THE MANDALORIAN S01E04 “Chapter 4” review

The Mandalorian (Disney/Lucasfilm)

THE MANDALORIAN S01E04 “Chapter 4” review

The Mandalorian airs new episodes weekly via the Disney+ streaming service and comes to the UK in March 2020.

Synopsis

The Mandalorian teams up with an ex-soldier to protect a village from raiders.

Review

I’ve complained about The Mandalorian (episodes 1-2, here), respected it’s attempt to be original (episode 3, here) and now I can finally say I am enjoying it with episode four.

What sets “Chapter 4” apart from its predecessors, above all else, is a measured attempt to tell a story within its runtime. It came as no surprise that including credits, this episode ran to forty-one minutes. It’s a successful attempt to tell a story in a format more familiar to network television.

In comparison to the previous, shorter episodes there’s a defined three-act structure and events within the narrative flow much more naturally.

The series still seems to be struggling with its reason for existence. Though the first three episodes feel heavily connected everything still feels like a quests in a long-running computer game. Let me explain: episode one was the first level and it set the overall story; episode two took us on a side quest to collect pieces to repair our ship, episode three took us back to the main story and now in episode four we’re roaming the galaxy in search of the next point-scoring mission.

The problem I still have with The Mandalorian isn’t the format, it’s the lack of a strong connective tissue to bring all the disparate elements together. I still feel like we’re telling stories for the sake of television and not because they’re a worthwhile story to tell. That being said it is much improved this week.

Putting those feelings aside, “Chapter 4” is bolstered by an impressively inflated runtime. It allows Jon Favreau and guest director Bryce Dallas Howard to craft a much more well rounded story with adequate time to develop its characters, setting and to also give them a satisfying conclusion.

“Chapter 4” is easily the most dialogue heavy episode of the season to-date. Introducing Gina Carao’s Cara Dune and Julia Jones as Omera helps to round out the world as well as give further insight in to Pedro Pascal’s Mando.

It was clear from the cold opening that “Chapter 4” was going to be an entirely different entity. It felt fresh and took us to uncharted territory as well as setting up the conflict for later in the episode. In under a minute Favreau and Howard are able to make us care for Omera and her people

The villagers, in general, become an excellent source of story which, momentarily, take the focus from Mando and Baby Yoda. Their plight connects well with Mando and Cara’s stories even if their ultimate goals don’t align.

Carao is a breath of fresh air for the series. Firstly, it’s excellent to see a female character in the vein of Felicity Jones in Rogue One. She’s a strong female with no romantic ties to any of the male characters on the show. She can hold her own in battle and in true Star Wars style her motivations are unclear.

Given that she was billed as a major player in the cast it does remain to be seen how the character will return. It seems there may be a second chance meeting down the line.

Both Cara and Omera are able to elicit snippets of history from Mando. We learn more about The Guild and why Mando never removes his helmet but also about what motivates his character.

The episode’s flirtation with a love interest feels very out of left field. I felt sure throughout that nothing would happen but it was intriguing to see that Mando was tempted. Fav real is slowly unravelling the emotional complexity of Pascal’s character and it’s beginning to feel compelling.

At designated points within the episode the story does fall back on its reliance on the cuteness of Baby Yoda. Whilst he is undeniably cute, scenes like his constant disruption to flying the ship will begin to grate very soon. What did work, however, were the moments when he interacted with the children in the village.

I also understand Mando’s protective feelings towards the child. But twice now the story has focussed on him leaving the child behind. Firstly with the Empire before he changed his mind and now with the villagers to keep him safe… before changing his mind.

It felt a little repetitive and was a major drawback in an episode which really pushed the series forwards.

I’m leaving an ATAT sized hole in this review so as to not give too many spoilers. But the third act of “Chapter 4” roots the series in classic Star Wars lore without using it as a crutch. IT’s the best conflict we’ve seen to-date on the series and is certainly encouraging for what this production team are capable of.

