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Star Wars Holocron Blog

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Emily Swallow Talks Her Role as The Armorer, The Mandalorian Season 2, Iron Man Influences, and Inspiring Fans

by @holocronJosh and @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Star Wars Holocron spoke exclusively with The Armorer herself Emily Swallow to discuss her role in The Mandalorian, the upcoming season, and more.

Swallow’s character became an instant favorite immediately after she was introduced in the pilot of the acclaimed Disney+ series. Fans were delighted to hear the voice of The Armorer once again in the trailer for the show’s second season, premiering later this month on October 30. Swallow discussed her hope that fans will respond to season two in a similarly positive way as season one:

“I hope that they’re gonna fall in love with it just as they did the first season. The difficulty of a second season of anything is that they have more specific expectations because they’ve already seen something. So I’m really hoping that fans go into it with an open mind like they did for the first season and are ready to go for the ride.”

A key component of the second season will be Din Djarin’s quest to deliver the Child to his people. Swallow’s voice is heard in last month’s trailer as she references the Jedi, a word that is also heard in the first season. However, Swallow revealed that The Armorer didn’t originally use the word Jedi in the finale of Season One:

“I was recording all of my dialogue as I was in the suit. It wasn’t added later. But you always have to go back and do a little bit of looping and ADR in case some things don’t come out clearly. I didn’t use the word ‘Jedi’ when we first filmed that scene in the last episode. And then Dave [Filoni] and Jon [Favreau] felt that it wasn’t specific enough. When I was in my ADR session and they told me they were going to change it to Jedi, I got so excited because that word carries so much.”

One of The Armorer’s most remembered moments from the first season features Swallow’s character crafting Din’s armor. Swallow recalls creator and executive producer Jon Favreau’s intent to have those scenes be reminiscent of Tony Stark building his Iron Man suit in the first MCU film:

“I remember when we were shooting [the armor crafting scenes], Jon said he wanted them to have the same feel as the sequences in Iron Man. As soon as he said that, I knew I was in good hands because that was just so exciting in those movies when he’s making his armor. It’s shot so beautifully.”

Given the nature of Mandalorians and the prevalence of helmets in their culture, the voices of these characters takes on added importance. Swallow talked about how she crafted the voice for the role, along with the challenges of playing a masked character:

“It was such a fun challenge to approach a masked character, which I had gotten to do for theater before but never for the camera. It started with the audition, because my understanding is that they were originally seeing British women in their 50’s and 60’s, and the casting associate suggested that I do a few takes with a British accent. Then Jon [Favreau] really liked that because it sets her apart from everyone else. So that’s how [her voice] came to be.”

Swallow went on to describe the way in which The Armorer’s movement played into the voice of the character:

“The rest of her voice was really informed so much by the movement. She was described to me as a Zen leader of this group of people. So to me that meant that her movements could be very simple. She could be very grounded and she’s someone who carries her authority with ease, so I felt like that ease would come across in her voice. And that seemed to work. On a practical level, technically it was really hard to see in that helmet because I have tinted lenses and the set that I was working in, the Armorer’s set, was very dimly lit, so it wound up being great that I didn’t have to move around quickly or make any sudden moves, of course until the stormtroopers tick her off. It meant that I had to have a lot of breath and I had to take my time. She strikes me as someone who’s very patient, in a world where everyone else is getting really reactive and the Mandalorian’s are all freaked out because they had to be in hiding for so long. So all those things seemed to serve her as a leader. It just made sense to me on an intellectual level, but also felt right the more I lived in that. We were all finding the language of movement of these Mandalorians together during the first couple of episode that we shot. We learned a lot about how extraneous movements can be really distracting on camera because you often can’t see a person’s entire body in a shot, so you have to be more mindful of every different part of your body is moving. So it was a fun challenge because I’ve never gotten to anything like that in TV. It was definitely informed by training I’d had in theater with mask work and just trying to get my voice really connected to my body.”

In particular, Jon Favreau suggested samurai movies from directors like Akira Kurosawa to land on the movement of the character:

“I had a conversation with Jon a few days before we started filming and he was referencing Kurosawa and samurai warriors and that economy of movement and that simplicity. Plus, the importance of honor in that world. So I went to rewatch some Kurosawa and having those images in my mind was really helpful. In a situation like that where I haven’t gotten a lot of specifics, I like to have a lot of images in my brain and have some different things to draw from so that when I get to set and have those conversations, I can get more specific.”

As Swallow mentions, many of the cast members were given limited background for their character due to the secretive nature of the show. Swallow details how she was unaware of her character’s look until she was being fitted for the outfit:

“I’ve never been part of a project that was so tightly guarded. I knew very little leading up to it. One of my first glimpses of the character I was playing was when I went in for a costume fitting and they were taking all these measurements and these body casts so they can create this armor. I hadn’t seen any sketches or images or anything yet. And I started to ask them about it and at some point somebody said, ‘Wait a minute, you haven’t seen any of it?’ and I said no. They were like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ So they showed me the sketches of this incredible armor and that was definitely a huge piece that gave me a lot of information. And I knew too that the look of the costume would tell so much of the story.”

Despite not knowing a great deal about the role beforehand, Swallow still had many conversations with Favreau and Filoni, which she recalls fondly:

“That to me is the best part of performing is when you get to join your ideas with the directors and other actors and you get to see the set and it just starts melding together.”

