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Star Wars Holocron Blog

Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide 2020

by @holocronJosh and @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

We’re right in the midst of the holiday season, which means it’s the perfect time to gift yourself and others some brilliant Star Wars presents. Here are some of our recommendations for what would make great gifts for any Star Wars fan this holiday season!

Darksaber by Hasbro

This is a perfect gift for those who finally want to own one of the most popular lightsabers in Star Wars. Wielded by Maul, Bo-Katan, Sabine Wren, and now Moff Gideon, fans are bound to see the Darksaber again soon in the final episode of the Mandalorian season two, making it a relevant gift for Star Wars enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Star Wars Premium Playing Cards by theory11

theory11 always delivers exceptionally crafted products and their Star Wars playing cards are no exception.

Star Wars Custom Collection by Original Stitch

We had the pleasure of receiving a fully customized Original Stitch shirt earlier this year and we have to say it’s an incredible product. Original Stitch offers high quality, fully customizable shirts that Star Wars fans will enjoy, making it the perfect gift for a loved one (or for yourself!)

The Lightsaber Collection by Insight Editions

One of our favorite books of 2020, Insight Editions’ The Lightsaber Collection is a must buy for Star Wars. The book is filled with beautiful depictions of iconic lightsabers and characters and a whole host of interesting trivia facts. Check out our review at swholocron.blog!

Star Wars Squadrons by EA

Released in October, Star Wars Squadrons has become a big hit with fans of a galaxy far, far away, and is a perfect gift for all gamers with an exciting multiplayer mode and interesting campaign.

The Art of The Mandalorian: Season One by Abrams Books

Another of our favorite books this year, Abrams Books always delivers with top quality, comprehensive art books, most recently demonstrated with their The Rise of Skywalker release. This tradition continues with The Mandalorian’s first season.

The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 by Taschen

For fans of the Star Wars prequels, The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 is a must have. Featuring exclusive interviews with George Lucas and other cast and crew members on the second Star Wars trilogy, this book details the behind the scenes process and making of the prequels, including some jaw dropping behind the scenes images.

The Black Series Holiday Figures by Hasbro

For collectors of Hasbro’s Black Series line, the all new holiday edition is a must have. Features holiday versions of clone troopers, stormtroopers, and other soldiers across the Star Wars galaxy.

Myths & Fables – Galaxy’s Edge Edition by Disney-Lucasfilm Press

George Mann’s short story collection was a great read when it was initially released and this Galaxy’s Edge edition makes it even better. Featuring even more amazing stories and beautiful illustrations, this collection is a fine addition to any Star Wars fans’ collection.

Images courtesy of Hasbro, Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Insight Editions, Taschen, Abrams Books, EA, theory11, and Original Stitch

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REVIEW: The Mandalorian – Season 2, Chapter 15

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 15 of The Mandalorian

With the penultimate episode of The Mandalorian’s second season, writer and director Rick Famuyiwa delivers a fast-paced heist mission packed full of interesting character development. Chapter 15: The Believer sees Djarin recruit Migs Mayfeld, the treacherous mercenary played by Bill Burr in Chapter 6, to break into an Imperial mining hub and find the location of Moff Gideon’s cruiser.

I’ll be the first to admit that I questioned the reintroduction of Mayfeld. Although Chapter 6: The Prisoner was one of the standout episodes of last season, Mayfeld wasn’t a particularly captivating character and, at times, it felt like Bill Burr was perhaps slightly miscast in the role. All of these doubts were quelled, however, upon watching Chapter 15. Burr is fantastic in the role, delivering witty one-liners with ease, but also conveying the complexity of and trauma inflicted upon a former Imperial sharpshooter. Mayfeld continues The Mandalorian’s great tradition of focusing on a different side character each episode to accompany the titular character.

The episode’s opening sequence excellently sets the stage for what’s to come. The New Republic labor camp was reminiscent of the beginning of Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order, in which Cal Kestis was working on Bracca as a rigger. And Mayfeld’s look upon seeing Din Djarin again, after getting confused by Boba Fett’s appearance, was priceless. Speaking of Boba Fett, it’s awesome to see the badass bounty hunter return with a fresh paint job. It’s definitely a nice juxtaposition to the worn and weary armor seen in Chapter 14. Unfortunately, Boba doesn’t have much to do in the episode after stealing the show in the previous installment, but Boba really shines in the moments he takes centerstage, as we’ll discuss later.

Upon recruiting Mayfeld, Chapter 15 really kicks into gear with the heist mission. Early on, the episode begins to hint at the possibility of Djarin removing his helmet, something that comes to fruition later in the episode. Until then, though, the audience is welcomed to a spectacular action sequence akin to similar scenes in movies like Skyfall or The Wolverine. Seeing Djarin, dressed as a Range Trooper, disposing of raiding pirates one by one was great to see and, once again, showcases The Mandalorian’s brilliant hand-to-hand combat. Besides the action, this sequence allowed Mayfeld and Djarin to engage in some interesting conversations regarding the merit of wearing one’s helmet and comparing the fallen worlds of Alderaan and Mandalore.

Chapter 15’s intensity only increases when Djarin and Mayfeld finally make it behind enemy lines at the Imperial mining hub. This part of the episode really felt like a classic heist film, with the protagonists infiltrating a base and needing to do everything they can to avoid detection. Before the inevitable detection occurred, however, we were welcomed to what was perhaps the highlight of the episode as Din Djarin removed his helmet to access the network terminal. This moment was monumental for several reasons. Simply seeing Pedro Pascal’s face again as the character was dramatic, given that we’ve only seen Djarin’s face briefly in Chapter 8. Beyond the sheer shock value of seeing an unmasked Pascal though was the emotional weight behind this moment. Throughout the series, Djarin has tightly held onto the conviction that Mandalorians should never remove their helmets in front of other living beings for any reason. So, to see Djarin willingly remove his helmet in order to protect “his kid” was truly touching. This little moment conveyed just how much Grogu means to Djarin and why he is so motivated to rescue his child. 