Verdict

The Mandalorian nears perfection with an episode which truly embraces its roots. “Chapter 4” evokes classic Star Wars adventures alongside some Rogue One sensibilities within an original story-of-the-week format.

9/10

Written by Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. The series debuts new episodes weekly on Disney+.


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Heartbeat (BOOM! Studios)

BOOM! Studios announces Maria Llovet’s HEARTBEAT #1 sold out on release day

BOOM! Studios has announced that writers Maria Llovet’s Heartbeat arrived in comic stores with a bang. The series debut issue has sold out its first printing on release day and the publisher has immediately announced it is sending the issue back for a second printing.

We’ve got all the details in the press release below.


BOOM! Studios Fast Tracks Second Printing of Maria Llovet’s Shocking New Series in December 2019

BOOM! Studios announced today that HEARTBEAT #1, the premiere issue of the new original five-issue series by comics creator Maria Llovet (Faithless, Loud), a dark, violent, decadent, disturbing story, in which life, death, blood, and love are inextricably intertwined, has sold out at the distributor level.

In order to meet the overwhelming demand from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios has fast-tracked HEARTBEAT #1 SECOND PRINTING VARIANT to arrive in comic shops on December 11, 2019. This second printing will feature a new cover by Maria Llovet.

Eva, a high school outcast, finds herself witness to a horrible secret: the most popular boy in school enjoys the taste of blood and will kill to get his hands on it. Horrified and intrigued, Eva lets herself be pulled into Donatien’s macabre world. He offers the escape she has been looking for…but how much is Eva willing to betray her moral code in order to find something that gives her life meaning? And will she—or Donatien—ever find redemption?

“Maria has electrified audiences yet again with this dark thriller and since fans can’t get enough, we’re proud to announce a second printing for the premiere issue of her original series,” said Filip Sablik, President, Sales and Marketing, BOOM! Studios. “Thanks to the readers and retailers for their support of this very unique series from one of the freshest new voices in comics.”

HEARTBEAT is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbott by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury The Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith; Something is Killing The Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera, as well as the upcoming The Red Motherby Jeremy Haun and Danny Luckert. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Joss Whedon’s Firefly from Greg Pak and Dan McDaid; Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Jordie Bellaire and David López; Angel from Bryan Edward Hill and Gleb Melnikov, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott and Daniele Di Nicuolo.

Print copies of HEARTBEAT #1 FIRST PRINTING may still be available exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.


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New THE RISE OF SKYLWAKER TV spot features new Palpatine dialogue

Disney has released a new TV spot packed with previously unseen footage from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The spot – which you can see in the player below – focusses on a lightsaber duel between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) before shifting to a montage of new shots from the film.

The whole thing is set to a medley of classic Star Wars music including the iconic Duel of the Fates. The spot also features some chilling new dialogue from Emperor Palpatine.

Excited? Hit play on the video below and check it out!

The film will see the return of Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), and Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix).

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) will also all return to reprise their iconic roles from previous films.

The late Carrie Fisher will appear via previously unreleased archive footage.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits cinemas December 20, 2019.


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Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto (Marvel Comics)

Marvel announces new Magneto-centric GIANT-SIZE X-MEN issue

As the X-Men begin shifting back towards the core Marvel Universe the comics are beginning to reflect the situation soon to play out on the silver screen. With the universe being reset during the Dawn of X/House of X event we’re seeing a new creative power behind-the-scenes.

Now, Marvel has announced a new issue of Giant-Size X-Men which will focus on Magneto. We’ve got all the details for you in the press release below.


MAGNETO UNDERTAKES A NEW MISSION IN HICKMAN AND OLIVER’S GIANT-SIZE X-MEN

The artist-focused X-Men series continues in March with a tale about the master of magnetism!

New York, NY— November 26, 2019 — When Giant-Size X-Men hits stands next year, X-Men fans will get to see Jonathan Hickman’s bold vision for mutantkind unfold in epic adventures told by the industry’s most acclaimed artists. These large-scale but standalone stories will be specifically designed to highlight the artist’s talents, and each issue will focus on a specific character. This March, Hickman will team up with legendary artist Ben Oliver to turn the spotlight on the master of magnetism, Magneto! 

