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  1. “This is the day”: Disney+ announces The Mandalorian season 2 premiere date Season will see the return of several characters, plus (reportedly) Boba Fett. Enlarge / Disney's new key art for The Mandalorian season two. The Walt Disney Company Disney took to its Disney+ and The Mandalorian Twitter accounts this morning to announce the premiere date for the second season of the live-action Star Wars TV series: October 30. The show was a huge part of Disney+'s early success in driving subscriptions, as it gained a large following, a lot of buzz, and generally positive critical response. However, when or if a second season would be coming was not clear, given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous season ended its run on December 27 of last year. The final episode of season one resolved most of that season's story arcs but laid the groundwork for a new story for season two. That said, it's not yet clear exactly what form the new season will take. There have been confirmations on social media that Pedro Pascal (obviously) and Gina Carano will reprise their roles. The series will continue its practice of tapping big-name directors to handle individual episodes; one of those confirmed so far is Robert Rodriguez of Desperado and Sin City fame. Additionally, rumors have been circulating about new cast members, including a story in The Hollywood Reporter claiming that prequel trilogy actor Temuera Morrison (who played Jango Fett) will play Boba Fett in season two. In Star Wars lore, Boba Fett is not actually a Mandalorian, despite the fact that his character introduced the Mandalorians' famous armor to the canon. Not much else is known for certain, but we now know we only have about two months until we start finding out. As of this May, Disney+ had reached just over 50 million subscribers, making it one of Netflix's chief rivals in the streaming space. Subscriptions have been driven by content like The Mandalorian, as well as at-home releases of event films like Hamilton and, soon, Mulan. “This is the day”: Disney+ announces The Mandalorian season 2 premiere date
  2. “Here we go”: Disney drops one last teaser for The Mandalorian S2 Din Djarin and The Child continue their journey through a dangerous galaxy. Pedro Pascal stars as the titular character in The Mandalorian, returning to Disney+ for a second season on October 30. We're just a little over a week away from the season 2 debut of The Mandalorian, the Emmy-nominated, first live-action Star Wars TV series. And Disney+ has decided to whet our appetites with one last "special look" teaser for the series. Created by Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, the series takes place a few years after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. The basic premise is that after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, there was a period of chaos and lawlessness as a new government struggled to emerge from the wreckage. Pascal's bounty hunter is "a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic." The first season garnered 15 Emmy nomination for its eight-episode freshman outing. And it easily landed a spot on our top TV shows of 2019. "Favreau's brainchild has proven to be a killer vehicle for the most Star Trek-like storytelling yet in a live-action Star Wars product," Ars Tech Culture Editor Sam Machkovech wrote at the time. "Even better, its freak-of-the-week and brand-new-planet progression has been paired with a proper samurai story, as anchored by the religious, fervent, and conflicted Mando himself." Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, and Giancarlo Esposito are all returning for the second season as Cara Dune, Greef Karga, and Moff Gideon, respectively—the latter having survived being shot down by Karga and The Mandalorian in the season finale. New S2 cast members include Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker's former Jedi Padawan, who is now a spymaster for the Rebel Alliance; Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze (reprising her voice role from The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series), who leads a Mandalorian group known as the Nite Owls; Timothy Olyphant as Cobb Vanth, a former slave who now has possession of fan favorite/bounty hunter Boba Fett's armor; and Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett (apparently resurrected from the dead, since the character died in Return of the Jedi—or did he?). Wrestler Sasha Banks has been cast in an as-yet-undisclosed role. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. The first trailer dropped last month, although it didn't offer many details beyond the vague official premise: "The Mandalorian and The Child continue their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies as they make their way through a dangerous galaxy in the tumultuous era after the collapse of the Galactic Empire." Mando received instructions to reunite The Child with his own kind, although exactly where that species might be lurking is apparently something he'll have to figure out for himself. It will involve seeking out "an order of sorcerers called Jedi"—sworn enemies of the Mandalorians in eons past. And one scene in the trailer featured two green-skinned aliens engaged in a boxing match, prompting fans to speculate that we'll be seeing more of the Gamorreans this season. Disney is still playing its cards close to its chest with this latest teaser, and there's not a ton of new footage. But we do learn that Djarin also wants to locate other Mandalorians to guide him on his quest, which will likely lead him to the Nite Owls. There's the briefest glimpse of the blue-skinned, amphibious Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) that Djarin captured in the opening scenes of the S1 pilot episode, so we might be seeing him again. And we get a look at Djarin's iconic jet pack in action. The Mandalorian S2 debuts on Disney+ on October 30, 2020. “Here we go”: Disney drops one last teaser for The Mandalorian S2 (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  3. Baby Yoda steals the show yet again in The Mandalorian season 2's new posters That little guy (Image credit: Disney Plus/Lucasfilm) The Mandalorian season 2 is undoubtedly the biggest TV event left in 2020 – especially now that The Boys season 2 has ended. Disney Plus has now released four new posters of the Star Wars TV show to get people excited about the impending release of new weekly episodes starting on October 30. They show new images of the characters Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal and a bunch of stunt doubles), Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). Still, nice as they are, Baby Yoda – or The Child, as the official Mandalorian style guide dictates – is the real reason any of us are here. He features in one of the four, which you can check out below: (Image credit: Disney Plus/Lucasfilm) See the rest of the posters here: We're expecting another trailer for The Mandalorian's second season at some point before the first episode rolls out later this month. Here's the first trailer if you missed it: What do we know about The Mandalorian season 2? The story of The Mandalorian season 2 has been kept under wraps so far, but all of the rumors have intensified around appearances by various popular characters in the Star Wars saga. Spoiler alert, then, if you want to go in fresh. Characters like Boba Fett and The Clone Wars' Ahsoka Tano are among those who are rumored. Aside from the characters featured in the posters, we also know we'll see Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon turn up in the next set of episodes – a lightsaber/darksaber battle has been teased for next season. Creator Jon Favreau (director of Iron Man and the live-action version of The Lion King) is also directing an episode in season 2, which he didn't for season 1. He'll also write six of the eight episodes, according to a WGA page – one other will be written by Rick Famuyiwa, director of two of season 1's best episodes ('The Child' and 'The Prisoner', which he also wrote). Baby Yoda steals the show yet again in The Mandalorian season 2's new posters
  4. The Mandalorian’s new episode questions what a Mandalorian actually is It’s complicated If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Lucasfilm Ltd. Part of The Verge guide to The Mandalorian What makes a Mandalorian a Mandalorian? It’s a question that’s becoming increasingly important on The Mandalorian (shocking, I know), especially as our titular lead (Din Djarin, aka “Mando”) continues in his quest to find other members of his people. Mandalorians who, as we learned in the most recent episode called “The Heiress,” are very different from his own clan. As the episode reveals, Din’s stoic ways and reverence for his armor (to the point of never revealing his face) are not typical of all Mandalorians. Rather, his tribe is a splinter group that adheres to the ways of the “Children of the Watch,” described as a “cult of religious zealots” that sought to reestablish the Way of the Mandalore (the oft-quoted, “This is the way” that Din and his fellows like to throw around). The difference between Din’s way of life and that of Bo-Katan Kryze (a character from the Clone Wars and Rebels shows making her live-action debut) actually helps resolve one of the lingering questions of the series — why Din’s catchphrases and helmet habit haven’t been seen before on any of the many Mandalorians previously in the Star Wars universe. Image: Lucasfilm Ltd. Splinter sects of Mandalorians are shockingly common among the armored warriors, though, both on-screen in Star Wars canon and behind the scenes. Bo-Katan Kryze, the new character who reveals to Din that his Mandalorian traditions are not typical of all of the culture, would know, as someone who had been part of several of those splinter groups. So what is a Mandalorian? It depends. A Mandalorian, at the simplest level, is someone from the planet Mandalore — the home world where both the Mandalorian people and the Mandalorian culture originate. Din, by this definition, isn’t a native Mandalorian — as flashbacks from the first season showed, he was found as a child by members of his new tribe, adopted, and raised in their ways. There’s also the New Mandalorians, a group of pacifists who ruled over the planet after a civil war, who withdrew from their culture’s ways of war and tried to establish a more peaceful society. There’s the Death Watch, a rival group of Mandalorians who clung to their old warrior ways, allied themselves with Darth Maul, took over the planet, and suffered a schism (among other things — The Clone Wars and Rebels TV series offer a better look at the war for Mandalore). It’s not quite clear whether the Death Watch and the Children of the Watch are affiliated, but the names and affinity to Mandalorian history would certainly imply a connection. All of those factions are “Mandalorians,” too. By the end of the episode, the fight over whether Din’s or Kryze’s way of being a Mandalorian is “right” is rendered moot — the two sides realize, through the crucible of combat, that both are “real” Mandalorians, even if their aims and traditions differ. But the question of what truly makes a Mandalorian is one that likely will come up again. The show has already seen Din clash over non-Mandalorian ownership of his people’s iconic armor earlier this season, and it teased the return of that armor’s original owner — Boba Fett, who, much like Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth, is not actually a member of the Mandalorian race or culture. And whether you hold by Din’s view of what a Mandalorian is, Kryze’s, or any of the other various factions, one thing is clear: it’s about more than just wearing the right suit of armor. The Mandalorian’s new episode questions what a Mandalorian actually is
  5. The Mandalorian takes a stand on the line between good and evil in its latest episode What makes a hero — or a villain? If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. Part of The Verge guide to The Mandalorian “Empire. New Republic. It’s all the same to these people,” comments Migs Mayfield (Bill Burr) in the latest episode of The Mandalorian. For a while, it seems that the show believes it, dressing Mando up in stormtrooper armor as he goes to desperate lengths to save Baby Yoda (neé Grogu) from Moff Gideon. In “The Believer,” it’s not an X-Wing swooping in triumphantly to save our heroes; it’s Imperial TIE Fighters — a symbol that fans have come to associate with the forces of evil in the galaxy, potent symbology that The Mandalorian’s first season finale relied on to great effect. And director Rick Fukuyama works to really sell the audience on the victory of the Empire: soaring music plays in the background, as the base’s garrison rushes out to protect the battered truck, the only one to make it through the natives’ blockade. Our hero stands as the lone survivor, triumphant in his stormtrooper armor. We see troopers and officers cheering, all but high-fiving each other at the success. Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. The scene is almost an inversion of one earlier in season 2, when Mando faces off against two New Republic officers, whose X-wings shift menacingly into attack mode in a scene that paints the heroic Star Wars ships in an almost chilling light. Deep down, Mayfield argues, “We’re all the same.” Hero? Villain? It’s just a matter of perspective. It’s an argument that The Mandalorian has explored before. Werner Herzog’s Client back in season 1 makes a similar case: “The Empire improves every system it touches,” Herzog’s character ponders. “Judge by any metric: safety, prosperity, trade opportunity, peace. Compare Imperial rule to what is happening now. Look outside. Is the world more peaceful since the revolution? I see nothing but death and chaos.” And yet, despite the reversed framing, The Mandalorian rejects Mayfield’s hypothesis that everyone is the same underneath the different flags and uniforms. “Somewhere, someone in this galaxy is ruling, and others are being ruled,” Mayfield muses. But it’s what those in power do with that position that matters. And at the end of the earlier episode, the New Republic officers do swoop back and save Mando and his ship from hordes of ravenous ice spiders. But the Empire? The Empire plans to use its newly acquired rhydonium to create weapons that would make the planetary destruction of Operation: Cinder (the Emperor’s final order, designed to bring down the galaxy should he perish) look small. Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. It’s a moment that reframes the “heroic” victory before. Mando and Mayfield aren’t bringing desperately needed supplies to a village under siege; they’re transporting raw materials to make explosives. The “pirates” attacking their transport are natives, trying to defend their home against the ravages of the Empire. And the soaring fighters and battalion of stormtroopers gun them all down so that they can perpetuate the fighting. It’s fitting that it’s Mayfield himself who answers the question: when faced with his former superior officer, who commanded the murder of thousands of his own troops as part of the Emperor’s destructive contingency plan following his death, the former Imperial sharpshooter isn’t able to just sit there and toast with the man who ordered it. Because the Empire and the New Republic aren’t the same — even if the former has its virtues, and the latter, its flaws. It’s a sort of clarity we’ll likely get more of next week: a hero going to save his imprisoned, adopted child from an armor-clad villain with a sword doesn’t leave much room for gray areas anymore. The Mandalorian takes a stand on the line between good and evil in its latest episode
  6. 'The Mandalorian' is the most-pirated TV show released in 2020. The popular Disney+ series decrowned Game of Thrones which dominated the chart for years. Prime Video's 'The Boys' is listed in second place and HBO's Westworld completes the top three. At the end of every year, we take a look at the most-downloaded TV-episodes among torrenting pirates. For several years in a row the list was headed by Game of Thrones but, just like the series itself, this reign has now come to an end. With the title up for grabs, there were several contenders for the crown. “The Mandalorian” eventually came out as the winner. The popular Disney+ exclusive was previously the third most downloaded TV-series in 2019. The competition for the top spot was fierce with three titles standing out among the rest. Prime Video’s “The Boys” eventually settled for second place, one spot higher than HBO’s “Westworld.” The top three nicely shows how fragmented the online entertainment industry has become. In order to watch all three series, one needs three separate subscriptions. That’s a cost not everyone may be able to afford, which can explain part of the piracy problem. That said, the three TV-shows are first and foremost in this list because they are popular in general and especially with the online audience. That is true both on legal and illegal platforms. Apart from the changes at the top, it’s notable that there are several newcomers on the list, including “Star Trek: Picard” and “Outsider,” which both premiered in 2020. It’s worth noting that BitTorrent traffic only makes up a small portion of the piracy landscape. A lot of people use streaming sites and services nowadays, which generally do not report viewing stats. — Below we have compiled a list of the most torrented TV-shows worldwide (single episode). The ranking is based on several sources, including statistics reported by public BitTorrent trackers. Full season downloads are not included. Most downloaded TV-shows on BitTorrent, 2020 rank last year show 1 (3) The Mandalorian 2 (…) The Boys 3 (…) Westworld 4 (4) Vikings 5 (…) Star Trek: Picard 6 (8) Rick and Morty 7 (6) The Walking Dead 8 (…) The Outsider 9 (10) Arrow 10 (7) The Flash Source: TorrentFreak
  7. ‘The Mandalorian’ Is Way Better in Season 2 One of the few bright spots in 2020 was Season 2 of The Mandalorian, which recently aired on Disney+. Fantasy author Erin Lindsey had mixed feelings about Season 1, but thought that the new episodes were a big improvement. “They showed a lot more narrative patience in this run than the last one,” Lindsey says in Episode 448 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “So some of the more dramatic moments felt genuinely dramatic because they had been leading up to them, and building up to them, and earned them. Whereas I think they didn’t really do that as well in the first season.” Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley was particularly impressed with the show’s visuals, which often had a more epic, cinematic feel compared to Season 1. “In Season 1 The Mandalorian felt to me like ‘the scrappy little show that could,'” he says. “Obviously it’s been a big success, so I would assume they put more money into it this season. Stuff like the Krayt dragon was visually so amazing for a TV show. I just couldn’t believe how awesome it looked.” Star Wars properties have struggled in recent years to create characters who have the same chemistry as the original cast, but science fiction author Matthew Kressel says that the friendship between Din Djarin and Grogu may be his favorite Star Wars relationship to date. “There were these little tender moments, and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really affected,'” he says. “I don’t think I was ever quite affected like that in any of the films. So I thought that was a service to the writing and the strength of the characters.” The Mandalorian owes much of its appeal to the way it taps into fan nostalgia. Science fiction author Rajan Khanna acknowledges the danger of going back to the well too many times, but can’t deny the joy of seeing familiar characters and story elements. “The minute that Slave I appears, flying through the sky, I had some internal reaction that I can’t even describe to you,” he says. “It was like something opened up inside of me and I felt more whole as a human being. I know that sounds way over-the-top, but it was this visceral kind of thrill. The fact that this show can have moments like that, to me, is magical.” Listen