Star Wars has a long standing tradition of characters appearing across a variety of different mediums, recently demonstrated by Forest Whitaker reprising his role as Saw Gerrera in Rebels and Jedi: Fallen Order following his appearance in Rogue One. When asked if this would be of interest, Swallow was enthusiastic at the prospect of playing the character again:

“Being able to play any character in the Star Wars universe is a dream come true. But playing the Armorer has just been such a gift for me. Getting to embody a character like that who is so wise and has so much patience and is so trusting that things will work out. That’s something I need in my daily life! (Laughs) Also, just seeing how much she inspires the fans. In particular, I get so excited when I hear about little girls who want to be The Armorer for Halloween and all these different cosplayers who are making Armorer costumes. It’s such a thrill and a gift so I would absolutely do it in any medium. I’ve done a little bit of motion capture work for video games. I’d be down for a video game, I’d be down for a voice over, I’d be down for The Mandalorian on ice! (Laughs)”

The Armorer continues Star Wars’ history of complex, predominant female characters, dating back to Leia Organa in 1977’s A New Hope. Swallow talked about what Leia and, in general, Star Wars means to her:

“I grew up with Leia. I grew up wanting to be her. I had all these Ewok adventures in my back yard. I tried to do the Leia hair and failed miserably. Star Wars has just always been a part of my life. It doesn’t make sense to have a world without it.”

Swallow recounted some of the challenges of acting while wearing a helmet and expressed her hope that a blooper reel showcasing some of these challenges will be released one day:

“I hope that they release a blooper reel of Mandalorians in between takes because there was plenty of bumping heads. I was amazed at how those welding sequences and the forging sequences came together, because there were plenty of moments when I was dropping things or I was trying to pick something up but I couldn’t. It was anything but graceful (Laughs).”

From insights regarding the behind the scenes mechanics of The Mandalorian to specifics about how The Armorer’s performance was crafted, Emily Swallow underscored the incredible level of detail and effort that goes into creating the show. Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for more coverage of The Mandalorian Season 2 leading up to its debut on October 30!

Emily Swallow headshot by Diana Ragland

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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REVIEW: Star Wars: Squadrons – Single Player

by @holocronJosh and @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Since 1977, it’s been the dream of many Star Wars fans to hop into the cockpit of an X-Wing or TIE Fighter and feel what it’s like to take part in a dogfight as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader did in A New Hope and so many others have since. Star Wars: Squadrons, the newest Star Wars game from EA and developed by Motive Studios, follows in the footsteps of games like Rogue Squadron and Starfighter in delivering immersive, entertaining ship gameplay in the Star Wars universe. Released on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, Squadrons is unique in that it can be played in VR, adding a whole different dimension to the flying experience. This is our review of Squadrons’ single player experience.

Story

Squadrons’ single player campaign is a 6-8 hour adventure set after the events of Return of the Jedi, in which the New Republic is emerging from the ashes of the Empire. Players assume the role of fighters in two squadrons: the New Republic’s Vanguard Squadron and the Empire’s Titan Squadron, with missions flipping back and forth between the two sides. Avoiding spoilers, the campaign is largely centered around the New Republic’s development of a weapon and the Empire’s efforts to stop it. The plot features Javes, an Imperial defector, who, along with Vanguard Squadron, protect a new capital ship from Kerrill and Titan Squadron.

Squadrons’ story is serviceable, but doesn’t deliver anything novel to Star Wars, especially when compared to EA’s most recent effort with Jedi: Fallen Order. Unlike Cal Kestis and the other Fallen Order characters, Squadrons’ characters are more superficially developed through inconsequential backstories and conversations delivered to our protagonist. These conversations have little, if any, impact on the story itself and vary greatly in terms of their engagement and entertainment value. Several characters in the game, such as Shen, have much potential, but the game does little to make them fully fleshed out people. That being said, Squadrons is full of great references to broader canon that Star Wars fans will love, including appearances from Rae Sloane and Hera Syndulla. Tying back to the game’s story, it was a missed opportunity to not have the 2 squadrons cross paths more directly in the game, although it’s cool to see one mission with one squadron pick up where the last mission with the other squadron left off.

Squadrons still delivers an entertaining, somewhat mediocre story that is made better by flipping back and forth between control of the New Republic and immersive, nuanced gameplay.

Gameplay

Indeed, relative to its narrative, Squadrons excels when it comes to its ship combat. Considerably more nuanced than Battlefront 2’s ship gameplay, but purposefully not as detailed as something like Microsoft Flight Simulator, Squadrons strikes a healthy balance between an arcade style game and a flight sim game. In large part, Squadron’s single player mode really feels like a training exercise in preparation for the game’s multiplayer mode, orienting players to the complex mechanics of flight combat. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily as the basics are relatively straightforward to master, but undertaking some of the more subtle maneuvers of ship combat require more practice and skill.

Players on each side are given the choice of four ships, each of which have unique abilities, but, intelligently, were designed to have similar cockpit controls, which makes trying different ships to be a smoother process. A really neat feature of the game is the ability to disable the HUD entirely, forcing players to rely solely on the cockpit buttons and switches before them. This sort of option, while making the game considerably more difficult, makes an already immersive game even more immersive. Speaking of immersive, Squadrons is exclusively played in first-person, which may be an issue for some fans of Battlefront 2 used to playing ship combat in third-person. However, this option really cements the developers’ efforts to situate players in the cockpit of these iconic Star Wars ships and make players feel like they’re actually in the dogfight, an experience that is furthered by playing the game in VR. That may be an understatement – Squadrons goes to a whole other level of entertainment and immersion when playing with VR technology. The visuals are stunning and the scope of view is jaw dropping, making you really feel like you’re in a Star Wars movie. The game also supports joystick controllers, but we were not able to try this option yet.

Squadrons’ missions are largely repetitive, but there’s enough variability to keep things engaging throughout the duration of the campaign. Also, the ship combat is just that much fun (and difficult) that it makes the campaign enjoyable and challenging throughout.