With the introduction of Richard Brake (Batman Begins, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Officer Valin Hess, Chapter 15 briefly takes some cues from Inglorious Basterds in capturing the intensity of a simple conversion over a table. It’s interesting and unexpected that it is Mayfeld, not Djarin, that blows their cover by being unable to contain his anger toward Hess and the Empire more broadly. Similar to the weight added to Djarin’s character this episode, Mayfeld came on leaps and bounds as the audience gets to resonate with the character’s disgust and hatred for the superiors who adopt such a position of blatant disregard for their soldiers. 

After blowing their cover, Chapter 15 explodes into a massive climatic action sequence. Seeing Fennec Shand and Cara Dune systematically pick off stormtroopers from afar was epic, in addition to the true redemptive moment of Mayfeld equipping a rifle himself and executing the fatal blow to the facility. Although this moment was clearly designed to convey how far Mayfeld had came, it felt a little out of place given that, just moments ago, he was dismayed at the needless deaths of innocent Imperial soldiers. This felt a little hypocritical for Mayfeld to so callously take out the Imperial mining hub and, inevitably, kill many ‘innocent’ Imperial soldiers, a behavior he just executed Hess for. Besides that, however, the final action sequence was great to behold. As hinted at previously, its standout moment involved Boba, who, until that point, had largely taken a back seat in this episode. To see Boba drop a seismic charge from Slave I as his father Jango did so many years ago was jaw dropping. The sound design of the seismic charge will forever be one of the coolest sounds in cinematic history and this brilliant callback once again exemplified that. Chapter 15’s concluding moments set the stage for the dramatic finale next week. While Djarin’s repetition of the same speech Gideon gave last season about Grogu was a bit on the nose, it still added some weight to the stakes at hand in the next episode.

Chapter 15 suffers slightly in that it follows, arguably, The Mandalorian’s two best episodes with Chapters 13 and 14. That being said, Rick Famuyiwa makes the most of a somewhat throwaway installment by meaningfully adding to both Djarin and Mayfeld’s characters and including a unique perspective on the Empire that further emphasizes how the battle between good and evil is not so binary. 

Verdict: 8/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

New Star Wars Projects Announced on Disney Investor Day

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

It looks like Christmas has come early for Star Wars fans as a slew of new projects were announced on Disney Investor Day. Here’s a breakdown of all the announcements and updates:

Films

Rogue Squadron

Kathleen Kennedy revealed that Petty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, is on board to helm Star Wars: Rogue Squadrons, the next theatrical release in a galaxy far, far away. The film is described as a story that “will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy”.

Jenkins spoke of her excitement at the news, stating that “It’s been a lifelong dream as a filmmaker to one day make a great fighter pilot film. As the daughter of a great fighter pilot myself, some of the best memories of my life are of seeing my father’s squadron take off in their F4s every morning, and hearing and feeling the awe-inspiring power and grace. When he passed away in service to this country it ignited a burning desire to one day channel all of those emotions into one great film. When the perfect story arrived in combination with another true love of mine, the incomparable world of Star Wars, I knew I’d finally found my next film. I’m extremely honored and excited to take it on, and grateful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and the fans for extending that thrill to me.”

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had this to say: “Patty has established herself as one of the top directors working in the film industry today. She’s a visionary who knows how to strike the balance between action and heart, and I can’t wait to see what she does in the Star Wars galaxy.”

Rogue Squadron will fly into theaters December 2023.

Untitled Taika Waititi film

Announced earlier this year, Kennedy confirmed that Academy-Award winner Taika Waititi is still in active development. Kennedy described the film as “fresh, unexpected, and…unique,” and describes Waititi as “enormous talent [with an] sense of humor will ensure that audiences are in for an unforgettable ride.”

Shows

Andor

Officially titled Andor, the Diego Luna led show has begun filming in England and is described as a “tense nail-biting spy thriller”. Alongside Luna, other cast members include Stellan Skarsgard, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, and Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma. Rogue One scribe Tony Gilroy returns to the franchise as showrunner.

A sizzle reel was released for Andor, highlighting new concept art and interviews with the cast and crew.

Andor will premiere on Disney+ in 2022.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Ewan McGregor led show, set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith and directed by Deborah Chow, added another major cast member: Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader himself, Hayden Christensen. Christensen returns to the role of Vader for the first time since 2005, and will face off once more against McGregor’s Kenobi in what Kennedy described as “the rematch of the century”.

Christensen revealed his excitement at reprising his role, stating: “It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker. Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them. It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t yet have a release date, but is scheduled to start filming next month.

Ahsoka

After making her live action debut in The Mandalorian: Chapter 12 – The Jedi, Ahsoka Tano will finally get center stage in her own series for Disney+. Developed by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni and written by Filoni, the show will star Rosario Dawson in the title role.

Speculation is rampant that this series will continue the story of Star Wars Rebels, and answer the question of what happened to Ezra Bridger after the events of the show.

Rangers of the New Republic

Set during The Mandalorian, Rangers of the New Republic is a new live action spin-off series that will intersect with Mando and “culminate into a climactic story event”.