to the complete interview with Erin Lindsey, Matthew Kressel, and Rajan Khanna in Episode 448 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.) Rajan Khanna on the future of Star Wars: “I don’t think that they can make series and movies that just explore other aspects of the world geographically. I think what they need to do is create series and movies that have different tones to them, and maybe explore different genres. I’ve always wanted to see the world cracked open—again, not so much so that we see what was happening on Hoth before they settled the base there or whatever, but it’s more that I want to see the political intrigue Star Wars series; I want to see the Star Wars equivalent of a Regency romance or a thriller. … I’m hoping that this Boba Fett series, for example, is going to be more crime boss-oriented, with elements of mob movies, in the Star Wars universe, and let’s see that side of things.” David Barr Kirtley on CGI characters: “I’ve had a whole thing about how they should have handled these CGI characters like Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One—basically I thought Tarkin should have been a hologram, and with Leia they should have just shown the door closing as the guy goes in, and then her word ‘hope’ should have just been a voiceover over the ship jumping to hyperspace. With this scene they needed Luke to say a couple more things. … If they were going to go the CGI route, I thought it should have been that he comes in, and it’s focused on everyone’s reactions to him, and their awe, and you just hear his voice. And then maybe when he says ‘May the Force be with you’ there’s a quick shot of his face, and then he leaves. That was the best way I could think of to handle it.” Erin Lindsey on Moff Gideon: “I wish that our big bad wasn’t a Moff with a cape. What I want is to keep the chicken man, but have him be much more subtle, manipulative, and conniving. I want to see the chicken man in space. He’s such an amazing actor, he’s so subtle in his delivery—Giancarlo Esposito. His performance in Breaking Bad is just so stunning, and to me, when you give him this really unsubtle role, you’re not playing to his strengths. He does as well as anyone would do in that role. I think he’s still a chilling character, he’s a good villain. But he’s too much of a Darth Vader redux for me. I just think this is a waste of a tremendous acting talent, when you could have a much more complex and layered villain.” Matthew Kressel on TV vs. movies: “I think one of the reasons why, for me, The Mandalorian works better than the last couple of movies is that they’re taking their time. They’re slowly building stuff, and I find this is a problem with a lot of blockbuster movies these days, where they just try to cram in everything, and then you only have a few seconds where you get to introduce the characters. And then of course two-thirds into the movie, one of them dies and you’re supposed to feel this emotional connection to them, but we only met them 30-40 minutes ago, and they had maybe one or two scenes. I’m not feeling it. Whereas when you have a series that can take its time building characters, you can have more of an emotional connection. I don’t think that if Grogu showed up in a movie, at the end of the movie we would have the strong emotional attachment to him that we do after 16 episodes of a series.” Source: ‘The Mandalorian’ Is Way Better in Season 2
  8. The Mandalorian season 2 will deal with a major part of Star Wars lore The Darksaber's true purpose will be revealed (Image credit: Lucasfilm) The Mandalorian season 2 will explain the origins of a major piece of Star Wars lore, it's been revealed. The Darksaber, a lightsaber-like weapon seen at the end of season 1 of the now Emmy-nominated Disney Plus series, will be a major focus in the next set of episodes. That's according to Giancarlo Esposito, who plays the villain Moff Gideon in the show. "You’ll see more of the darksaber, you’ll get the explanation of this ancient weapon to the modern world, a collapsed world,” Esposito told Deadline. “Where did this saber come from and how was it revived? It’s a key in our second season, which will be back sooner than later.” The Darksaber is a Mandalorian-made weapon, so it makes sense we'd find out more about it given the title of the show, but this is the strongest hint we've had yet of what season 2 will actually be about. The finale of season 1 teased the audience that they'd learn more about Baby Yoda's origins in the future – but otherwise we've not been clued in on what's planned by Jon Favreau and his team of Lucasfilm storytellers. “(The saber) is a key to Moff Gideon’s past, which possibly has a lot to do with where he comes from and his desire to build a planet and bring it back together," Esposito elaborated. The Darksaber featured prominently in The Clone Wars animated series. Its appearance in live-action was met with surprise, although it makes sense when you consider the fact that Lucasfilm's animated overseer Dave Filoni is deeply involved with The Mandalorian, too. The Mandalorian season 2 is set to release in October. What else is rumored for next season? You might want to stop reading if you'd like to go into The Mandalorian without spoilers, but credible reports on The Hollywood Reporter have pointed towards a number of Star Wars characters turning up in season 2. These include Boba Fett, played by Jango Fett actor Temuera Morrison, and The Clone Wars favorite Ahsoka Tano, rumored to be played by Ahsoka Tano. How they will weave into The Mandalorian's relatively small-scale story is a mystery. The Mandalorian season 2 will deal with a major part of Star Wars lore
  9. Disney's The Mandalorian scores a raft of Emmy noms, but competition is fierce Netflix leads tally, with 160 nominations of its own (Image credit: Disney) Less than a year after its launch, the Disney Plus streaming service has made a fantastic awards season debut, snagging a total of 19 nominations for this year's Emmy Awards, with The Mandalorian scoring 15 nods in total. Among its many nominations, the live-action Star Wars series managed to score a nomination in the Outstanding Drama Series category, which is the Emmy equivalent of Best Picture at the Oscars. Other notable categories for which The Mandalorian was nominated include Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for Taika Waititi's memorable portrayal of the IG-11 droid, Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) and Outstanding Special Visual Effects. Along with The Mandalorian, Disney Plus' Star Wars Resistance also received a nomination for Outstanding Children’s Program, alongside nods for The World According to Jeff Goldblum, The Imagineering Story, A Celebration of the Music From Coco, and Disney Pixar's animated short Forky Asks a Question. Also making its Emmys debut this year is Apple TV Plus, with the service landing 18 nominations across a number of shows and specials, including The Morning Show, Beastie Boys Story, Defending Jacob and Central Park. Some seriously stiff competition While Disney Plus' first showing at the Emmy Awards is certainly impressive, it is but a small drop in the ocean compared to Netflix's record-breaking number of nominations. The streaming giant has made history with an astounding 160 nods in total, easily smashing the 137 nomination record set by HBO in 2019. Of the Netflix shows receiving Emmy appreciation, Ozark leads the pack with 18 nods, followed by The Crown selected for 13 categories in total. That's not to say that HBO is lacking in nominations, picking up an incredible 107 nods of its own, with its celebrated Watchmen series earning 26 nominations – the most of any single series in competition this year. In second place is Amazon Prime Video's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which picked up an impressive 20 nods. Surprisingly, Amazon's hit original series The Boys only picked up one nomination for Outstanding Sound Editing. Streaming service Hulu also fared well, picking up nominations for Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Little Fires Everywhere, Ramy and The Handmaid's Tale. As you can see, the competition at this year's Emmy Awards is certainly going to be fierce – you'll be able find out if your favorite show will take home the big awards of the night when the ceremony airs on September 20, 2020. Disney's The Mandalorian scores a raft of Emmy noms, but competition is fierce
  10. A lone gunman roams a galaxy in chaos in first trailer for The Mandalorian New series takes place a few years after the fall of the Empire. Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano star in The Mandalorian, a new Star Wars series debuting with Disney+ in November. Fans went wild as Disney debuted the first trailer for its hotly anticipated original series, The Mandalorian, last night at D23, the annual fan extravaganza the studio has been organizing for the last several years. The series will be released in conjunction with the company's new streaming platform, Disney+, on November 12, 2019. Starring Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell, aka the Red Viper, in Game of Thrones) as the Mandalorian, the series takes place a few years "after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order,'" according to the official synopsis. Pascal's bounty hunter is "a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic." Pascal delighted the assembled fans with a surprise appearance at D23, along with co-stars Gina Carano, who plays Cara Dune, a former Rebel Shock Trooper; Carl Weathers as Greef Carga, leader of a bounty-hunter guild; Giancarlo Esposito; and Taika Waititi, who voices the droid IG-11. Ming-Na Wen (Agents of Shield) has also been cast in the series. Showrunner and series creator Jon Favreau was also on stage for the event, and he explained that, after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, there was a period of chaos and lawlessness as a new government struggled to emerge from the wreckage. The trailer plays up the space opera/spaghetti Western crossover vive. There's almost no dialogue, just scenes depicting a mysterious lone figure taking