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June 2020
S M T W T F S
     
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21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30

Syndication

It's been a while since we talked about The Mandalorian Season 2, so let's get up to speed with a couple of announcements that might have slipped under your radar. 

There's a great story on Collider that I promised to link to during the show, so here's the Collider link about the hiring of Sam Hargrave as a second unit director for The Mandalorian Season 2. I'm diving into that in detail, and I'm also talking about a rumored character appearance that seems like it's not going to happen after all. And there was a thing about a Star Wars celebrity with a cameo you'd never catch unless someone gave up the goods on it. Well, the person who had the cameo finally did, and I'll share the audio of that scene and who did it with you today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-30-StarWars7x7-2188.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

First came Episode 327. Then came Episode 1138. Now, we come to the last of the magic Star Wars numbers in Episode 2187. And its uses are not as prevalent as the other two. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-29-StarWars7x7-2187.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Today, a conversation with Cole Horton, author of the just-released Star Wars Book of Lists. Which is an enormous book, and we'll talk about everything that went into the making of this comprehensive yet irreverent tome. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-28-StarWars7x7-2186.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The shortest and the most technical of the Disney Gallery episodes thus far, "Process" goes behind the scenes of The Mandalorian to reveal how they refined the story through animatics and pre-visualization before filming the real thing.

On today's episode, I'll boil it down for you as best I can, though I think it's definitely worth checking out the "Process" episode so you can see the animatics and pre-visualizations for yourself. I'll also be featuring part of the conversation between Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Favreau, and Dave Filoni, where they talk about the story iteration process and how Dave Filoni's experience in animation fits right into this new way of making live action stories. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-27-StarWars7x7-2185.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Alphabet Squadron's audiobook was narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, and I was a fan of her work on that first book in Alexander Freed's trilogy. So in all honesty, I was a bit disappointed when I heard that she wouldn't be narrating Shadow Fall.

That's no knock on the person who does narrate it, Carol Monda. As I listened to the audiobook version of Shadow Fall, I kept thinking to myself, "Where have I heard her voice?" Because, as far as I can tell, this is the first Star Wars novel she's narrated, but she sounds so darned familiar. Well, that's because she has a CV as long as your arm when it comes to narration in film, TV, radio, online, on stage, and in audiobooks. She's been at it for 30 years! I think the link that worked for me is that she's been the narrative voice of the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival...

On today's show, I'll talk about the admittedly apples-to-oranges comparison between Maarleevld and Monda, and why the differences in the two novels themselves seem to play toward the different strengths of the two narrators. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-26-StarWars7x7-2184.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

No Star Wars story takes place in isolation, and Alexander Freed's Shadow Fall is no exception. Yesterday, we talked specifically about its connections to the upcoming video game, Star Wars: Squadrons. Today, we tease out some of its connections to other movies, TV, and novels. That may be as a result of stories the characters tell each other; surprise appearances (or the lack thereof); and of a whole group of people hiding in plain sight. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-25-StarWars7x7-2183.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The more we learn about the people and places of Star Wars: Squadrons, the more we learn that those details are elaborated upon in Alexander Freed's Shadow Fall.

On today's episode of the show, I'm going to dig into some of the details we learn about the mission in Star Wars: Squadrons as revealed in Shadow Fall, including what Caern Adan (of New Republic Intelligence) thinks about the leader of Vanguard Squadron, Lindon Javes. (The mildest of spoilers for Shadow Fall happen in today's show, but only at the level of trivia - nothing about the story itself is spoiled.) Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-24-StarWars7x7-2182.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Thanks to Becker&mayer! for sending me a digital review copy to check out! I have to say, when I first heard about Star Wars: Book of Lists, I thought it was going to be a fun read, and good trivia fodder, but also exactly what its title promised - a book of lists.

When I actually got to check it out, though, I realized how mistaken I was. Cole Horton, who's written and co-written a dozen or so encyclopedic Star Wars reference books, brought all of those skills to the table when creating this book as well. Coming in at 224 pages, sure, you could just skim it for the 100 lists and you'd enjoy it. But the descriptive information included with those lists is what really makes the book a valuable addition to your Star Wars non-fiction shelf.

On today's episode, I'll talk about all of that, and share one of my favorite lists in the book - which, ironically, doesn't come with the descriptive, but is actually all the better because of the choice to make it an exception to the rule. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-23-StarWars7x7-2181.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Shadow Fall is the sequel to last year's Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed, and the second in a trilogy of novels about a group of sole survivors banding together to create a fighting force for the New Republic. If Alphabet Squadron is the A New Hope of this trilogy, then Shadow Fall is its Empire Strikes Back - a thrilling novel that improves upon its already strong predecessor with daring action, deep characterization, and devastating consequences for all involved.

