Category: Sci-Fi Café


If it’s not your third favorite Star Wars movie, it’s probably your fourth.  It’s director Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the movie that re-ignited the possibilities for Star Wars after George Lucas sold it all to Disney, and laid the groundwork for the great series The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.  We thought the May teaser looked fantastic for Andor, the prequel series to Rogue One coming to Disney+ next month, but the full trailer is even better with some great surprises, including the return of Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera.  And bigger news: The first season will have 12 episodes, with 12 more on the way.

Diego Luna returns as rebel hero Cassian Andor, joined by Genevieve O’Reilly in her third stint as Mon Mothma plus the MCU’s Stellan Skarsgård is a new Kenobi-like mentor named Luthen RaelAdria Arjona (Morbius, 6 Underground) is Kleya, Denise Gough (Colette) is Imperial officer Dedra, plus Kyle Soller (Fury, Poldark), The Batman’s Alex Ferns, and Harry Potter and True Blood’s Fiona Shaw co-star (and it looks like Outlaw King and Monarch of the Glen’s Alastair Mackenzie or his doppelganger as a Senator or Ambassador of some sort).

Andor is already confirmed for a second season.  The series will not have the benefit of Gareth Edwards’ input, but it does have contributions from Rogue One writer Tony Gilroy and franchise creature maker Neal Scanlan will be pulling in unused creatures and effects from the films along with new ones for the series.  Meet B2EMO:

Check out this epic trailer for Andor:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re looking to get your fix of Doctor Who, a new roleplaying game has just arrived that may be just the thing for you.  Whether you want to step into the shoes of a Time Lord yourself, become a member of an alien species (join your own Paternoster Gang!), travel anywhere to the past or future, journey into outer space, or accompany a Doctor as a Companion, the Doctor Who Doctors and Daleks Player’s Guide is a giant guide to a new RPG for three or more players.  Grab your friends and take your own time machine to explore the universe and history, help others solve problems, and share your fish fingers, just like in the six decades of the Doctor Who series.  And you’re not required to use existing Doctors and Companions–or alien races–you can make up your own.  Or play without a Doctor, like UNIT and Sarah Jane Smith in the show.  How about Captain Jack Harkness and Torchwood?  Pull them in, too.

Filled with photographs from the franchise’s six decades, Doctors and Daleks Player’s Guide is available now in PDF, with pre-orders now being taken by publisher Cubicle 7 Games for the hardcover and a Collector’s Edition.  Check out links to order below.

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Arguably no player of fictional roles did more to further science and the future than Nichelle Nichols.  The actress who played Star Trek crew member Uhura for 54 years in the original series, six movies, and fan films passed away today at age 89.  I first met her in San Francisco in the 1990s and later at other events, and she always was gracious, embraced fans, and was always laughing, smiling, and enjoying her time recounting her personal story.  She probably has the most familiar story of any science fiction actor, as she became an icon of television, science fiction, and science fact.

Her greatest story was recounting how she had decided to leave the Star Trek series until she had a conversation with Martin Luther King, Jr., who informed her just how important it was that a black woman was being seen by an entire nation on television.  She was an equal crew member serving in a prime-time network series, and would go on to help expand the boundaries of race relations, participating in the first on-screen inter-racial kiss, with co-star William Shatner’s Captain Kirk.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Who knew Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars could feel like a blend of Doctor Who, Life on Mars, Quantum Leap, and the Skrulls and Black Order of Marvel Comics?  Dynamite’s new comic books series John Carter of Mars is, of course, very different from the 1911 original and subsequent novels, but this modern update is all high adventure, all fun.  Gone is the painted artwork of past graphic adaptations–this is clearly an effort to make the 111-year-old Civil War veteran accessible.  It works.  And where John Carter goes, Dejah Thoris is soon to follow.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The seventh Firefly novel has arrived at last, this time from a newer voice in the sci-fi genre, M.K. England, author of the great Guardians of the Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory (reviewed here), one of the more humorous and faithful tie-ins we’ve covered lately.  England’s latest is Firefly: What Makes Us Mighty, the latest episode in novel form of the short-lived Firefly series, which takes the crew of Serenity on another job, another cargo run, to another planet with quirky folk whose lifestyle mirrors something from Earth of the Past.  As with some of the better novels in the series, this story revisits the best of what Browncoats loved about the show.  It also does something much needed after all these years: It finally allows characters some room for expansion and growth.  England delivers a steady, slower paced journey, but it has all that space Western charm of Joss Whedon’s series, with Whedon back as consulting editor.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The sign of good storytelling for any retelling or prequel is knowing the ending of the story upfront and still wanting to come back for more.  From bookending the season with appearances by interesting Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofano to creating one the franchises best alien characters with Bruce Horak’s chief engineer Hemmer, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds isn’t just good Star Trek, it’s the best first season of any Star Trek series since… well, the first season of the original series back in 1966.  Offering more than one episode that should be a contender for your own Top 10 list of the best of the entire franchise, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds demonstrates if you keep trying, you eventually may stick the landing.

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The vast majority of us didn’t even have a home computer yet, not even one with a floppy drive, and we were just starting to understand what BASIC meant in all caps.  Forty years ago this weekend many of us gathered for a Disney movie that didn’t look like any Disney movie–or any previous movie–we’d ever seen.  At one of the SouthRidge III theaters–not the big one–someone threw wet Lifesavers at the screen to get them to stick.  Then the curtain dropped, the lights went down, and sci-fi was changed forever.

It’s a member of the exclusive clubhouse of the greatest year of movies–1982.  In a summer that gave us E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Blade Runner, Poltergeist, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Disney’s groundbreaking Tron is a great movie, and it stands the test of time as a unique science fiction classic.

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From Imagine and Lucasfilm and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, director Lawrence Kasdan will be taking TV audiences behind the curtains of Industrial Light & Magic, the legendary visual effects, animation, and virtual production division of Lucasfilm. Light & Magic, a six-part docu-series is coming this month to Disney+.  What inspired filmmakers in Hollywood from George Lucas to nearly every other name in blockbuster films to bring the impossible onto the screen?  This series features interviews and imagery to get to that answer.

Check out this preview for Light & Magic:

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First there was Gort, then there was Harry Vanderspeigle.  Or at least the alien who took over Harry Vanderspeigle on Resident Alien, streaming now on Peacock.  That’s really all you need to know, other than the times have changed a bit since director Robert Wise premiered his landmark alien visitor movie The Day the Earth Stood Still on New Year’s Day 70 years ago.  Actually maybe the times haven’t changed at all.  For Alan Tudyk’s visiting resident alien and his town of newfound friends the stakes just keeping bigger and we need the laughs more than ever, as we learned at the midseason break this past March.

A new trailer reveals even more sci-fi comedy antics are coming for the residents of Patience this summer.  Check it out:

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The first great playset from Kenner (now part of Hasbro) from the Star Wars galaxy was the Death Star, perfect for play with the toy company’s huge line of 3.75-inch action figures, and that was followed by a line of big ships, including the Millennium Falcon, the Star Destroyer, and the AT-AT.  In recent years, after the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, Jabba’s sail barge was added to the line-up of big, high-end toys.  Hasbro has now released photographs of its next big playset from the galaxy far, far, away: an expanded version of its throne room for Jabba the Hutt from Return of the Jedi.  Spinning out of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett is Boba Fett’s Throne Room, an elaborate play environment with 50 accessories, and an exclusive Bib Fortuna figure.

Take a look inside and learn more about pre-orders below.

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