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Jedi Master Sskeer Returns in Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic #2 – Exclusive Preview

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 10:00

We’re just a few weeks away from officially entering the era of Star Wars: The High Republic and today StarWars.com has an exclusive first look at pages from the second issue of Marvel’s new comic series by the same name.

“Issue two sees a damaged cruiser drifting in deep space, ravaged by a Nihil attack,” writer Cavan Scott explains. “Sskeer leads the mission which sees the team stalked through the smoke-filled corridors.” And this time, Jedi Master Sskeer and his Padawan Keeve Trennis aren’t alone.

“The issue also introduces Terec and Ceret who are two of the first Jedi that Keeve Trennis meets when she is posted to Starlight Beacon,” adds Scott. “Hailing from the planet Kotab, the pair are bond-twins, siblings who, for all intents and purposes, share the same gestalt mind. Analytical and inquisitive, the Kotabi twins have the potentially confusing habit of finishing each others’ sentences, even when they’re not in the same room!”

StarWars.com is pleased to reveal four inked interior pages showcasing the four heroes in action as well as a cover by artist Phil Noto. Check out the full preview below!

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4 Star Wars Books to Read After Finishing Squadrons

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:00

You’ve helped Hera Syndulla protect the freedom of the galaxy. On the other side of the war, you’ve grabbed personal glory at the controls of a TIE fighter. Maybe you grew up with your hands around a joystick in a flight simulator or are jumping into the genre for the first time. Whatever your history and your galactic loyalty, Star Wars: Squadrons offers you one of the quintessential fantasies: daring piloting worthy of Luke Skywalker or Han Solo.

Whenever I indulge in a Star Wars fantasy like that, it always makes me want to read more. Novels, comics, and short stories can get inside characters’ heads the way a video game can’t. And every author has their own way of capturing the excitement, terror, or tactics of fantastical space battles. Now that you’ve flown with Vanguard and Titan Squadrons in the video game, maybe you have your own stories about pilots too.

Here are four Star Wars books to read if you can’t get enough of Squadrons…

Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed

Vanguard Squadron stars in Squadrons, but their first appearance was in this book as side characters to Alphabet. Their relationship with other squadrons is touchy (Gunny even calls them “slackers”!), making Alphabet look a bit ragged compared to the more decorated and celebrated Vanguard. And that’s what Alphabet Squadron is about — the conflicts and hardships of a fractious squad who can never quite get the hang of teamwork, and follows Yrica Quell, an ex-Imperial pilot struggling to find her place in the galaxy. The action scenes in both novels in this series emphasize how much pilots can get shaken up and disoriented maneuvering around in space. I appreciated this even more after starting out as a novice in Squadrons.

Although it was published in 2018, long before the game was announced, the complementary nature of Alphabet Squadron and Squadrons shows how every Star Wars story is connected, no matter format or the release date. It’s the closest you’ll get to seeing Squadrons characters in the novels so far, since Vanguard pops up occasionally. The story continues in Shadow Fall, and concludes with Victory Price coming in 2021.

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

Both of the highest-ranking officers in Squadrons star in this novel. A New Dawn follows Hera Syndulla in her early days as a rebel agent, facing off against the Imperial Rae Sloane. The story shows how Hera met her Jedi partner Kanan Jarrus and fought the Empire before she climbed the ranks. It also marks the first appearance of Sloane, whose strict adherence to what she believes are the ideals of the Empire sometimes puts her on the same side as her enemy. The beliefs central to both characters — Sloane believes in authoritarian order and Hera in freedom from the heart — are key to their roles in Squadrons, too.

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Just like Squadrons showed both sides of the war, Lost Stars offer two perspectives. In the case of Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, they’re sweethearts separated by war. Both of them are fascinated by starships and love to fly, but Ciena’s passion leads her to the Empire and Thane’s to the Rebellion. This book offers some detailed and surprising explanations for why characters choose to take the sides they do, and features some set-piece battle scenes welded together by the love between the characters.

If you found yourself daydreaming about romance between pilots in Squadrons, this one might be for you. Thane and Ciena are richly characterized people. Their experiences in many of the major battles of the Galactic Civil War show what it was like to be a background pilot, not a Leia Organa or Luke Skywalker. But at the same time, like the members of Vanguard Squadron, the pilots of Lost Stars have epic wins and losses just like the more well-known heroes. 

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Remember Wedge Antilles? The pilot who survived two Death Stars appeared briefly in Squadrons to welcome you into the rebel fold. And what a prestigious meeting! A long-time Star Wars fan favorite, Wedge is the ultimate everyman pilot, down-to-earth, long-suffering, and talented. He’s one of the stars of the Aftermath series, along with pilot Norra Wexley. This series laid the groundwork for what the New Republic looks like in canon, including ex-Imperials and difficult political decisions. Rae Sloane also has a major role here as she attempts to hold together an empire without its emperor.

Aftermath isn’t as focused on flying as the other books on this list. Instead, it provides political context about the kind of people who are part of the New Republic and the difficult decisions its leaders had to make. Going from a rebellion to the ruling power in the galaxy wasn’t an easy transition for the good guys. Maybe being a pilot, pointing your ship at a target and taking on one mission at a time may be easier than running a government.

Further reading…

In addition, Marvel’s TIE Fighter series provides space combat from the Empire’s point of view, and two official Squadrons short stories are available on EA.com: “Count to Three” and “The Light You Bring.”

Happy flying…and reading!

Star Wars: Squadrons is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Megan Crouse’s work has appeared in Den of Geek, FangirlBlog, and Star Wars Insider. She podcasts on Western Reaches and Blaster Canon and can be found on Twitter at @blogfullofwords.

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Better Than Beskar: Inside Columbia’s New Star Wars Collection Inspired by The Mandalorian

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:00

If you’re a fan of Star Wars and Columbia Sportswear, the holiday season is extra special. Every December since 2016, Columbia has released limited-edition Star Wars outwear that blends the company’s design expertise with the galaxy far, far away in delightfully creative ways. The collaboration kicked off with a Rogue One­-inspired line, bringing the utilitarian looks of Jyn Erso and others to functional outwear; 2017’s range took inspiration from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’s Echo Base, offering fans a chance to wear modern takes on the style of Han and Leia’s classic Hoth coats; 2018 saw a painstakingly-researched and crafted recreation of the crew parka from The Empire Strikes Back; and last year, the light and dark sides of the Force fused with Columbia’s celebrated Challenger jacket.

Which way would Columbia turn for 2020? The way, of course.

Launching December 4 at 12:01 am ET on columbia.com/StarWars, Columbia’s latest Star Wars collection takes inspiration from The Mandalorian, now in its second season on Disney+. The line, continuing Columbia’s smart take on Star Wars fashion with subtle detailing and in-world references, features offerings for adults and children. The Mandalorian Interchange Hybrid Jacket (MSRP: $300), based on Din Djarin’s beskar armor, comes with a removable vest and recreates the plated look of the character’s gear. (For just one of the range’s many fun Easter eggs, check out the jacket’s inside pocket.) The Mandalorian Helmet Gaiter (MSRP: $40) is designed in the image of its namesake, with water-resistant fabric, fleece lining, and stretchy soft shell construction; The Child Bunting (MSRP: $50) incorporates the Child’s trademark ears, and will protect your child with an ultra-soft microfleece and Sherpa lining; The Child Jacket (MSRP: $75-$80), a youth jacket that includes a hood with stowable ears and more surprises, features a water-resistant shell and Omni-Heat thermal-reflective lining, as well as a cozy Sherpa fleece hood for warmth and comfort; and finally, The Mandalorian Heavyweight Hoodie (MSRP: $120) incorporates elements from the Mandalorian’s armor in a rugged, modern item for brisk days. You may not need to take on a mudhorn, but you’ll feel like you can.

StarWars.com caught up with two of the talented designers behind the collection — Leigh Roundy and Phil Padilla — to discuss our emotional connection to the Child, how a Columbia outerwear feature aligned perfectly with Mando’s armor, and why you should brush up on your Mando’a, the language of the Mandalorian culture.

StarWars.com: From a design perspective, what did you think of the characters and world of The Mandalorian when you first saw it?

Phil Padilla: I was immediately drawn to the juxtaposition of the space and Western elements within the characters and world of The Mandalorian. The costume detail on the Mandalorian himself was especially intriguing — high-shine armor in combination with traditional, rugged fabrications. The Mandalorian and the Child characters were both instantly iconic in appearance and persona, and really drew me in from the beginning. The harsh desert environment mixed with the [space fantasy] elements and vehicles/ships was another standout for me throughout the series.

Leigh Roundy: Din Djarin is extremely striking with his character design. He’s a commanding presence…from the T-shaped visor within the helmet to his newly forged beskar armor. I was also struck by the balance of the technical and natural, rugged elements of the worlds that also influenced the mood of the costuming. And as for the Child, this little one instantly grabs you by the heartstrings and creates an emotional connection. I was immediately drawn to the perfectly oversized proportions of the eyes and ears, the subtle yet charming personality traits, and his connection with the Mandalorian character.

StarWars.com: I love how this collection really incorporates The Mandalorian designs in a subtle way. The Mandalorian Interchange Hybrid Jacket, for example, clearly features Mando’s chest plate. But if you didn’t know the character or the series, you’d just think it was an interesting design.

Phil Padilla: Working closely with Lucasfilm throughout the design/development journey, one of our main goals was to strike the right balance of character recognition and Columbia brand DNA. The task of taking Mando’s armor/costume and translating it to a wearable, commercially viable product was a great design challenge that our teams really focused on and rose to the occasion to bring to fruition.

Leigh Roundy: After collaborating with Lucasfilm on the direction of this collection, we knew it was extremely important to preserve the essence of not only The Mandalorian brand, but of the Columbia Sportswear brand, as well. This was not a direct character costume translation, which made it different from the previous Star Wars collaborations we’ve done. It was an interesting challenge. There needed to be subtlety and nuance with the piece while maintaining the overall iconic design language of the Mandalorian. We identified that the design lines form his chest plate and, of course, his helmet HAD to be incorporated to give that “tip of the hat” to his character design you see on screen.

StarWars.com: The Mandalorian Interchange Hybrid Jacket is also true, in spirit, to the Mandalorian’s armor, as it’s modular. Was that a consideration when ideating on how you would create outerwear based on the character?