on an assignment from Carga to track something. Or someone. Could it be Han Solo trapped in carbonite? There are battles in space and on land, and there's even a tense standoff as the Mandalorian is surrounded. The only dialogue is uttered by Werner Herzog at the very end: "Bounty hunting is a complicated profession," he drawls. "Don't you agree?" All in all, it's got a great Firefly feel to it. We can't wait to see more. The Mandalorian will premiere along with the Disney+ streaming service on November 12, 2019. Listing image by YouTube/Star Wars/Disney Source: A lone gunman roams a galaxy in chaos in first trailer for The Mandalorian (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  11. Love Baby Yoda, you must Internet backlash against The Mandalorian's breakout character has already begun. Enlarge / Awwwww... Disney+ No matter how frequently it happens, when people online love something obsessively, when they simply must stan, it always brings out the cynics. Their cynicism, in turn, will be understood as intellectual seriousness. As maturity. To wit: This week the internet pledged its fealty to Baby Yoda—the tiny alien from Disney+’s The Mandalorian—and was immediately met with the rationale of Adult Nerds eager to pronounce each fan a nerf-herding sap who doesn’t really understand the object of their affection. It’s a reality created by clicks as much as crotchetiness. Baby Yoda hype has produced beatific meme-collection posts showcasing how many adherents would die for the li'l green cherub, speculations about what role Baby Yoda will play in The Mandalorian, and beyond. Naysaying is the obvious next step. Baby Yoda backlash has already begun. Take the bait, I will not. Reasons to be suspicious of the creature, and its popularity, do exist. The best one is that Baby Yoda is a bit of marketing calculus on Disney’s part, a being engineered to be cute enough to move scores of toys this holiday season. OK, sure. There is Baby Yoda merch on the way, but, historically speaking, there have been toys, T-shirts, keychains, and all manner of schwag for nearly every Star Wars character regardless of their adorableness level. Even if Disney didn't release official items, someone else would, as evidenced by the “black market” guides to Baby Yoda gear that went up before news broke about the official products. The Star Wars universe also has a mixed track record with its ritual infusions of cuteness. Jar Jar Binks is an insipid scaly rabbit-frog who never needed to exist, and porgs are a mostly plot-irrelevant bit of filler designed to mask puffin infiltration. Hating ewoks is a meme of its own, though the reason most give for hating them—that they disrupt the original trilogy’s supposed seriousness and grit with their mawkish fluffiness—is a bit much. Are the ewoks, who brutally murder multiple stormtroopers and were instrumental in helping the rebels capture the Empire’s base on Endor really more of a distraction than C-3PO’s constant dithering and disassembly? Or do people hate them out of spite because they know they’re supposed to love them, but a part of them can’t help but do just that? We must resist this ewokification of Baby Yoda, because it hurts everyone invested in Star Wars. There’s something grindingly, performatively grouchy in leaping forward to damn something that “everyone” likes, in no small part because everyone likes it. It’s like when stuffy grown-ups poo-poo anything teenage girls like because they believe their youthful enthusiasm is somehow tainting art. As Adult Yoda says, “Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yes, people love Baby Yoda. Yes, people are meant to. But suggesting that Disney and The Mandalorian are somehow cheating by making Baby Yoda so cute that it brought Werner Herzog to tears (<ahref="https://www.gq.com/story/werner-herzog-baby-yoda">a real thing that happened) is like faulting a chef for salting their food. Spoilers: Baby Yoda has done next to nothing in The Mandalorian except float in an egg-cradle, nap, eat a frog, and use the Force to help the Mandalorian kill a beast so he could steal its baby, which isn’t even a very Light-side move. Despite this, Baby Yoda is, in fact, so lovable that its lovability is evidence of storytellers and character designers at the peak of their powers. Typically, building a character out of elements people are sure to adore is a ticket to Try-Hardsville. (If your mind is like mine and only hangs onto bizarro scraps of internet culture, the ultimate example is Mountain Dew’s 2016 Super Bowl commercial, “Puppy Monkey Baby,” featuring a creature that was a nightmarish amalgam of what should have been the internet’s favorite things.) Baby Yoda is different. The character is simply a mashup of the most beloved being in the Star Wars universe, Disney's cuteness formula, and a superbaby. The adorableness of its innocent corgi-monkey-gremlin face is only enhanced by your memory of Yoda's wisened visage; it easily unseats Baby Groot as the best babified grizzled genre character. Internet obsession with Baby Yoda was bound to happen—it's science. Love it, you must. OK to enjoy things, it is. This story originally appeared on wired.com. Source: Love Baby Yoda, you must (Ars Technica)
  12. The Mandalorian’s first episode is a no-brainer reason to pay for Disney+ A bounty hunter’s surprising journey in a post-Empire world: Giddyap, space cowboy. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. While Disney+ debuts today with a healthy slew of classic films and new series, its biggest day-one draw has to be Star Wars' first live-action TV series, The Mandalorian. Ahead of its launch, we wondered how well the show, about a bounty hunter living in the era between Episodes VI and VIII, might lean into the archetype of space westerns. Today, we now know that this is a full yee-haw and yippy-ki-yay of a gunslinging time with a new, faceless, grizzled anti-hero. Even better, by the first episode's end, the reveal of his surprising journey had me shouting a hearty "whaaaaat?!" It's been a while since a TV series pilot has had me this excited. This review of the series' pilot episode contains mild plot spoilers—and errs on the side of vague descriptions. "Pre-Empire?" The titular star of The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) first appears in this series in traditional western fashion: in the middle of an average day's work. For this renowned bounty hunter, that means kicking butts and picking up wanted goons. We meet the Mandalorian, who isn't referred to by any other name, in mostly silent fashion. He has little to say to drunken bullies at a bar, nor to the patron he's there to meet (and escort far, far away). This opening sequence comes with a nearly pitch-perfect comedic touch, thanks both to a blue-collar, blue-skinned criminal (played by SNL's Horatio Sanz) and a confused ferry handler (played by comedian and famed Star Wars super-geek Brian Posehn). That comedic touch is crucial, because the Mandalorian opts for the silent-and-stoic approach when peppered with questions. "She's classic!" Sanz's alien character says about the Mandalorian's crusty spaceship. "Pre-Empire?" The bounty hunter stares forward in response, his helmet shining with the slight glow of whatever nearby star is visible through the cockpit. That's the point. We as viewers sit uncomfortably with this silence, taking in the fact that this series takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi. What life is there for a bounty hunter in such an era? Sure enough, when the Mandalorian cashes in his latest bounties, he's nearly paid by his handler (Greef Carga, played by Carl Weathers) in worthless Empire currency. The pesky roster of newly available jobs aren't even worth the cost of gas, Mandalorian complains, to which Greef replies: Well, there is one job... After an awkward meeting with a mysterious handler (Werner Herzog), who hides in a basement bunker with an army of Stormtroopers, the Mandalorian finds himself set up with a new gig, complete with unclear coordinates and a ludicrously high payment. This new "client' doesn't have much in the way of demands beyond one request: that his bounty be brought in "alive," If possible. "I've only heard the stories" First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. This 40-minute pilot episode is careful to surround the Mandalorian with chatty characters, though the opening emphasis on humor is notably dialed back after the first 10 minutes. This tactic pays off pretty handsomely, in part because we see the show's "what's going on" explanations come organically from characters like Greef and "the client." After this, we get a pretty nifty point of contrast. The Mandalorian's eventual landing on a new planet—massive, mostly deserted, covered in sand dunes, yep, it's a Star Wars character origin story—begins with a crisis. The Mandalorian gets into some heat, and the person who saves him (a pig-nosed humanoid alien, played by Nick freakin' Nolte) winds up being even more stoic and reserved. Thus, we get to see our anti-hero poke out of his guarded shell, however briefly, in search of knowledge and context for why he's being helped. Not only do we get a brief hint of his character's humanity, we also see Nolte earn his paycheck as a ridiculous curmudgeon of a character—and one who drops some massive wisdom about our story's hero, and his foretold reputation, in a powerful, blink-and-you'll-miss-it dollop. At this point, we see the Mandalorian overcome some odds, curry Nolte's favor, and make his way to a heavily guarded compound. Pardon the mini-spoiler here, but Taika Waititi shows up as the voice of a surprise-appearance droid who ruins the Mandalorian's stakeout, and he has to contend with the fallout. This is the pilot episode's purest western moment: a laser saloon shoutout, by golly, and it shines thanks to silly Mandalorian-and-droid chatter and a ramp-up of heavy-duty weaponry. After that, well... I'm not saying a single specific thing, except that my Star Wars-loving self was caught off guard by the episode-clinching twist, which had me foaming at the mouth for what's to come next. Careful costumes, comedic CGI