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Film Codex

REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon

by @holocronGeorge

Disney animation has a storied history of producing heartfelt, classic tales of characters and their journeys and, thankfully, Raya and the Last Dragon continues in this tradition. Although it sticks closely to Disney’s established formula for animated films, Raya and the Last Dragon is an immense tale of sacrifice, collaboration, and representation bolstered by incredible voice work and stunning visuals.

The film stars Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) as the title character, alongside Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, and more. Tran plays Raya, a teenage girl who is tasked with reassembling the Dragon Gem, an artifact that holds the key to restoring and saving humanity. As the film explains, the Gem was previously broken into pieces, hence the need to put it back together again. Centuries beforehand, evil creatures threatened the safety of all, requiring dragons to sacrifice themselves in a selfless effort to save humanity. Years later, the creatures re-emerge and Raya is tasked with collaborating with the dragon and stopping the threat once and for all.This provides an interesting quest for Raya, and an epic challenge that leads her directly into the paths of a variety of different characters, including Sisu (Awkwafina), Tuk Tuk, and the villainous Namaari (Chan), who used to be the friend of Raya yet is intent on enacting her own, more sinister plans for the Gem.

Tran excels in this lead role, proving her acting talents once again. Tran adds so much humanity and emotion to Raya, making her even more relatable to audiences of all ages and genders. After her excellent work in The Last Jedi, it’s no surprise that Tran puts in such an amazing performance here. There’s been much unfair negativity from toxic sects of social media about Tran, yet she once again proves them wrong here. Awkwafina also stands out, adding humor and life to Sisu, a standout character in the film.

Raya and the Last Dragon works really well as an exciting adventure film, something that Disney is no stranger to. The world building here is also excellent, as the shattered land of Kumandra (Raya’s home) is explored in depth, as are the five tribes: Heart, Fang, Spine, Talon, and Tail. Raya also excels in representation, as Disney continues to make progress in delivering another interesting, relatable, and great female led film. Moreover, representation on screen and behind the scenes is worth praising as Raya and the Last Dragon is sure to have an impression on people of underrepresented groups, as well as those who have been privileged enough to see stories told from the lens of people that look like them for decades now.

Raya and the Last Dragon’s animation is outstanding too. Although we previewed this on Disney+, it’s certainly worth going to the theater once the pandemic subsides to see this movie in IMAX. Still, even on the smaller screen on Disney+, the work of the animators shines through as some of, if not the best Disney animation we’ve ever gotten.

Verdict: 9/10

Raya and the Last Dragon is a must see animated film for all ages. Not only does it make significant progress in Asian representation in large-scale films, Raya and the Last Dragon is a poignant story that largely sticks to the tried-and-true Disney formula, while diverting in interesting and unexpected ways.

Images courtesy of Disney

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Film Codex

REVIEW: Chaos Walking

by @holocronJosh

It’s been a long wait for Doug Liman’s Chaos Walking. The film, based on Patrick Ness’ novel “The Knife of Never Letting Go”, was originally set to release on March 1st, 2019, but was delayed after the film underwent reshoots. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the film was delayed once again, finally landing on the release date of March 5th, 2021, over two years after the original date. Because of this, many fans have asked the question: is it worth the wait?

Before we get to that, it’s important to give a brief, spoiler-free overview of the movie. The film follows Todd Hewitt (played by Tom Holland) a teenager from the planet New World. Hewitt suffers from a condition called Noise, in which his every thought is broadcast to those around him, and is one that all makes on this alien planet have. Todd attempts to control his condition, channeling these thoughts into mirages. However, only Mayor Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen) has mastered this ability completely, and uses it to control Prentisstown, a place on New World.

Holland’s Hewitt eventually meets Daisy Ridley’s Viola, who crashes and lands on New World, and is a representative of sorts for the new round of settlers. Hewitt is inherently intrigued by Viola, given that he’s never met a woman before in his entire life. Hewitt feels drawn to Viola and decides to help her as she attempts to contact the others.