Leigh Roundy: That was a huge characteristic of the Mandalorian’s costume I noticed when studying it, the layering and modularity. From this, we thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to take inspiration from our iconic Columbia interchangeable feature and combine it with the essence of the Mandalorian armor. The chrome-inspired fabrication on the vest adds a great visual to the piece, but also adds additional warmth and protection to the wearer, which, again, ties into the Mandalorian character. The rugged layers beneath the armor were important to capture, as well. If you look closely at the arms of our piece, you’ll noticed the detailed stitching and overlays we employed to capture those visual cues. We think those are details that fans will appreciate. And the lightweight insulation and warming technologies are key, as well. He’s out exploring these harsh worlds and needs protection from the elements…which is right up our alley.

StarWars.com: At the same time, The Child Jacket and The Child Bunting lean into the charm of the character for which they’re named, with a really adorable hood that comes complete with big, floppy ears. Was it a no-brainer to go with this approach?

Phil Padilla: We wanted to incorporate the Child character into the collection from Day 1. The immediate allure and pop culture adoption of the Child as an icon from the series was really evident, and it provided a true point of inspiration and emotional connection to design from. The team worked diligently to construct the Child ears accurately to the character and integrate the clever stowable feature on the jacket that allows the wearer to store the ears within the hood if they’d like to.

Leigh Roundy: I’ve gotta say, every time we fit this piece in-house there wasn’t one person that could contain their feels…it generated such a positive energy! I think that was hugely important in the Child pieces, as the Child itself creates such an emotional connection, to Phil’s point, to whoever is watching. We wanted to make sure that we also were able to capture an emotional response with these styles.

StarWars.com: The Mandalorian Helmet Gaiter does a nice job of making the iconic T-visor of Mando’s helmet into something functional for outerwear. How tricky was that?

Phil Padilla: The team designed the Helmet Gaiter simultaneously with the Interchange Hybrid Jacket, so we could sync the fabrications for a consistent look and feel. The trickiest part of the Helmet Gaiter design/development process was figuring out the correct fit and construction on the upper head piece. Once that was dialed in, we were able to rely on the iconic details and lines of Mando’s helmet, and simply translate those onto the gaiter and let them speak for themselves.

Leigh Roundy: Also making sure the T-visor proportions were spot on was so important. Making sure nothing was too wide, that the angles were noticeable enough when being worn up around the face. It was another exercise of nuance.

Phil Padilla: As we were brainstorming on the Helmet Gaiter’s design, I noticed that the lining of our Omni-Heat 3D technology is reminiscent of Mando’s helmet. This is one of our reflective linings that we developed a few years ago and actually used inside the Interchange Hybrid Jacket, but I’d never noticed that it looks like hundreds of Mandalorian helmets. It was an amazing moment! And now I think about the Mandalorian every time I see this reflective lining.

StarWars.com: There’s also the special edition The Mandalorian Heavyweight Hoodie, also based on Mando’s armor. What challenges did you face here, in terms of adapting the character’s armor into fashion, that might not have been present with your jacket?

Leigh Roundy: The challenge was to find the balance between overt character read and the kind of nuance that would make it extremely wearable. Incorporating the layered look of the sleeve into a flange construction, bringing in the mudhorn iconography on the sleeve and adding a wash that gave almost a sand-blasted look were some features we felt were important to include in this piece to evoke a sense of the character.

StarWars.com: Finally, a Columbia tradition is planting Easter eggs in its Star Wars products. Can you give us a tease of what fans might find?

Phil Padilla: Fans will find an assortment of considered and curated Easter eggs within the products, ranging from simple iconography and symbols to coded Mando’a messages.

Leigh Roundy: We wanted to bring in character-specific nods for the fans to discover…some require a bit of detective work to translate the meaning and others are meant to simply bring a smile to people’s faces. We had so much fun thinking about these secret messages!

Columbia’s The Mandalorian-themed collection goes on sale December 4 at 12:01 am ET on columbia.com/StarWars and in select Columbia stores.

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Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #MandoMondays

How Eastern Philosophy and Film Details Inspired Star Wars Fine Jewelry

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:00

The influence of Joseph Campbell’s writings on the hero’s journey and the tenets of Eastern philosophy run deep in the original Star Wars trilogy. These inspirations also fittingly played a role in helping designers craft the new Star Wars Fine Jewelry collection, says Roopam Jain, president of brands at Renaissance Global.

A jade Yoda piece owes its inspiration to ancient talisman pendants, while another invoking the spirit of Princess Leia is woven with braids to mimic her iconic hair. A starburst style pays homage to the symbol used on original poster art as well as the glittering stars in our own Earthly sky. For Roopam, it was important to incorporate these Earthly delights — from carefully-chosen gemstones to fine metals — and cultural influences into pieces that also represent the archetypes and timeless characters who inhabit a galaxy far, far away.

Recently, we sat down with Roopam and Limor Magidov, vice president of design and merchandising, to discuss the making of the line and their favorite creations among the vast array of pendants, rings, and other bejeweled offerings.

StarWars.com: There are seven capsule collections. How did you arrive at these seven essential categories?

Roopam Jain: We tried to capture the essence of the classic Star Wars trilogy and we wanted to speak to the duality of each storyline — for example, good versus evil in the “Balance of the Force” capsule collection, or complementary personalities in the “Friendship” capsule collection. Our team sat together along with the Lucasfilm licensing team and came up with the most important themes that would resonate with every Star Wars fan.

 

StarWars.com:  The “Balance of Nature” collection weaves in some great natural motifs. The jade Yoda pendant is hands-down my favorite because it’s such a brilliant stone and the carving is exquisite. How long does each one take to make?

Limor Magidov: Just to give a little bit of background, the inspiration for this piece came from Eastern philosophy and talisman pendants that are carved out of jade. Jade is a stone that represents harmony and wisdom, which was the perfect match for Yoda’s character, both in a spiritual sense as well as tying back to his green coloration from a storytelling point of view.

Sourcing this stone and searching the globe to find the right artisan stone cutter for this project took a long time! Once we found our stone cutting expert, we used a 3-D Yoda file provided by Lucasfilm to create a CAD [or computer-aided design] that was machine carved into each stone. Then each carving was touched up and polished by hand. This process takes a few days as we need to allow the artisans the time to perfect each stone and make sure the details do not get lost.

StarWars.com: What are some of your favorite pieces from the collection?

Roopam Jain: I like the 10K yellow gold, sterling silver, and diamond Jedi Master Pendant, because it depicts Yoda in a seated meditation pose. To me, it really ties back into the inspirational teachings from Joseph Campbell that George Lucas incorporated into the original films.

The 10K yellow gold and diamond piece inspired by the Child is another, because The Mandalorian is so interesting! I’m so curious about the Child’s background and story that I can’t wait for the release of the rest of Season 2.

And the R2-D2-inspired women’s ring that is a stackable set of three sterling silver and diamond rings with garnet and sapphire give a subtle nod to everyone’s favorite, loyal, and lighthearted droid. It also allowed us to incorporate colorful gemstones into the assortment.

StarWars.com:  So much about this line is subtle. How did you know when you got it right with a piece that’s  more in the spirit of the character?

Limor Magidov: When designing, I always look for the strongest shapes to represent each character or object in the best form. Although the design is subtle, your mind would still be able to recognize the details automatically and know where the inspiration stems from. The challenge is always giving enough inspiration from the character or object without being literal, but still letting the mind and imagination make the connection through shapes, lines, colors, and storytelling.

StarWars.com:  In the “Mandalorian” collection, how did you translate motifs of the Child and the Mandalorian helmet into new forms?

Limor Magidov: Working with fine jewelry materials such as diamonds, fine metals, and mother of pearl, I wanted to simplify the character into a silhouette charm and into two elegant locket pendants that capture the pod with the Child inside so the storytelling continues in a more elevated fashionable way. The helmet was translated into his and hers matching band rings capturing the focal motif of the black T-shape in the center of the helmet.

StarWars.com:  The “Celestial Love” collection really reminds me of Leia’s lightsaber with the rose gold and silver accents. Were you looking at props and costumes to help inspire these pieces?

Limor Magidov: Props, costumes, architecture, environment — these are all where I draw my inspiration from. For Leia, the inspiration came from her iconic hair and from her outfit. The choice of pink gold represents the lightsaber and ties back to the light pink quilted vest she wears in The Empire Strikes Back.

Roopam Jain: The Galactic Royalty women’s pendant is one of my favorites. Made with diamonds, true two-tone sterling silver, and 10K rose gold, it depicts Leia’s braids; the way our designer interpreted them into an elevated design was masterful.

StarWars.com:  The starburst in “Into the Galaxy” reminds me of the artistry around lightsabers on some of our illustrated posters. Beyond costumes and film stills, what other Star Wars memorabilia and non-Star Wars elements did you use to inspire you?

Limor Magidov: Since “Into the Galaxy” represents our umbrella collection under which all stories and characters fall, my inspiration for the starburst styles was meant to capture the look and feel of the overall aesthetics of Star Wars and Jedi motifs and, like you mentioned, the original Star Wars posters. But we also wanted to showcase a true galactic symbol when looking up into the starry night sky.

Shop the collection now at StarWarsFineJewelry.com.

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Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer, host of This Week! In Star Wars and The Star Wars Show Book Club, and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

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Bounty Hunting Highlights: 5 of Our Favorite Moments from The Mandalorian – “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:00

Every week, StarWars.com is tracking our favorite moments from the Disney+ series The Mandalorian with “Bounty Hunting Highlights.” Get your jetpacks and helmets on and join us for the ride!

Spoiler warning: This article contains plot details from The Mandalorian “Chapter 13: The Jedi.” 

Thanks to a tip from Bo-Katan, the Mandalorian finally locates a Jedi — but matters soon become much more complicated. “Chapter 13: The Jedi” is a landmark episode, full of revelations, great fights, and the memorable live-action debut of a modern Star Wars icon. Here are just a few of the installment’s many highlights.

1. Everyone…Ahsoka Tano.

Ahsoka Tano finally makes the jump to live-action from her animated origins in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels; it’s not just a highlight of the episode, but an all-time great Star Wars moment, and something fans have long dreamed about. Watching as she strikes from the Corvis mist to open “The Jedi” is simply thrilling, and worthy of a character that has come to mean so much to so many. Now, the whole world is in on a secret that Star Wars fans have known for a long time: Ahsoka is the greatest.

2. “A Jedi plagues me. I want you to kill her.”

We meet the Magistrate of Corvis, Morgan Elsbeth, and it’s immediately clear that there’s a great — and especially cruel — new Star Wars villain in the galaxy.

3. Ahsoka vs. Mando.

It’s brief, but when Mando and Ahsoka square off, we get a real sense of their incredible abilities as warriors. Plus, seeing Ahsoka battle a Mandalorian in live-action is just another of the episode’s many exciting I-never-thought-I’d-see-this moments.