Yet even if you take the moment in question and drop it into our comment section (please don't, at least not without spoiler tags), that single statement wouldn't do enough to sum up what makes me eager for next week's episode to drop. (If you're wondering: Disney+ is opting for a one-episode-per-week launch schedule at this point, with no confirmed episode schedule available just yet; sorry if you thought you had a full Mandalorian binge ahead of you.) Rather, the production crew, led by Iron Man and Swingers Director Jon Favreau, seems to really understand what makes a seedy Star Wars story worth following. I loved the balance of practical effects, carefully molded alien costumes, and intentionally cheeseball CGI. You'll see our hero ride a digital alien as a mount at one point, and the low-budget bounce of this creature over hills and valleys feels delightfully animated, not obnoxiously cheap. Those brief CGI moments are forgivable in light of gorgeous set design, a John Williams-caliber score of brand-new compositions, and a cast of actors who savor their pauses, beats, and moments to simmer in tension (both for action and comedy's sake). Not only did I have fun, I was shocked to see the episode's 40 minutes practically melt in a snap. If the pilot is any indication, The Mandalorian is Star Wars for a generation of fans who remember the film series as an aesthetic, an ethos, and a promise of morally mixed discovery. And I'm already ready to hitch my space western wagon to this wild ride. Listing image by Disney+ / Lucasfilm Source: The Mandalorian’s first episode is a no-brainer reason to pay for Disney+ (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  13. The Mandalorian shows what Star Wars’ future looks like over the next few years The Mandalorian is a perfect example of where Star Wars should go Star Wars is synonymous with big; big battles, big ships and, most importantly, big movie theater screens. But the future is changing, and The Mandalorian perfectly demonstrates what it looks like. The next three years will see Star Wars’ universe expand on Disney+. Disney isn’t planning to release another Star Wars movie until 2022. Executives have publicly recognized the audience fatigue the current annual release schedule brings. It’s the first time in four years that there won’t be an annual Star Wars movie, but the franchise isn’t really going anywhere. The first toe dipped into the water was Disney+’s The Mandalorian, which just aired its season finale to critical and fan praise. Ultimately The Mandalorian’s ambitious, albeit-hiccup-filled first season was satisfying, and a perfect example of how Lucasfilm can expand the Star Wars universe without having to rely on big theatrical events. Even in parts where The Mandalorian stumbled, it never felt as severe as problems people have with Star Wars movies, like the prequels and The Rise of Skywalker. Those stumbles are growing pains that can be ironed out in the subsequent season. There’s less pressure for a Star Wars show compared to a new movie — and especially a new trilogy. Lucasfilm and Disney are now in a perfect spot: The Mandalorian is a success, Star Wars is ripe for more experimentation, and Disney+ is a new sandbox that will allow for similar experiments. The future of Star Wars won’t only live and die by big event films like The Rise of Skywalker; it’ll succeed with a consistent run of weird and fun Star Wars shows. The Mandalorian is one project that was tested and exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Disney CEO Bob Iger. The Mandalorian became the most talked-about show of the year, and created a phenomenon in Baby Yoda. Weekly hype on Twitter for new episodes starkly contrasted the negative discourse surrounding The Rise of Skywalker. Much of the conversation, which brought up issues people had with the trilogy as a whole, including The Last Jedi, seemed to signal a point of weariness for the current Star Wars saga. While the movies aren’t going away forever, fatigue is settling in. The next couple of years will exist as time for Disney to tweak Disney+, and test out ideas within beloved franchises to see what people want and what they don’t. The animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars is coming back for a seventh season next year, and there’s a possibility that Diego Luna’s series based on his Rogue One character, Cassian Andor, could land in the second half of 2020. The Mandalorian is already renewed for a second season, likely to appear in 2020 or 2021. And then there’s Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan show, once rumored to be a spinoff-film similar to Solo, which is likely to hit as a streaming series in 2021. Star Wars as a universe feels even more integrated with Disney+ than it did as a series of films and select animated shows. Disney+ as a product is a big bet for the company, and the stakes are high, but taking bets on shows that once upon a time may have been forced to fit into a bigger tentpole movie template isn’t as risky. Disney needs content for its streaming service. Star Wars as a universe allows for countless stories. It’s a perfect franchise for Disney to explore, giving fans more Star Wars in their lives, but in bite-sized chunks that aren’t as connected to the Skywalker saga. Cross-pollinating Disney+ and big theatrical events is a way to keep people engaged with a franchise — even if it’s exhausting and eye-roll-inducing from a creative standpoint. There are multiple ways to build out a franchise — just look at The Matrix, Fast and Furious, and DC Movies — but based on prior comments from executives, Disney is likely to take an approach with Star Wars that echoes what Marvel Studios has planned. That includes bringing on producers like Kevin Feige, who essentially shaped the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and teaming with individual directors to tell different stories within the Star Wars universe. It’s already a strategy we’re beginning to see in action. New shows like Falcon and the Winter Soldier will pick up where Avengers: Endgame left off. Others, like Loki and WandaVision will exist in tied-in universes. Using big tentpole movie events like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness to tie it all together is part of Feige’s strategy for the MCU. Marvel’s future is reliant on Disney+ being more than a platform where movies end up and one-off TV shows live. If all goes as planned, they’ll feed into each other. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is not just a theatrical play, Agnes Chu, head of content for Disney+ told The Verge. By looping in stories with Disney+ shows, it’s a streaming one too. It’s not just Marvel that Disney is looking to do this with either, according to execs. Other franchises — like Star Wars — are also set to receive similar treatment. If Disney wants to move Star Wars forward as a franchise, using Disney+ as a playground to take bigger swings and push creative boundaries is essential. The Mandalorian is proof. Source: The Mandalorian shows what Star Wars’ future looks like over the next few years (The Verge)
  14. The Mandalorian was shot on a holodeck-esque set with Unreal Engine, video shows This video depicts one of the most radical evolutions of filmmaking in years. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. Industrial Light and Magic has published a behind-the-scenes video on the production of Disney+'s The Mandalorian that gives an illuminating look at two of the biggest, high-tech trends in film and TV production: LED sets, and using game engines to create scenes. The video explains a major shift in virtual filmmaking that is unknown to most viewers. It has historically been impractical to achieve the production values seen in The Mandalorian in TV series, because the kind of visual effects work necessary simply takes more time than a TV production schedule allows. Generally, special effects-driven productions shoot scenes with actors and props in front of a green screen, and then teams add in the background environments and any computer-generated objects in a lengthy post-production period. That's not how things worked on The Mandalorian. Executive Producer Jon Favreau, Industrial Light and Magic, and game engine-maker Epic Games collaborated to use the Unreal Engine to pre-render scenes then display them as parallax images on giant LED walls and an LED ceiling in a 21-by-75-feet digital set. It's part of a lineage of production techniques and tools developed by Favreau's teams called StageCraft. This approach offered numerous benefits. The ILM video demonstrating the tech used to shoot The Mandalorian. First off, actors could see virtual objects and environments around them in real-time, including horizon lines. This solves a long-standing problem with VFX-heavy productions and actors' difficulties getting in the scene or responding realistically to objects or sights in it. Assets could be changed on the fly as requested by the director or director of photography (DP). So, if the director decides that a certain building in the background is messing with the framing or otherwise detracting from their vision, they could request that the stage operator move the building in just a few seconds. Additionally to that point, real-time lighting is provided by the LED panels, so lighting can be changed with a simple iPad interface without requiring long periods of manually moving physical lights. (This task takes an enormous amount of time out of each day during traditional shoots.) Entire sets can be unloaded and replaced with totally new ones in a matter of minutes, provided there is also not a heavy use of practical effects in tandem—something completely impossible in traditional filmmaking. All of this allows the director, crew, and creatives to be more flexible in production, try different approaches, and ultimately, avoid hundreds or even thousands of hours of revisions in post-production. It even extends to pre-production: the toolkit allows scoping out shots and location scouting in virtual reality before shooting begins. And it lets producers avoid the enormous cost of shipping entire productions, crews, and