Lando

A live-action series centered around Lando Calrissian was also revealed to be in development from Justin Simien, creator of Dear White People and a massive Star Wars fan. It is currently unclear if Billy Dee Williams or Donald Glover, or both, will reprise their role as Lando.

No release date has been set.

The Acolyte

From the mind of Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland comes The Acolyte, a female centric mystery thriller series that will center on “a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era”.

The Bad Batch

First introduced in the seventh season of The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch is a group of experimental and enhanced clones that will explore a changed galaxy in their own animated series set after the events of Revenge of the Sith. A sizzle reel of the series was released today.

The Bad Batch is yet to be given a release date, but it is speculated that the series will arrive in 2021.

Other shows

Other shows announced at Investor Day include Star Wars: Visions, a series of anime short films, and A Droid Story, in which a new droid is accompanied by C-3PO and R2-D2.

Images courses of Lucasfilm & Disney

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” The iconic words spoken by Ben Kenobi in the original Star Wars kicked off a decades long obsession with lightsabers that continues to this day. The lightsaber is truly honored in Insight Editions’ Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, a beautifully assembled  visual guide that brings to life the legendary lightsabers found throughout the Star Wars universe.

While The Lightsaber Collection provides a comprehensive overview of iconic lightsabers and their users, the guidebook begins with a series of introductory chapters that really highlight the meaningfulness of lightsabers. Author Daniel Wallace explores the origins of lightsabers, dating back to George Lucas’ original conception of the weapon in writing Star Wars and subsequently delves into the creation of lightsabers, their design, and their overall meaningfulness. These introductory chapters brilliantly set the stage for the impressive visual guide that follows in really conveying the importance of lightsabers.

The subsequent sections of The Lightsaber Collection showcase an individual lightsaber and its wielder in extraordinary detail. The collection is split into three distinct sections: ‘Jedi of the Galactic Republic,’ ‘Acolytes of the Dark Side,’ and ‘A New Jedi Tradition.’ Collectively, the sections highlight a whole host of Star Wars characters, ranging from iconic ones like Luke Skywalker or Darth Maul to more obscure ones like Lord Corvax and Cin Drallig, not to mention a cool look at Stellan Gios from the upcoming High Republic series. It was certainly unexpected to see the breadth of characters and their lightsabers included in this collection. We obviously expect characters like Obi-Wan or Rey to be featured heavily, but the more unusual choices like Even Piell, Taron Malicos, and even the unseen Darth Atrius are awesome inclusions.

Each individual lightsaber is truly brought to life thanks to some incredibly detailed, drawn to scale illustrations by Lukasz Liszko. Although it’s obviously amazing to see these lightsabers in fast paced action throughout Star Wars movies, shows, and games, there’s something really cool about seeing each lightsaber hilt in such vivid detail up close and personal. Every lightsaber illustration is coupled by a similarly impressive character illustration by Ryan Valle. These character illustrations are breathtaking, especially when we get to see animated characters like Ahsoka Tano or Ezra Bridger brought to life in such a novel way. It’s also cool to see a new image of young Ben Solo as Luke’s student in the new Jedi Order and a great look at his padawan lightsaber.

Aside from the impressive visuals on display, The Lightsaber Collection also includes an interesting written section to accompany each character and their lightsaber. Daniel Wallace manages to pack in a ton of great information in just a few paragraphs for each character. These sections include relevant canon details about the character and his/her lightsaber, but also some great trivia or behind the scenes facts that are sure to interest both casual and hardcore Star Wars fans alike. 

Verdict:

Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection is one of the best Star Wars books to be released this year. In reading the collection, it’s hard to not get swept up in the history and emotional resonance of this legendary weapon. This is a true and definitive tribute to the graceful weapon first envisioned by George Lucas and expanded upon by others in subsequent years. The collection is more than just a showcase of the beauty of a lightsaber, however, in detailing amazing new looks at iconic characters and descriptions full of interesting background and trivia facts. The horizontal design of the hardcover book aligns with the elegance of the weapon it is the focus of. And the book, similar to some of the best Star Wars projects, appeals similarly to all ages across the lifespan. The Lightsaber Collection is a must own for Star Wars fans and would surely be a welcomed gift amidst the incoming holiday season.

Images courtesy of Insight Editions & Lucasfilm

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REVIEW: The Mandalorian – Season 2, Chapter 14

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 14 of The Mandalorian

Following the exhilarating Chapter 13, featuring the live-action debut of Ahsoka, some jaw dropping reveals, and incredible action, it was easy to predict that the subsequent installment of The Mandalorian would take a step back in delivering a more contained, inconsequential episode. However, this was certainly not the case as the Disney+ series continued delivering the punches with another enthralling episode. Chapter 14: The Tragedy follows Din Djarin and The Child, now known as Grogu, arriving on Tython following Ahsoka’s instructions. As is often the case with the Mandalorian’s adventures, things do not go as planned as he must withstand Imperial forces and the return of a fan favorite character.

It’s difficult to kick this review off without making note of the stunning way in which director Robert Rodriguez navigated this episode. Rodriguez has a diverse array of films in his catalogue, from the Spy Kids franchise to Sin City to Alita: Battle Angel most recently, but Rodriguez’s work on the Desperado Trilogy can clearly be felt in Chapter 14. Rodriguez masterfully handles Chapter 14’s action sequences, which take up a significant portion of the episode, perhaps more than any installment to date. 

The emotional centerpiece of the series is on full display again in highlighting Djarin and Grogu’s relationship. The little training sequence aboard the Razor Crest at the beginning was both funny and heartwarming, something The Mandalorian and Star Wars more broadly excels at. All these moments conveying the growing bond between the bounty hunter and the child make the tragedy that the episode is named after all the more powerful.

