Tag Archive: Doug Chiang


Review by C.J. Bunce

The best documentaries tend to be about a subject you had no interest in before watching it.  I count Michael Apted’s 7-Up documentary series as the best of all time, with the rest of the best to include the World War II story Ghost Plane of the Desert: Lady Be Good, Nova’s biography of Andrew Wiles searching for Fermat’s Last Theorem The Proof, Penn & Teller’s Tim’s Vermeer, Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer, the Bruce Lee biography Be Water, Thor Heyerdahl’s Oscar-winning Kon-Tiki, Stephen Fry’s fandom journey Wagner and Me, Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, PBS’s The Farthest: Voyager in Space, the FBI scandal story 1971, Kurt Russell family’s The Battered Basterds of Baseball, and one from everyone’s top 10 list, Harlan County USA

But how about a documentary about a subject you know you like?  Lawrence Kasdan’s Light & Magic fits the bill, a docu-series about the making of Star Wars… and more.  It probably won’t get an Oscar nod next year, but sure it has the most nostalgia per minute.  You may think you have seen it all, then Kasdan, Ron Howard, and their friends show up and find this incredible footage and get most of the original creators of Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light & Magic to walk fans through how it all happened.  The six-part docu-series is now streaming on Disney+.  Like ILM’s myriad contributions to movies, the result feels like magic.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s full of concept artwork, poster art, and photographs from Chapters 9-12 of The Mandalorian–and it has page after page of the galaxy’s favorite green, long-eared sidekick.  It has a long title–Star Wars Insider Presents: Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season Two Collectors Edition Vol. 1and it’s a worthy look at the first part of the Disney+ series’ second season.  As with the past editions from the first season (discussed here and here), it has more mock-ups of Topps trading cards, and more beasts, planets, ships, battles, armor, and characters.  It’s available now in a glossy paperback magazine format here at Amazon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

This year on January 1 I reviewed the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett, the show about the Star Wars bounty hunter’s return, 38.5 years in the making.  The series’ first season had a bit of a tepid start, but over the next six episodes Star Wars fans learned what was happening.  This was never intended to be a separate series, but the third season of a Boba Fett/Mandalorian hybrid, Saturday morning Western serial like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas created with Raiders of the Lost Ark.  This may be Disney’s best amusement park ride yet.  Maybe it would have made more sense to some if it were called some Western title like Star Wars: The Outcasts and didn’t have those two separate titles.  Criticisms of this season have all been like that, all of it form over substance (or maybe it’s just people who forgot to have fun).  In my first review I identified what I thought the series needed to do in its next six episodes.  So how did they (and I) do?

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You haven’t yet seen the best of the concept artwork behind the Star Wars series The Mandalorian Fans of the series saw the first swath of those images in the eye candy-filled first season look at the artwork behind the series in The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian–Season One, which we reviewed here at borg.  Coming next month you’ll get to see the inspiration behind the return of Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker in the series, and the first live-action appearances of Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan, all found in the pages of Abrams Books’ The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian–Season TwoIt’s now available for pre-order here at Amazon.

The library of books, which feature the most thorough of the franchise’s chronicles of the films (in The Art of The Force AwakensThe Art of Rogue OneThe Art of The Last JediThe Art of SoloThe Art of The Rise of Skywalker, in The Art of The Mandalorian: Season One and even a look at the Earthbound destination in The Art of Galaxy’s Edge), repeatedly makes our end of year “Best of” lists.  Take a look inside the latest book in the series below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Happy New Year!  My wish for everyone is they get their own bacta tank jacuzzi to help recover from last year… and the year before that, and…

It’s been 38.5 years since I first saw Boba Fett die, at the sneak preview of Return of the Jedi.  It was the low point of the movie–I’d rather they’d kill off Han Solo.  Let the mysterious bounty hunter drift off into the sunsets.  Practically speaking it meant decades of no Boba Fett, and nothing but minor appearances of Boba Fett in the Marvel comic books.  So we’ve all had a long time to picture how Boba Fett survives bumbling into the Great Pit of Carkoon, nesting place of the all-powerful Sarlacc, to be slowly digested over 1,000 years, which was as baffling as making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.  Now thanks to Jon Favreau, we get to see the vision in his head, in the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett, now streaming on Disney Plus.  (Moderate episode highlights and a revisit to 1983 and 1997 follow).

