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Film Codex

Box Office Report – Weekend of 4/16 – ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Is Number One Again

By @HolcronJosh for @FilmCodex

Godzilla vs. Kong’ has topped the domestic and international box office once again this weekend. After surpassing expectations with pandemic high totals so far, the latest in the monsterverse franchise took in another $7.7 million domestically, taking its total to $80.5 million. This is an impressive total given rising COVID-19 cases amidst a global pandemic.

Worldwide, the film has accumulated $390 million worldwide. According to Deadline, the film is poised to make a profit, a rarity in the pandemic movie market. Although no numbers have officially been released, the film has certainly brought subscribers to HBO Max, adding to the total brought in through theaters. Warner Bros. are certainly happy.

Elsewhere, Nobody came second once again with $2.52 million to a total of $19.05 million. The film was recently released on VOD, which has brought in more money for the Bob Odenkirk project. Rounding out the top 5 domestically are, once again, The Unholy, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Tom and Jerry.

Mortal Kombat will release next weekend and is expected to see good box office returns. More theaters are open now than ever since the start of the pandemic, a fact that could see the latest Warner Bros./HBO Max release rake in a large amount of money.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for our review of Mortal Kombat next week, along with next week’s box office report!

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Star Wars Holocron

The Five Deaths of Shaak Ti Explained

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

From Maul to Boba to Palpatine, Star Wars has a long standing tradition of death not being taken too seriously. But Shaak Ti really takes the cake with dying not once, not twice, not 3 times, not even 4 times, but a whopping 5 times in Star Wars lore. In this article, we’re going to take a look at each and every one of Shaak Ti’s deaths – how she died, in what project did it occur, the history surrounding it, behind the scenes info, and more. 

Death #1

After an extremely brief appearance in Attack of the Clones, Shaak Ti was due to play a much more significant role in Revenge of the Sith. The beginning of Episode III originally featured a much longer Battle of Coruscant that spanned nearly a full hour. In addition to more obstacles faced by Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine, this opening act of Revenge of the Sith also portrayed one of 5 deaths of Shaak Ti. 

Anakin and Obi-Wan are traveling along the halls of the Invisible Hand when they come across a despondent Shaak Ti on her knees in front of General Grievous. It is implied that Shaak Ti was captured at the same time Palpatine was on Coruscant and, as such, is being kept prisoner by Grievous like the Chancellor himself. After apologizing to Anakin and Obi-Wan for failing to protect Palpatine, Grievous brutally stabs Shaak Ti from behind – killing her immediately. 

This marks the earliest version of Shaak’s death as it appeared in George Lucas’ first drafts of the Revenge of the Sith script. Lucas originally planned for Shaak to die at the hands of General Grievous and then have Tsui Choi, a Jedi from the Expanded Universe, take her seat on the Jedi Council. The inclusion of Shaak’s death in this manner actually leaked before the May 2005 release of the film across different fan sites and The Revenge of the Sith action figure of Shaak Ti even included a hole in her chest to reflect this version of her death. 

But, as we all know, Shaak Ti’s death was absent from Revenge of the Sith, which leads into…

Death #2

In the editing process of Revenge of the Sith, the Battle of Coruscant was radically cut down, which included the removal of Shaak Ti’s death at the hands of Grievous. At this time, Tartakovsky and colleagues were developing the final season of their Cartoon Network series. 

As a means to explain Shaak Ti’s absence in Revenge of the Sith, the microseries shows the Jedi die again, also at the hands of Grievous. 

Death #3

Star Wars Insider 87 stated that Shaak Ti’s deaths at this point, including one in Revenge of the Sith we haven’t got to yet, weren’t canon – meaning she lives past Episode III. This led to her appearance in the acclaimed video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, sporting a really cool new look. 

At this point, Shaak Ti had survived Order 66 and was in exile on the planet Felucia, where she trained a new Padawan and Force-sensitive natives.Her peace didn’t last long, however, as Darth Vader sent his apprentice – Galen Starkiller – to kill Shaak. Shaak and Starkiller engaged in an epic duel, but, eventually, Shaak was defeated by Starkiller.

Death #4

Weirdly enough, Death #4 is an alternate take on Shaak Ti’s death in The Force Unleashed. In the mobile version of the game, Shaak is killed when Felucian carnivorous plants are made to eat her by Starkiller. 