Despite the emotional moments, the real highlight of the episode is obviously the triumphant return of Temeura Morrison as Boba Fett. After appearing in season two’s premiere episode, we’ve been eagerly waiting to see how and when the infamous bounty hunter will reappear and it was quite unexpected to see Boba show up in Chapter 14. Just the shot of Djarin staring off into the distance to see Slave I entering the atmosphere gave us goosebumps. And from that moment onward, Morrison stole the show. His conversations with Djarin felt like a Star Wars’ fan’s dream come true. Packed full of great references (“I’m just a simple man”) and new canon information (like Jango being a Mandalorian foundling), their interactions added so much depth to an already incredible episode. It’s great to see Morrison come alive as Boba after his scene stealing performance as Jango in Attack of the Clones. And when Boba comes alive, he really comes alive. The relatively brief half-hour episode of The Mandalorian arguably contains more badass Boba Fett content than we’ve ever seen, capped off by Boba donning his classic armor once again and handedly disposing of a battalion of stormtroopers. 

Speaking of the episode’s length, despite its brief runtime, the episode packs in a ton of great content. Not only do we see the return of Boba Fett, but also the return of Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand. Fennec was great in Chapter 5: The Gunslinger and Chapter 14 confirmed many fans’ suspicions that it was Boba who approached her at the end of her debut episode. We also see the destruction of the Razor Crest, another shocking moment in an already unpredictable episode. It’ll be interesting to see what ship Djarin will be flying in the future, because it definitely seems as if the Razor Crest is beyond repair at this point, especially with no Kuiil around. The eventfulness didn’t stop there as Djarin, Boba, and Fennec team up to rescue Grogu and begin their rescue by visiting Cara Dune on Nevarro for information about Mayfeld. All in all, this episode set up a lot for the season’s final two installments, while also serving as a great 30 minutes of standalone Star Wars content.

Really the only criticism I have toward the episode is the somewhat lackluster setting relative to other episodes of The Mandalorian. This season we have been welcomed by incredible landscapes, whether it be the sandy plains of Tatooine in Chapter 9 or the black market port of Trask. Unfortunately, Chapter 14 had a relatively bland setting with Tython merely being a grassy, Earth-like landscape. In this sense, Chapter 14 wasn’t the most visually appealing installment of The Mandalorian from a cinematography perspective. 

Overall, The Mandalorian came up with another thrilling episode, delivering emotional moments, incredible action sequences, and adding significantly to canon. This is all in addition to giving Boba Fett centerstage in a way Star Wars fans have been clamoring for for years. Robert Rodriguez expertly directs the episode, something that is even more commendable given that he was a last-minute hire for the position. In looking forward to what Chapter 14 set up, we can’t wait to see what the remainder of season 2 has in store.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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Lucasfilm Announces 50th Anniversary Celebration for 2021

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

Lucasfilm has announced that it will commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2021 with new products, games, publishing offerings, and more. The anniversary celebration is due to kick off mere weeks away in January with a series of special edition product releases.

Details about what the new products are remain unknown, but this announcement’s revelation that we can expect new Star Wars games in 2021 is definitely noteworthy. Rumors of a sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order have circulated for months and it’s possible that this is one of the games released to commemorate Lucasfilm’s 50th anniversary.

George Lucas founded Lucasfilm in 1971, with the company subsequently becoming incorporated as Lucasfilm Ltd. following the release of Star Wars in 1977. Lucasfilm’s first film was the classic, George Lucas directed American Graffiti, which went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and has since been entered in the U.S. Library of Congress. Since its debut film, Lucasfilm has overseen the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, in addition to other classics like Labyrinth, Willow, and The Land Before Time. In 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm for an astonishing $4.05 billion and has since overseen the release of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and The Mandalorian, amongst other projects.

It’s great to see Lucasfilm honor its accomplishments and legacy with this 50th anniversary celebration. Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for more news about the 50th anniversary Star Wars Projects!

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

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What’s New in Star Wars – December 2020

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

While 2020 has certainly been a rough year to say the least, it has seen a whole host of quality Star Wars projects to brighten our mood. This trend continues in the month of December, featuring several new episodes of The Mandalorian and various new and exciting comics, magazines, and books. All in all, there’s something for all types of Star Wars fans coming this month. It is important to note that these release dates are subject to change. Below includes a list and description of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of December:

December 1 – The Art of The Mandalorian (Season One)

Abrams Books’ Star Wars art compilations always deliver incredible artwork and insights and The Art of The Mandalorian is no exception. Written by Phil Szostak with a foreword by Doug Chiang, the book includes never-before-seen concept art and sketches from the Disney+ series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian takes fans behind the scenes of the first ever live-action Star Wars television series. Filled with concept art, sketches, and interviews with key cast, crew, and creatives, including executive producer/showrunner/writer Jon Favreau and executive producer/director Dave Filoni, The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian will provide readers with an exclusive look at a whole new universe of Star Wars characters, locations, and vehicles.”

December 1 – The Mandalorian: Allies & Enemies

December kicks off with a couple new Mandalorian books for young readers. Published by Disney-Lucasfilm Press and written by Brooke Vitale, this World of Reading Level 2 book features some of our favorite characters from the Disney+ series and includes stickers! 

December 1 – The Mandalorian: A Clan of Two

Brooke Vitale has also written a storybook retelling the first season of The Mandalorian for young readers.

