DISNEY+ is available now in the UK!

The Mandalorian (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Season 2 of Disney+’s THE MANDALORIAN lines up A-list directors

Whilst we here in the UK don’t officially get our hands on Disney+ until later this month, everyone is currently looking towards the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian.

The series is currently in production on its second batch of episodes with new rumours surfacing about which directors are taking on portions of the season.

According to a report on StarWars.net, Logan director James Mangold and Sin City helmer Robert Rodriguez are both set to direct episodes in season 2. It is also strongly rumoured that Bryce Dallas Howard, who directed an episode in season 1, will return for a second episode.

Rumours suggest that both Mangold and Rodriguez have directed “sequences” rather than full episodes but details are unconfirmed at this stage.

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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Star Wars (Marvel Comics)

Luke Skywalker wields a new Lightsaber in Star Wars #6 preview

Marvel.com has debuted a first look at the upcoming sixth issue of the latest incarnation of Star Wars comics. Set after the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, writer Charles Soule and artist Jesús Saiz are currently telling the previously unseen adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and the Rebel Alliance in  STAR WARS!

The newest issue, STAR WARS #3, hits stands next Wednesday, February 26!
The newest issue, STAR WARS #3, hits stands next Wednesday, February 26!

With this exciting new era underway, some of the franchises’ longstanding mysteries are getting the spotlight, including what happened to the lightsaber Luke lost in his climatic duel with Darth Vader in Cloud City…

While the results of Luke’s search remain to be seen, it would appear he eventually obtains a replacement… See the young Jedi ignite a never-before-seen yellow lightsaber on R.B. Silva’s STAR WARS #6 cover below—and learn more when this issue hits stands this May!

Star Wars #3

Read STAR WARS #3 at your local comic shop next Wednesday, February 26—and pre-order STAR WARS #6 today!


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The Mandalorian (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Disney’s Bob Iger says spin-off’s to THE MANDALORIAN are “in play”

Disney is riding high on the success of its new Disney+ streaming service this week. It has been announced that the platform has picked up over 25 million subscribers within its first quarter of business, a hugely impressive figure in an already packed market.

Now Disney CEO Bob Iger has discussed the future of some of the platform, and the studios, biggest franchises.

“The priority in the next few years is television,” said Bob Iger in a recent quarterly earnings call with investors regarding the future of Star Wars. Later in the interview Iger touched on the success of Disney+ seres The Mandalorian saying “the possibility of infusing [The Mandalorian] with more characters and taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series.”

Are there any characters from the first season of the show that you would like to see spin-off in to the their own series? Except Baby Yoda of course…

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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Star Wars: Clone Wars (Disney+)

Disney releases full trailer for STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS season seven

After what feels like a lifetime since the last new episode aired, Disney+ has finally lifted the curtain on the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The seventh, and final, season begins streaming on February 21, 2020 on the new streaming platform.

The series finished airing in 2014 with fans campaigning for a number of years to bring the show back for a proper ending. Disney heard the call and as you can see from the trailer below they’re bringing back Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Captain Rex, Yoda, and a whole lot more!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars stars Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex and the clone troopers, James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan, and Sam Witwer as Maul.


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Moff Gideon/The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Giancarlo Esposito comments on Moff Gideon in season two of THE MANDALORIAN

One of the highlights of season 1 of Disney+’s The Mandalorian was Giancarlo Esposito’s debut in the final episodes as Moff Gideon. The character was involved in a huge twist in the season finale which has left fans wondering whether the character will return and in what capacity for season 2.

With the second season in production now Esposito has commented on his role whilst appearing at a TCA panel promoting the fifth season of Better Call Saul.

When asked whether Gideon will have increased screen time in season 2, he confirmed that will be the case. “It’s growing,” Esposito said. “Yes, I do. I most certainly do.”

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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Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi rumoured to be on Disney’s hit list to take on STAR WARS

With The Rise of Skywalker having broken $1 billion at the box office Disney is, no doubt, thinking about the future of the franchise.

It would appear the studio has plenty of plans for the franchise on the small screen. The Mandalorian is currently in production on its second season with shows based on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor also heading in to production in the near future.

But what about the big screen?

Well a new rumour from THR puts Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi squarely in the frame to potentially take on a future Star Wars movie. According to the trade, Lucasfilm has now approached Waititi to develop something for the big screen.

Chewbacca: Love and Thunder anyone?


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The Mandalorian (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Jon Favreau confirms season 2 of THE MANDALORIAN to debut in 2020

Last Friday as Disney+’s flagship series, The Mandalorian, wrap up its debut season with the release of episode 8. The series, which brought us the newest pop culture icon that is Baby Yoda, is already deep in production on season 2 and now we have some idea about when it will land on the streaming service.

Writer Jon Favreau has now taken to social media to confirm that the second season will debut in Fall 2020. In doing so Favreau has also given fans a first look at an upcoming new character!

