The Mandalorian – Eps 1-3 – (Re)Reviewed

mandalorian-poster-detail-cropEp 1: “Ok, so, you have to watch The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian. You know, I can’t believe you! Why are you even watching that–that–garbage!? You know it’s bad. You know what Disney has done to Star Wars.”
“No, it’s actually surprisingly decent.”
“It is!”
“How can it be Star Wars when it ain’t even got none of the original people in it?”
“What? Look, just watch this gunfight at the end. Watch it!”
“Wait, wait, wait, why does this look like a Western?”

Ep 2: “Look, it’s Baby Yoda.”
“Oh my gosh are you buying into that Baby Yoda cr–craziness? It’s aaaaaall over Facebook. All the time. Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda. Gah! It’s annoying! What is the big deal with Baby Yoda!?”
“People like Star Wars when it’s done even, y’know, half-way decently well!”
“Baby Yoda. Oh gosh. I can’t believe you.”
“Heh, see, he’s chasing the frog thing. And Mando tells him to spit it out. ’cause, y’know, babies.”
“Oh [hork], he ate it!?”
“You’re acting as though my niece did not just try to eat a dead fly off the windowsill.”
“…that was only once!
“And look at the Jawas! I always liked the Jawas!”
“I can’t believe you.”
“You gotta watch the whole thing, there’s a bit where he’s fighting this creature and he goes through each of his weapons–he goes through his rifle, and then his sidearm, and then his flamethrower, and then the mud-horn is y’know, getting ready for the charge and he’s like all beaten-up and on one knee, and all he can do is pull out his knife and get ready for it–and he’s so tired and his hands are shaking, and so he has to steady the knife with both hands as the creature is barreling down on him. It’s awesome.”
“…I don’t get it.”
“…y’know, we can always watch some little Barbie Disney Princess movie if you like instead.”
“Shut up.”
“We can watch My Little Pony!”

Ep 3: “Wait, so he never takes his helmet off?”
“This is the way.”
“His skin must be horrible.”
“I mean, imagine if he has dandruff. His hair must be sooo greasy and then he has to keep putting the same helmet back on again. It would never get a chance to get better. Ew.”
“Maybe he has like a beanie or something he wears under it and he can change that out. Like a helmet liner. Do they have helmet liners? Why are you looking at me like that? He’s the one who said he don’t ever take his helmet off!”
“Yeah, it’s okay. But it’s still not as good as real Star Wars.”
“It’s the best we’re gonna get, and they were making an effort. They’re actively trying to do the story right, and, and, when they do insult your intelligence, it’s unintentional.”
“But there’s no lightsabers. It can’t really be Star Wars without lightsabers!”
Star Wars is technically–”
“It ain’t Star Wars unless it’s the original movies with the original cast, with the original director making it.”
“The movies had different directors.”
“You know what I mean! No lightsabers, no Star Wars! No George Lucas!”
Star Wars is science fiction. You don’t need lightsabers. You just need spaceships and blasters. And George Lucas sold out to Disney for four billion dollars.”
“Hmph. And also! There’s no Jedi. And there’s no Luke or Leia. Or Han.”
“You have Mando! And Baby Yoda! They are introducing new characters to Expand the Universe! And
can you imagine how they’d screw it up if they did have Luke and Leia?”
“Oh. Well. Yeah.”
“And Baby Yoda is very cute.”
“It looks realllllllly fake.”
“Yeah, it really does.”

Star Wars: Episode III – The Rise of the Sith


(Following: The Last Days of the Old Republic and Sword of the Clones)

The Republic is dissolving. Outright war has not become widespread: there are bursts of fighting as the Senate either massively overpowers smaller systems, or withdraws from Independent forces without doing decisive battle. Yet, the Senate is actively building its military, and building bigger ships, and conscripting more men–and doing it fast.

The Independents are the core of what will become the Rebellion. They are mostly from outlying star systems with military capability, and are geographically spread out and disunited. The Separatists are a political party: although there are among them people willing to put their lives, money, and convictions on the line, there is a noted lack of involvement from their erstwhile leader, Darth Tyrannus. This is mostly because he has been preparing to leave.

