Wednesday, 20 September 2023

The Ghost of Star Wars Past

Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels) is having a field day with some of the best Star Wars in decades in Ahsoka on Disney+.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, looks back at the midseason episode and steps into an enigmatic World Between Worlds (personally, a poignant metaphor for being in a coma).

Guest post by Nick Smith

The Sith are out there, lurking in the darkness, betrayed only by a blood-red halo, eyes pitted and grey from living in the shadows too long. They must exist, because who else would post Ahsoka spoilers at midnight on Tano Tuesday for unsuspecting fans to find, crushing their joy with a clip?

While such creatures are present online, there are a ragtag few good-hearted champions of entertainment at Lucasfilm, and they are making pure, unadulterated original Star Wars.

Did I say original? Perhaps ‘classic’ would be more apt.

The now-numerous Disney+ Star Wars animated and live-action spin-off series have tinkered with a whole bunch of different genres, celebrating some of George Lucas’ influences and the saga’s storytelling potential, showcasing the versatility of the showrunners and avoiding narrative stagnation.

From spaghetti westerns to lone wolf samurai epics, World War II commando thrillers and Native American vision quest epics, modern Star Wars has it all.

Ahsoka goes back to basics, with a focus on lightsabre duels, clear-cut good and bad guys, dogfight duels in space and snarky droids - Chopper and Huyang (David Tennant). It’s not rocket science, it’s George Lucas-style science fiction, with solid storytelling that never feels like a mere merchandising grab.

Unsurprisingly, the show has been a hit with most fans, delving into Ahsoka Tano’s (Rosario Dawson) battle-scarred life without completely alienating casual viewers.

With cosmic wars come galaxy-sized guilt, especially if you were drafted to lead armies in your mid-teens as Tano was. Imagine being barely out of short britches and having to watch the men under your command get injured and die, or a civilization laid to ruins on your watch.

In The World Between Worlds, Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) spirit takes a young Tano (Ariana Greenblatt) back to these past battles where she must choose whether to live or die. Since The World Between Worlds exists in a different, astral dimension, Tano’s body in the real world is drowning. Only a child can perceive both worlds and help find Tano’s dwindling form.

Not only has Tano seen a lot of clones and allies die, but she’s also seen her friend and mentor Anakin break bad in the worst possible way. Would things have been different if she’d stuck by him? We’ll never know for sure, and the Ahsoka series is too subtle to spell out the truth. Nevertheless, by helping his padawan to face her regrets and choose life, Anakin helps her and takes another step on his own road to redemption.

At the mid-point of the series, episode 5 – Shadow Warrior – focuses on a piece of Star Wars that most of its imitators forget; the spiritual side. In the real world, sometimes it feels like we’re drowning under the weight of loss, regret and guilt. It’s comforting to imagine a World Between Worlds where all possibilities are attainable, at least in astral form, to teach us a little about ourselves.

New episodes of Ahsoka drop every Tuesday exclusively on Disney+.

Are you watching Ahsoka on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Anakin & Ahsoka’s reunion on Entertainment Tonight

Following last week's seminal midseason episode of Ahsoka, shown in selected cinemas and on Disney+, Entertainment Tonight (ET) has released an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip featuring Rosario Dawson (Ahsoka Tano) and Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker).

Read the official synopsis:

"In this exclusive behind-the-scenes look at 'Ahsoka,' Hayden Christensen and Rosario Dawson discuss Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka's emotional reunion."

New episodes of Ahsoka drop every Tuesday exclusively on Disney+.

Monday, 18 September 2023

First look at For All Mankind season four

The fourth season of For All Mankind, an acclaimed alternate reality sci-fi series created by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), begins streaming this November exclusively on Apple TV+. The Cupertino-based company's The Martian Chronicles.

Read the official synopsis:

“Rocketing into the new millennium in the eight years since Season 3, Happy Valley has rapidly expanded its footprint on Mars by turning former foes into partners. Now 2003, the focus of the space program has turned to the capture and mining of extremely valuable, mineral-rich asteroids that could change the future of both Earth and Mars. But simmering tensions between the residents of the now-sprawling international base threaten to undo everything they are working towards.”

Apple TV+ is home to sci-fi franchises including Amazing Stories, Foundation, Hello Tomorrow!, Invasion, Severance and Silo.

For All Mankind season four premieres on 10th November on Apple TV+.

The first three seasons of For All Mankind are now available to stream on Apple TV+.

Are you watching For All Mankind? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 15 September 2023

From Star Wars to The Creator

20th Century Studios has dropped a final trailer for The Creator.

The Creator, directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), is a post-apocalyptic tale set in the wake of a war between humans and artificial intelligence (AI). AI continues to generate controversial discourse regarding creativity, employment, ethics and more.

The Creator is exclusively in cinemas on 28th September.

What did you think of the final trailer for The Creator? Is it rehashing established sci-fi tropes or offering a fresh perspective like Silo on Apple TV+? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 September 2023

LEGO Star Wars Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser

LEGO Star Wars celebrates 20 years of The Clone Wars with an Ultimate Collector Series (UCS) Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser.

The iconic ship was first introduced in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser is one of the largest LEGO Star Wars sets to date, as evidenced by the photo depicting a person for scale.

