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Star Wars Holocron Blog

REVIEW: Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Star Wars has a long tradition of insightful and emotional behind the scenes documentaries and Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian is no exception. The eight part Disney+ series chronicles the making of The Mandalorian’s first season, with each episode highlighting a different facet of the show’s creation. From directors to actors to visual effects to score, each installment of the series offers a unique look at The Mandalorian and, if this is even possible, furthers one’s appreciation of an already fantastic season of television.

When it was first announced, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian was pretty unexpected. Documentaries are common for film and television, but having an entire eight episode series dedicated to the making of a streaming television show is unique. One of the main reasons Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian works so well is its intelligent structure, dedicating each episode to something distinct about the show. Rather than cover the show chronologically, similar to how The Skywalker Legacy documentary covered The Rise of Skywalker recently, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian kept things fresh each week with a different spotlight. Some episodes were more engaging than others because of this format, but they all worked cohesively in the long run to paint a comprehensive picture of how the first season came to be.

A common theme throughout the entire show is the passion and love for Star Wars embodied by everyone working on The Mandalorian. This is best exemplified by the interplay between Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, whose fun making the series is palpable. The two have some great conversations throughout the series, talking about their love for Star Wars, the influences on the show, and their desire to honor George Lucas’ legacy while forging an original story of their own. Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian is worth watching for the insights provided by and discussions between Favreau and Filoni alone.

The directors and actors installments excel in showing how different visions converged in the first season. With Favreau and Filoni’s overarching influence on the series, to see what each individual director like Taika Waititi or Bryce Dallas Howard brought to their individual episodes was really interesting and sparked some great discussion among the directors. Favreau clearly assembled a team of talented directors, whose passion for Star Wars and filmmaking in general complemented one another to culminate in a cohesive, enthralling first season of The Mandalorian. Hearing the actors speak about their roles also added another layer to the show. Many documentaries spotlighting actors are relatively surface level, but Disney Gallery fostered some genuine, insightful conversations among the actors, Gina Carano’s ode to Carl Weathers being a particular highlight.

Ever since the original Star Wars, the franchise has advanced filmmaking technology and The Mandalorian is no exception. Disney Gallery depicts some of these technological advances in amazing detail. It’s jaw-dropping to see the volume in action and how they were able to seamlessly utilize this novel technology throughout the series, a massive upgrade from blue and green screens and their issues with interactive light. We highly recommend subsequent viewings of the first season of The Mandalorian to see the extensive use of the volume and how realistic and lived in the technology makes different planets and environments seem. Other facets of visual effects, such as the use of miniatures and pre-visualization, were portrayed in the documentary and, collectively, painted a picture of how each episode sequentially came together from script and concept art onto visual effects.

As with most filmmaking documentaries, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian was full of interesting tidbits of trivia for hardcore Star Wars fans like ourselves. Learning that Kuill originally did not speak basic, that Karga was an alien character at one point, that Pedro Pascal came up with some of his own dialogue and that Mark Hamill has a vocal cameo are just a few examples of the great content featured in this documentary series. Similarly appealing to hardcore Star Wars fans was the inclusion of the 501st Legion as extras. Hearing the story behind their role in the show and seeing real Star Wars play actual roles in a real Star Wars project was great to see and was emotionally impactful in demonstrating how meaningful Star Wars can be. In addition, Dave Filoni’s discussion on Duel of the Fates in the documentary made headlines several weeks ago and showed that Disney Gallery can lean into a deeper, more analytic view on Star Wars that adds so much to broader canon.

Overall, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian is well worth watching for casual and hardcore fans alike. Some choppy editing and episode conclusions aside, the series delivers on every front in terms of offering fans a glance behind the scenes of The Mandalorian. It’s clear throughout the series that The Mandalorian was developed by a team of people who invested extensive time and effort in producing a show Star Wars fans will love and talk about for years. Moving forward, we’re hoping that Disney+ continues to feature these in depth behind the scenes looks at Star Wars projects. And we definitely wouldn’t complain if we got more of Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau analyzing and discussing Star Wars in the future as well. To see a show like The Mandalorian so passionately produced by true Star Wars fans for true Star Wars fans is awesome to see in this documentary and just makes us anticipate the second season that much more.