4. Meet Grogu — the alien formerly known as the Child.

Well, the Child officially has a name: Grogu, as discovered by Ahsoka! It’s weird and cute and we love it. (Though if you want to keep calling him Baby Yoda or the Child, that’s totally fine.)

5. “A Mandalorian and a Jedi? They’ll never see it coming.”

Ahsoka and the Mandalorian hatch a plan to take down the Magistrate and her enforcer (played by sci-fi icon Michael Biehn), and we may have a new favorite Star Wars tag-team.

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Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #DisneyPlus

Mando Download: “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:00

The Mandalorian is back! Every week, StarWars.com’s “Mando Download” will round up fun bonuses from each new episode of the Disney+ series. 

Spoiler warning: This article contains images and details from The Mandalorian “Chapter 13: The Jedi.”

In “Chapter 13: The Jedi,” the Mandalorian journeys to a world ruled by a cruel magistrate who has made a powerful enemy. Check out the gallery below for a brand-new character poster, stills, and concept art from the episode!

Character Poster

Stills

Concept Art

The Mandalorian concept art by Brian Matyas.

The Mandalorian concept art by Anton Grandent.

The Mandalorian concept art by Erik Tiemens.

The Mandalorian concept art by Brian Matyas.

The Mandalorian concept art by Brian Matyas.

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

The Mandalorian concept art by Christian Alzmann.

The Mandalorian concept art by Brian Matyas.

The Mandalorian concept art by Christian Alzmann.

The Mandalorian concept art by Brian Matyas.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #DisneyPlus

Mando Mondays: Invicta Creates a Timeless Collection and More!

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 08:00

Every Monday, MandoMondays.com is dropping new products inspired by The Mandalorian, and StarWars.com is highlighting just a few of all the major new reveals. Set your tracking fobs and happy hunting! 

This Mando Monday delivers elegant timepieces from Invicta, a sweet line of Loungefly bags inspired by The Child, and much more!

MandoMondays.com revealed its latest bounty of products inspired by The Mandalorian today, including more new art, apparel, and collectibles from Acme Archives and Funko. Most new items are on sale or available for pre-order starting today at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET across top retailers globally, including shopDisney.com. Check out a few of our favorites below!

Fourth Class Droid Print from Acme Archives

He may be a fourth class droid, but IG-11 is a first class caretaker for The Child, seen here strapped to the droid’s chest in an all-new, limited-edition print.

Moff Gideon T-Shirt by Fifth Sun

Fans of the Imperial regime have a new catchphrase thanks to Moff Gideon. “Long live the Empire.”

The Mandalorian (Target Exclusive Version) by Funko

We’re seeing red. The Mandalorian’s shiny armor gets a special finish for a Target exclusive bobblehead.

The Mandalorian Watches from Invicta

This is the way…to tell time. Mando’s beskar helmet, the mythosaur skull symbol, and the Armorer bring sophistication and joy to this new line of timepieces.

The Child Bags and Accessories by Loungefly

Wherever you go, these bags go. Available beginning December 1.

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After the latest episode of The Mandalorian every Friday, visit MandoMondays.com every Monday to see the latest and greatest products inspired by the series and join the conversation on social media using #MandoMondays.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #MandoMondays

David Prowse, the Towering Figure Behind the Armor of Darth Vader, Passes Away

Sun, 11/29/2020 - 13:22

From the moment Darth Vader silently walked on screen in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope — a towering figure clad in black, stalking slowly but with menacing purpose — it was clear that the world had a new icon of villainy. That was the power of David Prowse.

Prowse, the actor who gave the physical performance of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, died this weekend. He was 85. Standing 6 feet 6 inches with a strongman’s physique thanks to his interest in bodybuilding, Prowse’s Vader was an intimidating presence who, with simple gestures, could convey anger, sadness, and lost hope.

“David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character,” Star Wars creator George Lucas said. “He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”

On Twitter, Mark Hamill remembered his co-star. “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” the Luke Skywalker actor said. “He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”

Born in Bristol in 1935, Prowse began bodybuilding at a young age, and went on to win the British heavyweight weightlifting championship for three straight years from 1962-64. He would eventually transition into a career in film and TV, including roles in A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Tomorrow People (1973), and played Frankentstein’s monster in three Hammer horror films. He was particularly well known to UK audiences thanks to his portrayal of the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero who promoted road safety in a campaign that ran from 1971-1990 — a part that would see him awarded an MBE in 2000. In addition, Prowse also worked behind the scenes, training Christopher Reeve for the title role in Superman (1978).

For Star Wars, Prowse auditioned for two roles: Chewbacca and Darth Vader. In a 2008 interview with NPR, Prowse revealed why he chose the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“Well, if you think back on all the movies that you’ve ever seen where there are goodies and baddies…you always remember the baddie.”

We will. Thank you, David.

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Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 09:55

The Mandalorian and the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special are in heavy rotation this holiday season. And in our galaxy, we’re shopping for some festive cheer to show our loved ones that they’re a part of our clan of two (or more!) and in our hearts on Life Day and beyond. This year, StarWars.com has pulled together some of the best apparel from shopDisney, toys from LEGO and Hasbro, collectibles from Sideshow and Lladró, and more to make your gift giving as easy as finding a cape fit for Lando Calrissian.

Darth Maul Collector’s Edition Action Figure by Diamond Select

This 7-inch scale action figure features detailed paint and sculpting, display-ready packaging, and the Sith apprentice’s signature double-bladed lightsaber with removable blades, alternate hands, and more.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Myths & Fables from Disney Lucasfilm Press

With this exclusive in-world edition filled with space tales that would be right at home as bedtime stories for children in a galaxy far, far away, you’ll feel like you’re fully immersed in the Star Wars saga. Beyond the special leather-bound cover, this treasury features lush illustrations and 15 original fairytales, myths, and fables.

The Star Wars Book from DK

Think you know everything there is to know about Star Wars? With insightful essays and illuminating infographics, this book explores the central characters, technology, governments, and events that have shaped the epic saga.

Star Wars | Goldsheep Holiday Collection by Goldsheep

Comfy athleisure wear can still be fun with charming Star Wars-inspired patterns that pop!

Family Pajamas from Hanna Andersson

Cozy up in matching Star Wars pajamas with soft and comfortable sets made to fit every member of your family.

The Mandalorian Darksaber by Hasbro

Make like Maul, Moff Gideon, Sabine Wren, or Bo-Katan and wield your own version of this ancient weapon of Mandalorian rule. Or choose from a wide variety of other toys including the Mission Fleet Millennium Falcon, The Child Animatronic, and more!

The Child 12″ Bike from Huffy

Wherever you go, he goes! Young riders can launch their own adventurous journeys with the sculpted version of The Child perched atop their handlebars.

Ugly Sweaters by Hybrid

Who says these sweaters are ugly? Bright colors and holiday-themed motifs adorn these festive sweaters.

The Child, the Razor Crest, and More from LEGO Star Wars 

Build your own version of The Child or the Razor Crest brick by brick with a LEGO set themed on the most enduring characters and creations from The Mandalorian. Plus, there are plenty of classic trilogy sets to choose from including a menacing looking AT-AT to bring Hoth home for the holidays.

Princess Leia Figurine by Lladró

What has she brought us? Hope. The essence of Princess Leia has been handcrafted in pristine porcelain with touches of glaze, golden and silver luster.

Star Wars: Squadrons for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC

Jump in an X-wing and blow some things up or fly with the TIE fighter pilots in the Imperial fleet. When you enlist in the first-person multiplayer space combat game, you can see the battle from both sides!

Nite Nite Pajamas by Munki Munki

All is merry and bright when you have yourself a merry little Wookiee holiday in these cozy pajama sets.

The Mandalorian Limited Edition Two Tin Gift Set by The Republic of Tea

Colorful art adorns these tins protecting a bounty of aromatic offerings: Mysterious Black ant Warrior Herb teas.

Star Wars Plush from shopDisney

What’s better than one porg wrapped in a cozy scarf and ready to belt out a holiday tune? Two, probably.

Yoda Sketchbook Ornament from shopDisney

The wise teachings of the Jedi Master Yoda can be at your fingertips and perched on your tree this season.

Stormtroopers Long Sleeve T-shirt from shopDisney

This is the gift you’re looking for. You can go about your shopping. Move along. Move along.

The Child Life-Size Figure by Sideshow Collectibles

Created in partnership with Legacy Effects, the practical effects wizards who brought the screen-used version of the character to life for The Mandalorian, this life-size replica will have you feeling ready to defy Guild norms to protect every hair on his perfectly-sculpted little head. Or choose from a selection of other screen-accurate or precisely-scaled masterpieces!

Star Wars Pinball Machine from Stern Pinball 

Bring the arcade home with a pinball machine decorated with gorgeous comic art, color-changing playfield inserts, and a custom sculpted Death Star and interactive TIE fighter.

The Star Wars Archives. 1999–2005 from Taschen

Following the in-depth tome that explored the making of the original trilogy, film historian Paul Duncan returns to delve into the prequel trilogy with stories and images curated in close collaboration with George Lucas and Lucasfilm.

Star Wars Playing Cards from Theory 11

If you don’t know the rules to sabacc, choose from the light or the dark sides and pick up a deck of premium playing cards for classic games from this galaxy.

Obi-Wan’s Final Battle Art Print from Thomas Kinkade Studios

Obi-Wan Kenobi takes his last stand in a beautiful print recreating the cinematic moment when he dueled Darth Vader on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope.

The Mandalorian “Held” Poster by Trends International

The mysterious warrior at the heart of the Disney+ series holds the most precious cargo: The Child.

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Check Out the Cover of Sarah Kuhn’s Doctor Aphra Book – Exclusive

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 08:00

Doctor Aphra fans have a new treasure to hunt.

Sarah Kuhn’s Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original, an adaptation of the fan-favorite rogue archaeologist’s debut story in Marvel comics, will soon be back in a hardcover release. Coming April 6, 2021, and available for pre-order now, you can get a first look at the cover of Doctor Aphra below, exclusively on StarWars.com.

In the story, Doctor Aphra makes a deal with Darth Vader and begins a memorable (if crazy and dangerous) journey involving murder droids, a run in with Luke Skywalker, and more galactic shenanigans.