But, so far, all of these deaths are Legends or EU content. So, how does Shaak Ti die in canon?

Death #5

The fifth and final death of Shaak Ti is perhaps the most poignant and heartbreaking. George Lucas filmed not one, but two death scenes for the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith. 

The first death, the one aboard the Invisible Hand that I already mentioned, was written, filmed, and eventually scrapped in favor of a second death sequence occurring in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. 

As Palpatine instigates Order 66 and Anakin (as the newly anointed Darth Vader) raids the Temple, Shaak Ti is mediating in peace. Vader approaches Shaak Ti, who is unaware that Anakin has turned to the dark side. Before she becomes wary that something is wrong, Vader stabs and kills her with his lightsaber. 

This scene is included as a deleted scene on the Revenge of the Sith Blu-ray and on Disney+. It’s also shown in the LEGO Star Wars: The Video game adaptation of the film and in Yoda’s vision sequence in The Clone Wars.

With so many potential deaths, the 2016 reference book Star Wars: Galactic Atlas eventually confirmed that Death #5, her death in the Jedi Temple, was canon, rendering the others to be Legends or EU content. This is a good decision ultimately as The Force Unleashed and Clone Wars microseries are Legends content and her death aboard the Invisible Hand feels a little out of place amidst the important plot points occurring during Revenge of the Sith’s first act.

All in all though, there you have it – 5 deaths of Shaak Ti. This truly feels like something unique to Star Wars that other franchises simply don’t have – a franchise with some obscure character with barely any screentime being featured and explored so extensively in other projects, culminating in 5 unique takes on her death. 

Images courtsey of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Marvel Tesseract

REVIEW: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 5

by @holocronGeorge for @mar_tesseract

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 5

The high octane, action-packed, spy thriller that was last week’s episode takes a step back in this week’s installment of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with an intimate and engaging episode that largely hits pause on the central plot. Episode 5, titled Truth, follows the aftermath of John Walker’s brutal murder of a Flag Smasher in public as Sam and Bucky reclaim the shield and step away from the conflict.

Truth feels, in many ways, like a brief interruption to our regularly scheduled programming that will conclude in next week’s finale. Whereas the last several episodes took significant leaps in propelling the plot forward – offering insight into Karli’s plans, developing John Walker as a character, and following Sam, Bucky, and Zemo as they try to stop the Flag Smashers – episode 5 slows things down significantly. The downside of this change in pace is that it feels a little jarring to largely halt our primary conflict in favor of a slower, more introspective episode. This isn’t to say the episode’s slower and more introspective moments don’t work – in fact, they’re fantastic and some of the most gripping moments in the series so far. But, this jarring narrative refocus seems indicative of a broader issue The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has had in pinning down a pace and cohesive narrative thread. 

That being said, this latest episode excels scene-after-scene in providing some of the best character development we’ve seen in the series yet. The financial conflict plaguing the Wilson family feels more organic and less forced than it did in the premiere episode, providing some great moments between Sam and Bucky. We really get to see their relationship build in a way we haven’t seen in previous films and episodes as the bitter back-and-forth banter is slowly replaced by a brotherly bond. In this sense, the episode’s change of focus allowed for this sort of character and relationship development in a way that more action-packed, plot-heavy episodes simply could not execute. Finally seeing Sam reclaim the shield and discuss difficult matters, including Bucky’s psychological trauma from his tenure as the Winter Soldier, was touching and intimate.

Speaking of intimate, perhaps the highlight of episode 5 was the conversation between San and Isaiah. Their exchange not only provides important plot context for Isaiah’s place in history as a Super Soldier, but it also offers a profoundly emotional and disturbing insight into the struggles of government manipulation, torture, injustice, the corrupted meaning of beloved symbols, and, perhaps most poignantly, what it means for a black man to be Captain America. So far, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has only skimmed the surface of certain sociopolitical matters that seem ripe for exploration in a series like this, but episode 5 capitalizes on this potential wholeheartedly. Isaiah’s tale is heartbreaking and, for a character we’ve only seen once before, it’s hard not to feel a deep, guttural sense of empathy for what the man went through. Carl Lumbly’s performance is outstanding, as is Anthony Mackie’s largely understated role in the scene. 

