terrifying, intimidating, and now he is just reduced to a joke of a villain. JJ Abrams set up Snoke as the main villain, then Rian Johnson comes along and dumps on this villain and all the characters that Abrams created in The Force Awakens. This whole clone thing seemed like an easy way out of the Snoke storyline.  
  • The Knights of Ren did not get enough screentime to establish their backstory, or even care remotely about them.
  • Jedi hunter’s storyline and the importance of his ship needed to be better explained. The dagger with Sith writing storyline, which C-3PO cannot translate because it is against his programming, was time-consuming and pointless. 
  • Adam driver’s performance is the best part and the main driving force of all three sequel trilogy films. Kylo is the one true constant. When he dies at the same time as his mother, and then Rey resurrecting him with her healing powers was pretty neat. However, healing powers are something straight out of Star Wars lore, you read about them in the books and comics, and they are not explained in any of the movies. So then, the casual fan has no idea how she acquires this power. We, the audience, have no idea who trained her on how to use this technique. All of a sudden, she just knows it, and the audience is supposed to go along with it like dumb monkeys.
  • The suggestion that Finn is force sensitive was a big stretch, and a bad idea. 
  • Horses running on Star Destroyers were not a good idea.
  • Grandpa Palpatine’s plan to transfer his power/essence to Rey is convoluted.
  • In the final battle between Palpatine and Rey: when she is holding back Sith lightning, Palpatine tells her, “I am all the Sith that ever lived.” Then Rey pulls Luke’s lightsaber and says, “I am all the Jedi” while pushing Sith lightning back into Palpatine until his own Sith lightning its turned back into him (similar to how Mace Windu turned Sith lightning back into him on Revenge of the Sith). All of that was cool, but Palpatine melting down and blowing up, and presumably dead (for now…), was too fast, I wanted to see this iconic villain being defeated in more unambiguous way. 
  • The cryptic scene between Lando and Jannah, asking where she is from, and Lando saying, “let’s find out.” You cannot just leave it like that.
  • My other big issue is that we never got to see Anakin appear as a force ghost in any of the sequel movies. We were robbed as fans. We only got Yoda. No Obi Wan Kenobi, no Anakin. What a disgrace!!

The future of the Force:

On a technical level, movies like The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker are excellent, but it is clear that Star Wars is no longer pushing cinema and sci-fi to the next level as it once did. 

This sequel trilogy serves as a perfect example of the importance of having a clearly defined outline before any hiring decisions are made. The outline of the story should have been agreed upon before hiring screenwriters, directors, and even before casting the movie. Especially, if you are making a trilogy, you should have a clear idea where the story is going and what the character arcs should be, and it is clear that this was not the case with this sequel trilogy. Lawrence Kasdan wrote Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, the Force Awakens, and Solo, so why couldn’t he write The Rise of Skywalker? Or at least have him involved somehow. Maybe Kasdan would have contributed to a more commonsensical storyline.

The Force Awakens was one of the most enjoyable movie-going experiences in my recent memory. I remember leaving the theatre happy and excited about the future of Star Wars. Then, fast forward a couple of years ahead, and I remember how confused I felt leaving the theatre after watching The Last Jedi. I was baffled, perplexed, taken aback. It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I immediately began revisiting some of my old Star Wars books. The ones no longer considered canon, and have been labeled as “legends,” like Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy and even Dark Lord by James Luceno, just to cleanse my palate. 

There was magic at the end of The Force Awakens—when Rey is holding Luke’s Lightsaber as Luke is just staring at her. It was the whole idea of Luke returning as the lead character in the upcoming movies. Luke returning as a Jedi master, seeing him display some of his Jedi powers one last time, maybe engage in one final lightsaber battle, not some hologram version of himself as we saw on The Last Jedi. And then, at some point, Luke would pass on the baton to another, maybe Rey or another character, who knows. All of that was pissed away on The Last Jedi. This is a clear example of why you need to have specific outlines for all the movies and characters already set up and agreed upon before any hiring decisions are made. In case another director or screenwriter takes over, the outlines are clearly stated and followed, with very little room to tweak things up. 