December 8 – Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales

Michael Moreci’s five-part comic-book series Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales is compiled together in this paperback collection published by IDW Publishing. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Return to a time of great upheaval in the galaxy, the final years of the Republic, in this anthology based on the beloved animated series! While Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and other Jedi Knights fight against incredible odds, two Republic squadrons must hold their position against an encroaching droid army of the Separatists. Pinned down for the duration, Commander Cody, Captain Rex, and other clones swap war stories that feature your favorite characters from The Clone Wars animated series, such as Padmé Amidala, General Grievous, and many more!”

December 4 – The Mandalorian: Season 2, Chapter 14

The Mandalorian Season 2 has been amazing so far and the season continues into December with Chapter 14, once again written by Jon Favreau.

December 8 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: Tales of the Jedi Vol. 1

Marvel Comics continues to honor the Star Wars Legends continuity with a compilation of John Ostrander’s Dawn of the Jedi series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The origins of the Jedi order are revealed! Journey all the way back to the beginning, more than 25,000 years before the saga of the Skywalkers, and discover how the Jedi began! Before lightsabers, before hyperspace travel, before the Jedi’s message spread throughout the galaxy. When connections to the Force were strange and new. There, on a distant planet, a group of beings strive to balance the mysterious Force. Behold the Jee’dai! But a stranger is coming, one who has a connection to the Force all his own – and the doors to the galaxy are about to swing wide open! COLLECTING: STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI – FORCE STORM (2012) 1-5, STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI – PRISONER OF BOGAN (2012) 1-5, STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI – FORCE WAR (2013) 1-5, STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI (2012) 0.”

December 8 – The Clone Wars: Season 7: Volume 1

The final season of The Clone Wars was one of the highlights of 2020 and the season is reworked into a new graphic novel-style adaptation in the classic Screen Comix format. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Star Wars: The Clone Wars Screen Comix is a graphic novel-style retelling with full-color images and dialogue from the show! The first six episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ revival seventh season are retold in the new Screen Comix format. Follow classic characters like Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda–voiced by the series’ original cast–in the epic story of the deadly Clone Wars in the new season on Disney+. The Star Wars: The Clone Wars Screen Comix is a 320-paged graphic novel-style retelling of the show, featuring final frames and dialogue from the series in vibrant full color, will delight fans of all ages.”

December 9 – Star Wars 9

Charles Soule’s main Star Wars comic continues with his ninth issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “”OPERATION STARLIGHT” BEGINS, AS THE REBEL PATHFINDERS UNDERTAKE A DESPERATE MISSION TO THE IMPERIAL CORE. In the Imperial Museum on CORUSCANT, an ancient droid holds the key to salvation of the REBEL ALLIANCE. The Rebels’ elite operations team, the PATHFINDERS, must pull off a daring heist right under the nose of the EMPEROR himself, with LANDO and LOBOT along for the ride!”

December 9 – Star Wars Insider 199

The 199th issue of Titan Magazine’s Star Wars Insider hits newsstands this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “It’s all about the Jedi in issue 199 of Star Wars Insider, with a host of features and interviews to prepare you for a new golden age of Star Wars storytelling with the launch of The High Republic this August. We speak to Charles Soule, Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Cavan Scott, and Daniel José Older about their work on and hopes for the ambitious publishing project-and drop some plot teasers along the way. Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano) and Sam Witwer (Darth Maul) reveal what it’s like playing characters on opposite sides of the Force in The Clone Wars, and we go behind-the-scenes on ILMxLAB’s Vader Immortal VR series.”

December 11 – The Mandalorian: Season 2, Chapter 15

The Mandalorian continues with Chapter 15, once again written by Jon Favreau.

December 13 – The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III 1999-2005

Taschen’s Star Wars Archives series has been so insightful and interesting so far and this trend continues with the brilliant The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III 1999-2005, which details information from the Star Wars prequel trilogy. This is a must for Star Wars fans around the holiday season, showcasing cool behind the scenes images, beautiful concept art, and interesting trivia facts.

December 16 – Darth Vader 8

The continuation of Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series is one of our most anticipated projects for December. The issue will follow the aftermath of Palpatine’s punishment of Vader and introduce the Eye of Webbish Bog, a character who was originally supposed to appear in The Rise of Skywalker. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “INTO THE FIRE! Hungry for vengeance after his brutal punishment at the hands of THE EMPEROR, can DARTH VADER uncover his master’s secrets in the depths of MUSTAFAR? Stripped of his greatest weapons, can the dark lord survive the fire and the EYE? Or will he be overcome as the EYE turns Vader’s every question back to his own terrible secrets?”

December 16 – Star Wars Adventures 4

The fourth issue of the Star Wars Adventures comic series, written by Michael Moreci, illustrated by Megan Levens, and released by IDW Publishing, debuts this month. 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!”

December 18 – The Mandalorian: Season 2, Chapter 16

The finale of season 2 will release on Friday December 18 and is written and directed by Jon Favreau.

December 23 – Bounty Hunters 8

Valance has quickly become one of the best characters from Legends to emerge into canon, as exemplified by his brilliant inclusion in Ethan Sacks’ Bounty Hunters series. The publisher’s summary for the Marvel Comics series’ eighth issue is as follows: “A DEADLY FAVOR! To pay back a debt, VALANCE undertakes a rescue mission to save the crew of a crippled REBEL transport. That dangerous job will take the bounty hunter deep into the heart of the pirate-infested space in THE OUTER RIM. But lying in wait is both an old enemy…and a new threat!”

