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Tag: Star Wars

Grogu’s Choice

When Baby Yoda shows up in the middle of “The Book of Boba Fett,” you know the writers have a few more tricks up their sleeves.

“The Book of Boba Fett” has become really interesting. That’s because it’s suddenly drawing heavily on a growing number of beloved characters from a galaxy far, far away.

First, Mando’s back in Chapter 5. And if you’re not paying close attention, you would think that you’re inexplicably watching season 3 of “The Mandalorian.” (Talk about crossover storylines.)

It’s been a real treat to see Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal) back in action. The producers don’t stop there. They give us a healthy dose of Grogu-ness too.

But the “Boba Fett” folks aren’t done yet. Oh no.

The Return of Luke Skywalker
Remember the big reveal at the end of “The Mandalorian” season 2? (spoiler alert)

A young Luke Skywalker shows up to save the day. Sure, his face is computer-generated. But he looks okay for a CGI human. Plus we’ve got the voice of the real Mark Hamill.

Many have debated whether digital-Luke was real enough, but that’s not really important if you’re focusing on the big picture.

It was an amazing reveal, and it was perfect for the story. Thank you, Jon Favreau.

But clearly, the writers weren’t done with CGI Luke. They wanted another shot and gathered all of the computer-rendering power this side of the solar system.

And with that force, they now gave us a full episode of “The Mandalorian” (I mean “The Book of Boba Fett”) largely led by young Luke Skywalker!

And it worked! How crazy is that??

The Luke scenes in Chapter 6 were amazingly real. In some of the action sequences, it felt like the Lucasfilm animators were really having fun with their achievement.

Our New Padawan
We also see Luke training Grogu. What a pair! I love that the episode takes its time with this. (That’s an advantage a series can offer.)

And then the big cliffhanger comes….
(Yes, spoiler alert)

Luke gives Grogu the choice of accepting one of two gifts… Yoda’s light saber or the little beskar-armored shirt the Madalorian dropped off. Of course Grogu’s choice will define his destiny.

Cut to black… roll credits.

Wow.

Much Strength this Series Reveals
The first few episodes of “The Book of Boba Fett” are slower by comparison. I think it’s partially because of so much time spent on the back story (which is arguably needed).

And Boba Fett’s character (played by Temuera Morrison) still feels a bit two dimensional. (It doesn’t help that he’s barely been in the past couple episodes.) But we’ll see how he evolves as his story pushes forward.

“The Book of Boba Fett” is getting stronger as it benefits from a growing and integrated Star Wars’ universe that draws from the best of the original core as well as crossover characters from “The Mandalorian.”

Beyond Mando, we’ve had the pleasure of reuniting with Jedi Ahsoka, sheriff Cobb Vanth, the Mandalorian Armorer and mechanic Peli Motto.

Streaming Joy
Sure, we can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of “The Book of Boba Fett.” That said, I am not disappointed. Not one bit.

As a life-long “Star Wars” fan who remembers being blown away when I saw Episode IV in in the movie theater and also as a father of an eleven-year-old son who enjoys “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” as much as I do, I am psyched that “Star Wars” is alive and well on Disney+.

Watching these episodes with my family has been a peak experience.

More please.

One Father’s Journey to Introduce “Star Wars” to his Son

If you’re a parent trying to figure out when’s the right time to expose your kids to the Dark Side of the Force, here’s my story as a parent and a “Star Wars” fan…

I’ve been waiting for this moment since the day my son was born. And please grant me this nerdy pleasure… My boy and I watched “Star Wars” together this past weekend in our family room.

He’s nine years old, and I know that many younger kids have watched all of the movies already, including the newer ones. And it’s not like I haven’t tried a couple of times before. In fact, I did technically screen some of “A New Hope” with him two years back. But he didn’t really like it.

Thank you, Harry Potter
He simply wasn’t ready. I think it’s because of the plot’s suspense and the Dolby-infused mayhem of blasters and light sabers. But mostly, it was the suspense. At the time, he was still enjoying Lego movies and “Ice Age” flicks.

But then, he caught the Harry Potter reading bug, and he tore through all of the books. And when he found out there were movies, of course he wanted to watch them. To date, we’ve gotten through the first five. And as much as there was plenty of intensity and suspense in those flicks, he already knew the stories. So, I think it was a wonderful way to comfortably ease him into consuming more serious storytelling. And I hoped it would be a bridge…

If at First You Don’t Succeed…
We sometimes have ‘family movie night’ at home, and I’ve recently begun suggesting “Star Wars” again, but he still wasn’t interested.

Then, last Saturday, it was my turn to choose a movie. (We rotate between the three of us.) Without any big set up, my son and I sat down on the couch. Usually, he wants to know what we’re going to watch, but not this time…

I powered up our Apple TV and scrolled down to the “Star Wars” thumbnail grouping.
(I’ve previously purchase the first six movies.)

He saw what I was doing, and he didn’t object. I kept going…

I hovered over “The Empire Strikes Back,” since we technically had already seen “A New Hope.” But my boy helpfully suggested that we play “A New Hope” since he barely remembered it.
(Whoa! Was this actually happening?)

What’s the Right Order?
Before I could tap ‘play,’ he noticed “A New Hope” wasn’t listed first, and then we got into the discussion of order…

I explained the whole two/one/three trilogy thing, and I could tell he was trying to understand why anyone would make a series of movies out of order. After thinking about it a bit more, he asked if we could simply start at the beginning with Episode 1.

I looked at him, and knew I that needed to make the call. I explained that I wanted him to watch the movies in the order that I had watched them as I was growing up. He took another beat and happily said, “Okay.”

