The Mandalorian: Essential Episodes of The Clone Wars and Rebels

I’m the first in line to tell you that you should watch every episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, but not everyone has the time. As The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars TV series, finds new ways to tie in with the movies and TV shows that came before, here are, in my opinion, the essential episodes so you can really appreciate the universe The Child is part of. (I’m assuming you don’t need a refresher on the original trilogy, but these episodes are also a great tie-in to Solo, which takes place between the two series.)

The Clone Wars:

The Clone Wars theatrical movie

S2E05 – Landing at Point Rain

S2E06 – Weapons Factory

S2E07 – Legacy of Terror

S2E08 – Brain Invaders

S2E12 – The Mandalore Plot

S2E13 – Voyage of Temptation

S2E14 – Duchess of Mandalore

S3E05 – Corruption

S3E06 – The Academy

S3E10 – Heroes on Both Sides

S3E12 – Nightsisters

S3E13 – Monster

S3E14 – Witches of the Mist

S3E15 – Overlords

S3E16 – Altar of Mortis

S3E17 – Ghosts of Mortis

S3E21 – Padawan Lost

S3E22 – Wookiee Hunt

S4E14 – A Friend in Need

S4E19 – Massacre

S4E20 – Bounty

S4E21 – Brothers

S4E22 – Revenge

S5E01 – Revival

S5E14 – Eminence

S5E15 – Shades of Reason

S5E16 – The Lawless

S5E17 – Sabotage

S5E18 – The Jedi Who Knew Too Much

S5E19 – To Catch a Jedi

S5E20 – The Wrong Jedi

At this point, “Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir” is a worthwhile read. The comic miniseries was based on unproduced episodes of The Clone Wars when the series was abruptly canceled. It’s not necessary, but it does bridge a gap and answer questions that might come up with the next batch of episodes.

S7E05 – Gone with a Trace

S7E06 – Deal No Deal

S7E07 – Dangerous Debt

S7E08 – Together Again

S7E09 – Old Friends Not Forgotten

S7E10 – The Phantom Apprentice

S7E11 – Shattered

S7E12 – Victor and Death

This is a good place to read the novel “Ahsoka.”

Star Wars Rebels:

S1E01 – Spark of Rebellion

S1E15 – Fire Across the Galaxy

S2E01 – The Siege of Lothal

S2E03 – The Lost Commanders

S2E13 – The Protector of Concord Dawn

S2E18 – Shroud of Darkness

S2E21 – Twilight of the Apprentice

S3E03 – The Holocrons of Fate

S3E07 – Imperial Supercommandos

S3E08 – Visions and Voices

S3E15 – Trials of the Darksaber

S3E16 – Legacy of Mandalore

S3E20 – Twin Suns

S4E01 – Heroes of Mandalore

S4E10 – Jedi Night

S4E11 – DUME

S4E12 – Wolves and a Door

S4E13 – A World Between Worlds

S4E14 – A Fool’s Hope

S4E15 – Family Reunion and Farewell

The Force Will Be With You, Always: Love and Loss through STAR WARS

On December 24, 2016, news broke that Carrie Fisher had suffered cardiac arrest on a plane. She was in the hospital. She was stable. She had been through plenty of figurative heartbreak, literal heartbreak was the natural progression. As a fan, an admirer, I knew she would be fine.

About a year earlier, December 28, 2015, I got a text at work that my grandmother had been taken to the hospital. She had been out, buying a birthday gift for me, when she unknowingly suffered cardiac arrest in a restaurant. As a fan, an admirer, I knew she would be fine.

I was wrong on both.

On December 27, while I waited in the lobby at WXXI to discuss the cast of Rogue One and representation of women and minorities in pop culture, I read the news. I had the misfortune of sharing that with the other guests on the show, and with the host. Instead of hearing it on the radio and reacting, privately, I had to react live on air.

It wasn’t fun. I mentioned her approach to meeting the fans she loved, keeping her words during our exchange for myself, her role, not just as Princess Leia, but as a tireless advocate for mental health. What I didn’t mention, because, really, no one wanted to hear it, was that Carrie’s death was another jab in an already-open wound.

I had taken the last few days of 2015 off. I was going to do something. Instead, we planned a funeral, canceled credit cards, and she fed us for the last time from the leftovers of her last family – including friends of several decades – party. The following Monday I went back to work. I cried at my desk, with no prompt. If anyone noticed, they said nothing. I’m still not sure if that made it better or worse.