Overall Impressions

Due to the nature of the game’s story, Squadrons’ gameplay could make or break the game. Luckily for Star Wars fans, the gameplay is immersive, fun, and exhilarating from start to finish. The gameplay may take some getting used to, especially for those more used to arcade style games, but Squadrons’ ability to replicate the experience of being in the cockpit of a fighter is like none other. Stay tuned to our review of Squadrons’ multiplayer mode in the next week!

Score: 8/10

Images courtesy of EA & Lucasfilm

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What’s New in Star Wars – October 2020

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_Holocron

The New Republic and the Galactic Empire going head to head in ship combat. Rey, Finn, and Poe’s activities prior to The Rise of Skywalker. A journey into Vader’s castle. And, of course, the continued adventures of Din Djarin and The Child. October is host to an array of exciting Star Wars projects and is easily one of the most anticipated months for Star Wars this year given the release of a new video game and the start of The Mandalorian’s second season. Here’s an overview of what’s new in Star Wars this month. It’s important to note that, due to the disruptions to publishing caused by COVID-19, the following projects are tentatively set to release this month.

October 2 – Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars has returned to the world of gaming with Star Wars: Squadrons, made by Motive Studios for EA. The game’s plot takes place after the Battle of Endor and centers on two fighter squadrons: the New Republic’s Vanguard Squadron, and the Galactic Empire’s Titan Squadron. In the game, “two pilots will shape the balance of power in the galaxy.”  Part of the plot deals with the New Republic’s Project Starhawk, which the Empire has gotten wind of, sending spies to deal with it.” As well as multiplayer, there will also be a campaign on release. Many established characters, such as Hera from Rebels, are set to appear. The entire game will be playable in VR. 

October 6 – Star Wars Origami 2: 34 More Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away….

There have been a variety of fun Star Wars books published under Disney. Chris Alexander’s Star Wars Origami 2 is set to be no different, and looks to be an exciting interactive book. 

October 7 – Star Wars 7

The next edition of the Star Wars main line will release on October 7. Written by Charles Soule, a frequent author of Star Wars publishing, Princess Leia, Moff Tarkin, and more will appear again as tensions rise in a galaxy far, far away. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “SHE WILL HAVE REVENGE! COMMANDER ELLIAN ZAHRA has been tasked by the terrifying DARTH VADER with the job of tracking down the remnants of the REBEL FLEET, scattered since the BATTLE OF HOTH. From the bridge of her flagship the TARKIN’S WILL, she hunts the galaxy, eradicating all resistance, her secret goal to destroy LEIA ORGANA. But why such hate for the PRINCESS OF ALDERAAN? The truth…will be REVEALED!”

October 7 – Star Wars Adventures 1

Delayed from last month, Star Wars Adventures 1 is the first issue of a new, monthly series featuring stories about two fan favorite Star Wars characters. In this first issue, set in between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, Rey, Finn, and Poe travel to a remote planet to continue Rey’s Jedi training, but soon meet trouble when they encounter First Order forces. The other story in this issue will center around Darth Vader.

October 13 – Star Wars: Fascinating Facts

Also delayed from last month, Pablo Hidalgo delivers another reference book with Star Wars: Fascinating Facts, detailing tons of fun facts about the nine films in the Skywalker saga. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Star Wars: Fascinating Facts is a compendium of hundreds of little-known facts about all nine episodes in the Skywalker Saga—from behind-the-scenes on-set tidbits to stories about how the tale of Star Wars was created. Profiles of important characters and early drafts of scripts show what might have been, details of how famous scenes were filmed, and other firsthand accounts from cast and crew members.”

October 13 – Star Wars Adventures Vol. 10: Driving Force

Volume 10 of Star Wars Adventures collects issues 24-36 from the series of comics directed toward middle-school aged children. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “With hotshot Resistance pilot Poe Dameron captured by pirates, it’s up to BB-8–and Rapier Squadron–to save the day! Then, in this story set before A New Hope, Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her young life: teaching Amilyn Holdo how to drive a speeder! But both learn an important lesson after finding themselves in the dangerous lower levels of Coruscant. And finally, witness one of the many lessons Rey learned from Luke Skywalker during her time on Ahch-To.”

October 14 – Darth Vader 6

Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series continues with the first of the new ‘Into the Fire’ arc. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE PUNISHMENT! DARTH VADER failed to turn his son, Luke Skywalker, to the dark side of the Force. No…Luke was too weak to join his father in overthrowing EMPEROR PALPATINE. Vader sought revenge against those who hid Luke from him for all of these years…and in doing so nearly betrayed his master. It did not go unnoticed by Palpatine… time for Vader’s next lesson.”

October 20 – Star Wars Leia, Princess of Alderaan, Vol. 1

The manga of Claudia Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan finally releases in English this month after its debut in Japan late last year. The manga is beautifully illustrated by Haruichi, enriching Claudia Gray’s already great tale. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The never-before-told story of how young Leia Organa comes to join the rebellion against the evil Empire. A young Princess Leia spends her days learning the ways of politics, aiding those in need and preparing for the traditional ceremony in which she declares her intention to one day rule Alderaan. But as Leia prepares herself to be named the heir of the throne, she becomes aware of the growing distance between her and her parents, who behind closed doors are leaders of the newly formed rebellion. Upon learning her parents’ secrets, Leia must now make a choice between her responsibility to the people of Alderaan and her responsibility to save a galaxy crushed by the rule of the Empire.”