The simple answer as to whether or not this film is worth the wait is yes (for the most part). The Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley led project is a film that will, at the very least, entertain audiences. Moviegoers will certainly appreciate the excellent cast doing the best with the material at their disposal. Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, and Mads Mikkelsen all together for one movie is bound to be a director’s dream, and will sure to interest audiences. It’s no surprise that all three excel once again in this film. Holland and Ridley in particular are excellent in the rare but welcomed comedic moments in the movie, and these exchanges add to the characters chemistry significantly. These moments often come when Hewitt’s thoughts are displayed out in the open for Viola to see, and lighten the movie up in a necessary and fun way. Mikkelsen is also good once again in this movie (no surprise there), and displays his usual villainous nature in a way so convincing that very few others in Hollywood today can. Although we wish he played a bit more of a significant role in the film. Avoiding spoiler-territory, some of Miklelsen’s character’s motivations and goals are a bit muddled to say the least.

Despite these excellent actors leading the movie, there’s a certain sense that more can be done to fully utilize the stellar cast at hand. Holland and Ridley are incredible talents, as their roles in Marvel and Star Wars respectively highlight, yet their talent isn’t on full display here. Daisy Ridley in particular goes long stretches in the film with little dialogue. Audiences know what she and her counterpart can do, so it’s frustrating to see their full potential not realized in this movie. However, despite this, Holland and Ridley are still great once again in this movie given what they have at their disposal.

The premise of Chaos Walking is particularly gripping and sets the stage for an interesting film moving forward. It’s a shame that, at times, the film feels quite choppy and jarring. The film went through widely-covered reshoots after principal photography after it screened poorly with test audiences and some of this chopping and changing is evident on screen. Although Chaos Walking is always entertaining and captures your attention, its narrative seems to shift focus quite a lot through the duration of the movie, something we attribute to somewhat uneven pacing.

Verdict: 6.5/10

All things considered, Chaos Walking could have been – as the title suggests – chaos walking. And the film is certainly not that. The leads are charismatic and the premise is interesting enough to deliver an entertaining sci-fi thriller competently directed by Doug Liman, although it’s a shame the film doesn’t come together more cohesively and truly actualize the potential of it’s premise.

Images courtesy of Lionsgate

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Star Wars Holocron

Joonas Suotamo Reveals New Details About The Rise of Skywalker Deleted Scene

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Joonas Suotamo, the Finnish actor who took over from the legendary Peter Mayhew to play Chewbacca in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and Solo: A Star Wars Story, recently wrote a book about his experiences in a galaxy far, far away. The book, titled “Roar! My Life as a Wookiee”, which reveals some interesting tidbits about the behind the scenes process on the sequel trilogy.

In the book, Suotamo details a cut scene from The Rise of Skywalker that readers or Rae Carson’s excellent novel adaption should be familiar with, in which Kylo Ren tortures and interrogates Chewie. The Finnish Tähtien Jatkosota describes Suotamo’s writing on the scene, saying:

“The torture scene in TROS (as seen in the Art book) was actually filmed. And was very tough for Joonas. Adam Driver was ‘truly sociopathic’ in the role. Joonas wonders if the scene came out too extreme for SW or if it didn’t fit to show Kylo hit so dark before turning light.”

While it would have been extremely interesting to see Kylo torturing Chewbacca, who was like an uncle figure to him growing up given the Wookiee’s closeness with Han Solo, it does ultimately make sense why it was cut. Going from torturing a beloved character to being redeemed himself would have perhaps been too jarring for audiences, and would run the risk of fans not being on his side when Ben Solo returns. 

Tweets courtesy of @tahtienjatko. Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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DC Motherbox

Why We’re Looking Forward to The Batman

by @holocronJosh for @DCMotherbox

One year from this week, The Batman is set to hit theaters. It’s been a long time since Batman has had his own solo movie (10 years from The Dark Knight Rises to The Batman, to be exact), and there’s certainly cause to be excited for Matt Reeves’ interpretation of the character. Here are 5 reasons why we’re counting down the days till The Batman is released:

1. Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman

Robert Pattinson is an incredibly interesting and unique choice to play the billionaire playboy and his alter ego, the Caped Crusader. Perhaps best known for his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies, Pattinson is often thought of as his iconic teenage vampire character. However, his work after Twilight proves that he is so much more than that. In particular, his performance in Good Time, in which he plays a desperate bank robber attempting to get his brother out of prison, highlights Pattinson’s range as an actor. In this movie, Pattinson is relatable and so believable that it feels almost documentary like at times. Moreover, Pattinson has an inherent seriousness about him on screen that suits Batman perfectly.