We were on!
Cue the John Williams soundtrack…

The Question of Luke’s Father
What can I say… It was glorious. The two of us were finally watching and enjoying “Star Wars” together.
(My wife took a rain check on this particular screening.)

He really liked “A New Hope.” When it was over, he proclaimed that R2-D2 was his favorite character, because he was such a “cool robot.” (He had laughed at all of the little droid’s antics.) Then he quickly chose Obi-Wan Kenobi as his second favorite character. (It’s hard to ignore the amazing Alec Guinness.)

Then my boy said, “I bet Luke’s father is in the first three movies.”
He waited for my response.

Wow. I and many others had a lukewarm response to Episodes 1-3. But this pop-up focus group of one fourth grader immediately identified the strong desire to know the back story.

I smiled at my son.
“Is Luke’s father in the first three movies?
Yes, I think it’s a good bet that he is…”
(Cue the famous breathing sound effect.)

Parenting 101
It’s a long journey to “The Rise of Skywalker,” and as much as I’d like to take my boy to watch it on the big screen, he likely won’t be through the other movies yet. Plus, there’s a reason why this new trilogy is rated PG-13. The films are intense.

My wife has sometimes had to remind me that as a parent, I should observe the cues from our son to better understand when he’s ready to experience something new.

What’s the right age to start watching “Star Wars?”
Of course there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. As a parent, you’re supposed to make that call.

Should I have been pushing “Star Wars” for the past two years? Probably not. As a father, I’m admittedly sometimes still just a Padawan.
(At some level, aren’t we all students in the art of parenting?)

But now that he’s ready for a galaxy far, far away… I can’t hide my own
child-like glee.

The Force is with him.

4 Reasons Why I’m Excited to See “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

“Solo” is taking advantage of its 20th century analog origins and using those original limitations to make the past look wicked cool. Here’s how…

I have to admit that I had a really bad feeling about the concept of a Han Solo prequel movie. Who could possibly do Han better than Harrison Ford? But then I got to thinking about the success of the recent “Star Trek” flicks with Chris Pine. We somehow made it through just fine in a post-Shatner alternate reality. Of course, all of the characters were recast (though we did have two Spocks). And this new ensemble worked great together… just like the original cast.

And then I saw the two movie trailers to “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” and something clicked.
I finally got it…!

Here are 4 reasons why I’m now so excited to see “Solo…”

#1 – New Ensemble
First, off… “Solo” sets itself up as a rollicking ensemble piece with appealing characters we already know (Chewbacca and Lando) and some new ones (played by well-known talent) who fill out this origin-story band of smugglers.

So, whether I really buy into Alden Ehrenreich as Solo is less critical. After watching the two trailers, I’m totally on board with this new team of renegades. Emilia Clarke? Donald Glover? Woody Harrelson? Thandie Newton?
Bring it on!

#2 – The Humor
“Solo” clearly has a much lighter tone. And who knew Chewbacca could so effectively play the straight man on a comedy team? In fact, Chewie, (Joonas Suotamo) steals all his scenes in the trailers with laugh-out-loud moments.

Let me tell you… I’m so ready for a respite from all of the depressing and tragic story developments coming out of the last three “Star Wars” movies. I just want to have fun. And this flick seems ready to deliver!

Plus, I know that Han, Lando and Chewie make it through.
(I hope that’s not a spoiler… You’ve had decades to watch the original trilogy.)

#3 – Ron Howard
As you’ve probably heard, Ron Howard was brought in more than half way through the filming to take over as director.

Problem?

No… I’m ecstatic. I love Ron Howard’s work.

He also ran the entire post production phase… so I’m confident that we’re going to get a ‘Ron Howard film.’

#4 – Creaky Switches
I’m a little giddy seeing some deliberate focus on analog technology.

Did you feel the clicking of those switches in the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit?
I mean… did you feel it?
I sure did..

The manual flicking of those little switches… rocketing the ship into overdrive. I found that moment simply thrilling… and reminiscent of the golden age of the Apollo space program.

When George Lucas made “Star Wars” back in 1977, it was, of course, about a futuristic civilization. But much of the gear reflected 1970’s hardware. So, there were plenty of physical switches that snapped and clicked.

But now, it’s four decades later. Analog is mostly dead. Yet, it’s still fueling some of the thrills in “Solo.”

I’ve always found something extremely satisfying about manually pressing a button to activate a machine. That’s entirely different than just tapping around on a touchscreen.

You can really feel the connection to your tech… that more intimate relationship between a person and the power of machinery.

While some might view those switches on the Millennium Falcon as dated or at best retro, it connects me back to that more physical experience that today’s digital world has mostly discarded as irrelevant. How ironic that digital is faster and better in every way, and yet sometimes we still yearn for our old tech…

It’s a fact that the Millennium Falcon can outrun the progress of technology over decades. That’s a testament to the enduring value of a well-made and repairable machine that can keep its edge over mass-produced, disposable 2.0 tech that’s limited by lower cost and quality.

She is indeed a survivor. And a pioneer. And I look forward to learning more about this newer Millennium Falcon in this flick…

The Future is Yesterday
It’s ironic that “Star Wars” today continues to wow us by not only channeling the elegant future possibilities of technology, but by also reminding us of our clunky technological past.

So raw, frustrating and often unpredictable… yet also so satisfying.

Even though those analog switches need to be there on the ship for continuity, they don’t have to be front and center. And yet… they are.

Clearly, the future in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” resides comfortably in yesterday. Sure, it’s taking some of its spirit from the DNA of all of those black and white westerns that launched a genre.

But in more ways than one, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is happily time traveling… backwards.

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