Additionally, after writing six of the eight episodes of season 1, Favreau has confirmed his intention to direct at least one episode of season 2. Watch this space for more news on The Mandalorian!

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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The Mandalorian (Disney/Lucasfilm)

THE MANDALORIAN S01E06 “Chapter 6” review

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

Synopsis

The Mandalorian joins a crew of mercenaries on a dangerous mission.

Review

Okay Mandalorian, you and I need to have a talk. This relationship isn’t working anymore and I’m not sure how we can move on from here. You’re just not the show I thought you were going to be and I think it may be time to break up.

“Chapter 6” of The Mandalorian had all the promise of a classic Western train heist, cleverly dressed up as a prison break in space. It had the various moving parts, the rogue gallery of characters and the proverbial MacGuffin which turns out, predictably, to be a character with ties to a member of the team and Mando himself.

I have to say my biggest gripe with this episode and The Mandalorian as a whole is the repetitive, formulaic structure. I picked up on this in my review of “Chapter 5” but it’s even more so evident as the first season chugs along.

If the writers could vary the structure each week then the show would instantly begin to free fresh. But instead it seems like a cut and paste job with only the names and locations changed.

This week we’re overwhelmed with guest stars as Mando (Pedro Pascal) gets involved with a heist. There are plenty of characters to distract from the plot machinations but unfortunately none of them particularly jumps off the screen.

In particular Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) as droid Zero and Xi’an played by Natalie Tena (Game of Thrones) stand out as weak characters and weak spots in the cast. Ayoade is a particularly emotive droid and somehow loses his trademark humour when working in voice over. Tena unfortunately chews at any piece of scenery she can in an attempt to come across as aggressive and somewhat cat like.

I feel angry to say it but I felt like I was watching a Star Wars fan film on YouTube. Albeit one with incredible production values which have been so consistent across the series.

I feel particularly passionate in my feelings for The Mandalorian because I want to like it. It’s not a case of liking it or thinking it’s not for me and discarding the show as never to be completed. I’m finding myself increasingly angered at how well it’s made but at how much it continues to disappoint from a story perspective. Set design, costume design, visual effects and score are all excellent and truly cinematic.

It’s the failure to raft an engaging story reaching across the series which is ultimately the mood killer for me. But then they put Baby Yoda on screen and all is right with the world…

Verdict

Another visit to a galaxy far, far away which left me with a sour taste in my mouth…

5/10

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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The Maladorian

THE MANDALORIAN S01E05 “Chapter 5” review

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

Synopsis

The Mandalorian helps a rookie bounty hunter who is in over his head.

Review

The Mandalorian is becoming an incredibly divisive show for me. This week I find myself continuing to struggle with the lack of a strong overarching plot and the series’ continual reliance on a story-of-the-week.

Given that the series has struggled to settle on a run time, this being a particularly short episode by comparison, it’s a shame that it chose to go to familiar territory in an episode which feels so fleeting.

Of all the planets, in all the galaxies, Mando (Pedro Pascal – or is it?) just so happens to find himself on Tatooine, home of Luke Skywalker and one of the most visited locations in all of Star Wars.

Would we hear about the hero of Tatooine who became a Jedi and helped free the republic? Would Mos Isley cantina be filled with nods to the film which started it all?

That’s a no to both of those questions unfortunately.

Instead the episode chose to focus on Han Solo-lite character Toro Calican (played by Jake Cannavale) and go on a wild goose chase involving the introduction of Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand.

Shand is easily the highlight of the episode. Ming-Na Wen has never not thrown herself into a role with everything she has and Shand is no different. She’s cold, calculating and every word she speaks is carefully measured to maximise her personal gain.

She is by no means a complex character but by the conclusion of the episode her story takes a twist which could certainly prove interesting further down the line. It’s encouraging to see the show investing in a character outside of Mando and Baby Yoda.

Toro Calican on the other hand is unfortunately little more than a mere caricature of Solo. He’s a young hot head who dresses like Han, acts like Han and even carries a similar model of blaster.

Unfortunately his trademark arrogance is his undoing but thankfully this means he is a character that we won’t be seeing again in the future. All credit to Jake Cannavale for trying to do something fun with the role but the writing made it feel incredibly flat.

With only three more episodes to go my problem with The Mandalorian is how formulaic it has become in such a short space of time. Every episode is now following the same structure: Mando lands somewhere new, meets some new people, gets in to trouble, Baby Yoda ends up in danger, Mando rescues him and we move on and repeat.

Already the season is beginning to feel repetitive and stale which is not a good sign as we head towards the finale. Whilst I can appreciate way the show is constructed to mimic a travelling Western the storylines aren’t gripping enough to make The Mandalorian a compelling watch.

Verdict

The Mandalorian takes a knock this week as it squanders an opportunity to show reverence to A New Hope. Another interesting premise is let down by a shortened runtime for the episode despite an entertaining guest spot from Ming-Na Wen.

7/10

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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