Tyrannus’ ultimate aim is to break free of the galaxy, which he believes will be inevitably overwhelmed by the Sith, and find a new place where a pure and new regime can be founded on the principles of order and freedom. And, also, where he will not be threatened by the existence of other Sith. Even in a space as wide as a Galaxy, there is room only for one Sith Grandmaster. Tyrannus would like to destroy the failed and ailing Republic, to smash it to pieces before he leaves (which will also delay any pursuit), but this is a secondary objective.

After resigning in protest from her senatorial position, Padme Amidala has joined Tyrannus, whom she hopes will protect her from Chancellor Palpatine–Darth Sidius. Years before, when she bargained for the fate of her planet, part of the price Sidius named was her first-born child with one of his apprentices. She had hoped to die honorably before this price came due…but no such luck has befallen her.

Tyrannus has great use for Padme, whose diplomatic and personal connections help him stay in command of an increasingly unstable situation. As far as the child who will become the Chosen Hero, he’s relying on a policy of patience, courtly politeness, and villainous charm.

…which is cast in an even better light since Darth Maul has been sending Padme love-tokens of his own. Expensive jewelry. Slaves. The heads of former companions. Manipulatory appendages she has shaken. Maul has never met Padme, but he has seen images of her fighting in the catacombs*, and has fallen in love with that image. In his mind, at the end of the “courtship,” he meet her, she will fight him, and he will win. As far as the rest of being a consort goes, Maul is fine with that idea, too. He is apolitically loyal to Sidius, but being the father and teacher of a prophesied hero is a tempting reward for anyone.
*(Sword of the Clones)

More to the point, Maul has been leading a strike force of unsurpassed ruthlessness and brutality. Most of them are Sith apprentices. They keep taking out Separatist-aligned or -hopeful star systems, usually via mass bombardment from orbit. They are the hammer to the Senate navy’s anvil and are hated, feared, and generally successful since the Independents’ military forces are uncoordinated and thinly spread.

Tyrannus’ / the Separatist’s project: a generation starship. Only–they are not planning on building a starship. They’re trying to retrofit a planet. (“A ship that can hold ten billion people—for ten million years. Impossible.” “Not impossible. Such a thing is called a planet.”) They have designed a Dyson Sphere that will go around a barren and uninhabited, but resource-rich planet (Tark Nembi), equipped with multiple power sources in place of a sun. The rogue planet will be propelled by a combination of solar sails and gravitational boosting. That’s the plan, anyhow, and while exciting, it’s not all that important. The important part is that this is the basis of how the Rebellion will later operate: having an existing, innovative, independent, mobile manufacturing capacity which can move from system to system, pick a deserted but resource-rich planet for a base, and create an entire new rebellion from scratch there.

The other important part is that, here and now, the resources required are enormous, and Tyrannus won’t share them. (Tyrannus also has a lot of the high-level scientists, thinkers, strategists, and leaders in his orbit–the people you would want to save from a galactic conflagration. Their movement over to the Independent-slash-soon-to-be-Rebel side is what gives it its organizational and fighting edge in the future.) Padme, what influence she still has, and all the persuasive skills she can bring to the table, is invaluable.

Meanwhile, something else troubling is happening. The leadership of neutral or unaligned star systems are being assassinated prior to takeover by Senate forces. Few reports exist but they are consistent: a heavily damaged Republic-type light craft lands under a distress code…and after that, the Senate. Some report that the ship is infected with a technoplague. Some say it is a kamikazi, smuggling planetbusters inside the planetary defense shields. Some say it is a secret weapon, modified to be heavily armed. And some say that it was only a single man.

And then, one day, a heavily damaged but recognizable Republic-type light attack craft limps into the Tark Nembi system, broadcasting an extreme distress call. Its callsign: Starkiller. Anakin Skywalker, last seen hurtling into a flaring sun in a crippled ship, has returned from the abyss. He has come for Darth Tyrannus’ head.