Score: 9/10

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

Everything We Know About Star Wars: Squadrons

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

EA announced their newest Star Wars game yesterday, entitled Star Wars: Squadrons. Squadrons will be a first-person space combat game in which players will hop in to some of the series’ most iconic starfighters in single player and multiplayer gameplay. Previously rumored under the title “Project Maverick,” Squadrons will mark the first major Star Wars dedicated to space battles since 2003’s Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike on the GameCube.

Star Wars: Squadrons is developed by Motive Studios, who have previously collaborated with DICE and Criterion Games on Star Wars: Battlefront II. Following the loot box controversy that surrounded much of the early days of Battlefront II, Squadrons’ range of customizable features, including new shields, engines and weapons, will be made available exclusively through gameplay. Squadrons will also support cross-platform multiplayer across Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. On PS4 and PC, the game will be compatible with VR headsets. It is unclear as of now whether Squadrons will eventually make its way to next-generation consoles like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

The game will also feature a single player campaign that takes place after the Battle of Endor. As the trailer hints at, the story will follow two customizable pilots, one who flies for the New Republic’s Vanguard Squadron and the other who flies for the Empire’s Titan Squadrons. The trailer showcased that both Hera Syndulla from Star Wars: Rebels and Wedge Antilles, who most recently appeared in The Rise of Skywalker, will play roles in the game’s storyline. Given the era the game is set in and the confirmed appearances of fan favorites, it’s possible more previously known characters will show up in Squadrons.

Squadrons will be released on October 2, 2020 and will sell for $39.99 in the U.S, a full $20 less than most retail games. Star Wars has a long tradition of some great video games, from Knights of the Old Republic to The Force Unleashed to the LEGO games to Battlefront and more, making a new Star Wars game like Squadrons something we’re eagerly anticipating.

Images courtesy of EA

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

Did Obi-Wan and Satine Have a Child?

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

Obi-Wan and Satine’s relationship is one of the highlights of The Clone Wars, but what if this relationship led to the birth of a child? Some fans over the years have speculated that Korkie Kryze, a character referred to as Satine’s nephew in the series, is the love child of the iconic Jedi master and the duchess of Mandalore. Although this speculation has yet to be addressed in canon (and it’s unlikely to be true regardless), we thought it would be interesting to delve a little deeper into this theory.

Who is Korkie Kryze?

As mentioned, Korkie is the nephew of Duchess Satine Kryze, the leader of Mandalore during the tumultuous Clone Wars. Korkie made his first appearance in the episode “The Academy,” before showing up again in “The Lawless,” one of The Clone Wars’ greatest episodes. Little is known about Korkie’s background, beyond his role in his two canon appearances as of now. Korkie was born into House Kryze, setting the stage for a future in politics for the young man. Although he’s referred to as Satine’s nephew, Korkie’s parents remain a mystery. Satine has one known sibling in The Clone Wars, Bo Katan Kryze, and we know (almost for certain) that Korkie is not Bo Katan’s child. So, the question remains, who are Korkie’s parents?

More than a passing resemblance

There are a number of things that point to the (very unlikely, yet fun to speculate about) possibility that Obi-Wan and Satine are the real parents of Korkie. For starters, Korkie bears a striking resemblance to Obi-Wan as depicted in The Clone Wars. Obviously, this is a little more difficult to tell when watched an animated show, but, if you picture a younger and beardless version of The Clone Wars’ Obi-Wan, the similarities become more apparent.

A secret love child?

Next, and perhaps most telling of Korkie being the love child of Obi-Wan and Satine, is the nature of the Jedi and Duchess’ relationship prior to the events of The Clone Wars. Obi-Wan and Satine first met during the Mandalorian Civil War, in which conservative insurgents, holding the warrior ideals of old Mandalore, sought to overthrow Satine’s passivist leadership. Due to the threat of her life, Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan were sent to Mandalore to protect Satine. During this protective detail, Obi-Wan and Satine fell in love (very similar to Anakin and Padme falling in love in Attack of the Clones). When the conflict resolved, Obi-Wan and Satine’s relationship came to an end. In The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan tells Satine that, if she had asked him to stay with her, he would’ve left the Jedi Order to be with her. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that this impassionaied love story may have fostered a child, a child Obi-Wan was not aware of and who Satine kept secret.

The mystery of Korkie’s parents

More evidence comes from the fact that only two Kryze sisters are identified in The Clone Wars. While it is plausible that Satine and Bo-Katan had a sibling who was a parent of Korkie, there’s no indication of this in anything we’ve seen so far. It’s possible that Satine and Bo-Katan had a sibling, who was Korkie’s parent, who died at some point before the Clone Wars. But, the very notion of Korkie’s parents not being identified and the lack of any evidence that there was another Kryze sibling arouses suspicion.