October 20 – Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection

With teases regularly being dropped over the last few weeks, Daniel Wallace’s upcoming lightsaber guidebook has been on the radar for a lot of Star Wars fans recently. Illustrated by  Lukasz Liszko and Ryan Valle, this guidebook will showcase brand new looks at some of the Star Wars saga’s most iconic lightsabers and their wielders. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection is a comprehensive visual guide exploring the iconic and legendary lightsabers found within the Star Wars galaxy, featuring fan-favorite hilts from the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, comics, novels, and video games. Own the definitive lightsaber guide. This book features the hilts of characters such as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Kylo Ren, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, and more. Learn about the creation and history of lightsabers from all of Star Wars, including Darth Maul’s double-bladed saber and the Darksaber.Discover never before seen art and illustrations. Featuring photo-realistic renders of lightsabers from Star Wars animation and comics, including Ezra Bridger’s blaster-saber hybrid, the Grand Inquisitor’s spinning blades, and a new lightsaber from The High Republic, this book is a must-have for Star Wars fans.”

October 20 – The Star Wars Book: Expand your knowledge of a galaxy far, far away

Pablo Hidalgo and company return with another reference book, this time offering a comprehensive examination of the franchise with new stills and essays from the saga. The book is divided into several main domains: galaxy, science and technology, the Force, the Skywalkers, galactic governments and their dissidents, and galactic denizens.

October 20 – Star Wars A Jedi, You Will Be

The 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back is celebrated with a new children’s picture book narrated by Yoda himself, written by Preeti Chhibber.

October 21 – Bounty Hunters 6

Ethan Sacks’ wildly entertaining Bounty Hunters series continues with more adventures of Valance and company. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “With precious cargo and a price on his head, VALANCE must go to the only person in the galaxy he can trust. But the UNBROKEN CLAN has sent a deadly and unique pair of bounty hunters after him. No one in the galaxy can escape the combined cunning of 4-LOM and ZUCKUSS!!!”

October 21 – Star Wars Adventures 2

Despite the delays to this series, the second issue of the Star Wars Adventures comic series is also set to drop this month, further chronicling the events between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. 

October 21 – Star Wars Adventures: Shadow of Vader’s Castle

One of October’s more interesting projects is this one-shot comic written by Cavan Scott and illustrated by Derek Charm, Nicoletta Baldari, Nick Brokenshire, and Francesco Francavilla. Set in the aftermath of the fall of the Empire, this comic follows two boys who seek out to destroy Vader’s castle. 

October 27 – This is the Way

Little Golden Books’ collaboration with Star Wars continues with “This is the Way,” a new story focusing on Din Djarin, The Child (Baby Yoda), and more! 

October 28 – Doctor Aphra 5

Alyssa Wong’s Doctor Aphra series continues with the fifth issue of the current run illustrated by Marika Cresta. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “POWER TO RULE THE GALAXY? RONEN TAGGE has the legendary RINGS OF VAALE. Will he destroy the priceless artifacts or fall to their temptation? If they truly give him the power to rival the EMPEROR, what hope do APHRA and crew have to stop him?”

October 30 – The Mandalorian Season Two

And last, but certainly not least, the new season of The Mandalorian debuts (cue Ludwig Göransson’s score). Despite a whole host of casting rumors, very little is officially known about the next adventure of Din Djarin and The Child, although the trailer suggests the show will continue where the first season left off. Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for reviews, news, trivia, behind the scenes images, shots, quotes, parallels, and more from the new season!

For reference, a condensed list of upcoming projects in October without descriptions is included below:

October 2 – Star Wars: Squadrons  

October 6 – Star Wars Origami 2: 34 More Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away….   

October 7 – Star Wars 7   

October 7 – Star Wars Adventures 1   

October 13 – Star Wars: Fascinating Facts   

October 13 – Star Wars Adventures Vol. 10: Driving Force   

October 14 – Darth Vader 6   

October 20 – Star Wars Leia, Princess of Alderaan, Vol. 1  

October 20 – Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection   

October 20 – The Star Wars Book: Expand your knowledge of a galaxy far, far away   

October 20 – Star Wars A Jedi, You Will Be   

October 21 – Bounty Hunters 6   

October 21 – Star Wars Adventures 2   

October 21 – Star Wars Adventures: Shadow of Vader’s Castle   

October 27 – This is the Way   

October 28 – Doctor Aphra 5   

October 30 – The Mandalorian Season Two

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Re-Release of The Empire Strikes Back Earns An Impressive $908K At the Weekend Box Office

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Despite the challenges to moviegoers and studios alike amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the re-release of The Empire Strikes Back championed the domestic box office this weekend with a $908,000 gross. Previous plans for a 4K theatrical release of the film were up in the air given the tumultuous theatrical landscape at the moment, but Disney still opted to re-release a version of The Empire Strikes Back to mark the iconic film’s 40th anniversary. This isn’t the first time Irvin Kershner’s film has excelled at the box office this year. July saw Empire sore to the top of the box office, earning $611,000 when many theaters in the U.S. were not open or had greatly reduced capacity.

Per Box Office Mojo, The Empire Strikes Back earned $908,000 this weekend at the domestic box office. The Friday total was $360,000, followed by Saturday’s take of $321,000 and Sunday’s take of $227,000. This means The Empire Strikes Back has now earned $292.1 million domestically.

Although journeying to a theater may not be the safest venture at the moment, Empire’s success highlights the draw such a monumental film still has and how hardcore Star Wars yearned to experience the film on the big screen. We’re hoping Empire and the other Skywalker Saga films see similar re-releases at points in the future when theaters are safer to frequent and more Star Wars fans can once again enjoy the saga on the big screen.

