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Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 1 Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

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The following review contains spoilers

Boba Fett has been a beloved Star Wars character ever since his debut in the infamous Holiday Special and made his big onscreen appearance 41 years ago in The Empire Strikes Back. We then later on learn about the origins of the renowned bounty hunter in Attack of the Clones and in the Clone Wars animated series. The appearance of Boba Fett in The Mandalorian season two was also a welcoming surprise as last we saw of the bounty hunter was when he fell into the Sarlacc pit during the events of ‘Return of the Jedi”. 

How did he survive? well, that’s the very first thing covered in the opening of the series premiere which splits its time between flashbacks to what happened after Fett’s downward slope into the pit, as well as the events following The Mandalorian season 2, in which Boba (Temuera Morrison), alongside his loyal assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) navigate the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime Syndicate. 

Chapter one reminded me why I love Star Wars as this episode gave me the classic, vintage feels mixed with Lawerence of Arabia and The Godfather, as both Fett and Shand take down the seedy underbelly of Tatooine. Directed by showrunner Robert Rodriguez and written by Jon Favreau, take a reflective approach in order to fill in the gaps of Fett’s past in which he’s scarred by. 

The opening chapter of the series entitled “Stranger In a Strange Land” shows that Fett still needs medical treatment for his escape from the acid-filled Sarlacc pit as we see him lying inside a Bacta Tank, which provides brief flashbacks to his birthplace Kamino and to the Geonois arena where his father Jango Fett was killed By Mace Windu. 

We also see flashbacks to recent events especially his escape which is executed quickly as he’s shortly running out of time. Boba breathes fresh air from the supply of an expired and eroded Stormtrooper whilst punching a hole through the Sarlacc’s thick stomach. He fires his flamethrower through it and tunnels his way out onto the surface and emerges in front of the wreckage of Jabba’s sail barge. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

After being left for dead and enduring the pain and suffering of being slowly digested, Fett encounters Tatooine’s infamous residents. First Jawa scavengers steal his armour and leave him for dead again. Then becoming dehydrated, Tusken Raiders discover him and force him into subjugation. What follows is an unfortunate escape plan as he survives a brawl with a Tusken Massiff. 

Meanwhile in present-day Tatooine, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand start to secure their hold on crime lord Jabba the Hutt’s former territory, though conflict begins to simmer between the two as Fennec recommends that a more violent rule will surly guarantee a more stable transition of power . However Fett takes a far more measured approach by working by a code of honour that somewhat excludes torture or killing to send a message as “Jabba ruled with fear, I Intent to rule with respect”. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Fett awakens from the tank as he dons armour and receives visitors in his newly claimed throne room, where a torture droid ( voiced by Matt Berry) announces guests who bring tributes to him as a gesture of being under Fett’s leadership. An Aqualish hands over a tribute of New Republic credits, Dokk Strassi, a Trandoshan leader Fett once worked for, offers a Wookie pelt, two Gamorrean guards pledge their loyalty and a suspicious display of respectfulness comes from Madam Garsa Flip (Jennifer Beals) who is the proprietor of The Sanctuary an upscale Mos Spa Cantina. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Many of Jabba and Bib’s former subjects are prepared to bend the knee to Boba Fett, well not all of them. As Mos Espa mayor not only fails to show up to the palace in person but sends his majordomo (David Pasquesi) to collect tribute from Fett and as Fett and Shand leave the Cantina they’re ambushed by many assassins with batons that can stun you and energy shields. What follows is a badass parkour pursuit as Fennec kills one and captures the other though we’ll have to wait till next week to see who the assassins work for and who especially is the Mayor??.

This episodes big fight sequence is a battle between a six-legged sand monster that is very reminiscent of classic star wars and feels like a Ray Harryhausen stop motion puppet. This victory in the eyes of the Tusken Raiders makes Boba a made man as the Tusken leader hands boba a gourd which is a sign of respect or acceptance into the tribe. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Wen truly shines as the cunning enforcer/assassin Fennec Shand her skillset is utilised throughout this first chapter. She’s a compelling lead and delivers her lines ruthlessly. 