2. An impressive supporting cast

Matt Reeves has certainly assembled an incredible supporting cast behind Robert Pattinson. The additions of Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell, and Andy Serkis alone will all add to the overall quality of the movie. However, Paul Dano’ role as a reimagined version of The Riddler is particularly interesting. Dano has put in many incredible performances in recent years. It’s his role in the 2013 film Prisoners, though, that really demonstrates his acting ability and showcases that he’s the perfect choice to play Edward Ashton.

3. From Apes to Bats

Matt Reeves is one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood today, and for good reason. Reeves reimagined the Planet of the Apes franchise in a truly unexpected way, and DC fans will hope he can do something similar with Batman. His work on Let Me In and Cloverfield also highlight Reeves’ cinematic abilities, and further cement why he’s the perfect person to direct this new version of Batman.

4. Stunning cinematography on the horizon

Greig Fraser is one of the best cinematographers working today. His work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Zero Dark Thirty, and, judging by the footage we’ve seen so far, the upcoming Dune movie all highlight Fraser’s incredible abilities. Fraser’s films feel immense and grand, yet also intimate and emotional. This is perhaps best demonstrated by Rogue One’s final act, in which the mammoth stakes are on full display, yet the deaths of the lead characters, in particular Jyn and Cassian, feels so intimate and grounded.

5. The composer

Michael Giacchiano will score The Batman, and his theme is already heard in the film’s teaser trailer, along with the suit reveal. Giacchiano is no stranger to superhero movies, having also worked on the two MCU Spider-Man movies and Doctor Strange. Giacchiano has all scored several Star Trek movies, as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. His work is always stellar, so fans should definitely be excited at Giacchiano’s involvement in the Bat franchise.

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. & DC

Categories
Marvel Tesseract

What’s in Store for the Marvel Cinematic Universe after WandaVision?

by @holocronJosh for @mar_tesseract

Warning: Spoilers for Chapter 9 of WandaVision are included in this article

With “The Series Finale,” WandaVision ended with an emotional farewell, in which Wanda was forced to part ways from her husband and two children, along with the the fantasy world she created for her family. Despite these events, this won’t be the last time we see Wanda Maximoff, or the Vision, for that matter. Here’s what’s to come for these characters – and the larger MCU at hand.

The Falcon and The Winter Solider – Premieres March 19 on Disney+

Just two weeks after the WandaVision finale comes the next Disney+ series from Marvel Studios, titled The Falcon and The Winter Solider. This show, which seems to be in the vein of a political thriller like Captain America: The Winter Solider, stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Brühl, Emily VanKamp, Wyatt Russell, and Erin Kellyman, and picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which Steve Rogers hands over the Cap shield to Sam Wilson

Black Widow – May 6, 2021

Marvel fans have had to wait a long time to see Black Widow, the Scarlett Johansson let prequel film set prior to the events of Avengers: Endgame (and the title character’s death). Originally set to premiere in May of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the film several times, yet it’s now scheduled for release on May 6, nearly exactly one year after the original release date. With the pandemic still at large, many fans are apprehensive about Black Widow meeting its current release date. However, given the decrease in cases in the U.S., along with the increase in vaccinations, the reopening of movie theaters in New York and (soon) Los Angeles, and the hybrid Disney+/theatrical model that Disney have opted to go with for Raya and the Last Dragon, fans should still have hope that this May finally sees the release of Black Widow. Along with Johansson, Black Widow features Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, and O.T. Fagbenle as the villainous Taskmaster.

LokiJune 11, 2021

The God of Mischief returns in his own Disney+ show, aptly titled ‘Loki’, which premieres this summer on the streaming service. While not much is known about the plot at this time, fans can look forward to the return of Tom Hiddleston as the lead hero, along with new recruit Owen Wilson. This series is written by Michael Waldron, who recently signed an exclusive deal with Disney and was tapped to write Kevin Feige’s upcoming Star Wars film.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage – June 25, 2021

Tom Hardy’s Venom is finally getting a sequel film, scheduled to release this June. Directed by Andy Serkis, perhaps best known as an actor for his roles as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars, Hardy is joined by Woody Harrelson as the infamous serial killer Cletus Cassidy, who turns into Carnage, one of the most famous Spider-Man villains.

Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings – July 9, 2021

The second Marvel film scheduled to release this year is Shang- Chi, starring Simu Liu in the lead role. Chi is a martial artist superhero that will go up against the real version of the Mandarin. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the cast also includes Awkwafina, Tony Leung, and more.