On today's episode of the show, I'll be talking briefly about where we left off with Alphabet Squadron, and what we've been told publicly about the story of Shadow Fall so far. From there, I'll get into my non-spoiler review, and why I liked the novel as much as I did. I'll also share why I'm going to be reading or listening to it again very soon - it has to do with the ending, let's put it that way for now. I'll say more in the show, but I promise I won't spoil it for you in any way, shape, or form. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-22-StarWars7x7-2180.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

For a franchise, a saga if you will, that turns largely on one father-son relationship, there's not a lot of fatherly representation in Star Wars. In fact, Star Wars is probably more notable for its *lack* of fatherly examples - or lack of screen time for them, to be sure.

On today's episode, we'll talk about types of fathers you may encounter, albeit briefly, in the Star Wars movies. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-21-StarWars7x7-2179.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

A fairly large portion of "Practical" - the fifth episode of the Disney Gallery series about The Mandalorian - is dedicated to Baby Yoda. And why wouldn't it be? Certainly the fortunes of the show have turned, to a large degree, around the success of that character's introduction.

But on this episode of the mini-documentary series, you also find out about the intersection of performer, prosthetics, and animatronics; the use of World-War-II-era weapons as design inspirations; how the special effects wizards use the starfield to enhance the impression of spaceship movement; how they worked in the use of miniatures (when digital effects would have been cheaper); and much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-20-StarWars7x7-2178.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Before we get into spoiler territory regarding the VR experience Vader Immortal: Episode II, I think it's worth spending a moment on the philosophy around spoilers here at Star Wars 7x7. I've been thinking about this as compared with console video games, and also with book review spoilers - which we did last week with Queen's Peril, and which we have coming soon with a few other books.

With VR, as much as you may learn about the story of Vader Immortal: Episode II here today, nothing can replace the experience of actually playing it. And as opposed to console video games, it really IS an experience. So I'm very confident that, if it's your kind of thing and you have access to a VR headset, talking about the story here won't make you avoid the game. In fact, I imagine it might make you want to play it that much more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-19-StarWars7x7-2177.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Episode I of the groundbreaking Vader Immortal VR game from ILMxLAB set up the story. Now, Episode II sends you on the Bright Star quest - after being trained to use the Force.

On today's episode of the show, we'll get into a non-spoiler review of Vader Immortal: Episode II, which includes a comparison of the installment not only to the Episode I predecessor, but also to the LEGO Star Wars games (yes, really - although, spoiler alert, the VR version is way cooler than the LEGO Star Wars version in terms of the ability I'm talking about on the show).

Not only will we be talking about the gameplay/story mode, but we'll also talk about the enhancements to the Lightsaber Dojo as well. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-18-StarWars7x7-2176.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The inevitable has become the official: Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2020 has been canceled. So, what happens next? That's what we're talking about today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-17-StarWars7x7-2175.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The video game code-named "Maverick" has been revealed as "Star Wars: Squadrons"! On Monday, a reveal trailer debuted, as well as some promotional images and additional story details. Yes, I said "story"! There's a single-player story narrative to the game, which will see you playing as both a New Republic pilot and as an Imperial pilot. One article I read said that the price point of the game - $39.99 at pre-order - suggests the storyline and associated gameplay will run approximately 15 hours.

But that's not all, of course. There's also a multi-player aspect to it, and it's cross-platform, so you'll be able to play against friends who have different consoles/platforms. The announcement also talked about ships, characters, and worlds, and we'll dig into everything we've learned so far on today's episode of the show. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-16-StarWars7x7-2174.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, production on live action movies and television shut down. Thankfully, season 2 of The Mandalorian had already finished principal photography, so it could proceed on schedule for its October 2020 debut.

In the meantime, we've heard that Star Wars animation is also moving full steam ahead, even though we don't know many details about that (yet). And there's another type of storytelling that's also moving forward... or should we say "storyLIVING"?

That's the word used by ILMxLAB's Executive-in-Charge Vicki Dobbs Beck, referring to the idea that "you’re inside a world making consequential choices that drive your experience forward." In other words, virtual reality. On today's show, we'll talk about ILMxLAB's first title, Vader Immortal, getting a wider release; and the first sneak preview of their second VR title, Tales From the Galaxy's Edge. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-15-StarWars7x7-2173.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

You may have heard of "The Volume" before, but what's the deal with it? How does it work, and how was George Lucas thinking about this a decade ago? The "Technology" episode of Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian goes into deeper detail about the revolutionary new studio setup. Jon Favreau talks about the journey from his previous movies and how it all led to The Mandalorian, and the episode features roundtable discussions with the directors, actors, and visual effects professionals who made it all happen.