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SWGE-concept a

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s more likely than not you haven’t heard of Galaxy’s Edge, or Black Spire Outpost, or the remote Outer Rim planet called Batuu.  But you have heard of Star Wars.  Billions have seen that fictional space fantasy galaxy via movies, books, and a TV series.  But far fewer have made their way to Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyworld in California, and that means a tie-in, real world location event experience is out there that most Star Wars fans haven’t tapped into yet.  That’s where Abrams Books’ seventh book in their concept art library documenting the Star Wars universe comes into play.  The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will take readers where they’ve never been, a world inspired by the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie just as the movies were so inspired, further springing from 11 movies, three series, and dozens of books.  The result is a destination different and new that fans have never seen before.
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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the hour-long second “season” of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian–Making of Season 2, executive producer/director Jon Favreau says he hoped to bring all the kinds of Star Wars fans together for a special moment, and he seems to have done that in this year’s superb second season of The Mandalorian, although it’s difficult to compare Disney Gallery‘s eight-episode first season of behind the scenes glimpses to the single, albeit packed, episode fans got from Disney+ this year, released on Christmas Day.  As far as making all the groups of fans happy, expect that fans of the last episode’s special climactic scene won’t get to see a “making of” feature on that component yet.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

With the second season opener “The Marshall,” I thought the new season would be more of the same (see my review here).  A bit light on plot, and so similar to a few episodes from the first season, I figured Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, & Co. were going to deliver some more good entertainment, but not take too many risks.  Not one week later I had to take that back, as the episode “The Passenger” delivered a spectacular single-story episode reminiscent of Alien and The Thing.  The fourth episode of the season, “The Siege,” was a return of characters from season one and more of the single most important, far-reaching draw for any age group or other demographic, Baby Yoda, given the name Grogu in last week’s episode.  But if you take a look at this season, especially episodes 11, 13, and 14, what you may find is the third greatest Star Wars movie.  Or at least your third favorite.  I’ll avoid spoilers for yesterday’s new episode “The Tragedy” below except to mention the director and that the episode blew me away, but let’s dig into this season so far.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It really is the ultimate holiday gift for your favorite Star Wars fan.  The nostalgia in the ideas for the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, as illustrated and explained in The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian, is exactly what fans were hoping for in their next Star Wars experience, probably dating all the way back to the anticipation of the release of Return of the Jedi back in 1983.  There’s a reason for the universal praise for the series, and why it’s one of the best television series of the past ten years, if not one of the best Westerns ever.  Jon Favreau, Doug Chiang, & Co. figured out how to please a diverse fandom.  By including the concept artwork in the end credits for each episode, they took us back to the Ralph McQuarrie paintings that inspired the first Star Wars film.  But those images are only the beginning.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Even if you couldn’t muddle through the first six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which aired from 2008 through 2014, fans of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian now have one reason to take a look back at the animated series.  Earlier this year executive producer and creator Dave Filoni presented a fill-in-the-blanks, seventh and final season of The Clone Wars for Disney+.  Last week on The Mandalorian, Katee Sackhoff (Longmire, Battlestar Galactica) reprised the character Bo-Katan, a Mandalorian she voiced in 2012 and 2013 on the series, with a reference to fan-favorite spin-off character Ahsoka Tano, voiced by Ashley Eckstein in the animated series, and soon to be played by Rosario Dawson (Marvel’s Luke Cage, Men in Black II) in The Mandalorian.  If you want to see some interesting connections between the past in the Star Wars movies–the prequels, the animated series Star Wars Rebels, and more–and the current happenings on The Mandalorian, it’s time to revisit the 2020 season of The Clone Wars.

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