Created by Stan Lee himself, Magneto’s been a fixture in the X-Men mythos since the very beginning. Although he debuted in 1963’s X-MEN #1 as the X-Men’s premiere super villain, he eventually became one of their fiercest members. Under Chris Claremont’s pen, Magneto was equipped with a tragic backstory, shedding light on his motivations and developing him into one of the most complex characters in the Marvel Universe. An unrelenting champion for mutantkind, Magneto once again finds himself leading a mutant nation, but this time, he has all of mutantkind including the X-Men standing at his side. Determined to make this new dream of Krakoa prosper, Magneto must now make dealings with his former sworn enemy— humanity!

Ben Oliver, known for his seminal work on ULTIMATE X-MEN, is the perfect artist to capture the emotion behind Magneto’s new role as mutant ambassador. “It’s been many years since I last worked on an X-Men related project, and I couldn’t be happier than to be working with Jonathan,” Oliver said. “I’ve long been a fan of Jonathan’s work, and Magneto as a character, so to collaborate on this project is fantastic.”

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: MAGNETO will be the second of five essential one-shots with the first, GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: JEAN GREY AND EMMA FROST debuting in February. Uniting Jonathan Hickman with the best artists in the industry, these stories are destined to be instant classics that fans won’t want to miss! Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about more GIANT-SIZE X-MEN issues coming your way next year and which of your favorite artists will be showcased next! 


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Angel (BOOM! Studios)

Spike joins the team in new preview for ANGEL #8 from BOOM! Studios

It was recently announced that from issue #9 the Angel series will be changing things up and becoming Angel & Spike. But before we get there we still have one more issue of the series as a solo title.

With Angel preoccupied by the events of Hellmouth it’s up to Spike to help out the team with their current mystery. Check out the full preview, including some stunning artwork from cover artists Dan Panosian, Scott Buoncristiano and Steve Morris, below.


Your First Look at ANGEL #8 From BOOM! Studios

Discover the Shocking Effects of the Historic Buffy and Angel Event HELLMOUTH in December 2019

BOOM! Studios, in partnership with 20th Century Fox, revealed today a first look at ANGEL #8. Acclaimed filmmaker and writer Bryan Edward Hill (American Carnage, Batman & The Outsiders) and artist Gleb Melnikov, along with series creator and story consultant Joss Whedon (the visionary writer/director behind Firefly, Marvel’s The Avengers, and more) reimagine the groundbreaking pop culture phenomenon as the world deals with the consequences of the open HELLMOUTH, available in stores December 2019.

Back in Los Angeles, TEAM SPIKE—Spike, Fred, and Gunn—are doing their best to stem the tide of evil that Hellmouth has unleashed, but the city is being overwhelmed. In order to save their city, Fred must decide whether to fight off the darkness inside her…or embrace it.

ANGEL #8 features a main cover by artist Dan Panosian (Slots, Batman: Arkham Knight), along with variant cover by horror illustrator Scott Buoncristiano (Harry Potter: Magical Film Projections, Dead Rabbit) and artist Steve Morris (The Magicians: Alice’s Story).

Created by visionary writer and director Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers film franchise), Angel premiered on the WB Network on October 5th, 1999 and was a spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series ran for five seasons from 1999–2004, starring David Boreanaz as Angel, the tortured vampire destined to walk the earth with a soul who moved to LA to set up shop as a supernatural private investigator. Despite Angel’s best efforts to deal with the sins of his past all by himself, Angel Investigations soon became home to other lost souls searching for redemption and willing to fight by his side.

ANGEL is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbott by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora; Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith; and The Red Mother by Jeremy Haun and Danny Luckert. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Joss Whedon’s Firefly from Greg Pak and Dan McDaid; Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Jordie Bellaire and David López; and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott and Daniele Di Nicuolo.

Print copies of ANGEL #8 will be available for sale on December 18, 2019 exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.