December 23 – Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run 1

Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run 1 is the first issue of the Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run comic series, which is a reprint of a previously released miniseries. Written by Greg Rucka and Alec Worley, illustrated by Ingo Römling, and released by IDW Publishing, the publisher’s summary is as follows: “After the Battle of Yavin, Han Solo and Chewbacca intend to use their reward to settle their debts. But Princess Leia asks them to accept a secret mission for the Resistance. Mortal dangers, traitorous enemies, and thorny situations mark the path of these two heroes of the Star Wars saga.”

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

December 1 – The Art of The Mandalorian (Season One) 

December 1 – The Mandalorian: Allies & Enemies  

December 1 – The Mandalorian: A Clan of Two  

December 8 – Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales  

December 4 – The Mandalorian: Season 2, Chapter 14

December 8 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: Tales of the Jedi Vol. 1  

December 8 – The Clone Wars: Season 7: Volume 1  

December 9 – Star Wars 9  

December 9 – Star Wars Insider 199  

December 11 – The Mandalorian: Season 2, Chapter 15

December 13 – The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III 1999-2005 

December 16 – Darth Vader 8  

December 16 – Star Wars Adventures 4  

December 18 – The Mandalorian: Season 2, Chapter 16

December 23 – Bounty Hunters 8  

December 23 – Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run 1  

Images courtesy of Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Marvel Comics, Random House, IDW Publishing, Abrams Books, Taschen Books, Titan Magazines, Disney+, and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

REVIEW: The Mandalorian – Season 2, Chapter 13

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian

Our reaction to the newest episode of The Mandalorian could be summed up in a single word: speechless. Written and directed by Dave Filoni, Chapter 13: The Jedi was arguably one of the series’ best, most breathtaking and unpredictable installments. This episode sees Din Djarin, following the guidance of Bo-Katan, pursuing Ahsoka Tano to deliver the Child to her. However, upon finding Ahsoka, Djarin finds himself stuck in the middle of a conflict between the former Jedi and a villainous magistrate.

Chapter 13 gripped us from start to finish. The audience is welcomed to the city of Calodan on the planet Corvus, a dark, foggy, incredibly designed landscape. The episode’s superb production design is on full display from the moment the episode kicks off. The dense and mysterious foggy forest surrounding the imposing gates of Calodan, brought to life by the stunning cinematography of Baz Idoine and director Dave Filoni’s steady hand, made Chapter 13 perhaps the most visually impressive episode of the series so far. Dave Filoni does not wait around to introduce Ahsoka Tano, with the Jedi making a grand entrance mere moments into the episode. While Rosario Dawson’s appearance in The Mandalorian was reported back in March, it was still breathtaking to see the iconic character be brought to life in live-action. The costume designers and make-up artists nailed Dawson’s look, creating a seamless transition for Ahsoka from animated appearances to her live-action debut. Her opening sequence feels like something out of a Star Wars fans’ wildest dreams. Ahsoka stealthily navigating the forest landscape, systematically taking out mercenaries one at a time, was incredible to behold. Ahsoka’s dual white lightsabers looked amazing in live-action and really stood out amidst the darker cinematography of the episode. The confrontation between the magistrate Morgan Elsbeth and Ahsoka was tense and introduced a bit of mystery as to why Ahsoka is interested in this tiny town, a fact that is not revealed until the end of the episode.

The episode then shifts to Din Djarin and the Child. Seeing Djarin be a father figure to the Child is still really beautiful to see and one of the understated highlights of the season so far. Upon receiving coordinates from the magistrate regarding the location of the Jedi, Djarin confronts Ahsoka in another stunning sequence. Just seeing a lightsaber wielding Ahsoka battle the beskar wearing Mandalorian felt too good to be true. It’s upon the convergence of Djarin and Ahsoka that Chapter 13 truly excels. Unexpectedly, Ahsoka is able to communicate with the Child through the Force and reveals his surprising backstory. Not only is the Child’s real name finally revealed (Grogu!!!), but we find out that he was raised and trained in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, before being taken away following the rise of the Empire. In testing Grogu’s Force abilities, Ahsoka refuses to further train the Child, citing that his strong attachment to Djarin could lead him to the dark side as it did with her master Anakin Skywalker. It’s this kind of dialogue that makes Star Wars so interesting project after project. A few lines of dialogue from Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka immediately makes the entire Star Wars universe feel connected, as if we’re watching yet another chapter of the same, big history book. It’s somewhat questionable, however, that Ahsoka came away from the downfall of her master with the lesson that attachment inevitably leads to the dark side, as it is this same reductionist attitude that the Jedi Order wrongly adopted, which forced Anakin to choose with no healthy middle ground. Regardless, this episode had some great revelations, executed beautifully by writer Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson.

Speaking of beautiful execution, the entire battle sequence in Calodan was just that. Once again, the amazing production design of the city, evoking iconic Akira Kurosawa films, was on full display. Djarin’s confrontation with Lang, played by Michael Biehn, mirrored standoffs in classic Western films like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, continuing The Mandalorian’s pattern of paying homage to tropes from the Western genre. Ahsoka’s duel with the magistrate was one of the best action sequences we’ve seen in The Mandalorian so far. From the gorgeous night setting, with the glow of Ahsoka’s lightsabers reflecting in the water below, to the stunning silhouettes when the camera panned back, to the intimate close ups of Ahsoka and the magistrate speaking, this entire scene was amazing And, just when you thought the episode couldn’t get any better, it is revealed that Ahsoka pursued the magistrate in order for her to disclose the location of her master – none other than Grand Admiral Thrawn. This reveal was jaw dropping and definitely teases what’s to come, potentially in an Ahsoka standalone series. 