What If…? – Summer 2021

What If?, the animated project coming from Marvel Studios, is highly anticipated by fans and is set to arrive this summer on Disney+. Some of the storylines include Peggy Carter receiving the super serum rather than Steve Rogers. What If? will mark the last appearance of Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther after his tragic passing in August of 2020.

Ms. Marvel – Late 2021

Ms. Marvel will follow the adventures of Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teenager who develops shapeshifting, elasticity, and healing powers. Khan will be played by newcomer Iman Vellani, and will be seen in late 2021 on Disney+.

Eternals – November 5, 2021

Marvel fans should be extremely excited about the second film set to release this year, directed by Chloe Zhao. Zhao, who also wrote the movie, won big at this year’s Golden Globes, taking home the Best Director award for drama films. Zhao is also the favorite to win best director at this year’s Academy Awards

Hawkeye – Late 2021

Another Disney+ show, Hawkeye sees the return of Jeremy Renner in the MCU, alongside another archer, Kate Bishop. Bishop will be played by Hailee Steinfeld.

Spider-Man: No Way Home – December 17 2021

No Way Home is arguably the most anticipated project currently in development at Marvel Studios. The third entry in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy will feature the return of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock and Jamie Foxx as Electro, and seems to be the first live action Spidey movie to feature the multiverse. Rumors are rampant that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will also appear as their respective Spider-Men in the film as well. No Way Home will be exclusively released in theaters this December.

As you can see, there’s a lot in store for Marvel fans in the future and we’ve just covered 2021! Stay tuned to Marvel Tesseract for more coverage of everything Marvel coming soon.

Images courtesy of Marvel Studios, Disney+, and Sony

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DC Motherbox

New Looks At Zack Snyder’s Justice League Revealed

by @holocronGeorge for @DCMotherbox

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is now less than two weeks away. The highly anticipated project, which is debuting exclusively on HBO Max, is the unadulterated vision of director Zack Snyder, who stepped away from the film initially due to personal reasons. After years of fans clamoring for Warner Bros to #ReleasetheSnyderCut, fans only have to wait a few more days before the wait is finally over.

The marketing campaign for the Snyder Cut of Justice League increased this week, with teasers for individual characters released. Thus far, Batman, Superman, and Aquaman have all gotten their own mini trailers, with Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and the Flash expected to get the same treatment.

The first to be released gave fans another look at Ben Affleck’s Batman, along with the voices of interesting and intimidating villains, such as Jared Leto’s Joker, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, and even the mysterious Darkseid. Meanwhile, the Superman teaser showed off the Man of Steel’s all new black suit, which was seen briefly in the very first DCEU film (in a vision sequence prompted by the evil Zod). Aquaman’s trailer shows fans another look at Jason Momoa’s fan favorite character.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League premieres exclusively on HBO Max on March 18.

Images courtesy of HBO Max and Warner Bros

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Marvel Tesseract

REVIEW: WandaVision – Episode 9

by @holocronJulie for @mar_tesseract

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for WandaVision – Season 1, Episode 9: The Series Finale

After eight episodes of a heartbreaking and unique tale, WandaVision came to a conclusion with a largely satisfying, if not slightly underwhelming final chapter. The Series Finale picks up where Previously On left off as Wanda must protect her family and fend off against the villainous Agatha Harkness, while Vision is pitting against his doppleganger. 

The Series Finale highlights an unfortunate reality of allowing one’s expectations and theories to run away with themselves. The first several episodes of WandaVision were filled to the brim with mystery and intrigue – unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the MCU or even comic book adaptations more broadly. In turn, the ominous tone and lack of details provided to the audience sparked much speculation among fans regarding what was truly lurking beneath the surface. The mysteriousness intensified even further when Evan Peters reprised his role as Pietro Maximoff from the Fox-backed X-Men films in truly surprising fashion. All of this culminated in an expectation that WandaVision would conclude in an unbelievably surprising manner, seamlessly setting up the future of the MCU in Phase 4. And that wasn’t really the case. If anything, The Series Finale cemented the extent to which WandaVision ultimately excelled as a profoundly emotional tale of grief and coping, rather than the insidious mystery it initially felt like. And this isn’t necessarily a criticism of the show as a whole – just a point that changes the way in which WandaVision is ultimately construed as.

WandaVision follows the pattern of virtually every superhero project in culminating in an action-packed finale. In fact, much of The Series Finale was dedicated to a fast-paced, CGI-heavy final battle between the titular characters and the show’s villains. Director Matt Shakman handles the action well in a series that has largely been absent of such sequences. 