casts to far-flung deserts, forests, tundras, or what have you for location shooting. Favreau features prominently in the video, but he went into much more detail during an interview at 2019's annual SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference. Quoted in VFX blog Befores & Afters, he said: We got a tremendous percentage of shots that actually worked in-camera, just with the real-time renders in engine, that I didn’t think Epic was going to be capable of. For certain types of shots, depending on the focal length and shooting with anamorphic lensing, there’s a lot of times where it wasn’t just for interactive – we could see in camera, the lighting, the interactive light, the layout, the background, the horizon. We didn’t have to mash things together later. Even if we had to up-res or replace them, we had the basis point and all the interactive light. VFX were not the only benefit, he added: For the actors, it was great because you could walk on the set, and even if it’s just for interactive light, you are walking into an environment where you see what’s around you. Even though [the LED walls] might not hold up to the scrutiny if you’re staring right at it from close up, you’re still getting peripheral vision. You know where the horizon is, you feel the light on you. You’re also not setting up a lot of lights. You’re getting a lot of your interactive light off of those LED walls. To me, this is a huge breakthrough. Engines traditionally used for game development have become bigger and bigger players in film and TV production in recent years, as part of the ongoing development of the virtual filmmaking disciplines. A video from Epic Games that gives a more detailed look at the tools and how they can be used. Unreal is not the only engine used for this kind of work, either. Favreau previously used competing game engine Unity for the Disney CG/live action remakes of The Jungle Book and The Lion King, and Unity has been used in other productions like Blade Runner 2049 as well. Unity is often used for pre-visualization. And while it's animation software rather than a game engine, we recently published an article on how game development tool iClone was used in the production of the Keanu Reeves film Replicas. The Mandalorian is not the first big production to use LED sets, but some of the specifics of the implementation here, particularly features driven by Unreal, are cutting edge. This video has led to some effusive tweets and headlines from the VFX and virtual filmmaking professional communities, including the headline "You are going to flip when you see this video of how The Mandalorian was made" from the above-mentioned Befores & Afters. These are the early days for some (not all) of the related technologies, and further developments may introduce more refinements. The benefits here aren't so much that they produce more realistic results than traditional VFX tech and workflows; in fact, some viewers felt The Mandalorian looked a little flat in places, and some of that impression stems from limitations of this tech. But as has already been the case with The Mandalorian, tech like this will make previously impractical concepts for TV series and films much more feasible. Listing image by ILM Source: The Mandalorian was shot on a holodeck-esque set with Unreal Engine, video shows (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  15. The Mandalorian season 2: release date, Baby Yoda's homeworld and what we know The Mandalorian season 2 is coming in 2020 (Image credit: Lucasfilm) While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been just as divisive among the fanbase as its predecessor, The Last Jedi, the galaxy has been much more united in its love of Disney Plus TV show The Mandalorian – and it's not just because of uber-cute Force child Baby Yoda. The eagerly anticipated The Mandalorian season 2 is set to return to the lawless Western-themed worlds of the show's brilliant first year, but with extra intrigue. How will the eponymous bounty hunter, Din Djaren, carry out his mission to locate Baby Yoda's home and people? What is the mysterious “Darksaber“ brandished by Imperial officer Moff Gideon in the season 1 finale? And what Skywalker saga characters might The Mandalorian be running into? Ahead of its return in fall 2020, we ask all the important questions about The Mandalorian season 2 release date, story and more... The Mandalorian season 2 release date: coming fall 2020 The Mandalorian season 2 was always inevitable – indeed, showrunner Jon Favreau announced that production had begun when when a single season 1 episode had aired. Favreau revealed a little more on Friday December 27, via a tweet confirming that the new season is coming in Fall 2020. The Mandalorian season 1 debuted on November 12, 2019, so don’t be surprised if there’s a similar date for season 2. The Mandalorian season 2 will be about the search for Baby Yoda's home (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm) One of George Lucas’s big rules in Star Wars storytelling was that the identity of veteran Jedi master Yoda’s species and planet were to be kept under wraps. It looks like that particular prime directive may have been discarded by Disney now it owns the Lucasfilm empire, however, as all the signs suggest The Mandalorian season 2 will focus on the search for “the Child” – aka Baby Yoda’s – home. During the season 1 finale, the Mandalorian Armorer on Nevarro tells the Mandalorian (real name Din Djaren) that because Baby Yoda is a foundling (and therefore probably not, as previously speculated, a clone), “By creed it it is in your care.” She then adds that, “You have no choice, you must reunite it with its own kind.” Unfortunately for Mando, however, the Armorer didn’t have any information on where he might find them: “This you must determine,” she teases. But as ever in Star Wars, there’s a degree of ambiguity here – and the identity of who the Mandalorian is actually looking for may come down to your own point of view. Perhaps Mando is, as it seems at first glance, looking for the homeworld of Yoda’s species. Or maybe he’s simply looking for Jedi who survived the Emperor’s Order 66 purge in Revenge of the Sith, some three decades earlier. Why the confusion? In the Outer Rim worlds that provide the setting for The Mandalorian, the Force exploits of the Jedi are just myth – indeed, the Mandalorian simply says of Baby Yoda’s Force abilities that “it can move objects with its mind”. “I know of such things,” the Armorer reveals. “The songs of aeons past tell of battles between Mandalore the Great and an order of sorcerers called Jedi that fought with such powers.” Crucially, when Mando asks if Baby Yoda is an enemy, the Armorer states: “Its kind were enemies but this individual is not.” So seeing as Mandalore’s battles were with the Jedi, rather than specifically with Yoda’s species, this implies that Mando’s new bounty may actually be the Jedi... Or maybe the Mandalorian will settle for simply finding out Baby Yoda's name. Apparently he has one, and Disney CEO Bob Iger told The Star Wars Show that he knows what it is – not that he's giving anything away. The Mandalorian season 2: the Darksaber explained Above: clips from The Clone Wars featuring the Darksaber. When Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) cuts himself out of his stricken TIE Fighter at the end of The Mandalorian season 1 finale, he uses a blade that sounds much like a lightsaber, but looks rather different to the weapons we’re used to seeing in the hands of Jedi and Sith. More sword-like in shape, with a black blade surrounded by a bright glow, it should, however, be familiar to viewers of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Because unless we’re very much mistaken, this looks like the legendary Darksaber. This unique weapon is a key part of Star Wars – and particularly Mandalorian – lore. Originally created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian warrior to join the Jedi order, it became a symbol of power on the planet of Mandalore. At the conclusion of Star Wars Rebels (set two years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope) it ended up in the hands of Bo-Katan Kryze, who was deemed the rightful heir to the Mandalorian leadership. But how did such an important weapon end up in Moff Gideon’s hands? We do know that at some point between the end of Rebels and Return of the Jedi, the Empire carried out the so-called “Great Purge”, all but wiping out the Mandalorians. We also know that Gideon was an officer in the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) during the Purge, so could have obtained the Darksaber from Bo-Katan at that time. (If that does turn out to be the case, it’ll be intriguing to find out if Bo-Katan survived – she was played by Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff in both The Clone Wars and Rebels, so this could be a chance to get a fan-favorite actor into the show.) Alternatively, the Darksaber could have been in the possession of the Mandalorian “Tribe” living underground on Nevarro throughout The Mandalorian season 1 –Gideon may simply have obtained it when his Imperial remnant wiped out most of the Mandalorians in hiding. This seems less likely, however – surely the surviving Armorer would have protected such an important weapon with her life. The Mandalorian season 2: Original Trilogy characters rumored According to Deadline, “Insiders have hinted that several established characters from the Skywalker saga’s feature films mythology will make appearances during the show’s sophomore season.” Jon Favreau’s release date tweet above showed a picture of a Gamorrean, one of the so-called Pig Guards from Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi, but we suspect that – if this insider's rumors are accurate – they’re referring to someone who’s a significantly bigger deal in the saga than that. While Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader and the Emperor are dead (or so the galaxy believes…) and Luke Skywalker is unlikely to crop up away from the saga that bears his name, there are plenty of big names in the Star Wars universe who’ll be