The Mandalorian – Simply Star Wars *spoiler free review

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If I tell you that the first episode of The Mandalorian – the new high profile, live action Star Wars series helping to launch the Disney + channel – is simple, I trust you’ll understand that I’m complimenting it.

Set five years after the fall of the Empire, as seen in Return of the Jedi, the extremely straightforward storyline of this premiere episode follows the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter (played by Pedro Pascal, though so far he remains firmly under the helmet) hired to round up or exterminate a mark. And for the first 38 minutes, that’s pretty much it.

Carl Weathers crops up, as does (in a much-ballyhooed, sublime piece of casting) existential German film director, Werner Herzog, who appears to be having a blast in his role, plus we meet (sort of) Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi (director of Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit). It’s a heckuva cast for what amounts to a little spaghetti western in space.

What you really want to know is: does it feel like Star Wars? Yes, it does, and it feels like exactly what I had hoped for, Star Wars without the Skywalkers, or Jedi, or the Force (at least so far), and what a lot of fun it is. The Mandalorian comes across as if show creator Jon Favreau and pilot director Dave Filoni are just kicking back and enjoying themselves in the Star Wars universe. They even manage to throw in a deep-cut gag taken from the infamously reviled Star Wars Holiday Special TV show from 1978.

The Mandalorian looks and sounds totally Star Wars too, with some really top notch VFX and creature FX (many of which, I’m overjoyed to say, are practical). Whoever thought we’d live to see a weekly Star Wars TV series with movie level special effects? Not this kid who saw the original movie more than twenty times at the cinema in 1977 and 1978, that’s for sure.

There’s no great human drama, so far, but we get a lot of world-building in just over half an hour (with no necessary Star Wars knowledge needed, but plenty of nods to fans), events are set neatly in place and some intriguing threads are left dangling. We’re offered just enough of what might make the title character of interest (he’s a bounty hunter with a heart of gold), but the main point here is to make us want to come back for more. And if the showrunners can ensure this level of pure enjoyment for the next seven episodes then that won’t be a problem.

Simply put, The Mandalorian is uncomplicated fun.

Rogue One Writer For Disney Plus Star Wars Show

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Tony Gilroy, co-writer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has jumped aboard the Disney Plus series based on that film’s central character, Cassian Andor.

Variety just dropped an exclusive report, stating that Gilroy would write and direct several episodes for the forthcoming, as yet untitled, live action show for Disney’s streaming channel.

The series will star Diego Luna, reprising his role from Rogue One, and follows Rebel agent Andor in adventures set before the events of that film, in the early days of the Rebellion against the Empire. Alan Tudyk will also return as K-2SO, Andor’s droll droid sidekick.

Gilroy was originally an uncredited writer on Rogue One, and came onto the production to handle extensive reshoots on the film, earning a screenwriting credit in the process. After the reshoots, he is also said to have worked closely with director Gareth Edwards to supervise the editing of the film.

No air date has been set for the show, but previous reports suggest it will launch in 2021. Disney Plus launches in the US and other markets (but not here in Norway, curse you Disney) on November 12th.

Marvel Finds Its Kate Bishop For Hawkeye TV Show – Hailee Steinfeld!

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Variety are reporting that Marvel are close to signing Hailee Steinfeld to play Kate Bishop, in their new Disney Plus limited series, Hawkeye.

Jeremy Renner will move across from the movies to play Hawkeye, and Steinfeld will play Kate Bishop, a character who took on the mantle of the Hawkeye name, while Clint Barton was off doing dark deeds as Ronin (as seen in Avengers: Endgame).

We’re big fans of Steinfeld, here at Out Of Dave’s Head Towers, from her breakthrough role in the Cohen Brothers’ 2010 remake of True Grit, through to her superb turns in films including The Edge of Seventeen and the Transformers film it’s okay to like, Bumblebee.

Since these series on Disney Plus will be more directly linked to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (unlike the ABC and Netflix shows, which drifted further away from the MCU over time), it will be intriguing to see whether Steinfeld as Bishop will eventually cross over into future films.

Hawkeye will string his bow on Disney Plus in autumn 2021.

Time To Get Excited About Star Wars Again – The Mandalorian Trailer Has Arrived

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The trailer for Jon Favreau’s new live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, has arrived, and it looks amazing:

So much to unpack from this: bounty hunting in the Star Wars universe, movie quality special effects, a wonderfully gritty look and, yes, Werner Herzog. This thing looks crazy and crazy good. Even if you’ve found your enthusiasm for all things Star Wars waning in recent years, you have to admit there’s a weirdness to this that Lucas’s (and Disney’s) universe has been calling out for.

Creator, writer, and director Jon Favreau (that’s Happy Hogan to YOU, sir and Madam) has promised The Mandalorian will dig into the “darker, freakier” side of Star Wars and it doesn’t look like he was kidding.

Set after the fall of the Empire (in Return of the Jedi) and before the rise of the First Order (in The Force Awakens), the series stars Pedro Pascal (in the title role), Gina Carano, Nick Nolte (really!), Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, and Omid Abtahi. Yes, and Werner Herzog appears.

Disney have a lot of faith in this show, so much that they’ve already announced Season Two will begin shooting this autumn.

As noted in many other pieces here, because this autumn Disney will take over our viewing habits entirely, the new Disney Plus streaming service launches on November 12.

Ms. Marvel – Marvel’s First Muslim Superhero Comes To Disney Plus

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New streaming service Disney Plus is developing a series based on Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel, Marvel Comics’ first Muslim super-hero, according to an exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter.

Created by editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie, Khan was Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book, launched by the publisher in 2014.

In her comic book iteration, the current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, is a teenage Pakistani-American from New Jersey with shapeshifting abilities who discovers that she has Inhuman genes, activated by a cloud of Terrigen mist, and assumes the mantle of Ms. Marvel from her idol Carol Danvers after Danvers becomes Captain Marvel. The series not only explores Khan’s conflicts with supervillains but also explores conflicts with Khan’s home and religious duties.

Marvel’s announcement that a Muslim character would headline a comic book was met with widespread reaction and the first volume of Ms. Marvel won the Hugo Award for best graphic story in 2015.

I’ve read the various volumes of Ms. Marvel as they’ve been released, and found them to be fresh, inventive, insightful and fun. While I may not be the comic’s target audience, I’ve come to fully appreciate what Marvel have done with the character.

According to THR, Marvel is developing a live-action series for the new streaming service, due to launch in November 2019, and they’ve hired British writer Bisha K. Ali to write and act as showrunner. Ali is a comedian, who was in the writer’s room for new Netflix comedy drama, Sex Education and is currently a staff writer on Hulu’s remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The live-action Marvel shows already in development are The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, to debut in late 2020; WandaVision, to debut in spring 2021; Loki, also for early 2021; and Hawkeye, for late 2021.

Ms. Marvel has no production or transmission dates announced as yet, but be sure to stick with Out Of Dave’s Head for more information on this exciting news as we get it.