Beyond some of its poignant emotional touches, Truth also offers a few unexpected and interesting teases heading into the finale of the series and the future of the MCU more broadly. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss shows up out of nowhere as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. This poses a lot of interesting questions about her role in the MCU, but it’s clear she’s up to no good following her conversation with Walker. Speaking of the ex-Captain America, Wyatt Russell puts in another incredible performance as the complex, troubled, and increasingly villainous U.S. Soldier, As the MCU has done with some of its best villains, whether it be Killmonger or Thanos, it puts us in a strange place to understand the rationalization of Walker’s actions and somewhat sympathize with the emotions he feels.

On a final note, Daniel Brühl’s Zemo very much felt short changed in this episode. I hope this isn’t the last we see of him, because there’s clearly so much more that could be done with this character, especially with an actor of Brühl’s caliber in the role. Regardless, we’re sure to see Zemo again at some point, whether it be in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier or another series, and his imprisonment on The Raft by the Wakandans is definitely an interesting turn for this character to take.

Verdict: 8/10

The Flag Smasher narrative takes an unexpected backseat in favor of a more intimate, slow paced installment. Sam and Bucky’s relationship is expanded more than ever and the episode touches on issues of race and patriotism with profoundly emotional effects, making Truth a satisfying penultimate episode ahead of next week’s finale.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Marvel Studios

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Star Wars Holocron

EXCLUSIVE SPREAD: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Mando and IG-88 silently walk into the building previously heavily guarded by a myriad of armed figures. After disposing of the enemies at the encampment, our titular character and his foe-turned-ally droid partner are closer to ‘the asset’ than ever. The tracking fob beeps louder and louder, more frequently and more frequently. They approach a silver pram only to uncover an infant of the same species as Yoda – a Baby Yoda, later known as Grogu. Disposing of IG-88, there’s an immediate connection between Mando and the Child…

And at the point, if it hadn’t happened already, we were already gripped by the stunning first series of The Mandalorian on Disney+. We can never get enough of The Mandalorian, which is why we’re particularly excited about Titan Comics’ upcoming release Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One. The book, which releases on May 18th, features character files, plot points, never-before-seen images, a complete episode guide, and a detailed behind the scenes look at how the iconic series came to life.

Ahead of the release of The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One, we’re happy to present an exclusive spread from the upcoming title:

MANDALORIAN ARMOR AND WEAPONS

To Mandalorians, armor is more than a metal covering to wear in battle: it is, in fact, a part of their identity and culture, something that makes them immediately recognizable by fellow warriors and enemies alike. In this regard, Mando’s gear is no exception.

Following the Mandalorian tradition, he wears a helmet with a T-shaped visor equipped with a macrobinocular viewplate, shoulder pauldrons, gauntlets, vambraces, a cuirass, a cape, and a bandolier. After receiving a camtono of beskar steel from the Client when he recovered and delivered the Child, Mando managed to replace his damaged armor with a full set.

Weapons are equally important, for they are, as stated by Mando himself, part of the Mandalorian religion. Indeed, the bounty hunter has plenty of weaponry at his disposal, such as a blaster pistol, a vibro-knife and an Amban sniper rifle – which can also be used as a taser or a sonic detector if needed. Further to this, Mando has also got several tricks up his sleeve: a whipcord launcher, dual flamethrowers and whistling birds—tiny missiles useful for striking multiple targets simultaneously. Before leaving Nevarro to reunite the Child with his people, the Mandalorian also receives a long-coveted device: a jetpack, often used by Mandalorian warriors as well as by other armed forces.

BEHIND THE SCENES

The concept art of Boba Fett—the first character to wear Mandalorian armor in a Star Wars film—was influenced from the “Man With No Name”—the character played by Clint Eastwood in three western movies by Sergio Leone. The same iconography inspired the design of Mando, making him a character full of mystery. Therefore, it is no coincidence that actor Pedro Pascal watched several samurai and western movies by Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone to get into the character, and was heavily inspired by Clint Eastwood in films such as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966). Pascal truly reached for the stars when it came to enhancing his performance: right before rehearsing for the season finale, the actor injured himself while walking out of the makeup trailer.