Images courtesy of Disney & Lucasfilm

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New Black Series and Vintage Collection Figures From The Mandalorian, The Rise of Skywalker, and More Revealed at Hasbro PulseCon

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

A new batch of Star Wars action figures were revealed today at the first ever Hasbro PulseCon.

“𝘕𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦…”

A Rey (Dark Side Version) Black Series was officially announced, with the future coming with her now infamous double bladed red lightsaber. The figure is available for pre-order now and is scheduled to arrive in December of this year.

“𝘔𝘦𝘴𝘢 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬!”

Jar-Jar Binks will finally get his own Black Series action figures. Equip with a staff and shield, the design comes from Binks in The Phantom Menace.

“𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺.”

The Armorer from Disney+’s The Mandalorian is also getting her own Black Series toy. The figure will come in special packaging which has a removable cover.

Other Black Series reveals include Boba Fett and a Clone Trooper.

A Star Wars Archives wave of figures was also revealed, with figures spanning all eras from a galaxy far, far away.

Han Solo, with his brown (not blue) winter jacket from The Empire Strikes Back, is just one of many Archive figures. Others include Luke Skywalker on Hoth, also from the Empire Strikes Back, as well as Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars Rebels and Clone Commander Cody from Revenge of the Sith.

Perhaps the most unique reveals today came from the brand new holiday line of Black Series figures. With a winter style packaging and a holiday design on the figures themselves, these toys have already caught fans eyes and are sold out at many retailers. All figures have a Clone/Stormtrooper in holiday colors, and even include D-O as Rudolph, Babu Frik as an elf, and a snow covered porg. These figures will be available this holiday season.

A new wave of the increasingly popular Vintage Collection was also showcased. Anakin Skywalker, dressed in his disguise outfit from Attack of the Clones, was one of the more prominent items revealed from the Vintage Collection. Other figures include Captain Rex from The Clone Wars, the Incinerator Trooper from The Mandalorian, a TIE Figher pilot from Return of the Jedi, Queen Amidala from The Phantom Menace, and a Battle Droid, also from Episode I.

Finally, a Black Series Ahsoka Tano lightsaber was revealed. Perhaps the biggest takeaway of this item is the image of Ahsoka, which greatly resembles Rosario Dawson.

Images courtesy of Hasbro

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The Mandalorian Wins 7 Emmy’s

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian won 7 awards at the 72nd Annual Emmy’s. Many of the figures who worked behind the scenes on the live action Star Wars show were honored for their outstanding work for the first season, including Ludwig Göransson, the Swedish composer who picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series. This was Göransson’s first Emmy nomination and win, although he previously won an Oscar for Black Panther and two Grammy’s.

Jon Favreau’s Disney+ show also won the Emmy for Outstanding Special Effects, something that was expected given the technological feat achieved in the first season of the show. The 360 LED screens, dubbed “The Volume”, allowed the show to have the practical feel of the original and sequel trilogies, while also saving money and time in post production. The Volume is clearly something that Disney have taken a liking to, as the upcoming Obi-Wan show is also scheduled to use the new technology, as well as Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, scheduled to film next month.

The Mandalorian also won Emmy’s for Stunt Coordination, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.

The Mandalorian Season 2 begins October 30th. This is the way.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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The Mandalorian Season 2 Trailer Recap & Analysis

by @holocronJosh and @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

After months of waiting, Star Wars fans finally have the first trailer of the highly anticipated second season of The Mandalorian to feast on. While the trailer for the hit Disney+ series doesn’t reveal too much, instead opting to save the surprises for when the episodes air, there are plenty of interesting details for fans to speculate on.

The trailer begins with the Razorcrest flying towards a sand planet, most likely Tatoonine, a location in the first season of the show and appears later on in this trailer. Mando is definitely going back to what is arguably the most iconic location in Star Wars.

The voice of The Armorer, played by Emily Swallow, can be heard as Mando and the Child walk down a deserted, presumably crime ridden ally. The dialogue, which comes from the final episode of the first season, tells of the past conflicts between Mandalore and the Jedi. The Armorer instructs the Mandalorian, aka Din Djarin, to bring the Child to the Jedi. Although Djarin questions this, he agrees, exclaiming “This is the way.” 

During this exchange, Djarin is seen wandering a dock filled with Quarrens. He and the Child are also seen on a boat, prompting theories that they could be traveling to Mon Calamari, the home planet of Admiral Ackbar, Admiral Raddus, and more that was previously seen in The Clone Wars and Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comic. 

A mysterious woman is also seen watching Mando and the Child. Played by Sasha Banks, a WWE Wrestler, many have speculated that this is Sabine Wren, the iconic Mandalorian who appeared in Star Wars Rebels. Some have even suggested that the sound of the Darksaber can be heard when Banks’ character appears on screen. In Rebels, Wren wielded the saber in some of the series’ best arcs. 

A pair of Rebel X-Wings are then seen flying close to the Razorcrest, before chasing Mando in the clouds on an unknown planet. From this, it’s safe to presume that the New Republic notice the Mandalorian at some point during the season and make it a priority to seek him out for one reason or another. If this is the case, then the pair would have both the burgeoning Resistance and the remnants of the Empire after them. 

A speeder bike can be seen soaring through the desert of Tatooine. At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss this as a quick shot of Djarin or another individual. However, when looking closely at this brief shot, fans can see what may appear to be Boba Fett’s helmet on the side of the bike, along with his jet pack. With Temuera Morrison reportedly back as the iconic bounty hunter, it’s a possibility that this is him, or at least his armor. Given that Timothy Olyphant is reportedly playing Cob Vanth, a local Tatooine sheriff who inherits Fett’s armor as seen in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, it’s also possible that this is the law enforcement officer of Freetown. 