“The reaction to this project has been wonderful,” Kuhn tells StarWars.com. “It’s no secret that I was a huge Aphra fan before getting to write for her, so I love being able to nerd out with other folks who adore her, and to hear all the screaming and swooning over the pieces I added to her story. I screamed and swooned a lot when I wrote it, so to get that reaction from people who are not me means a lot. I have also really enjoyed hearing from new fans, people who weren’t familiar with her before and are now all in and so excited to experience her adventures in the comics. She deserves to be as famous and beloved as all the Star Wars greats.”

The book version will also feature new content, including a Dramatis Personae (a list of characters) in the voice of Aphra herself. As usual, Aphra’s lens is one of hilarious chaos.

“I’d been in her head for so long, it felt natural, and also like something she would want — this is her story, in her words, so why wouldn’t she introduce the whole cast in her own very distinctive way?” says Kuhn. “One of the most fun things about Aphra is she doesn’t have the same sense of reverence that some others in the Star Wars universe might — so she’s thoroughly unimpressed with Luke, Han, Boba Fett, almost everyone, and that’s reflected in how she introduces them. That said, my favorite character description is Sana Starros, who she calls an ‘unfortunate dreamboat.’ That’s a rare admission of real feelings from our girl Aphra.”

StarWars.com is excited to reveal the full Dramatis Personae below!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

DOCTOR CHELLI LONA APHRA: Rogue archaeologist. Weapons and droid expert extraordinaire. Our intrepid heroine.

DARTH VADER: Infamous Sith Lord. Man of few words. Our intrepid heroine’s terrifying boss.

TRIPLE-ZERO: Protocol droid. Favorite hobbies include translation, holo-chess, and draining organics of all their blood.

BEETEE: Blastomech droid. Has a flamethrower.

SANA STARROS: Smuggler. Unfortunate dreamboat. Working with the rebels for some godsforsaken reason.

BLACK KRRSANTAN: Disgraced Wookiee. Fearsome bounty hunter. Do not challenge him to a pit fight.

PADMÉ AMIDALA: The “good” former queen and senator of Naboo.

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA: Rebel royalty. Has a mean left hook.

LUKE SKYWALKER: Yellow-haired rebel humanoid who is supposedly important for some reason?

HAN SOLO: Reformed scoundrel. Always claims to save the day. Actually useless.

CHEWBACCA: Han Solo’s very loud Wookiee sidekick. No match for Black Krrsantan.

C-3PO: Simpering Triple-Zero doppelgänger.

R2-D2: Foolhardy Beetee doppelgänger.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Our intrepid heroine’s boss’s boss.

BOBA FETT: Bounty hunter. Inspires fear in the hearts of all (except for our intrepid heroine).

MAZ KANATA: Badass pirate queen. Incredibly sore loser.

KORIN APHRA: Our intrepid heroine’s father. Obsessed with excruciatingly boring Jedi stuff.

LONA APHRA: Our intrepid heroine’s mother. Obsessed with excruciatingly boring planets.

THE ANTE: Information broker. Sometimes useful. Not to be trusted.

IG-90: Bounty hunter. Overly pedantic assassin droid. Likes to shoot things.

BOSSK: Bounty hunter. Wookiee-killing machine. Does not understand the concept of jokes.

BEEBOX: Bounty hunter. Very short, but carries a big gun.

UTANI XANE: Curator of Quarantine World III. Loves bureaucracy and crushing dreams.

SAVA TOOB-NIX: Sava of the University of Bar’leth. Hates when his lectures are interrupted (especially by our intrepid heroine).

COMMODEX TAHN: Former mortician of Naboo. All-around bad liar.

ENEB RAY: Former rebel spy. Loves to monologue.

GEONOSIAN QUEEN: Really scary. No other descriptors necessary.

For more on Doctor Aphra, be sure to read StarWars.com’s interview with Kuhn, and if you’re new to the character, check out StarWars.com’s recap of her many (often unfortunate) exploits.

Doctor Aphra (hardcover edition) arrives April 6, 2021, and is available for pre-order now.

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Newcomers Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer Take Their First Steps into the Larger World of Star Wars

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 10:00

Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer had made a mistake. After pitching their idea for a podcast series — volunteering to travel down the rabbit hole of 40+ years of Star Wars films and series for a first-time viewing — the newbies were only partway through Star Wars: A New Hope and they were utterly confused. Think Anakin in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, suddenly second-guessing his choice to turn to the dark side. Here they were in just the first hours of their journey and nothing was making sense. Where was Yoda? And Darth Vader’s galaxy-shaking reveal to Luke Skywalker?

Fortunately, the two comedians had a rotating cast of veritable Star Wars experts among their friends and colleagues to act as wise Jedi Masters in explaining the Force and everything in between. And by the time the credits rolled on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, they were starting to see what all the fuss was about.

Their podcast, Newcomers, details their quest sampling everything Star Wars has to offer. (And we mean everything, including the original Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978.) Now listen in as the co-hosts dive into their experience entering the Star Wars fandom…

StarWars.com: It is such a rare treat to find people who are adults and just discovering Star Wars for the first time. That never happens!

[Laughter]

StarWars.com: Almost everyone I talk to has been a fan forever! So it’s always really refreshing to see people who are coming into it but they’re not kids, so they have a very different perspective on it.  

Lauren Lapkus: We managed to never see it somehow our entire lives, which seems impossible. It is extremely rare. Once we found out that we both hadn’t seen it, it seemed like a perfect pairing.

Nicole Byer: We both do improv so it’s kind of wild that we were never like, “I want to understand these references, so let me sit down and watch it.” Instead I was like, “Nah, I’ll just make up things in my head. [Laughs]

Lauren Lapkus: It comes up so often in improv — it does take work to not know what’s going on.

[Nicole laughs]

StarWars.com: Nicole, you actually full-on avoided Star Wars before this. And Lauren, I think you just didn’t know anything other than pop culture references. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re watching or listening to, you will find out that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. It is just inescapable.

Lauren Lapkus: Yeah!

StarWars.com: What made you both decide to take this deep dive and watch all the Star Wars movies for the first time and to make a podcast about it?

Nicole Byer: Someone had reached out on Twitter and was like, “Lauren has said on a podcast she hasn’t seen Star Wars. Nicole has said on a podcast she hasn’t seen Star Wars. Why don’t they get together and make a podcast for us where they watch Star Wars?” And I think Lauren, you sent me the tweet and I was like, “Okay, let’s pitch it somewhere!” And then we pitched it and HeadGum was like enthusiastically happy about it, so we were like, let’s do it.

Lauren Lapkus: Yeah, it seemed like a really great way to get to know what this is all about and make it fun for ourselves. I don’t know that we would have spent the time to watch everything Star Wars-related if it was just up to us in our free time. It was great to have someone to bounce it all off with and to feel like there’s someone who’s in this with me, because sometimes these movies are really long or we don’t know what’s going on…

Nicole Byer: Sometimes? All the time!

Lauren Lapkus: All the time! So it’s nice to have someone to commiserate with, but then to also bring on guests who are really passionate about it so we can see what we’re supposed to be getting from each thing in case we missed something good, or what matters to the kid who watches it, and that kind of thing. So it was kind of the perfect way to do it.

StarWars.com: It was a really elegant way to have an expert who could kind of be your sensei, to guide you and answer some of those questions. But it was very clear from the first episode — even though you were both like, “Oh my God! I got so tired. That movie was so long!” — that there was still this respect for it.

Nicole Byer: The people who came on loved it so much that it made me [love it.] I don’t think I understood it. I had so many questions. But then [Jon] Gabrus or [John] Gemberling would come on and poetically wax on about it. It was just fun to talk to people who loved it so much.

Lauren Lapkus: It’s so true. I think we realized doing the podcast, every episode we would talk to someone and go, “Oh yeah, I love that character,” that I think that in the moment we weren’t necessarily attaching to. Talking about it later and realizing people are so passionate about it, it does make it more fun. I think immediately I was into all of the merch. I understood why the merch is so successful. I wanted merch, even if I didn’t understand what the character was. I was like, I want that, I want that. So hearing people feel that love for it pumps you up. It was cool.

I also think there’s this fear about saying you don’t get something that’s really popular, or that you might not like certain elements of it. It felt kind of liberating to be able to say, “I don’t get it!” And say it publicly. For years, you’re just kind of going along with it, like, “Yeah, Star Wars, cool.” And then, once you’re watching it, you feel like you’re supposed to just go, “This was amazing!” You can’t say anything negative. And that’s as true in the Hollywood world as it is with having an opinion on Twitter and saying I didn’t like that big popular movie. I wouldn’t want to do that. So with this it was kind of scary. How honest should we be? I think it worked out really well, to be honest, because then when we do enjoy something, we totally mean it. The parts that we loved we think are awesome, and the parts we don’t get, we’re like, “I don’t get it.”

StarWars.com: Yeah. And when you’re watching something and you don’t get it, you’re not slamming on it. It’s more just like, “You know what, that wasn’t for me. Other people love that, but for me it was just OK.” Although, as I was finishing that first episode and you guys were like, “What have we done?” it made me think of Anakin Skywalker. But at that point, you didn’t even know what that scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was! Was there a point early on where you second-guessed this whole idea, but you realized you were in too deep already?

Nicole Byer: Yup. Not even too deep. It was in the middle of the first movie. We were watching it and I was like, “Do I tell Lauren now that I don’t think I can do this?” The first movie for me is interesting. It’s kind of an indie movie. It had a bigger budget, but it’s not an action movie as we know them now. And then after that was said I was like, “Oh! Now all these long desert scenes that I was so upset about make sense.”

Lauren Lapkus: I had the same thought secretly. I think at some point we said to each other, “I almost wanted to quit after the first movie.” [Nicole laughs] We just realized, “Okay, good, we’re in this on the same page.” Neither of us felt like we totally got it right away. Then we decided to just keep going forward, and I’m so glad we did. I feel like we learned so much. We’ve passed so many trivia quizzes now about Star Wars!

StarWars.com: Do you remember why you decided to watch it in theatrical order? Of course, this is a topic of some debate among fans. Everybody has a different answer as to what the “correct” viewing order is going to be, especially when you’re introducing someone new.

Lauren Lapkus: Yeah, we debated about that. People were tweeting at us their opinions before we even started. I think we decided to just go in the order they were released so that we could follow it as if we were people who had experienced it in real time.

Nicole Byer: Also, I liked watching the order of release because it set the tone for the story, and you got to see how technology evolved. I think watching them in [Episode] order would take away from it. It would be even more confusing….The only confusing part for me was the timelines. Solo takes place before [Episodes] IV-VI, and then Rogue One takes place at a different time, and then The Mandalorian…it was very confusing. [You’d think] isn’t this person dead? No, they’re not dead yet because they’re going to die later. Then I found out midway through that Star Wars is not in the future. [Laughs]

Lauren Lapkus: I don’t think we realized that until we’d watched like seven movies.

