Star Wars

A delightful addition to the Star Wars Lego Holiday Special.

A delightful addition to fandom was the Star Wars Lego Holiday Special, in which the characters discover their eventual fates and betrayers. It was delightfully comedic as Vader learned about Kylo Ren and the Emperor learned about Vader.

Loki is doing more of the same. Avengers: Endgame was incredibly meta as the heroes revisited their greatest hits from the previous films. Now Loki, escaped from that version of 2012 and firmly removed from that timeline, is forced to play It’s a Wonderful Life (or A Christmas Carol, or any of those). Notably, the mentor Major Mobius (Owen Wilson) shows him…

Cons Are Getting More Inventive Tech

I’ve been to a LOT of online fantasy cons over the last year. Almost all use zoom or presenter-style zoom (and I will MISS the lively chat that goes on during panels). Some record on Zoom (or prerecord on platform of choice) then post on YouTube or Twitch or Facebook live (or more than one of these). Some panels thus stay up for years, free of charge — a delight for fans but also for speakers seeking publicity. (Comic-Con 2020 followed this model, for instance.) Also the cons pretty much all use discord for…

Mysterious space lady, what’s her deal?

The Nevers episode six changed everything.

Of course, it was startlingly removed from where we were — if not for the past scenes beginning, I would’ve thought I was watching the wrong show. Then when I caught up, I thought, “Oh, we’re doing Dollhouse.” Not precisely Dollhouse, but something similar.

On Joss Whedon’s last show, Dollhouse, the Dolls live in a highly curated environment where personalities can be downloaded into the bodies. Later we meet some of their past selves — all traumatized and dealing with that trauma in their new existence, as their souls break through the implanted personalities…

Star Wars: The Bad Batch had its seeds planted in the recently released final season of Clone Wars. The team stride in powerfully in 701, with the bulky, brawling Wrecker shouting “The cavalry has arrived!” His joy in particular stands out. The identical, obedient clones of the 501st mutter that they don’t look like clones. Of course, they look more differentiated — with Wrecker notably larger than the others with his blind eye and their leader Hunter with unusually long hair and his face tattoo. He has enhanced senses including the ability to specific locations. His connection with people and…

The Nevers has arrived. Some of us, who heard Whedon describe his plan for the comic book Twist, or “female Victorian Batman,” years back, have been waiting for quite some time. True, Whedon is off the project now (and indeed, he quickly left the prior Agents of SHIELD after that one was started). Still, he wrote and directed the first episode, and Jane Espenson wrote the second. The episode title, “Touched,” is also a Buffy title. It’s not just the language: the character lineup and worldbuilding are very recognizable to fans of his other franchises.

In their earliest scene, sweet…

Back we go to the Empire base on Navarro, the only place we’ve been more often than Tatooine. There we reunite with Cara and Greef, and, oddly, the mythrol from the beginning of episode one. Following is a classic infiltrate the base mission with a very easy to blow up generator. And a plot that, along with the obviousness, seems filled with big Star Wars callbacks and tiny additions to the arc story.

So many questions:

Cara gets in her sassy line, “I’m not a joiner” and gets a pet space mongoose. Not much growth otherwise though. She and Greef…

Bored in the pandemic? The fantasy conventions are continuing. More conventions are coming — many free or cheap and online.

Jan 30 LumaCon

Feb 4–7 Capricorn (small, general lineup)

Life the Universe and Everything Feb 11–13

Feb 12–14 Boskone (books and media)

Radcon Feb 12–14 ( a few performances)

Feb 12–15 (gaming)

Feb 18–21 (gaming)

Feb 18–21

Farpoint virtual dealers and masquerade 2/20–2/21

Feb 22 Southwest Pop Culture Association (academic) Feb 26–28

MarsCon March 11–13

Zenkaikon March 19–21, 2021 (programming not yet open,

Leprecon March 20–21…

Bored in the pandemic? The fantasy conventions are continuing. More conventions are coming — many free or cheap and online.

Jan 30 LumaCon

Feb 4–7 Capricorn (small, general…

Wonder Woman's ’84, planned for Memorial Day weekend, delayed from Covid, has arrived at last Christmas Day 2020. The world is bored and miserable. People still squabble about the lame-duck Trump. In some ways this is an even better time for the release — particularly because of the film’s message.

Wonder Woman meets the Monkey’s Paw seems like a weak story proposal, and many characters like Maxwell Lord and Minerva Gordon are awkwardly hammered into it, as are the cool fight scenes. Throw in eighties décor and Steve Trevor playing fish out of water and backup for an increasingly depowered…

This seems familiar…The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale

In a distinct parallel to the previous season finale, Mando goes around the galaxy recruiting allies he’s met through the previous episodes (or rather, just Bo Katan as he has the others already). Reminiscent of Cara’s recruitment at the end of season one, Bo-Katan isn’t interested in his quest, but on hearing Moff Gideon is there she agrees. In they all go, outnumbered and squabbling but determined to rescue the Child. A classic hero band, in a classic wrap up that’s incredibly familiar.

There are fun easter eggs for fans as Bo-Katan and…

Valerie Estelle Frankel

Valerie Estelle Frankel has written 75 books about pop culture.

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