A year later, I, again, had the last days of the year off. I was doing something, and agreed to talk about Star Wars. Sharing the news with other fans was a burden, but was met with reactions mirroring my own.  Of the five people in the room, I was the only one who had met Carrie Fisher (in August 2013; after signing across her character’s chest she declared “Right on the boobs; that’s what they’re good for”), but anyone who had read her books or seen her in interviews (which were more frequent in the wake of The Force Awakens and her last memoir, The Princess Diarist) was familiar with a sometimes shockingly-candid Carrie.

A common criticism of funerals is that a priest or some other stranger tells a few dozen of the departed’s closest friends and family vague, surface-level facts about someone they likely never met. Reverse roles, though, and something special happens, as it did at Star Wars Celebration in April 2017. Four months after Carrie’s death, she was celebrated by her fellow cast members, her daughter, and even John Williams conducting the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Later, her on-screen brother and friend of four decades Mark Hamill led an intimate look at her life with thousands of her biggest fans.

It may seem strange, but I often find myself wondering what Sue Gregory and Carrie Fisher would think about what I’m doing at that moment. By random chance, they have become linked in my memory. It’s good company to keep.

 

Star Wars Celebration Orlando: 40 Years of Star Wars


If you asked me how Star Wars Celebration started this morning, you wouldn’t believe my answer.

Trust me.

With some fans waiting in line since yesterday afternoon, expectations were high. With Endor’s own Warwick Davis as host, this celebration of four decades in a galaxy far far away did not disappoint. Joined by Star Wars creator George Lucas, who sold his company and the series that made it to Disney in 2012, Davis guided thousands of fans through the history of the franchise and the many characters that have played a part. Heroes and villains of the series shared their experiences as part of the saga dat he impact it had on their lives, their careers, and the lives of the fans around the world.

Cast members including Hayden Christiansen (Anakin Skywalker), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), along with fan favorites Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) paid tribute to Lucas, while Dave Filoni, executive producer of Star Wars Rebels, referenced their own master-apprentice relationship.

Surprise video messages from Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson paled in comparison to an unexpected guest, as Harrison Ford, Han Solo himself, crashed the panel and recounted his chance encounter with Lucas that propelled him to stardom.

A touching tribute to the late Carrie Fisher was capped with remarks from her daughter, Billie Lourde, who, like her mother, recited Princess Leia’s plea for help to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The princess’s theme, along with other selections from the series soundtrack, were performed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by composer John Williams.

As unbelievable as it sounds, this was only the first two hours of Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. There is plenty more to come.

Star Wars Celebration runs through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Slipping Through Your Fingers: Kylo Ren’s Path to the Chancellor’s Award

Slipping Through Your Fingers web.png

After his breakthrough performance in “The Force Awakens,” a documentary crew follows Kylo Ren as he prepares to fulfill his destiny and receive the Chancellor’s Award.

 

I submitted this short for the 2016 Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Sound effects and music were provided by Lucasfilm (per contest rules), with the exception of the Force effect, which I created by slowing and down-pitching a purring cat, the same technique as the sound designer for The Force Awakens.

 

 

STAR WARS Celebration: Droid Tales and Baseballs | Popculturology.com (Unpublished)

Anthony Daniels. Photo by Eric Stevens.

Anthony Daniels. Photo by Eric Stevens.

Despite the water shortage here in Southern California, I am pleased to report that most people I have encountered seem to have showered between yesterday and today. So far, day two of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim is off to a good start. After an early swing through the LEGO Play Area (to assert my dominance as a LEGO builder) (to pick up the second set of posters and free mini-build), it was back to the autograph hall.

Anthony Daniels, the man who has been inside C-3PO for nearly four decades, was in a surprisingly good mood, but the big surprise of the morning was the literal marriage of sci-fi and sport. Ashley Eckstein, better known as Ahsoka Tano, star of The Clone Wars, was escorted by her husband, World Series MVP David Eckstein.

Always eager to learn something new about the movies I love, the next stop was the Secrets of the Mos Eisley Cantina panel. Over the course of 39 years, Star Wars scholars have managed to give a name to each actor who appeared in the iconic scene, which was filmed on sets in England and in California. One lucky audience member had the chance to name one of the cantina patrons who survived a quarter-century of Expanded Universe novels without an identity.

Speaking of the Mos Eisley cantina, which seems to be a recurring theme of my week so far, it was packed this afternoon, with alien and human patrons celebrating… something. Maybe it’s the newest LEGO Star Wars TV series, Droid Tales. This new mini-series, premiering in July on Disney XD, follows the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO through the timeline of Episodes I-VI, and the comedy antics that made two unsuspecting droids the greatest heroes the galaxy has ever known.