Nicole Byer: Yes! It was during Rogue One, and [Jyn Erso] got a message from her dad, and I tweeted, “Why didn’t she…save the message? She lives in the future!” And then someone was like, “I hate to tell you this, but it’s not the future.” I was like, “Wait, what?”

StarWars.com: And there’s so much to the lore that it’s so hard to explain it to someone completely for the first time. Every question spawns seven other questions. A friend of mine just saw it for the first time as an adult, and she was like, “Wait, so are they on Earth?” I was like, “No. No Earth. Different galaxy.” “Can they come to Earth?” [Laughs]

Lauren Lapkus: It would be crazy if they came to Earth and then we realized what era it was taking place in based on what the people on Earth were doing, if there were people or it was like dinosaur time. That would be good!

Nicole Byer: Yeah, that would be good. Lauren, I think you just came up with another movie. Honestly, though, it’s funny because sometimes I think about Star Wars just in my house when I’m not doing Star Wars stuff. I want a movie of Lando Calrissian’s daughter that was implied in…

Lauren Lapkus: Yes! That was the more recent one, The Rise of Skywalker.

Nicole Byer: Or Finn’s origin story, I think, would be cool. There are so many places you could take [Star Wars]. It’s crazy.

StarWars.com: I didn’t get a chance to listen to this episode of the podcast, but as I was scrolling through, I noticed that you watched The Holiday Special

Nicole Byer: HA! I love that so much. It’s so funny!

Lauren Lapkus: This is what I think is so crazy when people listen to our show. Our opinions are kind of unexpected because we don’t have the same childhood reverence for this, so we’re coming at it like, “What do I like now?” I like when things are weird. I was really excited to watch the Ewok spin-off movies because I love Ewoks.

Nicole Byer: Wooo boy.

Lauren Lapkus: But those didn’t really hold up. I thought, that’s gonna be my thing, you know? With The Holiday Special, Nicole was like “This is my favorite Star Wars thing to ever happen.”

Nicole Byer: It is absolutely my favorite. I have now seen it twice.

Lauren Lapkus: Oh, you watched it again?

Nicole Byer: Yes! I was showing it to Sasheer [Zamata]. I was like, “You have to see at least some of this.”…It’s so wild. I loved it.

Lauren Lapkus: I loved it, too. I feel like I could definitely watch that at Christmastime. That would be a nice tradition.

StarWars.com: Lauren, did you have any favorite moments in Star Wars that were just so weird that you latched on to them, other than the Holiday Special?

Lauren Lapkus: I think there were a lot of things in the first movie, things that have become a cultural touchstone for some reason. Why aren’t we talking about the [blue] milk? Why are we not talking about how Luke’s aunt and uncle just die suddenly? That’s a huge part of the story. There were certain things like that. What were some other weird things? The fact that there were a lot of C-3PO lookalikes I thought was interesting. I became kind of obsessed with wanting there to be a pink one and a blue one and a green one. I just want more colors.

Nicole Byer: I think the weirdest thing for me is when Darth Vader — or Anakin right before he becomes Darth Vader — his legs get cut off, his arms get cut off on the lava planet, and Ben just leaves him. I was like, “Wait, what? You’re just going to leave him like this on the lava planet?! Take your friend home! Or finish it. Kill him. “

Lauren Lapkus: What about when we saw the back of Darth’s head!

Nicole Byer: Oh my God, when they took off the helmet and he looks like chewed up bubble gum? I couldn’t believe it! I was like, “Ewww!” Also, I love Darth Vader’s outfit. I love the shiny patent leather. I love the song that went with him. I was like, “Darth is a true diva.” I love Darth Vader. It’s so funny that he’s flashy. He does unnecessary things.

StarWars.com: He’s extra to the extreme.

Nicole Byer: He truly is. He’s like a drag queen. He’s so extra. That helmet. But you’re like, “Oh, he needs it, because he’s bubble gum.” They put it on so quickly that I was like, there’s no time to heal.

StarWars.com: To go back to the original trilogy, by the time you were watching The Empire Strikes Back, it sounded like you were really becoming fans. There were a lot of great things you had to say about Frank Oz and his performance as Yoda, but also that character.

Lauren Lapkus: There were those things that we were familiar with vaguely, and we thought they were all going to happen in the first movie. So the first movie was a letdown for us. That’s part of why we were so critical of it, I think, because we were like, I thought we found out he’s Luke’s father, and Yoda, and all these things are gonna happen. And none of that stuff happened. So then when we started to see those things come into play and understand the context around them it was a relief, in a way.

Learning about the Force…It is such a beautiful idea that you can harness this energy for good. There are so many positive things these movies are saying. When Yoda died, we were devastated.

Nicole Byer: Oh, boy. Yes! This franchise does not care about your heart! Actually, a tear fell down. I was like, “Wait, what?”

Lauren Lapkus: I didn’t know he could die!

Nicole Byer: I didn’t know he could die either! And they were like, “He’s 900 years old,” and I was like, “That is old, but why did he have to — he just fades away?!”

Lauren Lapkus: And the way he died, I know, it was just so magical. He just like disappears.

Nicole Byer: It was very sad.

StarWars.com: He got tired of answering Luke’s questions. He was like, “You know, I’m just going to roll over. You take care of it. You’ll figure it out. I’m sure it will be fine.”

Lauren Lapkus: We really did love the puppetry. A lot of those elements of these films really felt so real, and that’s part of it, too….That was part of why I think we are more attached to some of those older [characters]. Not fully. I know Nicole loves Jar Jar Binks.

Nicole Byer: I. Love. Jar Jar. I think Jar Jar — you’re making a face [Laughs] — I think Jar Jar was great at physical comedy.

StarWars.com: I love Jar Jar, too, but Jar Jar can be a polarizing character.

Nicole Byer: Yes. And I understand why people don’t like Jar Jar, but I was like, honestly, Jar Jar is the spirit of the first three movies because they’re big, they’re colorful, and it’s a very different aesthetic than the prior movies. The last three movies are darker in tone and darker in a color scheme. It’s really interesting how, truly, the three movies in each of those triplets or whatever you want to call them, are very much contained to them and the style is just them, which I found so interesting.

Lauren Lapkus: We interviewed Ahmed Best. He was talking about his experience playing that role, and we learned that that was the first time a human had been used for CGI, like an actor. That’s amazing!

Nicole Byer: Yes! [Even if] you don’t like Jar Jar, Jar Jar is the template for every CGI character you’ve seen after that movie.

Lauren Lapkus: You have to have reverence for that. That’s amazing.

StarWars.com: I think [The Phantom Menace] works really well if you are a child when you’re coming to it. You can see yourself in Anakin, who’s nine, and every kid I know loves Jar Jar. He’s funny. His ears are floppy. They love him. I’m 12 years old inside. I love him. And I am heartened to hear that you love him so much, Nicole.

Nicole Byer: I just liked how goofy he looked. I liked that he would just appear, and do something very silly, and then run off. The way he spoke was also very funny to me. I thought it was just really funny! [Laughs] It was silly. I like silly things. In the first three movies I thought they were missing that Han — someone said this and I agree with them, I can’t remember who it was — but they’re missing that Han Solo character, the reluctant hero. I thought that Jar Jar did a really nice job of giving you the laughs that Harrison Ford gave you in the first three. The middle three. It’s very appreciated, Jar Jar.

StarWars.com: I was really surprised and a bit impressed that once you got to The Force Awakens, you were really shocked and surprised when Han Solo showed up. I was like, “How?” [Nicole laughs]

Nicole Byer: It was fun because I was truly surprised. I was like, “Wait, WHAT?” The movies give it to you. They give you the drama. They give you that shock. When he died, again I was like, they don’t care about our feelings!

StarWars.com: I love that that’s what you’ve learned about Star Wars. Star Wars doesn’t care about your feelings and will stomp on your heart repeatedly. [laughs]

Nicole Byer: I was so sad. I was like, his own son! It’s so dramatic, it’s great. And then when Daisy Ridley is revealed to be…who’s McGags’ granddaughter. What’s his name?

StarWars.com: Palpatine.

Nicole Byer: Palpatine’s granddaughter, I truly screamed in my house. I was like, “NO!” [Laughs] I loved it. I know some people didn’t like that twist because originally she was the daughter of nobody, but that’s juicy. I love it. The saga! It’s drama!

StarWars.com: Lauren, was it you who honestly thought his name was Hans Olo?

Lauren Lapkus: That’s Nicole.

Nicole Byer: Definitely me.

Lauren Lapkus: We sort of struggled throughout all of these episodes to get Nicole to pronounce their names. [Laughs]

Nicole Byer: It’s something about their names are just not of this world. But then someone’s name is Ben. And then Palpatine?

Lauren Lapkus: That’s the thing, I think there are like three Bens. And then everyone else’s name is something that we can’t figure out.

Nicole Byer: Yeah, I truly thought it was Hans Solo. I cannot call him Han. That is weird. He will always be Hans to me. My sister watched the movies so she would talk about them, and I just heard Hans. So that’s who he is.

StarWars.com: When I was prepping for our conversation I was just making notes about things that were making me laugh. One of the notes was “Hans” and you referred to Tarkin as “the sick little man.” But by the time you got to the sequel trilogy, Lauren, you were doing a great Unkar Plutt impression that was really spot on. You guys were using all the names and talking about the Force lore.

Lauren Lapkus: That’s the thing. As much as we can resist, I feel like we got so sucked in. It’s part of our lexicon. We’re having these conversations with people where we’re as passionate as they are about this topic. It’s been a journey. When I think about looking at you Nicole, after we first watched the first movie, and we were both like, “All right, I’ll see you tomorrow.” And then cut to 20 episodes later and we’re like, “THE FORCE!” There was a change. [Nicole laughs]

StarWars.com: Nicole, I know you love Jar Jar. Did you have a favorite character coming out of this whole experience, Lauren?

Lauren Lapkus: I have a few. I love porgs, and I love the story behind porgs and that they were just to fix a little animal wandering in the background. … It’s so funny. I like Babu Frik and I like Ewoks and Yoda. Those are my favorites. But a lot of cute little ones.

StarWars.com: And the Child, who is not Baby Yoda.

Lauren Lapkus: We love the Child.

Nicole Byer: Oh, boy.

Lauren Lapkus: That was very exciting. We did not know that we would care about that.