As the episode concludes, Ahsoka affirms that she will not train Grogu, but sets Djarin and Grogu on a path to the planet Tython, which contains a Jedi temple that will guide Grogu’s fate and, potentially, draw other Jedi to him through the Force. This conclusion sets up where The Mandalorian will go from here, but also gets us speculating, as any good Star Wars project does, as to the direction the show will head from here. What Jedi will seek Grogu? Could this be Luke? Are there others? The possibilities are endless.

Chapter 13: The Jedi is a rare episode of television that has few, if any, notable flaws. As we’ve grown accustomed to with The Mandalorian, the episode is full of great little easter eggs and references, including the planet Tython and HK-series assassin droids from Legends. Ahsoka’s live-action debut couldn’t have landed more perfectly. Any time a character is brought from one medium to another, it can raise concerns about continuity across projects and if the character still feels like the same person. This was not an issue whatsoever with Rosario Dawson’s performance as the actress expertly portrayed the empathy, wisdom, and bravery of the character initially brought to life by Ashley Eckstein. Dawson really honors Eckstein’s legacy, while adding a new dimension of her own to the character, something that isn’t easy to do. The episode also triumphs in furthering the relationship between The Mandalorian and the Child. As we’ve noted in previous reviews, their bond is really the emotional crux of the series and to see this bond be further developed is touching to see. You can see and feel the difficulty Djarin was having in readying to give Grogu to Ahsoka. You can see and feel the tangible bond between the two as Djarin urges Grogu to take the knob from him using the Force. Every little, intimate moment like this between the two characters subtly adds so much to the show. 

With Chapter 13: The Jedi, Dave Filoni and company delivered one of the best episodes of The Mandalorian yet. Chock full of surprising reveals and easter eggs, the episode delivered on pretty much every level with incredible action, production design, emotional moments, and the live-action debut of Ahsoka Tano. Star Wars doesn’t get much better than this.

Verdict: 9.75/10

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

REVIEW: The Mandalorian – Season 2, Chapter 12

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Warning: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 12

The second season of The Mandalorian crossed the halfway mark this week with an action packed, surprisingly revelatory episode directed by Greef Karga himself Carl Weathers. After being informed of the location of Ahsoka Tano, Din Djarin and The Child attempt to journey to the Jedi, but struggle to do so with the badly damaged Razor Crest (blame the Mon Calamaris). Knowing that the ship needs repair before journeying to Corvus, Djarin returns to Nevarro, a planet frequently seen in the show’s debut season, to visit some old friends and repair the Razor Crest.

Chapter 12: The Siege begins with another adorable moment between The Mandalorian and the Child, something this season has excelled at some far. It’s easy to dismiss scenes like Djarin directing the Child as he tries to repair the ship or the two eating together as merely being cute little moments, but there’s quite a lot of dramatic, understated weight to these scenes. Seeing the bond between the seemingly cold bounty hunter and his de facto son is truly heartwarming and serves as the emotional anchor of the show so far. The quick glimpse of Djarin underneath his helmet was an interesting little moment as well, potentially hinting at a change in heart regarding wearing one’s helmet following his conversations with Bo-Katan.

Chapter 12 also sees the re-introduction of Cara Dune and Greef Karga. Dune’s first appearance this season, handedly dealing with a couple Aqualish goons, was, as one would expect, badass. With the little passage in time between seasons 1 and 2, it’s interesting to see how the relationship between Dune and Karga has developed and how each of these individual characters have grown accustomed to new, more legitimate roles. Chapter 12 also saw the reappearance of the still unnamed Mythrol, played brilliantly by Horatio Sanz. Sanz delivers his lines to perfection and provides some great humor in the episode, especially when he’s bantering back and forth with Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga.

The central objective of this episode plays very much like a video game mission, and that’s not a complaint whatsoever. As we’ve noted in previous reviews, one of the highlights of The Mandalorian is its ability to balance more story-oriented episodes full of massive implications to canon with more contained, seemingly inconsequential one-off episodes. And The Siege, akin to season 1’s The Gunslinger or The Prisoner, does the latter very well. Djarin, Karga, Dune, and the Mythrol travel to an old Imperial base on Nevarro to destroy it and, in turn, wipe out the remnants of the Empire entirely from the planet, allowing Karga to turn it into a trade anchor for the sector. What proceeds is a really entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. Director Carl Weathers expertly navigates some brilliant action sequences. This is emphasized by the incredible dogfight between Din Djarin’s Razor Crest and several Imperial TIE fighters in the episode’s final moments, possibly one of the series’ best action sequences yet.

Perhaps most shocking in Chapter 12 was the way in which it furthered the show’s central plot and teased what’s to come. Djarin and his friends come across a lab in the Imperial facility containing several deformed Strand-Casts. A transmission from Doctor Pershing details how he conducted a blood transfusion using The Child’s blood, but that the experiment is rejecting the blood. Pershing makes note of the Child having a high “M-count,” referencing midi-chlorians. This entire sequence is filled to the brim with intriguing story hints. Is the Strand-Cast in the background a proto Snoke or even a Palpatine clone? Is Gideon trying to use the Child’s blood to create Snoke or resurrect Palpatine? The scene leaves a lot of questions to ponder, but the intrigue doesn’t stop there. The episode’s conclusion with the traitorous Mimbanese planting a tracking device on the Razor Crest and Gideon standing amongst a room of, what looks to be, Dark troopers was definitely something to behold. It looks like Gideon will begin to play a bigger role as the season progresses and, especially with this role entailing the incorporation of Dark troopers, this is something we’re really looking forward to.