As he was about to film the ‘unmasking’ scene with droid IG-11, Pascal went to the hospital with his face covered in fake blood and wounds, unsurprisingly alarming the hospital personnel. Seven stitches later, however, the actor went back on set and shot the scene as originally planned, thus proving to be as tough and heroic as only a true Mandalorian would be. But Pedro Pascal was not the only one who portrayed the Mandalorian in the series. He actually modelled his performance around the physicality of his stunt doubles: Brendan Wayne, the weapons expert, who took care of the gunslinger aspect; and Lateef Crowder, the martial arts expert, who performed the fighting sequences. Therefore, the Mandalorian is the result of the work of three different people who act as one.

Cover art for The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One is presented below:

Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One will be released on May 18, 2021 and is available to preorder from Amazon and Forbidden Planet.

Images courtesy of Titan Comics

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Star Wars Holocron

New Details on Upcoming The High Republic Stories Revealed

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

StarWars.com recently announced official descriptions and additional details for a slew of upcoming projects in Phase I, Wave II of The High Republic. After a thrilling first wave that introduced us to Force-sensitive protectors of the Republic and an ominous, burgeoning enemy in the Nihil, we’re more excited than ever about what’s to come in the era before The Phantom Menace. Check out some of the upcoming titles in The High Republic initiative below:

The High Republic #6

The sixth issue of Cavan Scott’s Marvel Comics series arrives on June 2, 2021. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “HEART OF THE DRENGIR! New story arc! The REPUBLIC FRONTIER in crisis! The JEDI of STARLIGHT BEACON join forces with their most feared enemy to face the terror of the unstoppable DRENGIR horde. AVAR KRISS and her new allies fight nightmarish creatures on a harsh lava world. Can young Jedi KEEVE TRENNIS save her former master from the darkness? Also who or what is the GREAT PROGENITOR?!”

Hidden Danger – Part 1

Titan Magazines and Justina Ireland are delivering a new story set in The High Republic era as part of Star Wars Insider #203 on June 8. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “In preparation for the Republic Fair on Valo, the Agrarian and Agricultural Alliance is having their annual seed bank conference on Starlight Beacon.  This is a chance for the agricultural experts from all over the galaxy to come together to discuss experimental farming techniques and sustainability.  Administrator Velko Jahen and Starlight Beacon’s Head of Security Ghal Tarpfen have been stressed nearly to the breaking point with ensuring the safety of the Starlight while also making certain that the conference goes off without a hitch. And the pair will be pushed to the limit when the Drengir slither onto the scene…”

The Rising Storm

Del Rey and Cavan Scott team up for a follow-up to the acclaimed Light of the Jedi in this new adult novel that releases on June 29. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Following the dramatic events of Light of the Jedi, the heroes of the High Republic era return to face a shattered peace and a fearsome foe. In the wake of the Great Hyperspace Disaster and the heroism of the Jedi, the Republic continues to grow, bringing more worlds together under a single unified banner. Led by Chancellor Lina Soh, the spirit of unity extends throughout the galaxy, with the Jedi and newly established Starlight Beacon station at the vanguard. In celebration, the chancellor plans “The Republic Fair,” a showcase of the possibility and peace of the expanding Republic—a precept the Jedi hope to foster. Stellan Gios, Bell Zettifar, Elzar Mann, and others join the event as ambassadors of harmony. But as the eyes of the galaxy turn toward the Fair, so too does the fury of the Nihil. Their leader, Marchion Ro, is intent on destroying this spirit of unity. His storm descends on the pageantry and celebration, sowing chaos and exacting revenge. As the Jedi struggle to curb the carnage of the rampaging Nihil, they come face to face with the true fear their enemy plans to unleash across the galaxy. The kind of fear that even the Force cannot shield them from.”

Race to Crashpoint Tower

Also on June 29, Daniel José Older and Disney-Lucasfilm Press are coming out with this new middle grade novel. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Republic Fair is coming! Visitors from all over the galaxy are traveling to the planet Valo for a massive, awe-inspiring festival celebrating the Republic. While his fellow Valons prepare for the fair, Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram is hiding out in his favorite place: a dingy garage filled with mechanical parts and tools. But when a security alarm goes off on the nearby hilltop nicknamed Crashpoint Peak, he ventures out with his trusty droid V-18 to investigate. There he discovers that someone has knocked out Valo’s communications tower—a frightening sign that Valo, and the Republic Fair, are in danger. Sure enough, as Ram races to warn the Jedi, the dreaded Nihil unleash a surprise attack! It’s up to Ram to face down the enemy at Crashpoint Tower and send a call for help to the Republic. Luckily, he’s about to get some assistance from unexpected new friends…”

The High Republic Adventures 6

Older’s fantastic High Republic Adventures series from IDW Publishing continues with the sixth issue on July 7. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “As the galaxy prepares for the Republic Fair, Qort and Farzala leave their Padawan friends to join Leox Gyasi and the crew of the Vessel on a secret mission for the Jedi. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out: literally everything.”