And Morrison’s portrayal depicts a man that’s been though hell and now onto more of a redemptive path. His delivery and humour truly flesh out the character. Fennec surly feels obliged to Fett because he saved her but chapter one also implies that she would do things differently if she were the crime lord. Life on Tatooine is hard as honour amongst thieves thrives thrives amongst the town. 

The episode also features an epic theme, from Ludwig Göransson who also composed both seasons of The Mandalorian.

Overall Chapter One “Stranger in a Strange Land” is certainly a promising start and offers us glimpses on where the Book of Boba Fett could ultimately be heading as it features action and Star Wars nostalgia. 

The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 1, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” is streaming now on Disney+. Future episodes premiere on Wednesdays.

 

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The Acolyte | Official Trailer | Disney +

Star Wars series that takes viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Drama

Release Date:

June 4, 2024

Director:

Leslye Headland

Cast:

Dafne Keen, Amandla Stenberg, Jodie Turner-Smith

Plot Summary:

Star Wars series that takes viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.

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Maya’s Story To Echo Through Time

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Vincent D'Onofrio (Wilson Fisk) & Alaqua Cox (Maya Lopez) (Disney)

Here is the review of Marvel Studios’ Echo, now streaming on Disney Plus.

Plot

Marvel Studios presents “Echo,” spotlighting Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) as she is pursued by Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) criminal empire. When the journey brings her home, she must confront her own family and legacy. Streaming January 9 on Disney+ & Hulu. Set your Disney+ profile to TV-MA to stream. All episodes will be available on Hulu until April 9.

Starring: Alaqua Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Chaske Spencer, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, and Devery Jacobs.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez / Echo (Disney)

Review

There is in total 5 episodes and it was available immediately and this is really amazing, allowing us to binge watch the season in 1 sitting. A big part of Echo’s storyline focuses on giving the viewer a glimpse into her ancestral history and her past with the Kingpin of crime.

Maya develops as a strong character in this story more than the Maya we met in the Hawkeye series. Alaqua Cox really delivers an exceptional performance. As always Vincent D’Onofrio plays his heart out as Wilson Fisk, the notorious Kingpin who has been dominating our screen since the Daredevil TV Series on Netflix back in the day. We get a few surprises, even though short pieces, but it is still appreciated and I will not spoil those surprises in the hope that you will go and watch the episodes later and experience the same level of joy I experienced.

A lot of effort was done with regards to the language options. Choctaw was added as a language option on Disney Plus. I read that some of the cast learned American Sign Language (ASL) in order to communicate with Alaqua on set and this really warms my heart. A lot of research was done on the Choctaw nation and was incorporated as part of Maya’s storyline.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez / Echo (Disney)

Some of the less positive notes are the series was rated as meant for mature audiences only. However, the action scenes were little and not as brutal as expected if compared with the likes of the Daredevil series. Maya’s powers was also changed slightly from the comic books but it takes a positive turn closer to the end. Really looking forward to the part Maya / Echo will play later on as I feel she portrays the part of a hero very well.

I highly encourage watching the original Netflix series’ Daredevil and Hawkeye to get the background of some of the key characters in this story. I highly encourage subscribing to Marvel Unlimited to read up about Maya Lopez / Echo, Wilson Fisk / Kingpin or any of your favorite Marvel characters.

There is a mid-credits scene that you don’t want to miss, but no post-credits scene. The mid-credits feel familiar to the comic book direction.

I rate this series a 3.5 out of 5. Maya’s story will echo through the cinematic universe, as a story of bravery and strength. Sometimes all you need is a healing hand, a key theme from Marvel Studios’ Echo. I’m looking forward to more of Maya on the screen.

Watch all 5 episodes on Disney Plus now!