There’s little to complain about in The Mandalorian’s twelfth installment. The middle of the episode, in which Djarin and the others raid the Imperial facility, is alright, but nothing mind blowing or particularly novel. The episode’s action excels more so when the chase begins as this is more exciting and dynamic than the hallway combat in the facility. Chapter 12 also poses a few questions that we may not ever get the answers to. These are more nit-picky, but still worth pointing out. After Chapter 8, did Gideon really think it was a good idea to continue experimenting on Nevaro? If he did and he has such an army at his disposal, wouldn’t he have already sought his revenge against Karga and Dune by wiping their town off the face of the planet? It just seems a little odd and illogical that Gideon would not have either relocated his lab or destroyed Karga and Dune’s town already.

Either way, Chapter 12 is a thoroughly entertaining installment of The Mandalorian. With thrilling action directed by Carl Weathers in his Star Wars directorial debut and the return of characters, including Cara Dune and the Mythrol, The Siege is a great contained episode with many intriguing hints as to what is to come.

Verdict: 8/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

REVIEW: The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

Warning: This review contains spoilers for The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

One of the brilliant things about Star Wars is its ability to take things fans previously did not like or even ridiculed and, over time, honor their legacy in unique ways. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the much discussed Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978. Following the overwhelming critical and financial success of the original Star Wars film, the Holiday Special featured some of the wackiest Star Wars content we’ve ever seen, so much so that George Lucas has essentially tried to bury the project ever since. These attempts haven’t stopped Star Wars fans from loving the original Holiday Special in a “it’s so bad, it’s good” sort of way and we’ve seen this love translate to a number of modern Star Wars projects. Not only did the Holiday Special feature the debut of Boba Fett, but it also included the pulse rifle that would eventually become Din Djarin’s signature weapon and showcased the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk for the first time.

Now, 42 years later, the legacy of the original holiday special continues with the release of The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, a fun, friendly, largely-kid oriented project streaming on Disney+. LEGO and Star Wars have collaborated in a number of ways over the years, including the iconic LEGO Star Wars video games and a series of other LEGO Star Wars shorts and specials. But, by far, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is the biggest profile collaboration between LEGO and Star Wars yet and, all in all, the special really works. 

The non-canon LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special follows the events of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in showing what Rey, Finn, Poe, and company are up to after the fall of the First Order. The special sees Rey, in seeking to become a better Jedi master for her apprentice Finn, journeying across time using a mysterious object she finds in an ancient Jedi temple. Along the way, Rey encounters a whole host of classic Star Wars characters and plays her part in various significant events throughout the saga. Meanwhile, Finn and the others are aboard the Millennium Falcon preparing for Life Day celebrations.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special feels like a wacky trip down memory lane, re-experiencing iconic Star Wars moments infused with that hallmark sense of humor we’ve grown accustomed to in LEGO projects. The special, similar to its notorious predecessor, does not shy away from the ludicrous and this is definitely a good thing. With the gravity of the plot in the sequel trilogy, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is refreshing in being a no-holds-barred, inconsequential thrill ride. The wackiness of the plot lends itself to some hilarious moments that are sure to delight Star Wars fans, one of the highlights being three versions of Obi-Wan all meeting one another and proclaiming, “Hello there!” There’s plenty of easter eggs in the special as well, including an appearance from none other than Max Rebo himself! This is followed by arguably the special’s greatest joke, delivered by Poe Dameron about Max Rebo’s bandmates. The adventure Rey goes on is really engaging and doesn’t overstay its welcome with the special’s tight 44 minute runtime. Quick transitions from iconic event to iconic event, essentially in the first half of the special, are quite entertaining and really lean into the fast-paced, nonchalant style the LEGO movies tend to go for. 

Arguably one of the coolest things about the special is the notion of Rey training Finn. Finn’s Force sensitivity was finally revealed in a brilliant way in The Rise of Skywalker, but this was left relatively unexplored and open-ended in the film. Fans have yearned to see what Finn’s path as a Jedi may look like and, even though it’s non-canon, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special does just that. If anything, the special definitely made us want to see more with Rey and Finn’s relationship and Finn’s evolution as a Jedi in a future canon project.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special clearly won’t be the infamous project that the original holiday special was, and that’s not necessarily a problem. The original holiday special is, largely, famous for being so unexpectedly bad and yet, somehow simultaneously, captivating. This is not the case with the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. This special is an intelligently crafted project that embraces the craziness of its predecessor, while avoiding its unintentional hilariousness. 

The special does, however, struggle in a few areas. Although it is very entertaining, engaging, and fast paced, it is, ultimately, quite forgettable. There may be a few jokes or moments that linger afterward, but, in large part, it is quite disposable. It is also more geared towards children than families, a criticism that has been (unfairly, in our opinion) been lodged against other Star Wars projects like Star Wars Resistance. The kid-oriented focus on the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special isn’t a criticism per se, but it should be noted. Perhaps most disappointingly in the special is the voice-acting. While actors like Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran, and Anthony Daniels reprise their roles from the films, the core cast are voiced by different actors, with varying degrees of success. It is not that the voice acting of Rey or Finn or Poe or Palpatine or Kylo Ren are poor, but it takes a while to get used to the fact that the voices of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Ian McDiarmid, or Adam Driver respectively have not returned. 

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a welcomed addition to the Star Wars saga, featuring hilarious moments, iconic moments, and a surprisingly interesting narrative. While some of the different voice acting may take some getting used to, the special’s fast-paced journey through the Skywalker saga and its re-introduction of the Life Day holiday make this well worth watching.

Verdict: 7/10

Images courtesy of Disney+, Lucasfilm, and LEGO.