The battle between Vision and his SWORD-conjured doppelganger clearly drew inspiration from Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and, as such, was captivating from beginning to end. But, akin to much of WandaVision’s finale, the most gripping parts were not when punches were being thrown, but when words were exchanged. The Ship of Theseus discussion was probably the most ‘Vision’ has felt like Vision in the entire MCU so far. This, coupled with the discussion on grief in Previously On, showcases the emotional depths WandaVision often hit and why this is such a highlight in the series. However, it was a bit jarring to see White Vision suddenly depart and not be seen again in the episode, but it’s clear that we haven’t seen the last of Vision in the MCU.

The Scarlet Witch was jaw-dropping in The Series Finale. Wanda has often been tipped as one of the most powerful characters in the entire MCU and this power has never been as glaringly evident as it was in this episode. Wanda’s new look as Scarlet Witch is superb and evokes the brilliance of her design in the comics, while fitting perfectly into the aesthetics of the MCU. Wanda’s showdown with Agatha was brilliantly executed and teases a more significant role for Agatha in future projects. Once again, Elizabeth Olsen knocks it out of the park with her complex, nuanced performance, somehow simultaneously conveying strength and vulnerability in such uncanny ways.

A major shortcoming of WandaVision’s finale, however, was how several of the series’ central characters felt rather shortchanged, with their plotlines and arcs appearing unresolved. Although the series obviously follows the escapades of Wanda and Vision closely, the trio of Monica, Darcy, and Jimmy became a fan favorite over the last several weeks. Not only did these characters offer a certain groundedness to the rather abstract nature of the series’ initial episodes, but they each had their own interesting involvement in the central plot and unique points of characterization. That’s why it was a shame to see these three characters’ roles greatly reduced in the series finale. Obviously, the focus should primarily be on Wanda and Vision, but it would’ve been nice to conclude the journeys of Monica, Darcy, and Jimmy in a more fitting fashion.

This criticism carries over to how The Series Finale addresses the Pietro / Fietro mystery. Evan Peters’ shocking mid-season appearance was one of the highlights of the entire series, so to see this twist unexpectedly fizzle out was quite a disappointment. Although we expect Peters to appear as Quicksilver again in a future MCU project, it just didn’t feel right that no explanation whatsoever was provided as to why the character looks like the version we saw in the X-Men films. The ‘reveal’ that Pietro was the Ralph that Agatha referred to throughout the season just didn’t really land and felt quite underwhelming.

Ultimately, however, The Series Finale excelled the most when it explored the show’s principle theme – grief. While Previously On showcases how grief crippled Wanda, The Series Finale showcases Wanda’s reconciliation with grief and her ultimate sacrifice to relinquish her perfect world. It’s hard not to shed a tear as we see Wanda say goodbye to Vision yet again, except this time it’s on their own terms. 

Verdict: 7.5/10

WandaVision capped off an incredibly impressive season with an emotional, albeit slightly misguided concluding episode. Although the arcs of beloved side characters felt unresolved and the episode was largely deprived of the mystery and intrigue that made the initial episodes so great, The Series Finale emphasized what a brilliant exploration into the processes of bereavement and reconciliation WandaVision has been.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Marvel Studios

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Star Wars Holocron

EXCLUSIVE: Star Wars: Age of Resistance Official Collector’s Edition Excerpt

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

An all-new hardback deluxe magazine detailing the making of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker is coming soon with Titan Magazines’ Star Wars: Age of Resistance – The Official Collector’s Edition. The new deluxe magazine features exclusive interviews with cast and crew and stunning photography and production art, making it an essential for Star Wars fans.

Included here is an exclusive, early excerpt and spreads from the upcoming magazine:

Impulsive and ruthless, Kylo Ren was lost in anger and hate. Through his veins ran the bloodline of the most powerful Jedi and Sith, for he was once Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, grandson of Darth Vader. A gifted Jedi and student of Luke Skywalker, Ben turned to the dark side of the Force, took a new name, and became the apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke.