Nicole Byer: Every time the Child was on the screen, I kept making noises that my roommate was like, “Can you stop?” I just like it so much! He’s just so cute. Lauren sent me a Baby Yoda doll, and he sits underneath my TV and watches us watch TV. He looks real. His eyes look real. Then I sent Lauren the wrong one. [Sighs]

Lauren Lapkus: I thought it was amazing. I love it, it’s so cute. It’s so great. That’s the thing, I love the merch. I’m very happy to have any version of the Child.

Nicole Byer: Yeah, the merch is fun.

Lauren Lapkus: There are so many versions of it, that’s what’s so crazy. We got T-shirts, too.

Nicole Byer: Yeah. We got these T-shirts off Instagram.

Lauren Lapkus: We fell for an Instagram ad, but it nailed us immediately. Probably heard us talking to our phones about Star Wars.

Nicole Byer: Right, they were like, “Aw, man. They keep talking about Star Wars. Let’s give them some merch.”

StarWars.com: What was the most surprising thing for you both about this whole experience?

Nicole Byer: Honestly, that I found anything that I liked in it. I truly avoided it for so long. I had the original three movies in my house on VHS my whole childhood. My sister would be like, “Let’s watch one!” And I’d be like, “NO.” As an adult people would be like, “Let’s watch this!” And I’d be like, “NO.” It became a point of pride to be a contrarian. “I’ll never watch these movies.” And then watching them you’re like, “Oh, this is fun, this is great.’” You find characters that you really just love. You’re shocked when all the younglings get murdered. You’re like, “What? Why?! Why would this happen?” It was a fun journey.

Lauren Lapkus: I was going to say the same thing. I was surprised by how much we found that we liked and how much fun we had talking about it. I was also pleasantly surprised at the listener reaction, that people were really supportive of our journey and not being too mean to us about trying to learn about this stuff. I think everyone was — I think we were afraid at the beginning, like, “Oh, people are going to get mad if we say we don’t like something or if we like the wrong thing.” And over the course of the whole thing, we really got overwhelmingly positive comments from people who were listening, who were enjoying that we were trying to figure it out. So it was really, really cool. I think we were both steeling ourselves for negativity and it didn’t come. That was awesome.

StarWars.com: Are you one and done watching these movies, or do you see yourself watching them again?

Lauren Lapkus: I feel like the only way — I’m open to it, but the only way I’m going to do it is with children who have not seen it. So if I’m watching it with my nephews, I’m totally open to that. I’m probably not going to throw it on as a way to relax, but that’s partly just because I have a lot of 90 Day Fiancée to watch.

Nicole Byer: We love 90 Day Fiancée. What a treat. Honestly, very close to the cinematic universe of Star Wars. There are so many spin-offs. There’s a bunch of different timelines. It’s kind of wild.

I’m with Lauren. I don’t think I’ll just throw it on in the background. But if one my roommates was like, “Let’s watch it,” I won’t be like, “NO.”

Lauren Lapkus: I don’t usually watch movies again that often anyway, even just other types of movies, so if I’ve already seen it, I want to watch something new whenever. I like knowing what it is.

StarWars.com: One last question for you. Now that you are no longer the newcomers to Star Wars — you have seen it all — what advice would you give to other people who were just about to have their first Star Wars watch, before they get into it? Is there anything you wish you had known? 

Lauren Lapkus: I do wish that someone had told me that none of the big stuff happens in the first movie.

Nicole Byer: Yeah.

Lauren Lapkus: Too many expectations were a problem.

Nicole Byer: My advice is when you’re watching the movie, they will say a time. They’ll say, they’re coming in 20 minutes! And then it’s going to take a full 20 minutes for it to happen. Just buckle up.

StarWars.com:  Oh yeah. In Phantom Menace, they said there were two more laps and then there were two more laps.

Nicole Byer: Literally you watched the whole thing.…I think you should get a friend who knows Star Wars to then talk about it so they can help with some stuff. I wish someone was like, “Just remember, the first three are so old, they’re from the 70s slash 80s. They’re old. Get into that mindset that they’re old movies and it might be something that you don’t identify with because you haven’t seen stuff like that from that period.

Lauren Lapkus: And I would also recommend that they listen to our podcast after watching it.

Nicole Byer: Yes!

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Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer, host of This Week! In Star Wars and The Star Wars Show Book Club, and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

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Build Happy Holiday Memories with a DIY LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special Wreath

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 08:00

You might not have access to a portal that delivers all of your favorite Star Wars characters straight to your door, but with this DIY wreath craft you can create the next best thing.

In the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, a mysterious glowing gateway gathers the galaxy’s heroes, villains, and ships and sends them across time and space. In the real world, the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar does the same with a holiday twist. Turn this year’s Advent Calendar into a DIY Life Day decoration that’s so joyful you might be tempted to leave it up year-round.

Grab the kids because here’s where the fun begins!

What You’ll Need

  • White artificial wreath
  • LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar
  • Battery-powered LED Lights (string of 100)
  • Large sheet of thin black craft foam
  • Adhesive Velcro
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Hot glue gun
  • String
  • Scissors

Get Started!

Step 1: Begin by painting stars on the sheet of black craft foam. Dip the end of a paint brush in the white paint to stamp small dots across the surface. Let dry completely.

Step 2: Next, string the battery-powered LED lights around the wreath, wrapping it through and around branches to stay secure. Set aside the battery pack for now.

Step 3: Center the painted craft foam in the opening of the wreath. Trim the outside as needed, then hot glue the foam to the back of the wreath.

Step 4: Attach one strip of the adhesive Velcro to the battery pack and the other to the unpainted side of the foam. Make sure the Velcro isn’t covering or blocking the removable part of the pack so you can still change batteries as needed.

Step 5: Attach the battery pack to the back of the wreath on the Velcro strip.

Step 6: Tie a loop of string to the top of the wreath so that it can be hung on the wall or door.

Step 7: Begin assembling your LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar! Whether you open one figure a day or recruit the kids to piece them together all at once, each figure will be added to the wreath. Use the hot glue gun to stick them to the branches.

Note: The hot glue may damage the bricks or leave a residue! Use string or tape if you’d like to remove the LEGO pieces easily later.

Once all of the calendar pieces are attached, your portal wreath is complete! Who knows what Star Wars adventures it might inspire?

Watch the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, now streaming only on Disney+! And don’t miss StarWars.com’s interview with Lucasfilm’s James Waugh and Josh Rimes on the making of the Disney+ original.

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Kelly Knox writes features and DIYs for StarWars.com. Her writing can also be seen on Marvel, DC Comics, IGN, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, games, and crafts.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

How The Art of The Mandalorian Takes Readers on a Visual Journey of Creativity

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 11:00

Phil Szostak considers Star Wars his first cinematic love. As a kid, he fell in love with the films and the draws of outer space.

“The river runs deep for me,” Szostak tells StarWars.com. “It’s something that’s just woven into the fabric of my being.”

Now, he is a creative art manager at Lucasfilm, and has worked on a number of concept art books within the Star Wars galaxy. His latest work, The Art of The Mandalorian (Season 1), arrives December 1 and takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the series came together, and the art that brings it to life.

In an exclusive interview with StarWars.com, Szostak lifts the hood on the lunches that helped make him a Star Wars author, the serendipitous moments that brought The Mandalorian to life, and what makes his favorite image from The Art of the Mandalorian so special.

Concept art by Nick Gindraux.

StarWars.com: How did you get involved with the art book series and specifically this one about The Mandalorian?

Phil Szostak: I’m lucky enough to call [author] Jonathan Rinzler, and we used to just go and get Chinese food lunches together and stuff when he was our senior editor at Lucasfilm Publishing. One day he just flat out asked me. Over many conversations about film and Star Wars, we just got to know each other and just like any two people who love movies — which is our entire company — and I think he just got to know that these books would be perfect for me. And he just dropped that opportunity on my lap one day. I didn’t hesitate. I said yes immediately. And I’m glad I did, because that’s not always been true. It was scary and I never really thought of myself as someone who would write books per se, and suddenly there I was doing it.

With The Mandalorian specifically, I was part of the team that helped to bring the visual side of The Mandalorian to life from the very beginning. From the very first day of production, when we got Jon [Favreau]’s first scripts for the first season, I was part of the team and helping out right from when we hit the ground running, so I felt like I really needed to write this book. It’s a product that I’m so passionate about and that we’re all really passionate about in the art department. When you read the book, you’ll see how a lot of the artists on our team say that this is their favorite project they’ve worked on in their whole careers. And many of them have had careers that have lasted for decades. So it’s a project we all really love and really poured ourselves into and we had to. Being a television show, we had to produce more art for this show and do more design for this project than you would typically do for a film because there’s just so many more hours.

Concept art by Brian Matyas.

Concept art by Ryan Church and Nick Gindraux.

StarWars.com: What is it about working on The Mandalorian that brings out that passion, both from yourself, then also the artists with whom you work who are featured in the book?

Phil Szostak: I think it’s just a really special project. It all starts with Jon Favreau’s writing and ideas. It’s got a freshness to it. It feels like the next logical step for Star Wars to me. And it was just exciting. We read those scripts and it was like, right out of the gate, Jon really gets it. It just felt really Star Wars and was so enjoyable to read. And it touched on so much of the legacy of Star Wars, as well.

Jon was folding in all these amazing characters and designs from Star Wars history and clearly someone who loves Star Wars as much as we all do, as all of our filmmakers do. And we just all dove right in from the get-go. Sometimes you read a script and right away you’re just like, “Okay, this is great.” You just know. And this was one of those cases.

StarWars.com: How would you describe the relationship between concept art and storytelling within Star Wars broadly?

Phil Szostak: In rereading the book and thinking back to my conversations with everyone, it just reminded me that Jon works in a way that’s very similar to George [Lucas], as far as working with concept artists. He’ll write a little bit and then he’ll say, “Hey, I’ve got some ideas. Here they are. I haven’t written anything down yet, though.” And designs will be generated, concept art will be generated, fed back into Jon and that’ll spark more writing ideas. It’s a back and forth process and that’s precisely how George worked with his concept artists.

It’s a very symbiotic relationship between writing and art. And that’s a huge theme in Star Wars in general. I think it’s the perfect way to utilize concept art. It’s more like, “I’ve got a vague idea.” And some art comes along and that stimulates more ideas for the writing. It just seems to be the way it works best for Star Wars. I think part of the issue with Star Wars is that until a visual is put to it, it’s really hard, I think, for the writers to wrap their heads around what they’re trying to visualize with their story. Because Star Wars visuals are not like anything in our world. And so these artists really inject life into the story in a way that the writer would struggle to do alone.