Luke remains at the very center of the Star Wars fandom, and all those adventures and missions in between the years of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens are a goldmine for future Disney+ TV shows. If Disney wants tor redeemed themselves with the hardcore fan base, then focusing on Luke and the Skywalker bloodline is where the future of Star Wars should be. The same thing should occur with Vader and all those years in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. They are all just sci-fi space adventure movies, simple as that. Jon Favreau and his Mandalorian series arrived precisely at the right time. In this show, we can see and sense the respect and affection Favreau and his team have for Star Wars, which is not what the people involved in the sequel trilogy conveyed, most notably in The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The sooner we put this sequel trilogy behind us and bring onboard TRUE Star Wars fanatics into upcoming projects, the better chance Disney has to salvage whatever is left of the fan base.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

*MOVIE RECAP – STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Spoilers)

After a few days of seriously pondering my thoughts and overall feelings on “The Last Jedi” (yes, I do spend considerable amounts of time thinking about the Star Wars universe), I’ve come to the conclusion that this is probably the worst Star Wars movie ever made. It is essential to note that I did like some aspects of this film, but overall, I did not love it, and I rank it very low within the rest of the series.

Going into this movie, I thought it would have many elements from The Empire Strikes Back, but it didn’t even come close. Sure, there are some similarities to The Empire Strikes Back, but this movie still feels very bland. Some of my initial concerns when Disney took control of the series are beginning to manifest after watching this movie. Here is my Last Jedi breakdown:

The Evolution of the Force:

It is now apparent Disney is establishing new guidelines to what defines the Force, new narratives, and other things we used to love about the galaxy far, far away. The First Order is the new Empire. The Jedi and Sith, as we once knew them, are gone. The original trilogy established Luke as the most powerful Force-wielding Jedi in the galaxy, so it should have been only fitting for Luke to fully showcase that power one last time, and even better if it was with a lightsaber.

Nevertheless, it was still pretty cool to see Luke use the power of the Force to project himself across the galaxy. We first saw glimpses of this ability in the original trilogy between Luke & Vader and between Luke & Leia. So we can only imagine all the powerful skills Luke had learned since episode VI. But, we can always rely on the “Legends” non-canon books, especially Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn series.

People are making a big deal online about the boy at the end of the movie using the Force and the idea that Rey might not be a Kenobi or related to the Skywalkers. To some people, it means that the Force is not exclusive to the Skywalker bloodline, and just about anyone could potentially be Force-sensitive and able to use the power of the Force. But obviously, we fans already knew that. What most people are forgetting is that in the days of the Galactic Republic, there was a system in place to detect children born with the right amount of Midi-chlorians in their blood cells, which would determine if the host could potentially be Force-sensitive. Once the Empire wiped out all the Jedi, they only kept the system in place briefly to detect remaining Force-sensitive children and thus stop any potential threats to the Sith. So the Force wasn’t always exclusive to one particular bloodline; it was just that the Skywalker family was notably stronger with the Force than most Force-sensitive beings in the galaxy.

The parts I liked or hated the least:

We finally see what happened to the Jedi Academy, and we see three different versions of the confrontation between Luke and Ben. We get to Finally see Leia use the Force, although not how I would’ve written that scene. I wanted to see Leia using the Force to stop some type of tragedy to the resistance or something of that sort.

We got to see one of the coolest scenes ever when Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) turns the Resistance ship around and goes full light speed straight ahead into the First Order’s Star Destroyer. Truly awesome scene.

Benicio del Toro introduced us to DJ, one of the most interesting characters in this movie. DJ presents himself as a neutral character in the struggle between the new order and the new republic; he makes a few references to the military-industrial complex of the galaxy and the grotesque nature of all the fat cats enriching themselves with the unrest in the galaxy, which resonates with the realities of our current war-obsessed world.

The Parts I hated the most:

Supreme Leader Snoke gets killed off, and his origins are never fully revealed. That was a shock to me; I was expecting Snoke to have a more prominent on-going role in future installments.

I still don’t care much for Finn (he annoys me). I didn’t care much for Rose also. Two new movies have come and gone, and still no mention of Lando. The Porgs were way too annoying for my taste.

The future of the Force:

In the end, I can just summarize by saying that The Last Jedi pissed me off, and I feel strongly that it was poorly written, and by the looks of it, the outline for future star wars movies will no longer have the appeal that the previous installments had. I also feel that the upcoming standalone films will be a lot more satisfying for hardcore fans like myself. Perhaps tapping into Darth Vader and his adventures between episodes III and IV will be where the real power of the franchise should be placed. So until the next star wars movie comes out…..May the force be with you.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