A CONFLICT

Kylo Ren was trying to become one with the dark side of the Force, immune to the light. But his journey was not yet complete. “The character of Kylo Ren was about becoming,” said co-producer Michelle Rejwan. “He’s not fully formed. He was on a journey to discover himself. To discover his full potential. In Star Wars, there’s the light and the dark side of both of those things. Kylo Ren was striving to be some kind of force, and having both the light and the dark in him, was warring on both sides. That’s what made the character so interesting to watch.” Despite the effort to hide it, his inner conflict was evident when he exited his shuttle on Jakku and faced the captive Lor San Tekka — the explorer who was harboring part of a map to Luke Skywalker’s location. As actor Adam Driver explained, that inner conflict, the becoming, showed in the character’s visual presentation. “His lightsaber was not quite finished, and his uniform was not quite perfect.” Lor San Tekka tells Kylo he cannot deny his past, his family, where he came from. As we would soon learn, Kylo’s parents were Leia and Han. Well aware of Kylo’s feelings towards his mother and father, Supreme Leader Snoke exploited his apprentice’s battle with the light and the dark to his own advantage.

FROM THE PAST

Obsessed with Darth Vader, Kylo kept the deformed mask of the fallen Sith Lord in his private quarters aboard the Finalizer — a Resurgent-class Star Destroyer — and talked to it as if it were alive. Kylo emulated Vader, striving to be as strong as he was, even though Snoke believed Vader’s weakness caused the end of the Empire. “It’s very important,” said Lawrence Kasdan, writer of The Force Awakens, “that Snoke, who’s a master manipulator, could frame the moment of Anakin’s redemption as Darth Vader’s biggest failure, and have that argument carry total weight with Kylo Ren, who is now Snoke’s protégée and servant. Someone else telling that story would talk about the great moment when Anakin was redeemed, and Luke did not give up on his father. But for Snoke, it represented Vader’s moment of fatal weakness, when he softened at the end.”

JUST A BOY

While Anakin Skywalker had to wear his mask to breathe, Kylo Ren didn’t. His mask — designed after the battle gear of the Knights of Ren, a new generation devoted to the dark side — served the purpose of intimidating his opponents and hiding his humanity. After taking Rey to Starkiller Base, Kylo Ren was ready to interrogate her. But first, he took off his mask and showed his face. What she saw took Rey by surprise. Kylo Ren was just a boy. “One of the most interesting things was he’s young,” said Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president. “So often, villains in stories are damaged, troubled, older characters. To bring a character into Star Wars as a villain who was only thirty years old was interesting. It took advantage of a troubled, teenage life, and a backstory that we didn’t know much about. We recognized this tension between dark and light, which is prevalent in Star Wars, and we used it as a metaphor for the path from young adulthood to being an adult, to whom you think you’ll be as an adult, what your aspirations might be. That interest in anything on the dark side. Anybody’s capable of that. I think that tension of being drawn into something dangerous is relatable. For audiences today, that’s a new and exciting and appealing character.”

THE MASK

Kylo Ren’s mask was part of his battered combat helmet. Servomotors could drive articulated arms to separate the mask from the helmet, letting Ren show his face to his opponents when needed. Supervising sound editor Matthew Wood and his team used the sound of chains to make Adam Driver’s voice —  when he is wearing the mask — as distorted and intimidating as possible: “The mask didn’t function like Vader’s mask to keep him alive. It was for intimidation and to make him very strange to interact with. The juxtaposition when he took the helmet off, his regular voice and face gave a nice yin-yang surprise effect.”

Star Wars: The Age Of Resistance The Official Collector’s Edition Book is released by Titan Comics on March 9 2021, and is available to preorder on Amazon or Forbidden Planet (UK and Europe).

Categories
Star Wars Holocron

What’s New in Star Wars – March 2021

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Victory comes at a price. Mysteries of The High Republic continue to unravel. The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian are brought to life in new ways. All of this and more are in store for Star Wars fans this March. It is important to note all of these release dates are subject to change. Below includes a list and description of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of March:

March 2 – Victory’s Price

The highlight of March’s Star Wars content comes with the concluding chapter of Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron trilogy. We recently reviewed the novel and found it to be the most exciting and emotionally impactful installment in the trilogy. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The aces of the New Republic have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron trilogy! In the wake of Yrica Quell’s shocking decision—and one of the fiercest battles of their lives—the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen. Soran Keize has returned to the tip of Shadow Wing’s spear. Operation Cinder, the terrifying protocol of planetary extermination which began in the twilight of the Imperial era, burns throughout the galaxy. Shadow Wing is no longer wounded prey fleeing the hunters of the New Republic. With its leader, its strength has returned, and its Star Destroyers and TIE squadrons lurk in the darkness between stars, carrying out the fallen Emperor’s final edict of destruction—as well as another, stranger mission, one Keize has championed not for the dying Empire, but for its loyal soldiers. Alphabet Squadron’s ships are as ramshackle and damaged as their spirits, but they’ve always had each other. Now, as they face the might of Keize’s reborn juggernaut, they aren’t even sure they have that. How do you catch a shadow? How do you kill it? And when you’re finally victorious, who pays the price?”