Out of the Shadows

Justina Ireland delivers a YA novel following her middle-grade book Into the Dark earlier this year. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The darkest secrets are the hardest to bring to light….Sylvestri Yarrow is on a streak of bad luck with no end of sight. She’s been doing her best to keep the family cargo business going after her mom’s death, but between mounting debt and increasing attacks by the Nihil on unsuspecting ships, Syl is in danger of losing all she has left of her mother. She heads to the galactic capital of Coruscant for help, but gets sidetracked when  she’s drawn into a squabble between two of the Republic’s most powerful families over a patch of space on the frontier. Tangled up in familial politics is the last place Syl wants to be, but the promise of a big payoff is enough to keep her interested…Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh has been summoned to Coruscant, but with no idea of why or by whom. She and her Padawan Imri Cantaros arrive at the capital along with Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus and his Padawan, Reath Silas—and are asked to assist with the property dispute on the frontier. But why? What is so important about an empty patch of space? The answer will lead Vernestra to a new understanding of her abilities, and take Syl back to the past…and to truths that will finally come out of the shadows.”

Tempest Runner

Following his acclaimed audio drama Dooku: Jedi Lost, Cavan Scott returns to this medium with a new audio drama from Del Rey on August 31. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “As one of Marchion Ro’s most trusted allies (well, as far as Marchion trusts anyone) Lourna Dee has carved out a place for herself as a leader among the Nihil. But it’s lonely at the top, and a Tempest Runner like Lourna is always watching her back for threats—whether those threats are from the Jedi or her fellow Nihil.”

The Edge of Balance

One of the more unique projects on the horizon is a Manga from Justina Ireland and Shima Shinya on September 7. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “In the aftermath of the Great Hyperspace Disaster, young Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi is assigned to help displaced civilians relocate to Banchii, a planet in the Inugg system far in the Outer Rim. While balancing the arrival of incoming settlers and teaching the Padawans on their Temple outpost, Lily must also confront an attack by the insidious Drengir and, after the events of the Republic Fair, deal with the growing threat of the Nihil. But the dangers to Lily and her Padawans are much closer than she thinks….”

Showdown at the Fair

And, finally, George Mann brings us a new storybook from Disney-Lucasfilm Press on October 5. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Republic Fair has come to the planet Valo, and everyone is celebrating. Until the dreaded Nihil launch a surprise attack and Burryaga the Wookiee and the other Jedi of the High Republic must save the day!”

Images courtesy of Disney, Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Del Rey, Viz, IDW Publishing, and Marvel Comics

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Film Codex

Box Office Report: Weekend of 4/9 – ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Continues to Rise as ‘Mortal Kombat’ Opens Internationally With $11 Million

By @HolocronJosh for @FilmCodex

Warner Bros.’ ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ opened to record pandemic numbers last weekend, both domestically and internationally. One week later, the latest in the Monsterverse franchise had another solid showing at the box office, taking in $13.3 million domestically, a drop off of 58%. This takes the domestic tally to $69.5 million.

What makes this showing even more impressive, beyond the fact that pandemic cases are rising and could lead to more hesitancy around returning to theaters, is the fact that GvK is available to watch HBO Max. Despite that availability, many audiences are still opting to go to the theater, a good sign for cinemas returning to normal soon.

The film added another $24.1 million to its tally overseas, a drop off of 66%. The biggest of the international markets was, once again, China, with another $12.9 million this weekend and a total gross of $165.4 million. Once again, the film was also very popular in Australia, Mexico, and Russia, with $16 million, $15.8 million, and $11.1 million respectively.

Elsewhere, ‘Mortal Kombat’ debuted in some international markets over the weekend. The latest Warner Bros. film, which comes out on April 23 in theaters and HBO Max domestically, earned $10.7 million from 4,596 theaters. The biggest of the 17 overseas markets was Russia, where the film took in $6.1 million.