Concept art by Christian Alzmann.

StarWars.com: How do you approach actually making a book like this one?

Phil Szostak: It’s quite a process. And I don’t make it easy on myself because I’m a perfectionist, like a lot of people at Lucasfilm, like a lot of people who are artistic in nature. And so, I put a lot of pressure on myself, sometimes too much. For me, it always starts with gathering the art and doing my preliminary version of the layout. And I don’t do that alone.

And we also have a subset of art that we call our “designscape” or “moviescape” — the greatest hits and the final designs for the whole season, in this case. So I had that to lean on, but then I also want to show the process and all the design. So it’s just gathering a whole bunch of art and starting to put it into some kind of layout and also just creating an outline, stringing out what order I want the book to be in. For this one, it just seemed natural for it to go chapter by chapter through the episodes.

Concept art by Christian Alzmann.

StarWars.com: What new insights can fans expect from this book?

Phil Szostak: Well, the thing I’m most excited about with this book is learning the story of how The Mandalorian came to be. It was really eye opening for me. I started to make all these connections during everyone’s individual stories about how it all came together and realized that there were so many amazing coincidences that happened in order for this project to exist.

Like how Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni met on Skywalker Ranch in 2008 while Dave had been working in secrecy on The Clone Wars, which was about to debut that very year, and Jon was mixing Iron Man, which eventually became the MCU, his first film with Marvel at Skywalker Sound. For them to have met and for Jon then to do a voice for The Clone Wars because of that meeting, and Jon playing a Mandalorian in something that Dave Filoni produced. Then for Jon to have a live-action series and collaborate with Dave Filoni years later. This interweaving of these various amazing creatives, which eventually led to the creation of this show, I think is just a really cool story.

Concept art by Christian Alzmann.

StarWars.com: What is your favorite image in the book?

Phil Szostak: Christian Alzmann did an image that’s on page 104. It’s a double page spread called “Mando Flashback Version 10,” and it’s Din Djarin as a child holding onto the Mandalorian that’s rescuing him with tears in his eyes. I watch movies for the emotional journey first and foremost. And I think that just cuts to the heart of what The Mandalorian as a show is about: a man who sees himself in the Child, someone who needs to be rescued, someone whose innocence needs to be preserved.

That’s the flashback in “Chapter 3” of The Mandalorian that doesn’t pay off fully until later in the season, but I just love what Christian did capturing that moment. We see really why the Mandalorian makes the choices he makes in this first season and why he connects with this child in a way that’s unexpected. It’s a powerful image and a powerful moment and I think it’s the heart of what this series is.

StarWars.com: What are you hoping Star Wars fans take away from leafing through these pages?

Phil Szostak: I just hope that they have fun and enjoy seeing and understanding the process of concept art. I mean, it’s great that they get to see the pieces that they do see at the end credits of the show every week, but I feel like hearing from the artists themselves and the insights of Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau will deepen their love and understanding of what the show is about and all the work that went into it.

The Art of The Mandalorian arrives December 1 and is available for pre-order now.

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Katie Barnes is an award winning journalist for ESPN. Follow them on Twitter @Katie_barnes3.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian

Bounty Hunting Highlights: 5 of Our Favorite Moments from The Mandalorian – “Chapter 12: The Siege”

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 09:00

Every week, StarWars.com is tracking our favorite moments from the Disney+ series The Mandalorian with “Bounty Hunting Highlights.” Get your jetpacks and helmets on and join us for the ride!

Spoiler alert: This article contains plot details from The Mandalorian “Chapter 12: The Siege.”

Even among friends, there’s no rest for Mando and the Child. With the Razor Crest still in bad shape, Din Djarin and his young charge head to Nevarro hoping to repair their ship. There, the duo connects with Greef Karga and Cara Dune, who need Mando’s help in ridding their planet of Imperial remnants once and for all. “Chapter 12: The Siege” (directed by Greef himself, Carl Weathers!) has moments funny, warm, and ominous, along with a pulsating heist-movie vibe and some killer action set pieces. Here are our favorite moments.

1. “Show me the red wire…”

As a last-ditch attempt to repair the Razor Crest, Mando sends the Child into a narrow space to fix some wiring. The tiny being seems to understand Din’s guidance…and then doesn’t. It’s all very funny, and as Mando gets more and more frustrated, any parent of a toddler can relate.

2. Reunited and it feels so good.

After all they went through in Season 1, it’s genuinely heartwarming to see Mando, Cara, and Greef together again — and a reminder that friendship lies at the heart of Star Wars.

3. The Child goes to school.

Sure, there’s already a moment featuring the Child on this list. But seeing the little guy sit in a classroom, head peeking out above his desk, and being mischievous? We can’t resist cuteness of that magnitude.

4. The escape.

When things don’t go quite as planned in Star Wars — meaning Imperial remnants are looking to destroy you — you improvise. Cara, Greef, and their Mythrol companion get creative, while Mando makes good use of a newly-repaired Razor Crest. Watching this all-star team take out stormtroopers will never get old.

5. Moff Gideon’s reveal.

While our heroes destroyed the Imperial outpost, Moff Gideon is still out there. And by the looks of it, he has something special planned…

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Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #DisneyPlus

Mando Download: “Chapter 12: The Siege”

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 09:00

The Mandalorian is back! Every week, StarWars.com’s “Mando Download” will round up fun bonuses from each new episode of the Disney+ series. 

Spoiler warning: This article contains images and details from The Mandalorian “Chapter 12: The Siege.”

In “Chapter 12: The Siege,” the Mandalorian returns to Nevarro, reconnecting with old allies for a new mission . Check out the gallery below for a brand-new character poster, stills, and concept art from the episode!

Character Poster

Stills

Concept Art

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

The Mandalorian concept art by Christian Alzmann.

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

The Mandalorian concept art by Christian Alzmann.

The Mandalorian concept art by Anton Grandert.

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

The Mandalorian concept art by Christian Alzmann.

The Mandalorian concept art by Christian Alzmann.

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

The Mandalorian concept art by Ryan Church.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #DisneyPlus

Mando Mondays: Explore The Mandalorian: The Ultimate Visual Guide and More!

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 08:00

Every Monday, MandoMondays.com is dropping new products inspired by The Mandalorian, and StarWars.com is highlighting just a few of all the major new reveals. Set your tracking fobs and happy hunting! 

This Mando Monday delivers a new Visual Guide for a deeper dive into The Mandalorian‘s details, Moff Gideon in emoji form, and much more!

MandoMondays.com revealed its latest bounty of products inspired by The Mandalorian today, including more new toys, games, and books from Hasbro, LEGO, and others. Many new items are on sale or available for pre-order starting today at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET across top retailers globally, including shopDisney.com. Check out a few of our favorites below!

Star Wars: The Mandalorian: The Ultimate Visual Guide by DK Publishing

Dive into the details for a closer examination of costumes, characters, ships, and gadgets in the new guide to The Mandalorian.

Disney Emoji Blitz Hosts a Moff Gideon Villain Event 

The Jam City mobile game will introduce new Cara Dune, Moff Gideon, and Death Trooper Emojis and bring back the Mandalorian and the Child Emojis during a special event starting this week on Nov. 25.

Bring The Mandalorian galaxy to life with Google

Become a bounty hunter and bring the world of The Mandalorian to this galaxy with augmented reality. The Mandalorian AR Experience app is available on Google Play for 5G Google Pixels and other select 5G Android phones, with new experiences dropping weekly starting November 23.

New Additions to Star Wars: The Vintage Collection by Hasbro

Greef Karga and The Child join Hasbro’s mainline of 3.75-inch action figures. Come on, baby. Do the magic hand thing.

The Mandalorian-Inspired Comic Playmate Pal by Igloo

Keep your drinks and snacks as cool as an ice cave with two new coolers. The comic-inspired cooler was featured last week as the Mando Mystery on This Week! In Star Wars. And there’s also a Child-Inspired Attacks Playmate Pal.

The Trouble on Tatooine Building Set by The LEGO Group

Mando and The Child are poised to make a friend in brick form with a new set based on the events in “Chapter 9: The Marshal.”

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

After the latest episode of The Mandalorian every Friday, visit MandoMondays.com every Monday to see the latest and greatest products inspired by the series and join the conversation on social media using #MandoMondays.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #MandoMondays

Armor Up for a First Look at The Mandalorian: The Ultimate Visual Guide – Exclusive

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 11:06

DK Publishing will soon take you inside the world of The Mandalorian like never before.

StarWars.com is thrilled to offer a first look at The Mandalorian: The Ultimate Visual Guide, an image and info-rich deep dive into Emmy Award-winning Disney+ series. Featuring new details on the worlds, weapons, characters, and creatures of The Mandalorian, it’s sure to be a bounty well-worth tracking down. Check out the never-before-seen cover, sporting a striking image of the Mandalorian, below!

“It’s such a rich corner of the galaxy that The Mandalorian has revealed, and it’s exciting to be able to chronicle it in detail,” author Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group tells StarWars.com. “DK is once again bringing their wonderful visual design work and showcasing the series as only they can.”

The Mandalorian: The Ultimate Visual Guide arrives July 6, 2021, and is available for pre-order now. 

After the latest episode of The Mandalorian every Friday, visit MandoMondays.com every Monday to see the latest and greatest products inspired by the series and join the conversation on social media using #MandoMondays.

Epic Stories. Tons of TV. Live Sports.Get the Disney Bundle

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #MandoMondays, #TheMandalorian

From a Certain Point of View: Who is Your Favorite Supporting Character in The Mandalorian So Far?

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 10:00

One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, two StarWars.com writers defend their favorite supporting character from The Mandalorian so far…

No contest. It’s Kuiil, says Amy.

“You are a bounty hunter. I will help you. I have spoken.”

These are some of the first words Kuiil spoke in The Mandalorian and they sum up why he’s the best supporting character. An Ugnaught of few words, Kuiil was a patient problem solver in a harsh world. He wasn’t interested in fame or fortune — all he wanted was peace in his valley and to protect others from the Imperial enslavement that dominated most of his own life.

Kuiil could not be tied down into long debates (has there ever been a better conversation ender than “I have spoken”?) and never allowed his emotions to sway his opinions or actions. He was also an excellent teacher. When Din Djarin (a.k.a. the Mandalorian) balked at the idea of learning how to ride a blurrg and then struggled to tame one, Kuiil was patient but firm with him. “You are a Mandalorian, your ancestors rode the great mythosaur!” Djarin was probably not used to hearing essentially “quit your whining and get back out there,” but it’s exactly the message he needed to hear at that moment.