Anakin is someone who has always been keenly aware that he is not a good person, but who has for a long while tried. He’s tried hard. He has tried being passive, being withdrawn, being serene, and yet he still ended up caring about people, and yet he’s seen them be destroyed because of the choices they made of their own free will. Because they chose the losing side. Because they chose the weak side. Anakin–once a slave–fears powerlessness above all things. He fears being weak. He fears losing the people he cares about. For a long while, Anakin Skywalker tried to be a good person. But, there came a time, floating helpless in the depths of space, that it became crystally clear to him that the rewards of doing good were not worth the effort. The only thing that is, is power.

It does not take long for Padme to realize that she has lost the man she loved, not once, but twice. Subplot: one of Padme’s bodyguards is also pregnant and extremely worried about it. This ties in to the main plot, as Padme does not become pregnant until after reuniting with Anakin. Oops.

Obi-wan, who has been with the Independent forces (so has Bail Organa, in deep disguise as he is royalty of a pro-Senate world), turns up in good, if sneaky, hero fashion. He contacts Padme. She is wary of what Anakin will do if she disappears, but they covertly begin preparations for an en masse evac/breakout.

Opportunity is promptly provided when Anakin and Maul, common enemy gone, turn on each other. The balance of power is with Maul, who has the strike team, but Anakin proceeds to level the field. He traps the Hammer Squadron inside the atmosphere (unable to jump to lightspeed or accelerate sufficiently) and then drops/detonates the incomplete dyson sphere.

The impact is indescribable from the ground. The primary impact zone is far enough away that the rest of the planet isn’t killed instantly, but this is clearly an extinction-level event for Tark Nembi…and that’s even before an enraged Darth Maul arrives.

Anakin and Maul meet in the middle of a planetary hurricane: lightning in the sky, dust in the air, fire on the earth, men, ships, and androids dying. After a short dogfight ends with his craft crippled and spinning, Maul somehow rights its fall, climbs out of his fighter, and stalks along the shuddering flight deck, lightsaber in hand. Although Anakin might just shoot him down from above, he also lands, disembarks, and meets him sword to sword. They meet like titans and duel like gods.

The civilian Separatists, meanwhile, are getting the hell out of Dodge. Padme insists on waiting for the last ship up–somewhat delayed due there being two enemy generals sword fighting on the tarmac. [Obi-Wan wants to wait until the duel is over and then strafe the hell out of the winner. Unfortunately, Padme’s personal vessel is a diplomatic craft…unarmed.] This does mean Padme gets to see Maul, with burning eyes and blood on his lips, with his dying breath reaching out to her–and Anakin gets to see her leaving with Obi-Wan.

Fleeing through deep space, the remaining Separatist / Independent leadership discusses their options. Some Separatists consider surrendering. They’re outvoted, shouted down, and justly shamed for their credulity and cowardice.

Padme and her child–a prophesied hero–are far too valuable and vulnerable to risk….but even though she admits this, and even though she is terrified of falling into Sidius’ power, Padme refuses to remain behind while there is a chance of redeeming–rescuing–the lost Anakin Skywalker. She and Obi-Wan return to the ruins of Tark Nembi.

Anakin has been consolidating his power. With the death of Darth Maul, the remaining Sith are nominally his to command. He does not trust them, and the corrupting, tainted stench of the Dark Side that clings to them equal parts enrages and disgusts the one who was born to bring purity to the Force. He purges it, and them, mostly with summary executions (the 501st get their target practice), but also at least one batch by catching them alive in an underground bunker, collapsing it, and setting it on fire. The flames are so intense that metal liquifies and runs like lava. –this is where he duels with Obi-wan, loses, and is burned in the flames he kindled.

(repost) Movies with my Mother: Rogue One

rogue_one_2016_intl_original_film_art_f_1200x(Reposted from a time at which the prospect of further degradation to Star Wars still stung.)

“Where is the girl?”
“I dunno.”
“There was a girl. There was! She got out of bed and then what?”
“I dunno.”