Back to the domestic box office, Universal’s ‘Nobody’ came in second again this weekend with $2.65 million. Rounding out the top 5 are ‘The Unholy’, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, and ‘Voyagers’, earning $2.4 million, 2.14 million, and $1.35 million respectively.

When looking at the growth of the domestic box office in recent weeks, as demonstrated by these numbers this weekend, there is hope that Mortal Kombat could have a strong debut. The film certainly has the potential to be the latest sign that the domestic box office, and movie going, is returning to some sort of normalcy. However, the film’s simultaneous release on HBO Max gives viewers the option to watch the latest video game adaptation from home, a smart move given everything that’s happening at this moment.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for next week’s box office numbers, as well as news, reviews, interviews, and more.

Images Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Categories
Star Wars Holocron

How Clone Wars (2003) Could Be Made Canon

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

“There’s always a bit of truth in legends…”

Ahsoka Tano’s wise words from Star Wars Rebels may be the pathway to make Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars series canon. 

Initially released in 2003 and spanning three seasons culminating in the release of Revenge of the Sith, the Cartoon Network series featured 25 highly stylized installments showcasing different facets of the infamous Clone Wars. The series was often a stark contrast to the theatrical films, with long stretches absent of any dialogue or music whatsoever. It was also the introduction of several iconic Star Wars characters, including Asajj Ventress, Durge, and General Grievous. However, as we all know, Dave Filoni’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars series eventually superseded its predecessor, essentially deeming Tartakovsky’s show non-canon or Legends. Nonetheless, we think there’s a unique way Star Wars: Clone Wars could become canon again.

One of the reasons Star Wars: Clone Wars was branded Legends material is due to the aforementioned stylistic and tonal differences from the saga films. While Filoni’s series feels very much in sync with the prequel trilogy and the Skywalker saga more broadly in terms of tone, style, and narrative, Tartakovsky’s series just feels different. The Star Wars sense of humor we’re all used to and love is largely nowhere to be seen. Characters go long stretches without uttering a word. And the action feels like it’s more out of a stylized Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill-esque film than it does a Star Wars project. 

Beyond stylistic differences, there’s various continuity differences between the two Clone Wars series that make it difficult to reconcile Tartakovsky’s series as canon in the traditional sense. The most glaring is the total absence of Ahsoka Tano in the original series, who obviously goes on to play a central role in Filoni’s series and canon beyond that. Although some may argue Star Wars: The Clone Wars doesn’t entirely negate its predecessor, it poses some uncomfortable questions if both are deemed canon.

However, this is where Ahsoka’s nugget of wisdom from Star Wars Rebels comes in. 

Recently, Star Wars has started delving into its own canon in this weird, really interesting, meta way. George Mann wrote Myths and Fables, and later published Dark Legends, two collections of in-universe short stories. Insight Editions have came out with The Secrets of the Jedi and will soon release The Secrets of the Sith. And, more recently, Kristen Baver and DK publishing have published Skywalker: A Family at War, a kind of in-universe biography of the Skywalker family. 

All of these projects, besides just being really cool and interesting, have something in common – they’re all in-universe depictions of events. For instance, Star Wars characters will have read the stories in Myths and Fables or Dark Legends just like we have. It’s this weird, meta take on things where we, as Star Wars fans, get a glimpse into the sort of materials people living in that vast universe get their hands on. Think of Tales of the Black Freighter in Watchmen, if you know what I mean.

So, how does this relate to Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series then? 

Well, what if the series was an in-universe depiction of the Clone Wars? Similar to George Mann’s stories and other works. Perhaps characters in the Star Wars universe watched Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars as a sort of retelling of the events that actually occurred. Not only would this explain some of the stylistic and narrative discrepancies between the 2003 series and 2008 series, but it would also mirror our real life depictions of battles and wars through media. We watch Band of Brothers as this creative, stylized dramatization of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. We watch Platoon or Apocalypse Now as cinematic retellings of the Vietnam War. It’s conceivable that people within the Star Wars universe also watch portrayals of famous historical events, like the Clone Wars, albeit with some tweaks here and there for dramatic effect. 

Besides this kind of meta-take on Tartakovsky’s series to make it canon (sort of), there’s another way Star Wars: Clone Wars could be integrated into broader canon. 