operating around the time of The Mandalorian, set five years after the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. Original trilogy survivors Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, R2-D2, and even Rebel legends Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb could all cross paths with the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. But we’d be much more interested to see General Hux’s dad, Brendol – a former Imperial officer who was instrumental in the formation of the First Order – or even SPOILER ALERT Rey’s parents. Now that we know they lived in hiding – pretending to be “nobody” before giving Rey away – any new glimpses at their backstory could enhance what we learned in The Rise of Skywalker. Perhaps most likely, however, is the reappearance of various bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to capture the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. IG-88, Zuckuss, Dengar, Bossk and 4-LOM are still theoretically looking for work in the time of The Mandalorian season 2, and definitely operate in the same hives of scum and villainy as our friendly neighborhood Mando. Maybe we’ll even see a return for the legendary Boba Fett… Yes, he was last seen being swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, but the bounty hunter did manage to escape 1000 years of digestion in the old Expanded Universe “Legends” stories, a plot that could be ported over into official canon. And there’s also been plenty of speculation online that the mysterious figure on Tatooine who finds the body of the deceased Fennec Shand in Chapter 5, “The Gunslinger”, may be Fett himself – the jangling spurs might just be a clue... And even if the owner of the spurs isn't Fett, one particularly interesting theory suggested on Inverse suggests it could be a member of the family – Ailyn Vel, his daughter in the Legends stories. Could this be the identity of this mysterious Funko Pop! Vinyl figure? The Mandalorian is some of the best Star Wars in years We can't wait for a second season of The Mandalorian. A couple of less thrilling episodes towards the middle of season one aside, the simple storytelling and stylish imagery of this show made it a satisfying glimpse at a different side of the Star Wars universe. Creator Jon Favreau has plenty on the table to pay off in season 2. Source: The Mandalorian season 2: release date, Baby Yoda's homeworld and what we know (TechRadar)
  16. The Mandalorian Could Use a Watson The Mandalorian is cool, but he may needs some friends his own age. (So, like, not Baby Yoda.) Courtesy of Disney The new Star Wars TV show The Mandalorian follows the adventures of a ruthless bounty hunter named Din Djarin. It has a strong Western vibe, something science fiction author Rajan Khanna appreciated immediately. “One of the things I’ve always wanted to see from the Star Wars universe is them tackling other genres, so not just space opera, but Westerns, thrillers, spy stuff, whatever,” Khanna says in Episode 395 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I think the universe is broad enough and deep enough to handle that, so to have this Western feel worked really well for me.” Din Djarin is a man of few words, and for virtually the entire show his face is hidden behind an expressionless metal helmet. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley says that’s appropriate, since the character is clearly intended to capitalize on the popularity of another Star Wars bounty hunter, Boba Fett. “[Boba Fett’s] appeal is basically that he’s so mysterious, and you don’t know everything about him, and there’s not a ton of character development,” Kirtley says. “So I feel like maybe it would not be true to that whole character or that whole appeal if [Din Djarin] had a lot of character development and you knew his backstory in extreme detail.” But science fiction author Matthew Kressel found the lack of characterization frustrating, particularly over the course of an eight-episode TV show. “You get tiny little glimpses of who he is, but every time they give you a glimpse, it’s a cliché,” Kressel says. “Who is he? What are his values? What does he think? Does he have any great desires? I never got any of that.” Fantasy author Erin Lindsey says the solution might be to pair Din Djarin with a more relatable sidekick, similar to the dynamic between Sherlock Holmes and Watson. This would allow Din Djarin to remain aloof and mysterious while still providing opportunities for richer characterization and emotional connection. “We don’t have to understand him, but we do need to attach to him somehow, even if it’s via a third party,” she says. Listen to the complete interview with Rajan Khanna, Matthew Kressel, and Erin Lindsey in Episode 395 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below. David Barr Kirtley on nostalgia: “This was really bringing back memories of watching The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. with my dad. I don’t actually remember the show that well. It’s a Western—I think sort of a Weird Western or Steampunk Western or something—but I just vividly remember the feeling of watching that show with my dad, and this really brought back those memories, because it does have this very distinct Old West kind of vibe to it. … What this show is doing is it’s a conscious repudiation of all the advances that TV storytelling has made in the last 20 years. Particularly in the middle, it’s very episodic. It’s simple and straightforward, and the characters are fairly straightforward, and it’s just fun. I think a lot of your reaction to it is going to be whether you find that return to a simpler era of television to be refreshing and nostalgic or just retrograde.” Matthew Kressel on bad writing: “I see this a lot in bad storytelling, where the storyteller wants a specific thing to happen, so they manipulate the reality of the world to make that happen. And in [the episode called] ‘The Prisoner,’ it’s this stupid beacon. It’s like, ‘Oh, if you press this beacon then X-wings come and blow you up.’ And I’m like, ‘OK? I guess?’ So apparently you could just take that beacon and put it anywhere, and the X-wings would come and be like, ‘Well, that’s the beacon, I guess we should blow it up.’ What reality is this in? And why is this prison ship not traveling through hyperspace? Why is it traveling through space at a slow speed? I don’t get that. So there were just really weird, stupid plot choices.” Erin Lindsey on Giancarlo Esposito: “Giancarlo Esposito is one of my favorite television actors. He’s played one of the most chilling television villains of all time. So they have some great raw clay to work with there. Clearly their intention with this season—at least I think so—was just to introduce him and let us know that he exists, and presumably he’s a recurring big bad in the next season, which is one of the reasons I’m excited. But one of the things that makes Giancarlo Esposito so amazing is that he’s such a subtle actor, and how do you really get the best out of a subtle actor in a black cape and Darth Vader outfit surrounded by stormtroopers? That’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer. So it’s going to be really interesting to watch how they blend those two things.” Rajan Khanna on bounty hunters: “I’ve always wanted more of a bounty hunter ‘scum and villany’ focus, so I think that was great. It harkens back to the ‘Han shoots first’ era of Star Wars. There’s a point at which the Mandalorian disintegrates a couple of Jawas right off the bat, and nothing is made of it. He doesn’t feel super guilty or whatever. And I kind of liked that focus. … I really liked the fact that the big bad [in episode 4]—the big thing that was so difficult and dangerous—was just an AT-ST Walker, which we’ve seen many times before, and Ewoks are able to kill them with two logs, but on this scale it’s something that’s devastating, and it takes this big effort to bring it down, which I appreciated. I liked seeing that smaller scale.” Source: The Mandalorian Could Use a Watson (Wired)
  17. The Mandalorian season 2: release date, Baby Yoda, Darksaber, Ahsoka Tano and what we know The Mandalorian season 2 has an October 2020 release date We can't think of a Disney Plus show we're looking forward to more than The Mandalorian season 2. The Star Wars saga has had its ups, and its downs (cough, Rise of Skywalker, cough) for sure, but season 1 of the highly anticipated show certainly established itself as the former. It won't be long before Baby Yoda, and a fresh stream of memes, will be back: filming has already finished. Speaking of the diminutive green jedi, The Mandalorian season 2 will likely focus on the search for his homeworld, as the finale to season 1 suggests. We'll also see "major, major, epic, epic lightsaber action" according to Giancarlo Esposito, who'll return as the Darksaber-wielding Moff Gideon. We may also see Skywalker characters, if the rumors floating around bear fruit. And it's looking like Ahsoka Tano from The Clone Wars will turn up this season, based on recent reports. Here's everything we know about The Mandalorian season 2, including the release date, story, and what we know about the Darksaber. We'll also discuss the potential spin-offs being prepped for the smash hit Star Wars TV show. The Mandalorian season 2 release date: October 2020 The Mandalorian season 2 officially has a release date of October 2020, which Disney confirmed in its earnings report in February. Season 2 was already in the works when season 1 started releasing on Disney Plus – confirmation of a second season came from creator Jon Favreau after just one episode was released. Favreau revealed a little more on Friday December 27, with a tweet confirming that the new season would be coming in Fall 2020. Only later was the specific month of October revealed by Disney. Now, filming on season 2 appears to have wrapped as of March 2020, based on this Instagram post from star Gina Carano: The Mandalorian season 2 reportedly casts Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano A report from Slashfilm suggests that Rosario Dawson will play The Clone Wars favorite Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian season 2. This would mark the character's first appearance in live-action. The outlet reports that two sources verified the info, but that Lucasfilm or Dawson's representatives wouldn't comment on it. Variety, too, confirmed the report, saying it's a guest-starring role. The Mandalorian season 2 story: the search for Baby Yoda's homeworld and Darksaber action (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm) George Lucas had a rule that Jedi Master Yoda's species and home planet weren't to be disclosed, back when he was in charge of Star Wars.Now that Disney is in charge of Lucasfilm and Star Wars, though, it's likely that this has changed, as everything suggest The Mandalorian season 2 will focus on the search for “the Child” – aka Baby Yoda’s – home. During the season 1 finale, the Mandalorian Armorer on Nevarro tells the Mandalorian (real name Din Djarin) that because Baby Yoda is a foundling (and therefore probably not, as previously speculated, a clone), “By creed it it is in your care.” She then adds that, “You have no choice, you must reunite it with its own kind.” Unfortunately for Mando, however, the Armorer didn’t have any information on where he might find them: “This you must determine,” she teases. But as ever in Star Wars, there’s a degree of ambiguity here – and the identity of who the Mandalorian is actually looking for may come down to your own point of view. Perhaps Mando is, as it seems at first glance, looking for the homeworld of Yoda’s species. Or maybe he’s simply looking for Jedi who survived the Emperor’s Order 66 purge in Revenge of the Sith, some three decades earlier. Why the confusion? In the Outer Rim worlds that provide the setting for The Mandalorian, the Force exploits of the Jedi are just myth – indeed, the Mandalorian simply says of Baby Yoda’s Force abilities that “it can move objects with its mind”. “I know of such things,” the Armorer reveals. “The songs of aeons past tell of battles between Mandalore the Great and an order of sorcerers called Jedi that fought with such powers.” Crucially, when Mando asks if Baby Yoda is an enemy, the Armorer states: “Its kind were enemies but this individual is not.” So seeing as Mandalore’s battles were with the Jedi, rather than specifically with Yoda’s species, this implies that Mando’s new bounty may actually be the Jedi... Or maybe the Mandalorian will settle for simply finding out Baby Yoda's name. Apparently he has one, and Disney CEO Bob Iger told The Star Wars Show that he knows what it is – not that he's giving anything away. Speculation over Yoda's name continues. Of course, we'll see more of Moff Gideon in season 2 of The Mandalorian, probably looking for revenge after the battle at the end of season 1. "Major, major, epic, epic lightsaber action happening on this show," the actor said at Fan Expo Canada (via Comic Book). Whoever Gideon is fighting with the Darksaber, though, won't be Mando or (heaven forbid) Baby Yoda. Either way, this means we'll see another character wielding a lightsaber in season 2. The Mandalorian season 2: spin-offs may be in the works In an earnings call, Disney's Bob Iger hinted at more characters being introduced in The Mandalorian, with possible spin-offs being set up. He teased it as, "more coming from The Mandalorian thereafter, including the possibility of infusing it with more characters and the possibility of taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series". "More coming" from The Mandalorian could also mean a season 3 is planned. The exact phrasing suggests spin-offs will focus on newer characters, rather than existing ones. We're sure a lot of fans would argue Gina Carano's Cara Dune would be a good fit... One actor rumored for a role in season 2 is WWE star Sasha Banks. Who she'd be playing, though, is yet to be confirmed. The Mandalorian season 2: the Darksaber explained Above: clips from The Clone Wars featuring the Darksaber. When Moff Gideon cuts himself out of his stricken TIE Fighter at the end of The Mandalorian season 1 finale, he uses a blade that sounds much like a lightsaber, but looks rather different to the weapons we’re used to seeing in the hands of Jedi and Sith. More sword-like in shape, with a black blade surrounded by a bright glow, it should, however, be familiar to viewers of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Because unless we’re very much mistaken, this looks like the legendary Darksaber. This unique weapon is a key part of Star Wars – and particularly Mandalorian – lore. Originally created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian warrior to join the Jedi order, it became a symbol of power on the planet of Mandalore. At the conclusion of Star Wars Rebels (set two years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope) it ended up in the hands of Bo-Katan Kryze, who was deemed the rightful heir to the Mandalorian leadership. But how did such an important weapon end up in Moff Gideon’s hands? We do know that at some point between the end of Rebels and Return of the Jedi, the Empire carried out the so-called “Great Purge”, all but wiping out the Mandalorians. We also know that Gideon was an officer in the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) during the Purge, so could have obtained the Darksaber from Bo-Katan at that time. (If that does turn out to be the case, it’ll be intriguing to find out if Bo-Katan survived – she was played by Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff in both The Clone Wars and Rebels, so this could be a chance to get a fan-favorite actor into the show.) Alternatively, the Darksaber could have been in the possession of the Mandalorian “Tribe” living underground on Nevarro throughout The Mandalorian season 1 –Gideon may simply have obtained it when his Imperial remnant wiped out most of the Mandalorians in hiding. This seems less likely, however – surely the surviving Armorer would have protected such an important weapon with her life. The Mandalorian season 2: Jon Favreau will direct an episode Despite being the creator and main writer of The Mandalorian season one, Iron Man director Jon Favreau didn't direct a single episode – it didn't hurt the show at all, but season 2 will benefit from his input. "I didn’t get a chance the last time around because I was doing Lion King," Favreau mentioned to EW. "So I'll step in for one of them." George Lucas has been on the show's set, too, resulting in this amazing photo: What's more, it's rumored that Peyton Reed (Ant-Man, Yes Man) will direct two episodes. This comes from Charles Murphy, but he admits that he has no secondary source to corroborate his information. Another rumor doing the rounds in February 2020 contended that James Mangold (Walk the Line, The Wolverine), but Mangold later debunked them. The Mandalorian season 2: Original Trilogy characters rumored to appear According to Deadline, “Insiders have hinted that several established characters from the Skywalker saga’s feature films mythology will make appearances during the show’s sophomore season.” Jon Favreau’s release date tweet above showed a picture of a Gamorrean, one of the so-called Pig Guards from Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi, but we suspect that – if this insider's rumors are accurate – they’re referring to someone who’s a significantly bigger deal in the saga than that. While Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader and the Emperor are dead (or so the galaxy believes…) and Luke Skywalker is unlikely to crop up away from the saga that bears his name, there are plenty of big names in the Star Wars universe who’ll be operating around the time of The Mandalorian. It's set five years after the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, after all. Original trilogy survivors Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, R2-D2, and even Rebel legends Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb could all cross paths with the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. But we’d be much more interested to see General Hux’s dad, Brendol – a former Imperial officer who was instrumental in the formation of the First Order – or even (SPOILER ALERT) Rey’s parents. Now that we know they lived in hiding – pretending to be “nobody” before giving Rey away – any new glimpses at their backstory could enhance what we learned in The Rise of Skywalker. Perhaps most likely, however, is the reappearance of various bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to capture the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. IG-88, Zuckuss, Dengar, Bossk and 4-LOM are still theoretically looking for work in the time of The Mandalorian season 2, and definitely operate in the same hives of scum and villainy as our friendly neighborhood Mando. Maybe we’ll even see a return for the legendary Boba Fett… Yes, he was last seen being swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, but the bounty hunter did manage to escape 1000 years of digestion in the old Expanded Universe “Legends” stories, a plot that could be ported over into official canon. And there’s also been plenty of speculation online that the mysterious figure on Tatooine who finds the body of the deceased Fennec Shand in Chapter 5, “The Gunslinger”, may be Fett himself – the jangling spurs might just be a clue... And even if the owner of the spurs isn't Fett, one particularly interesting theory suggested on Inverse suggests it could be a member of the family – Ailyn Vel, his daughter in the Legends stories. Could this be the identity of this mysterious Funko Pop! Vinyl figure? (Image credit: Funko) The Mandalorian is the best slice of Star Wars in years We can't wait for a second season of The Mandalorian. A couple of less thrilling episodes in the middle of season one aside, the simple storytelling and stylish imagery of this show made it a satisfying glimpse at a different side of the Star Wars universe. Creator Jon Favreau has plenty on the table to pay off in season 2. Source: The Mandalorian season 2: release date, Baby Yoda, Darksaber, Ahsoka Tano and what we know (TechRadar)
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