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Negative Flash is on the run in new promo for THE FLASH mid-season finale

Oh dear, things are not looking good for Team Flash after Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) fell into the clutches of the villainous Bloodwook (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Heading in to Crisis there is still plenty of story which needs to be told.

Check out the promo for “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2” below!

“The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2” – (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) (TV-PG, LV) (HDTV)

THE EPIC CONCLUSION OF THE TWO-PART MID-SEASON FINALE – With The Flash (Grant Gustin) freshly infected by the monstrous Bloodwork (guest star Sendhil Ramamurthy), Iris (Candice Patton) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) battle to help Barry take control of himself before he’s lost forever to Ramsey’s influence. Meanwhile, the rest of Team Flash fight to reclaim control of Central City from Bloodwork’s growing army. Michael Nankin directed the episode written by Kristen Kim & Joshua V. Gilbert (#608). Original airdate 12/3/2019.

The Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Candice Patton as Iris West-Allen, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes as Cicso Ramon, Tom Cavanagh Harrison Wells, and Jesse L. Martin as Joe West. The series airs Tuesdays  at 8/7c on The CW.


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TITANS exec producer talks introducing NIGHTWING

Tomorrow fans will finally see the Nightwing costume in action as Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) suits up for the second season finale of Titans. Series’ executive producer Greg Walker recently sat down with DCComics.com to talk all about brining the character to life.

“The question we asked in the writers room is, it’s such a big deal becoming Nightwing and we didn’t just want him to show up with the suit one day,” he explained at a recent event unveiling Grayson’s new suit. “It had to be a representation of where he evolved as a character over the course of those two seasons.

“Season two” he continued “for him is a journey of recognizing what mistakes he made in the past, assessing himself, trying to figure out his relationship with Bruce and evolving past Robin. When he’s not Robin anymore, then who is he?”

Speaking of building a narrative around Dick’s journey Walker said “We wanted to have the show be a path towards Nightwing. There’s a personal journey that Dick needed to go on, so he goes on this atonement journey for the last third of the season to try to figure out who he is, what his relationship with heroism is and what his relationship is with the other Titans. We wanted to have Nightwing be the accumulation of that journey—the terminus.”

Nightwing costume designer Laura Jean Shannon also shared her thoughts on Dick’s new threads:

“Each one of our of our shows has a very different voice,” she shared. “Titans has a different voice in the writing and it has a different voice in the storytelling, which then is the impetus for us giving it a different visual voice. So, whatever choices that we bring to the table, the jumping off point is always the actual story itself.”

The suit itself is built from a number of hand-sculpted and 3D printed elements. Creative Character Engineering’s Lesley Bercerra explains “When we sat down and were talking about how we were going to create this character, we actually decided to take it back, go a little old school, and do actual traditional hand sculpting,”

“You know, like the way the original Batman suit was made. We had some amazing sculptors that had been in the business for years and probably had hands on sculpting those suits. We also did some really beautiful things with 3D modeling certain armor areas, integrating it into the sculpture, so that you have this kind of high-tech, but old-school, sleek feeling.”

Titans stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson/Robin, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven, Ryan Potter as Beast Boy, Alan Ritchson as Hawk and Minka Kelly as Dove. 

Season 2 drops new episodes weekly via DC Universe. Netflix are yet to announce a premiere for the second season internationally.


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Black Lightning (Warner Bros./The CW)

BLACK LIGHTNING S03E08 “The Book of Resistance: Chapter Three: The Battle of Franklin Terrace” promo

Before he appears in Crisis On Infinite Earths there’s still plenty of work to do for Black Lightning (Cress Williams). Check out the promo and synopsis for the latest episode below!

“The Book of Resistance: Chapter Three: The Battle of Franklin Terrace” – (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) (TV-14, DLV) (HDTV)

RESISTANCE – Black Lightning (Cress Williams) goes up against the ASA. Meanwhile, Tobias (Marvin Jones III) continues to manipulate Lynn (Christine Adams). Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, James Remar, Damon Gupton and Jordan Calloway also star. Neema Barnette directed the episode written by Jake Waller (#308). Original airdate 12/2/2019.