On today's episode of the show, we'l dig into some of those details, with clips explaining "The Volume" and how it realizes Lucas' vision - which you'll hear from the Maker himself. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-14-StarWars7x7-2172.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mild spoilers in this, our final episode that dives into the novel Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston. I was really surprised when I dug into Wookieepedia and didn't find much in the way of details (in the "Canon" section, at least) about the Royal Handmaidens of Naboo. So that made me doubly happy that we got a *lot* of details about them in Queen's Peril, including their recruitment; the last time they were used extensively; some of the training; and the bonding that happens between these young women (to which I alluded a bit in the non-spoiler review episode earlier this week).

We'll talk about some of those details today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-13-StarWars7x7-2171.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mild spoilers for Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston in this episode! I'm on record as saying that I think the whole taxation of trade routes thing is a perfectly fine entry point for The Phantom Menace. After all, the dispute happens off screen, and we jump right into blockades and invasions and Jedi action.

Well, speaking of off screen ... since the events of Queen's Peril take place in the months leading up to The Phantom Menace, you can see how taxation issues might be brought into play. But lest you think Johnston would avoid them in favor of something more obviously dramatic, I'm here to applaud her for the fact that she committed to the deal, so to speak. Multiple scenes in the book address the topic, and a diplomatic undertaking by Queen Amidala pushes that taxation clash forward.

I'll be talking about those scenes on today's episode, and they feature some surprise guest stars in the book. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-12-StarWars7x7-2170.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We interrupt our regularly scheduled discussion of Queen's Peril to give you an update on the Galaxy's Edge theme park experience at Disneyland in Anaheim. Phased re-opening proposals have been submitted for the parks, Downtown Disney, and two hotels. But there's a bit more to the story that what you're seeing in the headlines.

And by the way, what could this mean for Star Wars Celebration - as we don't have any announcements for that event yet? I've been giving that some additional thought, and I wish I could say I was coming to a happy conclusion about this... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-11-StarWars7x7-2169.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mild spoilers in this episode! The final third of Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston runs concurrently with The Phantom Menace. Apart from a plotline that fills in a backstory hinted at in Queen's Shadow, most of this section serves one of two purposes.

One of these purposes is to give us a look at characters from the movie, in scenes that play like moments from the cutting room floor. Mind you, this isn't a criticism - a scene with Darth Maul scouting Theed Palace prior to the arrival of the Jedi isn't one that was needed for the movie, but is a terrific addition from a novelization perspective.

The other purpose is to complete character arcs that were begun in the pre-Phantom Menace part of the book. That focuses primarily on Sabé, who is Padmé's number one handmaiden, even though Sabé's primary talent has been playing second fiddle - pun intended.

I'll dig into all of the above and more on the show today... Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-10-StarWars7x7-2168.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Queen's Peril, by E.K. Johnston, is the prequel to last year's Queen's Shadow, and a breezy read best suited for Padme, handmaiden, and prequel fans. It also does something remarkable - delivers a story about teenage girls learning to bond and achieve in positions of influence, and against the backdrop of major galactic events.

That said, from a plot perspective, nothing of major consequence happens until about two-thirds of the way through the book, when the narrative lines up with the events of The Phantom Menace. That section is where almost all the book's drama takes place, and while it's interesting to see some more detailed and occasionally additional perspectives on that chapter of the Skywalker Saga, I do wish Padme and her handmaidens could have had a significant origin-story mission together that didn't rely on an existing chapter in the canon.

But it is fun, and for completists who are interested in the beginning of Padme's reign and how the handmaidens came to be a part of her team, there will be plenty of intriguing details to absorb. The book also dallies with interludes featuring a variety of characters, and their actions prior to The Phantom Menace as well.

On today's show, we'll wrap up the review, and we'll dig into the details on subsequent episodes. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-09-StarWars7x7-2167.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Yes, as Pedro Pascal recently noted, Star Wars succeeds on the strength of its characters and relationships. But...

From the war crimes of the Trade Federation on Naboo, to the Republic's war with the Confederacy of Independent Systems (essentially a false flag secession leading to the fall of the Republic), and later to rebellions less extreme (Mon Mothma) and more extreme (Saw Gerrera), and still later to the outright destruction of the New Republic by the First Order and its subsequent overthrown by the Resistance and "people," the Star Wars stories are almost entirely set against the backdrop of violent revolution.