In looking at The Clone Wars as a complete series following its conclusion several weeks ago, it’s interesting to think about the myriad of stories Dave Filoni and his team were unable to actualize in the show. Due to the show’s premature cancelation and subsequent relocation to Netflix for a ‘final’ season, arcs like Dark Disciple and Son of Dathomir were shelved and were eventually depicted in other mediums. So, is it possible that Filoni had plans to explore Korkie’s parentage, but simply didn’t get around to it in the show? Unlikely. However, that doesn’t mean it’s interesting to think about the possibilities with this unexplained mystery. With rumors surrounding the different characters that could appear in the highly anticipated Obi-Wan series on Disney+, it’ll be very interesting if this topic is re-explored then.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

The Importance of Finn in the Modern Era

by @holocronJosh and @holocronWilliam for @sw_holocron

The realities of being black in the United States have populated news and social media over the last several weeks with the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. During a Black Lives Matter protest in London, John Boyega made headlines with an emotional, rousing speech about systemic, institutionalized racism, accountability for authorities, and the importance of treating others with basic dignity and respect. Boyega’s incredible, relevant words and role in the push for change following the unnecessary violence against Black people that is all too prevalent in the United States today gets one thinking about the important Finn is – not as a character in a movie necessarily, but as a symbol of change and representation in the form of a well developed, interesting, and empathic character.

From the second Finn’s head popped into frame in the first shot of The Force Awakens’ teaser trailer, John Boyega’s role in the film sparked racist, misguided remarks and sentiments, with many labeling it as overly “politically correct casting”. Assigning such labels to Boyega’s casting and Finn as a character were not only demeaning, but completely off the mark. A push for basic representation by different racial groups had been going on for decades in Hollywood, but Boyega’s role as Finn was a hallmark moment for racial representation.

It would be easy to watch The Force Awakens and dismiss the importance of Finn as a Black lead in Star Wars, viewing Boyega’s character as just another character. But that perspective would be reductive. Boyega, a Black man, co-led a movie that made $2.07 billion, the highest grossing domestic film of all time. Finn, a Stormtrooper who does the right thing and leaves the First Order, represents the audience’s perspective. A Black man represents the audience’s perspective. The level of empathy this facilitates is incredible and was a huge step forward in modern movie making. The audience is plummeted into the perspective of Finn, a courageous, vulnerable, genuinely kind man. And, importantly, a selfless character. Finn’s sole motivation after meeting Rey in The Force Awakens until the Battle of Crait in The Last Jedi and even beyond is to make sure Rey is alright. Finn’s motivations are not grounded in some hope for an external gain, but, rather, are truly altruistic – a good man doing the right thing in making sure this person, a woman he just met but deeply cares about, is safe from the horrors of the galaxy surrounding them. This is significant in not only having a character who we think is cool or has some great moments, but who is truly a good person – a role model for people to look up to. And the fact that this role model happens to be black is a truly important milestone for Star Wars, movie making, and broader culture. In the world’s biggest and most influential franchise, Black people had a leading character that looked like them and finally saw themselves represented on screen in a substantial way, something White people have been able to do in Star Wars dating back all the way to 1977.

Boyega’s role in the forefront of the protests highlights that his ideals are inspirational both off screen and on screen. Finn is, in large part, the energy and the fun that infuses the sequel trilogy. But, Finn is also a vitally important character for Star Wars. A Black, Force sensitive, empathic and courageous character that anyone of any demographic can look up to is important and something that should not be overlooked, especially in the modern age. Finn’s influence and impact transcend Star Wars into our real lives, as evidenced by the parallels between Finn and Boyega and racism in the world today. In the words of Finn, when faced with uncertainty or distress or injustice, we could all do with letting the quote “because it’s the right thing to do” dictate our actions.

To be silent is to be complicit. Please consider signing these petitions and donate to these causes if you’re in a position to do so:

https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor

https://www.change.org/p/glynn-county-distric-attorney-justice-for-ahmaud-arbery

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud

https://www.gofundme.com/f/9v4q2-justice-for-breonna-taylor

May the Force be with you, always

Pictures courtesy of Lucasfilm and CNN