It will be available for early access to LEGO Insiders (myself included) from 1st October.

Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser is available from LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

Will you be adding the LEGO Star Wars Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser to your collection? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Godzilla roars onto Apple TV+

Godzilla and friends are coming to Apple TV+ in a live-action monster royal rumble.

The Cupertino-based tech titan has released an official teaser trailer for Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

Read the official synopsis:

"Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco, and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch.

Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army Officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows.

Based on the Monsterverse from #Legendary, and starring Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Anna Sawai, Kiersey Clemons, Ren Watabe, Mari Yamamoto, Anders Holm, Joe Tippett and Elisa Lasowski, this dramatic saga — spanning three generations — reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives."

In related news. Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone at the company's Wonderlust event later today. I’m toying with the idea of replacing an iPhone SE (circa 2020) with an iPhone 15!

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres exclusively on Apple TV+ on 17th November.

What did you think of the teaser trailer? Will we see Godzooky? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 7 September 2023

Ahsoka midseason cinema screening

Lucasfilm has announced Ahsoka's midseason episode, directed by series showrunner Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels), will be shown in selected cinemas across the globe on the 12th of September.

This is the first global Star Wars screening since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December 2019.

Following events in episode 4, which I won't spoil, I envy fellow UK-based fans attending the soldout Empire x Ahsoka midseason celebration screening in London next Tuesday.

New episodes of Ahsoka drop every Tuesday exclusively on Disney+.

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

No One Will Save You on Disney+

It's the 30th anniversary of The X-Files (streaming on Disney+), and tales of alien abductions are as popular as ever.

Earlier in the year, I rewatched Fire in the Sky on Freevee, which was nightmare fuel and a far cry from director Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

20th Century Studios has dropped an official trailer for No One Will Save You.

Read the official synopsis:

"From 20th Century Studios, “No One Will Save You” is an action-packed face-off between Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) and a host of extraterrestrial beings who threaten her future while forcing her to deal with her past."

Writer-director Brian Duffield (Spontaneous) evokes Signs, Super 8 and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

No One Will Save You will be exclusively on Hulu and Star on Disney+ on 22nd September.

Will you be watching No One Will Save You? What did you think of the trailer? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Get the Ghost

It's Tano Tuesday and the Ghost has yet to appear in the Ahsoka Star Wars live-action spin-off series on Disney+.

However, this could all change if the fan-favourite ship from Star Wars Rebels appears in episode 4. If not, Hasbro and Lucasfilm need to work more closely in the future as the Star Wars HasLab Black Series Rancor failed to be backed just before the creature's surprise appearance in The Book of Boba Fett.

The Star Wars The Vintage Collection The Ghost HasLab was quickly backed but soon lost momentum, and all the stretch goals, which mitigate the hefty £499.99 price tag, may not be reached.

Unless it reaches 17,000 backers, it looks unlikely Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios will be included to crew the Ghost with General Hera Syndulla, Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus. I can see fellow collectors and fans cancelling their orders at the last minute before the campaign ends on the 7th of September.

During the recent Fanstream for Ahsoka, Hasbro announced that Sabine Wren and Chopper would be released separately on cardbacks inspired by Wren’s Spectres mural from the Star Wars Rebels series finale if all the stretch goals were reached.

The Star Wars HasLab Razor Crest had a surge in backers on the final day. But it's worth remembering we were in a worldwide pandemic, and The Mandalorian was at its most popular during lockdown in 2020.

Whilst I backed the Star Wars HasLab The Ghost campaign early on, it's difficult to justify the investment during a cost of living crisis and the sheer size of the vehicle is prohibitively large for display. I don't want to leave the Ghost boxed in the garage. Where's that flight display stand, Hasbro?

New episodes of Ahsoka drop every Tuesday exclusively on Disney+.

Have you backed the Star Wars The Vintage Collection The Ghost HasLab on Hasbro Pulse? Are you going to wait and see if all the stretch goals are met? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 4 September 2023

LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama

The holiday season is coming. LEGO Star Wars celebrates with a limited edition diorama based on The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special on Disney+.

The beloved brand is releasing the LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama.

Read the official description:

"Let young fans relive the Christmas party from the LEGO® Star Wars: Holiday Special with this Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama. A great gift idea for ages 8 and up, it features an instantly recognizable brick-built version of the lounge area and sleeping quarters inside the iconic Millennium Falcon. A buildable Christmas tree, string of colorful Christmas light elements, mistletoe and a plate of turkey and carrot elements on the table recreate the festive atmosphere.

Build, play and mix

The set also features 5 LEGO Star Wars™ characters, including new-for-October-2023 Rey and Finn LEGO minifigures in holiday sweaters, plus accessories such as Rey’s Jedi book, to bring the scene to life. For even more creative play possibilities, add the builds and characters found in the 2023 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar (75366).

Limited availability

Please note that this hot LEGO Star Wars building toy is only available to buy from 1 October to 31 December 2023."

Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama is available from LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

As a LEGO Star Wars fan, I'll be picking up the LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama and the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2023 featuring figures and accessories from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Bad Batch on 1st October.

Will you be adding the LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama to your collection? Let me know in the comments below.