Black Lightning stars Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams and Christine Adams. The series airs Monday night’s at 9/8c on The CW in North America and internationally via Netflix.


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Red Mother (BOOM! Studios)

BOOM! Studios is sending THE RED MOTHER #1 back for a second printing

BOOM! Studios has announced that The Red Mother #1 has made a huge splash with distributors and has sold out its first printing. The publisher is sending the issue back for a second printing and we’ve got all the details for you below!


“From the very first page, creepy and confident.” – Kieron Gillen, Once & Future

“Haun and Luckert’s haunting effort will enthrall anyone open to comics of a beautiful-yet-creepy nature.” – Phil Hester, Family Tree

“THE RED MOTHER is brutal, human-driven horror at its finest.”
– James Tynion IV, Batman

BOOM! Studios announced today that THE RED MOTHER #1, the premiere issue of the new original series from acclaimed writer Jeremy Haun (The Beauty, The Realm) and artist Danny Luckert (Regression) about a young woman who survives a tragedy, only to be afflicted with sudden, unexplained visions of horror and forced to deal with the terrible consequences, has sold out at the distributor level.

In order to meet the overwhelming demand from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios has fast-tracked THE RED MOTHER #1 SECOND PRINTING VARIANT to arrive in comic shops on January 1, 2020. This second printing will feature a new cover by Reiko Murakami (Basketful of Heads). Quantities are limited and allocation may occur.

There are dark things just beyond this reality. Horrors that we cannot quite see. Things wanting to get in. After losing her eye and the man she loves during a brutal attack in an alley, Daisy McDonough is left trying to put the pieces of her life back together. Just when she thinks she can start the process of healing and moving on, she begins to see strange things through her new prosthetic eye.

She can see the Red Mother. And the Red Mother can see her right back!

“Jeremy and Danny have built an atmospheric, elevated horror yarn with THE RED MOTHER, and I’m very excited for it to finally be in readers’ hands,” said Eric Harburn, Senior Editor, BOOM! Studios. “Thanks to this second printing, with a brand new cover by the insanely talented Reiko Murakami, there’s no excuse not to experience Daisy’s harrowing journey for yourself.”

You can view the trailer here: THE RED MOTHER Trailer

THE RED MOTHER is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbottby Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury The Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora; and Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Joss Whedon’s Firefly from Greg Pak and Dan McDaid; Buffy The Vampire Slayer from Jordie Bellaire and David López; Angel from Bryan Edward Hill and Gleb Melnikov; and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott and Daniele Di Nicuolo.

Print copies of THE RED MOTHER #1 FIRST PRINTING will be available for sale December 11, 2019 exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.


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Kevin Conroy talks CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS

We know that The CW is pulling out all the stops for the upcoming Crisis On Infinite Earths event. We’ve already seen images of Tyler Hoechlin and Brandon Routh suited up as Superman, Tom Welling and Erica Durance back on Kent Farm and Black Lightning stepping in to the fray.

One guest spot which has plenty of fans excited is in the inclusion of Kevin Conroy as a live-action Bruce Wayne. From the promo photo it seems Conroy will be playing a Kingdom Come version of Wayne.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly Conroy has discussed his time on set filming the crossover.

Speaking on his on-screen colleagues he said “Everybody was so generous to work with.” He went on to praise scene partners Melissa Benoist and Ruby Rose saying  “I can’t emphasize enough how welcoming everyone was, especially Ruby. She is so open and giving. I just fell into her eyes at one point and we just connected on camera. It was wonderful.””I felt like I was working with old friends I’d known for years,” Conroy continued. “There was just such trust there that I could open up to them on camera.”

Crisis On Infinite Earths begins on December 8, 2019 with Supergirl and continues with Batwoman on December 9 and The Flash on December 10. The five-part crossover concludes with Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow both airing on January 14, 2020.


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