If we take a step back, The Clone Wars as an event occurs from 22 BBY to 19 BBY, this tiny 3 year sliver in between the events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Tartakovsky’s series spans 25 chapters, but let’s focus on Chapters 1 through 21 for a second. The first 21 of 25 chapters of the series happen roughly in 22 BBY – the first of three years of The Clone Wars. Conversely, Dave Filoni’s The Clone Wars takes us all the way up to 19 BBY and Revenge of the Sith. In the 2008 theatrical Clone Wars, Anakin is already a Jedi Knight. He doesn’t have his Padawan braid, his hair has grown. General Grievous is a threat on the Republic’s radar and already has his rough breathing. The Clone Wars is clearly full steam ahead at this point.

Where things get a little messy in canon is where both of these series end. Chapters 23 through 25 of Tarvatoksy’s series focuses on the Battle of Coruscant. We see Shaak-Ti protecting Palpatine from Grievous. Anakin is on a sort of pilgrimage. Anakin and Obi-Wan are recalled to Coruscant after a mission on Nelvaan. Anakin’s robotic hand is destroyed in this process and He has an insidious vision of  becoming Darth Vader. 

This is in contrast to Dave Filoni’s Siege of Mandalore arc. In this arc, Anakin and Obi-Wan are recalled to Coruscant while on Mandalore, not Nelvaan. Not to mention all the things that happen to Anakin in these last few episodes. It’s hard to headcanon your way around any of this.

So what’s the solution? Well, more minor discrepancies in canon aside, Star Wars can maybe take a page out of the X-Men and Terminator franchises in terms of how they selectively retcon certain things. The X-Men universe has been very loose with what constitutes canon, seemingly changing things at will to fit their narrative as it progresses. Similarly, the later few Terminator movies have cherry picked what they want (and don’t want) to be canon. Star Wars could adopt a similar approach and simply retcon Chapters 23-25 of Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars, making Chapters 1 through 21 or 22 canon. 

Or maybe smarter minds than mine could piece together in some creative fashion how both Clone Wars series could be weaved into canon seamlessly. 

Either way, Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series lives on in the hearts of many Star Wars fans. It’s kind of an amazing position to be a Star Wars fan when we get not one, but two fantastic Clone Wars series. Whether it be making the 2003 series an in-universe depiction of the Clone Wars, or playing around with canon in retconning some, but not all installments of the series, we think there’s still a few ways the acclaimed show could be made canon.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

Categories
Star Wars Holocron

The Vintage Collection, The Bad Batch, and More: Recapping the Star Wars Reveals and News from Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest

by @holocronJosh and @holocronGeorge

On Friday, Hasbro Pulse held a virtual Fan Fest celebration to highlight new and upcoming toys from various franchises, including a galaxy far, far away. There were many reveals from the event, with countless new toys for fans and collectors to get their hands on. Here’s a recap of all of today’s news:

The Vintage Collection:

The Vintage Collection has become one of the most popular lines of Star Wars toys in recent years. The highly posable 3.75 inch figures come in retro packaging, hence the name. Today, there were several new figures from this collection displayed, including Luke Skywalker (Hoth), Han Solo (Endor), Admiral Ackbar, Emperor’s Royal Guard, Shadow Stormtrooper (from The Force Unleashed), Scout Trooper, and Heavy Battle Droid. Check out some images of the upcoming toys below:

Also announced for the Vintage Collection is General Merrick’s Blue Leader X-Wing fighter, which also comes with a figure of the character. This product excellently recreates the X-Wing seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and is sure to be a hit with fans and collectors. It can be found exclusively at Target this fall.

The Bad Batch

We’re less than a month away from the latest Star Wars animated project, The Bad Batch. As such, there are a wave of toys coming from the series. Black Series figures for Hunter, Crosshair, and Elite Squad Trooper have already been announced and will hit shelves soon. Hasbro added to the line of Bad Batch Black Series figures today, revealing a new ‘Tech’ toy. See the amazing design for the figure below:

Other Black Series Reveals

There were more Black Series reveals to get fans excited at the event today. Koska Reeves, played by WWE’s Sasha Banks, is getting her own action figure that displays her bright blue Mandalorian armor and helmet. Also from The Mandalorian, a Q-90 figure was announced. Q-90 was the droid that the Mandalorian kills in Chapter 6 – The Prisoner, and whose head the Frog Lady uses to communicate through in season 2.