Five episodes cover the events of each movie, as well as parts of The Clone Wars and Rebels, and are littered with happenings that took place off-camera. I won’t say the writers are pandering to adult fans, since it is meant for children, but I watched Jar Jar Binks die twice in the five minutes of clips we saw here today. I’m not sure if this series was announced here in Anaheim, but the first I heard of it was yesterday, when it was featured on the back of the LEGO Star Wars posters.

I had one more encounter with Dave Filoni, but a dry marker and eager chauffeur left me without an autograph yet again.

Costume Tally

Boba Fett – 6

Wolverine/Boba Fett mashup – 1

STAR WARS Celebration: STAR WARS REBELS Report | Popculturology.com

Ashley Eckstein. Photo by Eric Stevens

Ashley Eckstein. Photo by Eric Stevens

If you haven’t been watching Star Wars Rebels, it might be time to catch up before the Season 2 premiere this fall.

The trailer for the upcoming season, which has certainly leaked or been posted officially by now, shows a series that, despite airing on Disney XD, had a room of adult fans cheering. With the return of some old friends — both from the original trilogy and Star Wars: The Clone Wars — and the appearance of many original trilogy and prequel-era vehicles, no one can deny that this is Star Wars.

There were a few surprises, with one particular character introduction bringing the crowd to its feet and tears to some eyes.

More on Star Wars Rebels coming later today with the Season 2 premiere.

Read on Popculturology.com

STAR WARS Celebration: A Dave Filoni Sighting | Popculturology.com

Dave Filoni

Dave Filoni. Photo by Eric Stevens.

To say that the Star Wars Celebration convention is huge would be an understatement. After seven hours here, there is still an entire exhibit hall of vendors and artists that I haven’t seen. Somewhere in the vast sea of George Lucas beard doubles, dazed parents who thought this would be a quiet place to take their young children and stormtroopers who are taking their uniform a little too seriously, there is an exhibit of costumes and props from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I haven’t seen it. I’m not sure if I want to see it, as someone who has gone the past few months without seeing the first teaser for the movie, and the past few hours without seeing the second.

The second half of the first day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, the seventh event to be held in the United States (and second in California) was equally eventful. I walked into another Star Wars director, this time the man with an Indiana Jones-like devotion to his hat, Dave Filoni, supervising director of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and executive producer of Star Wars Rebels (I’ll be reporting on the second season premiere on Saturday). I didn’t get a chance to speak to him, or have him sign my Ahsoka Tano action figure, but he seemed relieved when told by a young boy that Rebels is “getting better.”

There are a few food vendors inside the convention center, a line of food trucks outside and a small bar tucked to one side selling beer. The highlight of the food scene here in Anaheim is not the Wookiee Fries advertised on one of the food trucks, but this replica of the Mos Eisley cantina I mentioned earlier as the site of the JJ Abrams sighting. Perched on the opposite side is everyone’s favorite space yeti, known to the fans here as Muftak. Personally, I’m hoping to see autograph guest John Ratzenberger perched next to him at some point discussing the rigors of interplanetary postal service.

Costume Tally:

Ewoks (humans in costume) — 7
Ewoks (dogs in costume) — 1

Read on Popculturology.com

STAR WARS Celebration From the Convention Floor | Popculturology.com

JJ Abrams. Photo by Eric Stevens.

JJ Abrams. Photo by Eric Stevens.

Anaheim Convention Center — We are hours into the first day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, and there is an entire galaxy worth of Star Wars fans in attendance. The main event, with Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president and executive producer of the next installment to our saga, The Force Awakens, and JJ Abrams, the film’s director, stole the show. From the sunny sidewalk, I saw photos of BB-8, the spherical astro droid, and heard a rowdy line, waiting to be let in to the building, fall silent as the second teaser trailer for the movie made its way online.

If you wanted to see that panel in person, the line for the main stage — the Anaheim Convention Center Arena — was full at 11 o’clock last night. Four additional rooms were available to view it live, simulcast to another few thousand people.

As is the case with these events, much of it has been down to luck, contrary to Ben Kenobi’s beliefs. Turning a corner to a life-size replica of the classic Mos Eisley cantina, I found myself face-to-many-faces with the fourth director of the Star Wars saga, Mr. Abrams himself, along with a legion of his shiny new troops and a Princess Leia who shared the same bushy mustache as Nintendo’s Mario. You really never know what is going to happen on the convention floor.

Costume tally:

Han Solo — 4
Sexy Han Solo — 12