Cara Dune and Greef Karga, seen sporting some pretty neat new outfits, are seen walking on what is presumably Nevarro. Meanwhile, a group of Stormtroopers dash through an Imperial facility and Scout Troopers ride on speeder bikes chasing after something. Mando is also seen attempting to get out of a sewer and flying with his jet pack, before shooting out a light in a fight with an unknown assailant in a dark alley. 

“Wherever I go, he goes” exclaims the Mandalorian when told that it’s not safe for a child. He carries the Child through an ice planet, seen briefly earlier in the trailer. The look of the location greatly resembles Illum, the planet sacred to the Jedi and pivotal to the training of new Padawans, as this is the location in which they undertake a trial before getting their Kyber crystal for their lightsaber (as seen in an arc of The Clone Wars). Djarin could be visiting Ilum on his quest to find Jedi as part of the quest given to him by the Armorer. If he’s looking for Baby Yoda’s people, Illum isn’t a bad place to go, given its significance to the Jedi Order. Could this be the planet where he meets Ahsoka? Or, as some have theorized, is Ilum the home planet of Yoda’s species?

In the build up to season one of the show, Jon Favreau mentioned that The Mandalorian would explore the origins of the First Order, something that wasn’t too prevalent in the first season.

If this planet is indeed Ilum, then fans could see the origins of the Starkiller Base, the planet destroying weapon seen in The Force Awakens. This could be an opportunity for fans to see exactly how Ilum was turned into the base after being seen in Jedi: Fallen Order, Moreover, given Moff Gideon’s seemingly heavy involvement in the second season, it’s possible that he may have a direct hand in creating the Starkiller Base, along with the First Order in general.

Mando and the Child, along with an alien that sounds suspiciously like Jon Favreau, are then seen watching a Gamorrean boxing match before a group of armed individuals put blasters at their heads. Mando proceeds to activate a weapon on his arm, giving Baby Yoda the signal to hide in his enclosed pod. 

The screen turns black as Djarin battles the group, before fans see him shoot an arrow into the last one. The final moment of the trailer sees the camera panning towards as he exclaims “This is the way.”

Fans didn’t get to see Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett, or Bo-Katan Kryze in this trailer, three characters who are all set to appear in the season. However, there’s still plenty of mystery and intrigue packed into this trailer. Is Sasha Banks playing Sabine Wren? Is that Boba Fett riding the speeder on Tatooine, or his helmet and jet pack at least? Will the origins of the First Order be explored as Mando and the Child visit what appears to be Ilum? Will we finally get to find out more about the Child’s species? Fans will begin to find out the answers to these questions when The Mandalorian Season Two begins streaming on October 30.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

What Rey Kenobi Would’ve Meant for the Skywalker Saga

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

In speaking with Josh Gad on Jimmy Kimmel Live! recently, Daisy Ridley revealed some insights into the behind the scenes process of determining who Rey’s parents are in the sequel trilogy. When asked whether she knew who Rey’s parents were from the beginning, Ridley stated, “No. At the beginning, they were toying with an Obi-Wan connection…There were different versions and then it really went to the ‘she was no one.’ And then it came to Episode IX and J.J. pitched me the film and was like, ‘Oh yeah, Palpatine’s granddaddy.’ And I was like, ‘Awesome.’ And two weeks later he was like, ‘We’re not sure.’ So it kept changing. Even when filming, I wasn’t sure what the answer would be.” While these comments have sparked some rather heated discussions among fans regarding the lack of an overarching plan for the sequel trilogy, Ridley’s comments are interesting in that they confirm that the creative minds behind the sequel trilogy actually thought of making Rey a descendent of Obi-Wan Kenobi. So, what would it have meant to the Skywalker saga if Rey indeed was a Kenobi?

The Importance of Obi-Wan

One obvious implication of Rey Kenobi is that it elevates Obi-Wan and the entire Kenobi lineage to a whole other level, on par with that of Skywalker and Palpatine as being a central family in the Star Wars saga. Despite the galaxy-wide implications of events depicted in the prequel and original trilogies, the first six films are primarily centered around the Skywalker family, hence the term the Skywalker Saga, and the family members’ relationships and interactions with Sheev Palpatine. This thread largely continues in Episodes VII and VIII, in which the story focuses on Skywalkers (i.e. Leia, Luke, Ben) and their conflict with Palpatine (or Snoke via Palpatine). This pattern of Skywalkers and Palpatine at the center of the entire saga would have been altered quite radically by making Rey, the firm protagonist of the last trilogy in the saga, a Kenobi. Obi-Wan plays a minor role in The Phantom Menace, but is one of the main characters in Episodes II, III, The Clone Wars, and plays a key supporting role in Episode IV. Despite this, Obi-Wan is never the true centerpiece of the saga, like Anakin, Luke, and Rey are. Yes, Obi-Wan is given extensive screen time and plays a big role in the saga, but his story and actions are often in service of Skywalkers, in particular Luke and Anakin. Indeed, much of Obi-Wan’s back story as a character comes from several episodes in The Clone Wars and several prequel novels and comics, while the film’s largely shift focus toward Anakin or Luke. Given the magnitude of Obi-Wan’s role in the saga, relative to Skywalkers, Rey being a Kenobi would have been a little jarring. All of a sudden, in the last film of the saga, a new family of importance – Kenobi’s – are positioned at the forefront. Thematically, this doesn’t quite feel right.

Obi-Wan…the father?