We'll talk about this today, and about how Star Wars not only draws from real-world history, but also how it may be holding up a mirror to the world in which we live today. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-08-StarWars7x7-2166.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Episode 3 of Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian features - as one would expect from the title of the episode, "Cast" - discussions with the big three members of the cast: Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers. As in past episodes, we also hear from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, and we also hear from some of the directors. There are additional voices highlighted as well, and on today's episode, we'll talk about:

--The four different ways by which The Mandalorian's character performance is created, including three different people inside the armor

--How Gina Carano's performance and background go all the way back to the kinds of movie performances that influenced George Lucas back in the day

--How the directors work with The Mandalorian's character to get emotion out of the performance

We'll also talk about how Carl Weathers approaches an offer to be a part of an acting project, which has some bearing on the way Star Wars stories have been made and continue to be made. It's particularly relevant considering what's going on in the world in general, and what's been part of Star Wars-specific discussions in the past few years. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-07-StarWars7x7-2165.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Books delayed and moved up, comics in flux, a clue about that new lightsaber to be revealed, and more casting rumors! It's been a while, so let's catch up on Star Wars story news. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-06-StarWars7x7-2164.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

It's hard to believe that it's only been eleven days since the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer on a Minneapolis street. Since then, America has broken in ways beyond anything we could have imagined - and there's a strong case to be made that it was already broken, and we're finally seeing what it looks like when change can't wait any longer.

But this is a Star Wars podcast, so on today's show, I'm going to turn the focus there. Specifically, we're going to talk about what Lucasfilm and Disney have said and done in the wake of the George Floyd killing, and consider how much further they - and we - have to go.

~*~*~*~*~*~

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Direct download: 2020-06-05-StarWars7x7-2163.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Carrie Fisher was the social conscience of the Original Trilogy, calling attention to women's rights and feminist issues. John Boyega is the social conscience of the Sequel Trilogy, calling attention to racial justice. On today's show, I'm featuring his speech yesterday at a London protest related to the killing of George Floyd. The audio (as recorded and published by the Evening Standard) appears in today's show; but I highly encourage you to watch the video version, for reasons I explain in the podcast.

Here's the video of his speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGXEB25WdyQ

~*~*~*~*~*~

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Direct download: 2020-06-04-StarWars7x7-2162.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, you may recall that I was invited to deliver a talk at an official TEDx event in November 2019. The event was recorded, and I got word late Monday night that the talk had finally gone live on the TEDx YouTube Channel.

Today's episode of the podcast is a short one, with a couple of observations about the timing of the TEDx talk's release; about my older son's reaction to it, since he wasn't able to be there for its live delivery; and the nervousness that flooded me upon re-watching it (which hadn't been there when I'd delivered the talk, funnily enough). Rather than keeping you for the show today, I hope instead you'll think it's worth your time to check out the talk itself...

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Direct download: 2020-06-03-StarWars7x7-2161.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

We were going to talk about the launch of Queen's Peril today. A couple months ago, I felt compelled to step out of the stream of our usual Star Wars talk, and we talked about the coronavirus pandemic, when the lockdowns were in their earliest stages. I never planned to make a habit of stepping out of the stream, and I still don't plan to.

But as civil unrest has engulfed dozens of cities across the United States, I've been thinking a lot about Yoda's lines from The Phantom Menace: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." And it seems like they could help us understand a lot of what's going on in America right now.

As I said to a neighbor of mine recently, there will always be people, on all points of the political compass, who see tragedy as an opportunity to advance their own goals by exploiting other people's pain.

I believe our job as humans, at a minimum, is to bear witness to the pain. To listen, to truly and deeply hear what people in pain are trying to tell us. To help heal that pain, and not make it worse or prolong it.

Today's show is about how Yoda's words apply to our lives right now. In the process, I'm going to beg you to consider three things:

1. Please do what you can to keep your family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, and communities safe.

2. Despite all the fearful things happening that must be addressed, please do not lose sight of the inciting incident of the fires this time - the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, by a while police officer, in broad daylight, and the justice that must be done in Floyd's memory.

3. Please consider saying that #BlackLivesMatter. Speaking for myself, I have a wishy-washy history with making that statement. Not that I ever disagreed with it - more that I've had the privilege of living a life where it wasn't a visible issue for me on a daily basis. But that's no excuse. Imagine if hundreds of millions of voices would speak out together, to let the African-American community know that they believe "Black Lives Matter." It wouldn't magically heal things, of course. But maybe it could be a different kind of inciting incident. One based in love, not fear.

I hope the show today speaks to you, and I thank you for being a part of *this* community.

Direct download: 2020-06-02-StarWars7x7-2160.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

From novels to reference books, comics to documentaries, here's what we know is coming for Star Wars in June 2020 - and speculation about movies, live action series. animation, and more. Punch it!

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Direct download: 2020-06-01-StarWars7x7-2159.mp3
Category:Star Wars -- posted at: 3:00am EST

1