March 2 – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Graphic Novel Adaptation

After last month’s delay, The Rise of Skywalker’s graphic novel adaptation is set to debut this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Faithfully bringing events from the film to the comics page, read along in The Rise of Skywalker as Poe faces the challenges of leadership, Finn and Rose make impossible decisions for the greater good, and Rey finally confronts her destiny. The true threat to the galaxy is revealed as the third Star Wars trilogy reaches its epic conclusion! Will Rey join Kylo Ren to lead the First Order? Can Poe, Rose, and Finn inspire a new generation of rebels to combat this grave threat? With Snoke destroyed, can anything keep Kylo’s rage in check? Capturing the galaxy-spanning action of The Rise of Skywalker, experience Episode IX as a beautiful graphic novel combining the epic wonder of Star Wars with streamlined, young-reader friendly designs. This all-ages graphic novel is a must-read for longtime fans and a great introduction for young newcomers!”

March 3 – The High Republic 3

We are all the Republic. The adventures in this new, exciting era of the Star Wars universe continues with Cavan Scott’s third issue in this Marvel Comics series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “ALL-NEW SERIES CONTINUES! A DARK MYSTERY ONLY THE JEDI CAN UNRAVEL…BUT AT WHAT COST? A planet stricken by a mysterious blight. One JEDI missing and another driven insane. What horror lurks in the darkness beneath the rotting crops?

Death is averted, but a terrible union is formed. Can KEEVE TRENNIS protect an innocent life while facing betrayal from within her own order?”

March 3 – The High Republic Adventures 2

Daniel Jose Older and IDW Publishing are also delivering The High Republic content this month with the second issue in this new series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Flaming destruction has come to Trymant IV! Childhood best friends Zeen and Krix try to find safety, while Yoda’s Padawans, Lula, Farzal, and Qort are trying to evacuate the citizens, but the Nihil ship won’t let anyone onboard. And when a massive battle breaks out, Krix and Zeen get torn apart! Writer Daniel José Older, bestselling author of Star Wars: Last Shot, and artist Harvey Tolibao bring IDW into The High Republic, a massive publishing crossover spanning comics and prose!”

March 9 – Star Wars: Age of Resistance: The Official Collector’s Edition

Soon to be spotlighted on our website and Twitter account, Titan Magazines are dropping a hardback magazine featuring various interviews and behind-the-scenes information regarding the making of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “An all-new hardback deluxe magazine, detailing the making of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. With exclusive interviews with the cast and crew that brought you the story of Rey, Finn and Poe, and their struggle against Kylo Ren and the dark forces of the First Order, this is the first book to chronicle the making of a beloved trilogy of smash-hits that brought the epic Skywalker saga to its conclusion. Featuring stunning photography and production art, this indispensable souvenir edition is essential for all fans.”

March 10 – Star Wars 12

Charles Soule’s mainline Star Wars series for Marvel Comics continues this March with its twelfth issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “REFLECTIONS ON THE LOST! LEIA ORGANA and KES DAMERON share stories of their lost loves! Learn how POE DAMERON’S parents met! Learn the real reason HAN SOLO is so important to THE REBELLION!”

March 17 – Bounty Hunters 10

The adventures of Valance continues in issue 10 of Ethan Sacks’ Bounty Hunters series for Marvel Comics. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE “TERMINUS GAUNTLET” CONCLUDES! VALANCE finds himself alone and outgunned against the dreaded NEW OHNAKA PIRATE GANG! The lives of the crew of a REBEL transport hang in the balance as he battles against grave odds. And what secret is DENGAR carrying that will upend Valance’s life?”

March 17 – Star Wars Adventures 4

Star Wars Adventures 4 is on schedule to release this month after several delays. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Join the Wookiees of Kashyyyk for part one of a special Life Day celebration! Plus, an exciting adventure featuring a beloved bounty hunter!”