Kuiil also knew his worth. When Cara Dune taunted Kuiil about his time spent working for the Empire, Kuiil was quick to shut her down. He pointed out that he worked to earn his freedom with the skill of his hands in what amounted to three human lifetimes. He then took on the task of making the Child’s carrier more comfortable for sleeping — a task many other characters might have scoffed at for being unimportant, but Kuiil understood the value of hard work, small comforts, and being a team player.

Kuiil also saw value in helping people (or droids) others had cast off. It wasn’t an easy job to remake and reprogram IG-11 from an assassin droid to a protection droid. It required someone with skill, patience, and an open mind to see worth in this effort. Sadly, Kuiil did not live long enough to see that his re-made IG-11 was key in keeping the Child out of the hands of the Imperials, but his bravery and kindness will not soon be forgotten by Djarin.

For all of these reasons Kuiil, to me, is the clear standout supporting character in The Mandalorian.

I have spoken.

It’s Greef Karga, says Brendan.

I totally get it — I absolutely love Kuiil, too. But there’s one Mandalorian character I love more than most (well, except the Child, naturally) and it’s Greef Karga. I think there are two main reasons why.

The first reason is that Greef Karga feels like he has a history. From the second you meet him, Karga establishes himself as a seasoned veteran of the underworld. He feels like a guy who’s accomplished a lot in his bounty hunting career, and now doles out the gigs to others in the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. He’s a tough cookie who seems to be in his element when among fellow galactic scum and villainy. Did he work for the Empire at some point? His backstory remains mysterious.

It helps that Carl Weathers is the actor who portrays Karga. Weathers is a legendary performer — whether he’s playing a quirky version of himself for laughs on Arrested Development, or as the theatrical boxer Apollo Creed in Rocky, he always delivers. The man brings gravitas to Karga. Plus, nobody says “Mando” quite like Carl Weathers.

The second reason I love this character is that Greef Karga contains multitudes. He’s someone you might want to keep an eye on, but lives by some kind of code — even if it’s a malleable one. His change of heart during the first season of The Mandalorian was unexpected and an utter delight.

Karga goes after Mando in a menacing way that feels like he’s a real threat, laying a clever trap for our hero. After all, Din Djarin really made a mess of things by deciding to protect his bounty, smashing Guild norms in the process. But after being healed by the Child, Karga risks himself and his reputation to go up against the Imperials. Like Han Solo’s well-timed appearance at the Battle of Yavin, it’s always a good time when a scoundrel throws in with the heroes at the last minute.

I sincerely appreciate that Karga has the wisdom and experience to know that it’s acceptable to change your mind. He’s smart enough to try to trick his adversary, but also pragmatic enough to conclude that Mando and Child won’t be safe until the Client is eliminated. He sets the final plan into motion by offing his henchmen and working with Kuiil, Mando, and Cara Dune to bring the fight to the bad guys.

And unlike poor unfortunate Kuiil, we get to spend more time with Greef Karga in Season 2! I’m super excited to see what he’s up to.   

What do you think? Do you agree with Amy or Brendan? Maybe they’re both wrong! Let us know on social using #FromACertainPOV!

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Amy Richau is a writer, lifelong Star Wars geek, and diehard Denver Broncos fan. You can find her on Twitter @amyrichau and more of her writing on FANgirl Blog.

Brendan Nystedt was very afraid of Darth Vader hiding under his bed when he was five years old. Please follow him on Twitter @bnystedt!

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Star Wars Black Friday and Cyber Week 2020 Deals!

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:00

This Black Friday, Cyber Week, and beyond, the Force will be strong…with savings! See below for StarWars.com’s guide to Star Wars sales and deals from some of the biggest brands this holiday season…

AQUARIUS

  • Get 25% off The Mandalorian playing cards and more from November 27-30!

Art Game

  • Get 25% off Star Wars 3D bookmarks from November 27-30 with code TAUNTAUN!

Aspyr

Controller Gear

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“This is the Way”: Artists from Around the World Celebrate The Mandalorian

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:00

One of the most beautiful aspects to Star Wars is that it knows no boundaries or borders. Its fanbase is worldwide, and the themes of Star Wars — selflessness, friendship, family — are universal. And that spirit lies at the very core of a series of posters released earlier this month by The Walt Disney Company to mark the release of The Mandalorian Season 2 on Disney+.

In partnership with the marketing agency MEOKCA, The Walt Disney Company recruited eight artists from eight different countries to craft their own interpretations of the series, all of which feature the Mandalorian creed “This is the Way” translated into their own language. The styles are wondrously varied, ranging from Eileen Steinbach of Germany, with a minimalist expression, to Brazil’s Kin Noise, who infused ‘80s pop culture design into his work — but are all united through the show’s famous quote. “It was an honor to have been able to help pass Mando’s message to the French public!” says Simon Delart. And it’s StarWars.com’s honor to share all of the pieces here, along with exclusive artist commentary.

English

“I wanted the phrase to be part of the piece and intertwined just as [much as] the relationship between the Mandalorian and the Child — that sense of duty he has to protect him is intertwined by that very creed. The use of my typography/the written word is a reflection of that.” Doaly (UK)

French

The Mandalorian borrows a lot of codes from Westerns, and I wanted to pay tribute to the genre. Positioning the character emanating from the smoke, against the light and in front of a rising sun sounds like a perfect concept. Mando is iconized, like a cowboy ready to face all the trials before him. The phrase ‘Telle est la Voie’ takes the place of the projected shadow of the character. Its composition can also echo the cult opening credits from the Star Wars saga.

“It was an honour to have been able to help pass Mando’s message to the French public!” Simon Delart (France)

German

“After creating [a poster] for the first season, it was an absolute delight to be asked back for the second — this time with a spin. I loved the idea of showcasing the iconic phrase ‘This is the Way’ in different styles and languages, as this show touched so many people around the world and brought us together through its story and love for the Star Wars universe. I knew immediately that I wanted mine to be a companion piece to my first one: something iconic and striking, simple yet stunning. In the first piece I worked with warm colors, the Mandalorian facing the world on his own; this time I went with brighter colors, the colors of the sunrise bringing a new day, representing the adventures and the journey he and the Child will face in this season.“  Eileen Steinbach (Germany)

Italian

“My approach right from the beginning was that of not wanting to represent a specific scene from the series. Instead I wanted to [convey] the impression that the Mandalorian [gives off].

“When I saw the first season, two references immediately came to my mind. The atmosphere of Sergio Leone’s Western movies, his long shots with a lot of room left for the environment that relates in a powerful way to man. The colors also resemble some sandy landscapes and the figure of a ‘lonesome gunman.’ The second reference is that of The Odyssey, in particular the figure of Ulysses as the archetype of the eternal traveler.

“So I looked for a synthesis between my perceptions and the story. To empower this, I thought the best way was to use the phrase ‘This is the Way’ as part of the scenography, because it moves the actions of the Mandalorian. I thought also of placing the Mandalorian from behind, because I wanted to reinforce the idea of a journey that begins, and of which we, as observers, can be silent traveling companions.” Flavia Sorrentino (Italy)

Japanese

“I created this art feeling resonance with the strong will of the Mandalorian through the words ‘This is the Way.’ I am a calligrapher – ‘書道家’ in Japanese — so my job title also includes ‘the way’ [道]. Therefore, ‘This is the Way’ means a lot to me. The Kanji ‘我’ and ‘道’ in ‘This is the Way’ [我らの道] shows the dynamics and strength of the Mandalorian, while the hiragana ‘ら’ and ‘の’ is inspired by the softness of the Child.

“I am so honored to work on this, since I have found the same appreciation for the world of the Mandalorian as the one of a calligrapher, as well as a person who inherits Japanese culture.” Souun Takeda (Japan)

Portuguese

“The invitation to illustrate one of The Mandalorian posters was wonderful. As a fan of fantasy and sci-fi, I was able to apply a little of my style, an aesthetic inspired by ‘80s comics, bright colors, and a look that reminds me of old arcade games.

“The composition of the illustration has the gestalt in the form of Mando giving emphasis to the text in Portuguese: ‘Como deve Ser.’ Inside, I could represent Mando and the Child, not forgetting to bring the Western look to the incredible Razor Crest and X-wing starfighters.” Kin Noise (Brazil)

Spanish (Latin American)

“Since 1977 I’ve been a Star Wars fan and, yes — I even sent in five proofs of purchase to get my exclusive Boba Fett figure with non-threatening jetpack rocket! Fast forward 43 years and having the honor to represent South America in the multi-cultural, creative celebration for the premiere of The Mandalorian Season 2!

“The ‘El Camino Así Es’ Illustration of Mando and Child in a frost-bitten, cruel planet, while TIE fighters drop in pursuit, was a different approach than the standard heat-driven color palette from Season 1, and specifically inspired by the Season 2 trailers. I created the poster using a thousand vector points in Adobe Illustrator on my HP Z4 Workstation.

“To acquire the best amount of reference for character accuracy, help came in the form of an action figure from Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series Mandalorian line. Many thanks to the teams of Disney+ North America, Disney+ LATAM, the Poster Posse, and all of you out there — the true fans of Star Wars.” Orlando Arocena (Colombia)

Spanish (Castilian)

“‘Este es el Camino.’ The word camino, in Spanish, has several meanings. On the one hand, camino can be understood as the path to be walked. A way that takes us to a certain place. In a less literal sense, it can also be understood as the means that leads us to a destination. That is, camino is the direction we must take, what we must do. The way to go, definitely, and that is often a journey full of obstacles and unexpected situations.

“In The Mandalorian, the paths of Mando and the Child cross and are irretrievably united. So it seemed important to me to show both characters in the illustration, walking side by side. But, despite the importance of the Child in the plot, I though it was necessary to highlight the figure of Mando as the main protagonist of the action; that’s why the scene is located into his silhouette.

“Mando is very aware of the Mandalorian mantra ‘Este es el Camino.’ In the illustration it’s literally inside him, occupying an important space in his head. On the other hand, the image of the Child is located in the lower part, closer to the chest, since he represents the most emotional, even paternal, part of the Mandalorian.

“This is the concept that I wanted to represent in my illustration: the meaning of the camino in all its expressions. And the symbiosis between both characters, who will undoubtedly have to face new obstacles this new season. Because life is not a bed of roses or, as we say in Spain, la vida no es un camino de rosas. Alexandra España (Spain)

For more art inspired by The Mandalorian, check out StarWars.com’s feature on Poster Posse’s stunning series celebrating Season 1.

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Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian, #Disney+

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