Another important implication of Rey being a Kenobi is that it entails Obi-Wan must’ve had a child at some point. It’s highly unlikely, if the filmmakers made Rey a Kenobi, that they would make her a descendent of a never-heard-of sibling of Obi-Wan. Rey would likely have been Obi-Wan’s granddaughter had the filmmakers opted for Rey Kenobi. This brings back a discussion we had earlier this year in our article entitled “Did Obi-Wan and Satine Have a Child?”, in which we discussed the possibility that Korkie Kryze was indeed their child. Now, we’re not saying that Rey would’ve been the child of Korkie, but, if Rey was a Kenobi, the filmmakers would’ve had to establish that Obi-Wan and Satine had a child, whether it was Korkie or not. Although Obi-Wan hasn’t featured in a live-action project since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the revelation that he and Satine had a child (and eventually a grandchild) would be massive in the development of Obi-Wan’s character – once again, highlighting the similarities between Obi-Wan and Anakin in both having forbidden loves and, potentially, both having children without their knowledge.

The hardest thing Rey’s ever heard

The Force Awakens was the epitome of a J.J. Abrams mystery box. In a fun, fast paced, brilliantly crafted film, the seventh chapter of the Skywalker saga introduced many mysteries, without posing answers to most of them. Who is Snoke? Why did Kylo Ren turn to the dark side? Where is Luke and what happened to him? And, perhaps most notably, who are Rey’s parents? While many suspected Rey would be revealed as a Skywalker, the daughter of Luke, Rian Johnson took this mystery in a novel, unexpected direction by making her a nobody. Johnson spoke about why he made this decision when he said:

“The hardest thing she could hear is, ‘No, you’re not going to get that answer, that definition.’ In fact, the fact that you don’t have that is going to be used against you by Kylo, to try and make you lean on him. You’re going to have to find the strength to define yourself and stand on your own two feet.”

In this sense, Johnson used the mystery of Rey’s parentage, not to highlight her special lineage and position in the galaxy, but, rather, to deliver a crushing blow to the character that this idyllic view of her parents is misguided and that she is, in fact, a complete nobody. J.J. Abrams took this a step further in The Rise of Skywalker by twisting Rey’s parentage yet again, revealing that she is a descendent of none other than Sheev Palpatine himself. Following Johnson, Abrams was delivering to Rey the most difficult news she could possibly hear, placing his lead protagonist, not in a position of comfort as a reveal that she is Luke’s daughter would, but, instead, giving her a seemingly impenetrable obstacle to overcome regarding her lineage.

The themes of personal struggle and familial uncertainty that Abrams and Johnson imbued within Rey would have been diminished had she been a Kenobi. The reveal that she is a nobody in The Last Jedi is devastating and really challenges her. The reveal that she is a Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker is devastating and arguably challenges her even more. But the reveal that she is a Kenobi wouldn’t have done anything bad for Rey. In fact, this reveal would have been confirmation of her assumption all along that her family was special in someway. The great moments of Rey overcoming her disappointment and triumphing against her thought that she will inevitably do wrong due to her relation to Palpatine would be lost if her grandfather was Obi-Wan Kenobi, a legendary, powerful Jedi.

Rey Skywalker

Regardless of how the sequel trilogy is analyzed, it’s pretty clear Rey always had to end up being a Skywalker – either by blood or in name only. The saga is titled the Skywalker saga and it wouldn’t feel exactly fitting if the final trilogy centered around a new character completely distinct from the Skywalkers. Especially with the youngest individual of Skywalker blood, Ben Solo, being on the dark side of the Force for the vast majority of the sequel trilogy, it wouldn’t feel right if the Skywalker saga ended with the last Skywalker being evil until his final moments of redemption, only to see the name die out forever after his death. Rey Skywalker, more than Rey Kenobi, is an incredible statement that people can overcome the worst of adversity and are truly more than who their lineage dictates them to be. Furthermore, it shows that our family is not necessarily who we’re related to, but who we choose to be close to. In this sense, Rey Skywalker felt truly fitting for the end of the saga, something that could not have been achieved had she been a Kenobi.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

New Details on The Mandalorian Season 2 from Entertainment Weekly’s Cover Story

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The marketing push for The Mandalorian Season 2 has officially begun. Today, Entertainment Weekly revealed this month’s cover story focusing on the first live action Star Wars show. Subscribers to the magazine will get one of two covers: Mandalorian and the Child and one with just the latter. The story features quotes from Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Pedro Pascal, and more alongside exclusive new imagery, all of which gives fans clues as to where the second season will be going.

The first season of The Mandalorian was exceptionally well received, arguably the best reaction to a Star Wars project since 2015’s The Force Awakens. When asked why he thinks audiences have responded so well to the Disney+ show, creator Jon Favreau suggested that it was the size of the series that was the biggest factor:

“I think it was the fact it was live-action Star Wars on TV for the first time. Having worked on bigger, higher-profile films, there’s a much different set of standards that you’re judged by. We’ve benefited from the smallness of our world.”

While the first season was a smaller scale adventure, the sophomore outing will raise the stakes according to Favreau:

“The new season is about introducing a larger story in the world. The stories become less isolated, yet each episode has its own flavor, and hopefully we’re bringing a lot more scope to the show.”

Executive Producer Dave Filoni, who was the driving creative force behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, reiterated this sentiment:

“Everything gets bigger, the stakes get higher, but also the personal story between the Child and the Mandalorian develops in a way I think people will enjoy.”

While not confirmed by Disney or Lucasfilm, reliable sources in the film and television industry have revealed that Boba Fett, Bo-Katan Kryze, and Ahsoka Tano will all appear in the season, with the latter to be played by Rosario Dawson. Temuera Morrison is expected to reprise his role as Boba Fett, after previously playing re-recording the famous bounty hunter’s lines for the Original Trilogy special editions. Morrison also played Fett’s father, Jango, in Attack of the Clones, along with a variety of Clone Troopers in Revenge of the Sith. Bo-Katan will be played by Katee Sackhoff, who voiced the character in The Clone Wars and Rebels.