March 23 – Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1

This special edition of Star Wars Insider is a compilation of various short stories from Legends. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Star Wars Insider, the official magazine of the Star Wars saga, presents an amazing collection of tales from the galaxy far, far away. Featuring short stories starring familiar characters such as Han Solo, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader, this collection also includes tales featuring supporting characters such as Darth Plagueis, Hondo Ohnaka, Captain Rex, and Darth Revan. Featuring renowned best-selling Star Wars authors including Jason Fry, Matthew Stover, John Ostrander, and Paul S. Kemp, this volume also includes stunning art from some of the saga’s best-loved interpreters, including Joe Corroney, Brian Rood, Jan Duursema, and Magali Villeneuve.”

March 23 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The New Republic Vol. 5

The Legends love continues this March with this Epic Collection trade paperback collecting issues related to New Republic story arcs in Legends. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Dark Empire trilogy! Six years after the Battle of Endor, the heroes of the Rebellion work to unite the galaxy. But a new Empire has risen from the chaos to strike back at the former Rebel Alliance, reclaiming its capital of Coruscant and building massive new World Devastators to ravage entire planets. And Jabba the Hutt’s ruthless heirs have placed a monumental price on the heads of Princess Leia and Han Solo! Together with Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Han and Leia must fight to protect the future for their children – but the greatest threat may come from the last of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker! COLLECTING: STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE (1991) 1-6; STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE II (1994) 1-6; STAR WARS: EMPIRE’S END (1995) 1-2; STAR WARS HANDBOOK (1998) 1, 3; MATERIAL FROM STAR WARS TALES (1999) 8, 11, 16-17.”

March 23 – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Omnibus Vol. 1

For those who have missed the incredible adventures of Doctor Aphra over the last several years, this omnibus collection is a must-own as it collects the entirety of Doctor Aphra’s Marvel Comics run from 2016 to 2020. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Meet the galaxy’s most daring rogue archaeologist as she dances between the dark side and the light! Doctor Chelli Aphra’s unique skills made her of interest to none other than Darth Vader – but things went sour, and now she’s trying to keep a low profile. Which is easier said than done, since she’s traveling with two sociopathic murder-droids and a Wookiee bounty hunter! But as Aphra’s archaeological escapades get more dangerous, she soon finds herself over her head. Will a growing romance with a strict Imperial officer redeem her – or destroy them both? Adventure, excitement and terror await! Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016) 1-40; Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual (2017) 1-3; Darth Vader (2015) 3-4, 8, 21, 25; Star Wars (2015) 13, 19, 31-32; Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel (2017) 1; material from Star Wars: Empire Ascendant (2020).”

March 24 – Doctor Aphra 8

We also get brand new Aphra content this month with the continuation of Alyssa Wong’s stunning series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “OLD WOUNDS! After a narrow escape, APHRA and SANA’s investigation takes them to the site of an ancient battlefield! But VUKORAH and the UNBROKEN CLAN are hot on their heels! What answers await them amid the devastation?”

March 30 – The Mandalorian: Season 1: Volume 1

The first season of The Mandalorian is adapted in Random House’s Screen Comix style. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Star Wars: The Mandalorian Screen Comix is a graphic novel-style retelling with full-color images and dialogue from the show! The adventures of the Mandalorian, a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, are now retold in the new Screen Comix format! The mysterious Mandalorian walks a thin line between right and wrong far from the authority of the New Republic in the epic addition to the Star Wars universe, available now on Disney+. Star Wars: The Mandalorian Screen Comix is a 320-paged graphic novel-style retelling of the first four episodes of the first season, featuring final frames and dialogue from the series in vibrant full color, will delight fans of all ages.”

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

March 2 – Victory’s Price  

March 2 – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Graphic Novel Adaptation  

March 3 – The High Republic 3  

March 3 – The High Republic Adventures 2  

March 9 – Star Wars: Age of Resistance: The Official Collector’s Edition  

March 10 – Star Wars 12  

March 17 – Bounty Hunters 10  

March 17 – Star Wars Adventures 4  

March 23 – Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1  

March 23 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The New Republic Vol. 5  

March 23 – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Omnibus Vol. 1  

March 24 – Doctor Aphra 8  

March 30 – The Mandalorian: Season 1: Volume 1 

Images courtesy of Del Rey, Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Marvel Comics, Random House, IDW Publishing, Titan Magazines, Disney+, and Lucasfilm