“Is this the same guy?”
“I dunno.”
“Why do you think I brought you in here?!”

“What? To the people who were rescuing her?”

“This thing makes my teeth go on edge.”
“It’s stupid.”

“Is that her mother?”

“Whhhat!? The father?”
“That’s what they want him to do?”

“Where they going?”
“Which is?”
“Some planet.”
“It must be where they have the Death Star, or, uh, the Alliance people. Somewhere with all these stupid names.”

“I don’t understand what’s going on.”
“You said you looked at it.”
“I skipped.”
“What is going on here?”
“I think he’s a fanatic.”
“Was that a defector?”
“He’s going to kill the guy.”
“Bcause he’s a fanatic.”

“He’s still alive?”
“NO, he’s long dead, he’s CGI.”
“They’ve got his voice wrong.”
“Whhhat, he’s fake? He’s really fake?”
“They got his voice so wrong.”
“I’m amazed he’s even there.”

“Is this CGI too?”
“Everything is CGI.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Even the people.”

“Why are they having that out?”
“The pilot.”
“The pilot who defected. I thought the Alliance had him.”
“No, they’re the Alliance splinter group fanatics.” *{Educated guess.}

“Who was he really going to if he wasn’t going to them?”
“I dunno.”
“Why don’t you watch the movie, instead of typing, so you can tell me?”

“Who is he?”
“He’s Donnie Yen.”
“Never heard of him.”
“You don’t watch enough kung fu movies.”
“He’s Chinese? He is not Chinese.”
“He is Chinese!”
“Look at him, he is not Chinese.”
“He is not Chinese.”
“Him, there, is not Chinese?”
“Not him, there, him, this guy, here.”

“See, kung fu guy.”

“You know what the Imperium would have done if they had known she was a hostage? They’d have gone and rescued her and messed up the alliance cell that was holding her. Or killed her.”

“Wait a minute, everybody’s listening.”
“So everybody hears it?”
“So it’s not a secret message.”

“He’s lying?”
“I dunno.”


“What’d he say?”
“She’s afraid he’s going to kill her father.”
“Oh, well we know that.”

“What’s this?”
“I dunno.”

“Where did all these folk come from?”
“I dunno. I dunno! The tape skipped!”

“What!? What happened?! How! How did she find him just like that? They gon’ get her!”

“Did he kill him by any chance?”
“No, the rebels killed him, I think. The airstrike killed him.”

“Ok, tell me what’s happened when I come back.”

“Jyn realized that Cassian was planning to kill her father, and she accused him, and he’s denying it….but he admitted that he was going to, and she got mad, and he says she’s a hypocrite for only just now caring about the rebellion now that her father’s dead; and he’s a soldier who has to follow orders.”

“Oh, oh, oh, it’s the bit with Darth Vader come quick. Oh, well, the first bit with Darth Vader.”
“He’s CGI, too?”
“No, he’s real.”
“Is he going to look ugly or something?”
“No, he looks like Darth Vader.”
“He has the thing on his head.”

“Duhnnnn duhhhhh duh na na nah….I didn’t say that.”

“Is he going to kill this man? Why would he need to kill him?”

[“I deserve”]
“Uh oh.”

“He killing him? Why’s he doing that?”
“Cause he’s….I dunno. He’s very annoying.”

“Tsch! That’s what Rogue One is? Tehee.”


“Who? Who are they talking about?”
“Oh. Waitaminute.”

“Ok, they say this half of the movie is a lot better than the other half.”

“Oh my gosh, they coming there?….That’s not them. Uh oh.”

“That was an Unnecessary Combat Roll.
“It was?”

“What are they doing?”
“Setting bombs.”
“Wherever they want.”

“Where were they going before?”

“Uh oh! Look!”
“What, what happened?”
“Oh. Them things.”


[carnival claws for the files, really?]

“What is it with this guy and his cloak?!”
“I do not know.”

“He’s dead? Why wasn’t The Force with him on the way back?”