The partnership of Favreau and Filoni has been discussed by Star Wars fans at great length, given the positive results of The Mandalorian Season One, their first project together. In the story, Favreau described his creative relationship with Filoni:

“I’ll come up with ideas and sometimes Dave will say, ‘You can’t do this in Star Wars.’ Then I’ll cite examples from the movies, or Clone Wars, to try to use as a justification. I’m like a lawyer talking to a judge; I am to him as he was to George. I won’t do anything without Dave’s approval. And to his credit, he understands that Star Wars needs to be fun and ever-evolving.”

Filoni describes his partnership with Favreau in a slightly different, more Star Wars-y way, referring to it as “bringing balance to the Force.”

One of the lead actors that Favreau and Filoni hired for the show, Pedro Pascal (best known for his work on Game of Thrones and Narcos), described the trouble Mando will have to keep the Child safe:

“We start very directly after the first [season] and he’s going into very dangerous territory. He is very much a passenger to the experience in unexpected ways — not knowing what’s to come, not knowing how much or how best to protect the Child. We don’t know how far he will go to do that, and they’re finding new ways to push the envelope.”

Perhaps the biggest cause of the impending threat to Din Djarin and the Child is the presence of Moff Gideon, played by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito, who was seen briefly towards the end of the first season and was nominated for an Emmy for the role, teases bigger involvement for Gideon, along with what to expect from the character this season:

“I’ll be going toe-to-toe with Mando. It’s an iconic battle. I want to disarm him mentally as well. Who knows? Maybe there’s an opportunity to get him to fight some battles for me. You may think I’m a villain, but I’m trying to harness some energy and some powers for a path that could be best for all. You’ll get to see him be somewhat diplomatic and more of a manipulator.”

Gideon’s involvement in the first season was limited, but his impact was great. The character breaking out of the rubble of a destroyed TIE-Fighter using the famous Mandalorian Darksaber, previously seen in The Clone Wars and Rebels, shocked fans and provided the perfect tease for the season to come. Esposito confirmed that the Saber will be back again this time around, and expressed his excitement over the character:

“It’s so exciting for me to be in a show where I can wear a cape and own it, and where I can have a lightsaber and really own it.”

As seen by some of the exclusive images in the story, Gideon will be aboard a Star Destroyer at some point during the season, which Esposito teases as “a larger vehicle, hint-hint.”

Mando, Greef Karga, and Cara Dune seemingly come aboard this Star Destroyer at some point in the season, as shown by one of the exclusive images:

As fans have known for some time, Star Wars creator George Lucas visited the set of the second season, just as he did for the first. Favreau revealed that, while there, Lucas continued his mentor role with Filoni, always trying to give him advice:

“He would be giving Dave a hard time about how many setups he was getting and how fast he was shooting and urging him to go faster,” Favreau says. “He was like a boxer’s corner man coaching him, but always with a twinkle in his eye.”

Expectations are high and fans are excited for the upcoming season. As Filoni puts it:

“You want The Empire Strikes Back to be better than A New Hope.”

The Mandalorian Season 2 begins on October 30th.

Images courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, Disney, and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

When is the Trailer for The Mandalorian Season 2 Going to Release?

by @holocronWilliam and @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

It’s official: New episodes of the highly anticipated second season of The Mandalorian will start on October 30th. Although the release is next month, fans are yet to see a teaser trailer or even a poster for the latest season, which has many asking the question: when is the trailer for The Mandalorian season two going to release?

The teaser trailer for the first season of The Mandalorian premiered at D23 in August of 2019, and Lucasfilm looked set to repeat that model given that Star Wars Celebration Anaheim was supposed to be last weekend. However, that plan was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving Lucasfilm to rethink their marketing ideas.

Since Disney bought Lucasfilm, every release film (perhaps barring Solo: A Star Wars Story) has had a trailer premiere during a sports game. The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker all had their final trailers premiere during Monday Night Football, as did the first Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One. With NBA playoffs currently going on, many fans speculated that a trailer could air during one of those games. The August 20th game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers in particular was the subject of much attention, with reports that week suggested that the trailer could drop then. Many fans were disappointed with the lack of Mandalorian content that night, and although it’s unclear if the trailer was ever going to release that night, the looming presence of DC Fandome only two days later may have played a part.
For the biggest Star Wars events of years past, Disney have opted for a sporting event to premiere the trailer, so it’s a safe bet that this will continue with The Mandalorian, the only live action content fans will be getting from a galaxy far, far away this year.

If the trailer doesn’t premiere during an NBA game, then it will most likely simply drop online, allowing the buzz for the season to spread that way. Some fans have even begun to debate if their will be a trailer at all, as the first season of The Mandalorian was so popular and received so well that marketing for the second season may not entirely necessary. That outcome seems unlikely though, given that the powers that be would surely want to promote Disney+ as much as possible, especially as live action, in theater content for the studio is in limbo due to the coronavirus.

When will the trailer for the second season of The Mandalorian premiere? Fans should expect to see footage from season two of first live action Star Wars series in September, most in the latter half of the month. While Disney may utilize their go to Star Wars marketing strategy of dropping a trailer during a sporting event, it’s also possible that it could have a simple online release, which the studio has done before with many of their projects, including several Marvel Studios movies. While the wait for the trailer may be agonizing for the time being, Star Wars fans should be upbeat in knowing that regardless of the release date of the trailer, the second season of The Mandalorian will be arriving very soon.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm