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

Jan 30 LumaCon https://www.lumacon.net/

Feb 4–7 Capricorn http://capricon.org/ (small, general lineup)

Feb 12–14 Boskone https://boskone.org/ (books and media)

Feb 12–15 https://www.strategicon.net/ (gaming)

Feb 18–21 http://totalcon.com/ (gaming)

Feb 18–21 https://coastalmagicconvention.com/

Feb 22 Southwest Pop Culture Association http://southwestpca.org/

MarsCon March 11–13 https://marscon.org/

ICFA 42 “Climate Change and the Anthropocene” March 18–21, 2021 https://www.fantastic-arts.org/

CoreCon May 26 https://www.fargocorecon.org/

Memorial Day Weekend: https://www.balticon.org/wp55/

This site seems more reliable than many for cons’ updates and cancelations: https://fancons.com/events/


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

Jan 30 LumaCon https://www.lumacon.net/

Feb 4–7 Capricorn http://capricon.org/ (small, general…


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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 Diana, and the stew seems even more awkward. …


This seems familiar…The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale

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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 Boba Fett face off. She knows too much about Imperial clones, while he calls the Nite Owl warrior Koska Reeves “little one.” She retorts with, “I didn’t think sidekicks were allowed to talk.” With this, they all weigh their places in the pecking order. Mando, who contrasts with them all as more enlightened and leader of the operation, doesn’t make misogynist or anti-clone cracks. …


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This is an episode of compromises. Partnering with Fennic Shand and Boba Fett, whom Mando doesn’t entirely trust, is only the beginning. But the Child has been stolen and Mando is quickly discovering what he’ll do to retrieve him.

Next, he has Cara get Mayfield out of prison so he can get them into an Imperial base. “All you need to know is I bent a lot of rules to bring you along,” Mando announces, and soon he’s piling up the compromises. This involves killing pirates to protect the shipment and deliver it safely to Imperials. It also involves dressing as a helmeted trooper, a compromise on his Mandalorian ethics. “Unless you’re gonna take off that helmet, it’s gonna be me goin’ in alone. Or say goodbye to your little green friend,” Mayfield tells him, and Mando reluctantly dons Imperial armor with its concealing helmet — all to save the child. This is a parenting metaphor, of course, of putting aside one’s pride, rules, and everything else to protect the baby. Of course, Mayfield makes things worse by mocking him: “Look at this. Oh, the shame. …


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Chapter 14: The Tragedy felt incredibly masculine — a few lone warriors battling the Empire’s soldiers made up the entire plot. Making one of them a woman didn’t alter the dynamic much. Fennic Shand, now revived as a cyborg (slightly) has given herself in service to her recreator. While it’s nice to have a tough older Asian woman offering representation, she displays nothing of her own personality or desires besides the tough warrior and moves from serving Boba completely to completing Mando’s agenda. …


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Episode five is named “The Jedi” and, satisfying fan angst after last episode’s delay, Ahsoka shows up in the teaser. Even those who hadn’t seen Clone Wars and Rebels (presumably many less since the Bo-Katan episode) would recognize her speed and lightsabers flashing out of the mist and perhaps tie her to the Togruta Jedi on the Council in the prequels.

Balancing her is the proud magistrate, watching from a balcony, human and privileged in black and red with a blonde braid. She in turn begins the episode threatening civilians as she takes the role of all cruel administrators: “The lives of the citizens mean nothing to me. Now, because of you, these people will suffer.” …


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Episode 203 introduces a new group of Mandalorians, who arrive to rescue Mando and the Child. This is a new moment in gender representation and certainly in the show’s representation of Mandalorians. As it links with the cartoons, it offers a significant step into the larger world of the Jedi and the Rebellion.

Mando is shocked when they doff their helmets, immediately believing they must have stolen it. As he blusters, “You do not cover your face. You are not Mandalorian.”

Immediately, their leader presents her credentials. “I am Bo-Katan of clan Kryze. …


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Daddy, women are such a bother, aren’t they?

I disliked episode two enough I didn’t plan to write about it, but on hearing that no one else liked it much, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Reasons others disliked it: weak CGI, depowered Mando. Many don’t go for endless cgi spiders (okay, including me). And of course, many were appalled that the Child kept snacking on (future) sentient endangered creatures, showing a lack of morality as well as disturbing imagery.

My issue was in fact gender roles. Before this, women have been the androgynous, self-sacrificing armorer, cringeworthy hissing con woman and the sweet domesticated lady who tries to get Mando to retire. …


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The show has returned for its second much-anticipated year. Lots of payoffs take place — the Marshall is likely the mysterious shadow seen on the previous visit to Tatooine (though the concept of a Mandalorian on Tatooine tantalized fans with the possibility of Boba Fett yet again). Mando, on his new quest to deliver the Child and now to find Mandalorians to help him, must return to the desert wasteland. Though only after firing his whistling birds to take down a crowd who crave his valuable beskar.

We revisit the mechanic, and now Mando doesn’t hate droids so much after IG-11’s sacrifice. Original trilogy relic R5-D4 (also seen in the first season) offers a map of the planet. He rides the same speeder bike. This time, he brings the Child on his adventures, presumably not wanting him out of sight. The Child intervenes less than previously shown, but we expect great things in the future. …

About

Valerie Estelle Frankel

Valerie Estelle Frankel has written 75 books about pop culture. https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Estelle-Frankel/e/B004KMCLQK

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