Also displayed are Black Series figures of General Lando Calrissian from Return of the Jedi and Aurra Sing from The Clone Wars. The Lando figure goes well with the recent line of Return of the Jedi Black Series that hit shelves, which included Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa all in their classic Endor outfits. Also shown today is a Wedge Antilles Black Series helmet. Check out images for these products below:

The reveals from today’s Fan Fest celebration have already excited fans and we can’t wait to get our hands on them. Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for news and reviews of upcoming Hasbro products!

Images courtesy of Hasbro

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Marvel Tesseract

REVIEW: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 4

by @holocronGeorge

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 4

After a somewhat mixed first half of a series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier hit new heights with an unpredictable, high energy, and thoughtful fourth episode. The Whole Wide World is Watching sees Sam and Bucky continue their partnership with Zemo to track down and stop Karli and her super soldiered Flag Smashers. The team hits bumps in the road, however, as the Dora Milaje and the new Captain America John Walker have plans of their own.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had been thoroughly engaging throughout its first three episodes, but there were a lot of little concerns that were adding up. The pacing felt jarring, with an unusually inconsequential and slow burn of a pilot in stark contrast to a high octane, globe trotting spy thriller of a third episode. There were a few writing decisions that had us scratching our heads, including pretty drastic alterations to Zemo’s character and the confusing fact that Sam struggled financially despite being an Avenger. I’m thankful to say then that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier feels like it has finally found its footing.

The episode has the task of adequately dealing with a few central characters at this point, not just Sam and Bucky. And yet, despite this difficult task, everyone is given memorable moments to shine and development that adds unexpected layers to their already complex characters. For instance, we get some insight into Bucky’s time in Wakanda and the way in which this time allowed for his liberation from his Winter Soldier identity.

Conversations between Sam and Karli blur the line between friend and foe and really get you questioning if the ends justify the means, a central theme poignantly running throughout this episode. The series is constantly playing around with the idea of ‘who really are the bad guys? who really are the good guys?’ But they particularly excel in this department in episode 4. Karli seems brutal and deadly, but justified and sympathetic. Zemo appears devious and villainous, but his views on the super soldier serum and the negative impact of symbols are reasonable.

Even John Walker puts the audience in a somewhat uncomfortable position in regards to this theme. Until episode 4, despite being pretty dislikable, he hadn’t done anything particularly villainous to make us outright hate him. And his plight about whether to take the super soldier serum and the trauma of witnessing his best friend die before his eyes added more depth to his character. After taking a backseat last week, the new Captain America is likely to be the primary topic of conversation from episode 4. His fight with the Dora Milaje was brilliantly choreographed and, overall, it was just really cool and unexpected to see these characters appear in the series. Wyatt Russell commands the screen as Walker, so much so that when he sees the super soldier serum on the ground, we are totally invested in what his next moves will be. The final scene of the series once again plays on the theme of questioning who are the good guys and the bad guys after Walker mercilessly kills a defenseless Flag Smasher in public.

Another highlight is Erin Kellyman as Karli, who continues to impress in her role as the lead Flag Smasher. Kellyman and Mackie share the episode’s best scene as they discuss the mass displacement of people after the Blip and the rationalization of her violent actions. Kellyman also kicks a lot of ass in this episode (maybe a little too much in the end as she kills Battlestar). At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising if the tables turn by the end of the series and we see Kellyman and Walker switching sides.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Despite continued struggles with some dialogue and humor, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier firmly finds its footing with a thrilling episode that brilliantly balances multiple, complicated characters and deftly plays with themes of heroism and villainy.

Images courtesy of Marvel Studios and Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron

New ‘War of the Bounty Hunters’ Details Revealed

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters is closer than ever with the reveal of new headshot images highlighting some of our favorite characters.

The new headshot images are drawn by artist Giuseppe Camuncoli and all be variant covers for upcoming tie-in series.

The upcoming cross-over event takes place in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It will see Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Doctor Aphra, Boba Fett, deadly bounty hunters, and more all after the greatest prize of all: Han Solo.

A special one-shot of the series will feature Jabba the Hutt himself. Written by Justina Ireland with art from Luca Pizzari, this will be one of of four thrilling tie-ins in War of the Bounty Hunters.

War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha #1 hits comic stands on May 5th!

Images courtesy of Star Wars and Marvel Comics