“Heh. The Force is not with him. Heh. Sorry.”


“Who are these? Rebels? Uh oh. Oh my.”

Oh ye gods. Just die already.

Lucasfilm, not content with letting people just quietly erase the sequel trilogy from their memories, has decided to dig its own hole just a tiny bit deeper. Of its own accord! No economic pressure is forcing them to write and release these stupid books! In fact it’s the exact opposite: they’ve recently been forced to re-release books in the maligned and discarded Expanded Universe instead of their own, main-cannon series. 

And yet they keep doing it.

So, what is the source of my bemused fan-rage this time?

Kristin Baver’s Skywalker: A Family at War is….


See, turns out that when Rey Force-healed Kylo in the movie, she also removed his Dark Side brainwashing.

She cured him from the Dark Side. Oh, oh, oh, and healed his scar. (What a weird detail. Chicks dig gnarly scars on males because they tend to indicate said male has been in badass fights. In Kylo’s case, the scar is all he had going for him so why…ohhh.)



See, I’d say these people need to shut up and go away…but they’re going to go somewhere else and destroy something else if they do. 

We need to bring back tar and feathers…

Welcome to the Rebellion

The recently cancel-mobbed Gina Carano is down but not out. She’s going to be producing and acting in a film backed by The Daily Wire / Ben Shapiro and his crowd.

Carano will develop, produce, and star in the upcoming film, which The Daily Wire says it will release exclusively to its members as the company looks to bolster its entertainment division. Details are being kept under wraps but it will be produced as part of Daily Wire’s partnership with Bone Tomahawk producer Dallas Sonnier and his Bonfire Legend banner.



So, Gina Carano got cancelled

They’ve been after her for a while, but I didn’t expect Disney to start chiseling away at the cow that produces the golden m….I’m going to stop that metaphor right there.

Gina, who portrays an unabashedly physically and mentally strong, female character on The Mandalorian, has been under fire for a while by the twitverse psychopaths for: mildly poking fun at mask and lockdown hysteria, not putting pronouns in her twitter bio and publically stating she was not going to (if you see her described as transphobic, it’s because of this incident), generally being suspected of having less-than-extremist-left-wing-views, and now, apparently for anti-Semitic tweets. Given the context of the attacks on her, I’m going to guess she said something on the lines of, “Palestine and Israel should both chill out.” (Oh, wait, it’s even worse than that. Apparently, she made a reference to the pre-WW2 period of history as could be applicable to current events.)


A lot of people have been urging me to watch The Mandalorian season 2. I probably will get around to it.

But guess who isn’t going to be watching Season 3?

Star Wars: I Could Do It Better – Part IIIa

So I realize there might be a tinge of hypocrisy in putting an “I could do it better by re-writing it wholesale” post directly after a post on how the BBC’s The Watch adaptation just did exactly that and failed. But I submit in defense that it’s very different for impatience and anger at a franchise to come from a place of love and high expectations, rather from pure malice. (AKA: the BBC’s The Watch adaptation.) I really like Star Wars. I really quite like aspects of the prequels. But: because I like it and want it to be perfect, I have severe problems with the areas that aren’t.

Notice: I don’t have any such issues with things like The Mandalorian, for which I have only a moderate opinion and extremely low expectations. I don’t try to make The Mandalorian better–the mental effort isn’t worth the reward. I don’t have any issues with the Original Trilogy, because there’s no point. I find it perfectly satisfying the way it is.

But I like Star Wars (the real one.) It inspires me, and I want to create something like it: something wholesome, and fun, funny, exciting, romantic, adventurous. I want it to be smart and clever; to avoid the pitfalls that always annoy audiences (me). I want to correct the things it did wrong once and for all, and I want to copy out the things that it did right, except better and bigger and more impressive and with 1,000 elephants.

And anyhow, that’s my defense of fanfic authors re-imagining their favorite worlds and in particular the never-to-be-filmed epic, The Wars Of The Old Republic.

Except for the bit with the severed heads in the mail. I actually don’t know where that came from.