Tag Archive: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Review by C.J. Bunce

The first three episodes of the Rogue One prequel series Andor have arrived on Disney+.  Unfortunately writer/creator Tony Gilroy squandered the first hour and a half.  With only twelve 40-minute episodes for the season, the time typically allotted for an entire movie is wasted on set-up and backstory instead of delving right into the action of a younger Cassian Andor, played again by Diego Luna.  The series is missing the tight direction and breathless scene-by-scene build of its source material, 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 Lucasfilm tentpole series The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.  With nine episodes arriving weekly this Fall, Andor has some ground to make up if it wants to match the excitement of those series.

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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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As the Obi-Wan Kenobi series arrives on Disney+, this year’s Star Wars Celebration netted some good stuff this week from Lucasfilm: a first promotional photo from the next Indiana Jones movie, a name and star for a coming Star Wars series (that’s Captain Marvel and Gattaca co-star Jude Law in an Ahsoka/The Mandalorian era series called Skeleton Crew), and two trailers.  Both have been talked about going back to early pandemic days.  Diego Luna will be joined by Genevieve O’Reilly in her third stint as Mon Mothma plus Stellan Skarsgård is an unnamed new character in the Rogue One prequel series, Andor And Warwick Davis and Joanne Whalley are back in a new Willow series.

Both the trailers deliver some great visuals that will make them difficult to wait for.  Andor is already confirmed for a second season.  Check them out below.

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After much speculation about this summer’s big Star Wars event–the return of Ewan McGregor in a painfully short six-episode mini-series for Disney+ titled simply Obi-Wan Kenobi–the first teaser-trailer for the series reveals Lucasfilm’s decision to lean hard on the aftermath of Revenge of the Sith.  This is the still blonde, 50-year-old Kenobi shortly after the prequels as opposed to the wise old Jedi wizard portrayed by gray-haired Alec Guinness at age 63.  If you were a fan of the prequels and the animated Star Wars Rebels, this seems made for you, as the music and characters new to the live-action side of the franchise are firmly seated in that source material.  From John Williams’ score from The Phantom Menace to the Inquisitors from Star Wars Rebels, there’s a lot to wrap your head around, but it’s clear this is going to be a dark, bleak look at the franchise, complete with a villain that looks like he was plucked from Hellraiser.

We finally got to see Luke Hamill as Luke Skywalker in full Jedi mode in The Mandalorian and Darth Vader saber-waving in Rogue One, will we finally get to see Obi-Wan let loose on the Empire?

Check out this first look at Disney’s Obi-Wan Kenobi:

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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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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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Ten years of movie reviews.  How do you pick the best?  Our theory from the very first day of publishing borg has been reviewing only those things we like, things we think are fun, imaginative, or just plain cool—because if we think they’re cool, maybe you will, too.  What makes a great movie?  #1 for us is great writing—great storytelling.  #2 is re-watchability.  Lots of movies are good, but if every time you watch it you enjoy it all over again and maybe find something you didn’t see before, then you likely got far more value from the movie than the price of a movie ticket.  #3 is innovation—there’s nothing to top off a good story like new technology surprising us.  Finally, the experience must be fun—why else would you devote two hours or more of your valuable time?

So in Casey Kasem style, here are the Top 40 movies we recommend, spanning 2011 to 2021.  These are our favorites.  How should you use lists like this?  If you like what we talk about at borg, you’re probably going to like these movies.  If you’ve missed any, odds are you have some new movies to take a look at.  Let’s start at #40 and move our way to #1.  As with everything borg, we’re stressing genre movies, so don’t expect to see strict dramas or a lot of Best Picture Oscar winners here.  Title links are to our original borg review.

Let’s get started!

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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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Every new technological creation seems to eventually arrive at a point where you can buy it at 99 percent off its original price.  It’s the classic 99% off sale.  And while it’s not true for everything, we can see it in many ways across the decades.  Look at something like the simple calculator, once a giant machine costing thousands of dollars, ultimately it came down in price (and size) to fit in your wallet as a free giveaway as businesses all over stamped an advertisement on the back as a marketing tool.  Today it’s a free feature on nearly every personal computer and android phone.  In the 1990s Connie Willis focused on the emerging technology of animating dead people in films in her groundbreaking novel Remake (discussed here at borg back in 2012).  It happened and it’s only getting better.  As recently as December Star Wars fans saw Mark Hamill reprise a young Luke Skywalker via imaging software in The Mandalorian, and probably the best use so far can be found by the de-aging of Michael Douglas in the Ant-Man movies. 

In basements (and governments?) across the world software designers and users dabble in “deep fake” imaging, attempting to push this technology to defraud (or prevent the defrauding of) others by digitally replacing faces in all kinds of video recordings.  Imagine making such video images by uploading a static image and simply pressing a button.  Guess what?  Now anyone can.  Look to an unlikely source to visit the future, thanks to a genealogy company’s new software program that costs its subscribers… nothing.  Quietly slipping in its own add-on free to its pay subscribers, a surprisingly good “artificial intelligence” turns any photograph into a short animation.  Yes, you, too, can re-animate the dead, maybe not as Mary Shelley envisioned more than 200 years ago, but take a look for yourself…

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At Disney’s annual “D23” Expo this weekend, attendees can expect to get another big fix of Disney, and that includes costumes.  The costumes are from the more recent Disney years, with one display showcasing the new Mary Poppins Returns outfits, Time from Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa’s costumes from the Pirates of the Caribbean series.  Another wing featured Disney’s recent animated-turned-live action movies, and another focused on the villainy of the live-action films, all within a gallery of dozens of costumes foreshadowing a new book coming next month, The Art of Disney Costuming: Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between, available now for pre-order here at Amazon.  Check out a 16-page preview of the new 176-page hardcover volume below.

The book isn’t about Star Wars costumes (for that, we recommend Brandon Alinger’s Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, reviewed previously here at borg, and Trisha Biggar’s Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars, reviewed here).  But that didn’t keep Disney and Lucasfilm from showcasing a dozen costumes of Star Wars armor tracing back a design history of Star Wars stormtroopers.  Check those out below.

Lucasfilm also previewed the new hero cast costumes from The Mandalorian streaming series from Disney+ (previewed here yesterday).  And note: Ewan McGregor confirmed he will be reprising the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in a forthcoming Disney+ series.

 

Check out this preview of The Art of Disney Costuming: Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between and some Star Wars franchise costumes on display at D23 this weekend:

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