Echo Official Trailer (Marvel Entertainment)

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Doctor Who: The Giggle, A Wildly Satisfying Finale That Teases A Promising Future

Russel T. Davies’ Whoniverse-reshaping finale is a thrilling, heartwarming, chilling, and satisfying hour of telly, that never eases up.

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SPOILER’S AHEAD!

As brilliantly put by beloved Doctor Who companion Donna Noble, “That was completely nuts!” The final episode of the three 60th anniversary specials, “The Giggle” may just well be the most bonkers, yet impeccable piece of Doctor Who TV… ever. Where last weeks special “Wild Blue Yonder” saw writer Russell T. Davies deliver a masterful episode in restrained storytelling, “The Giggle” is the showrunner unleashed. Throwing epic musical numbers, eerie moments of horror, impactful social commentary, and a divisive yet satisfying final 20 minutes result in an unrelenting hour of telly, and perhaps the best episode of Doctor Who ever.

Kicking off with John Logie Baird’s invention of the television in 1925 as well as introducing audiences to “Stooky Bill” – a real puppet who could put Annabelle to shame – “The Giggle” quickly picks up where “Wild Blue Yonder” left off. In the midst of world wide carnage, the Doctor (David Tenant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) must search for answers as to why planes are falling out of the sky, and human beings are busy beating each other up on the streets, leading the two to the celestial Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris), one of the most powerful beings in the universe.

Still from “The Giggle” (BBC Studios)

Russell T. Davies is never one to shy away from delivering a script oozing with his rightful fury at current social climates. Take previous episodes like “Midnight” “The Long Game” and “Turn Left” for example all offering impactful stories with themes of human nature, the power of media, and anti-immigration prejudice respectively. Here, Russell T. Davies satirically imitates anti-vaxers, anti-maskers, conspiracy theories, and government empathy brilliantly. Some of it may be a little on the nose – such as a hilarious and obvious dig at Boris Johnson – but it more or less works in favour of poignant, and well-crafted satire.

“The Giggle’s” mad cap, and unprecedented energy is only more apparent through the episodes many tonal shifts. Under the guise of another property, this constant tonal shift would have felt jarring. But in “The Giggle” the episode pivots in-and-out of horror, comedy, musical, and drama effortlessly, adding to episodes manic and unpredictable nature.

Keeping on theme with last weeks unnerving episode, “The Giggle” is surprisingly steeped in horror. Especially for those who suffer from pupaphobia, the fear of puppets. Whether its the imagery of that “gosh darn” creepy doll, Stooky Bill, or the Toymakers endless gothic labryinth, “The Giggle” is another terrifying episode of Doctor Who, proving once again that this sci-fi show isn’t for children. No scene is scarier perhaps than the haunting scene with Stooky Bill’s wife, Stooky Sue, who’s found crying in the corner of a dark room, before creeping towards Donna chanting a horrifying rhyme. But its all played for laughs when Donna nonchalantly beats the puppet senseless.

Still from “The Giggle” (BBC Studios)

Elsewhere, Neil Patrick Harris’ Toymaker who stole the show. His multi-faceted, and multi-accented villain proves to be the deadliest enemy the Doctor has ever faced, as well as perhaps the most entertaining. Harris’ intoxicating performance enthuses the Toymaker with fear, intelligence, and a playfulness unlike any villain we have seen before. His celestial abilities are terrifying and unparalleled, making the Master – the Doctors nemesis/best friend – look like an amateur. Through the subtle yet deeply fascinating line, “I made a jigsaw out of your history” – explaining, teasing and disregarding the recent messy Whoniverse canon with ease – the Toymaker becomes much more of a threat. Lets not forget the unexpectedly brilliant “Spice Up Your Life” musical number where the Toymaker effortlessly turns soldiers into balloons, once again proving his celestial power.

Bringing back David Tennant – the most popular actor to ever take on the role – was perhaps Davies’ wisest decision upon returning, and reviving the show. Tennant’s return doesn’t just provide a great headline for the show that would drive its viewers back after an incredibly messy past few years, but also offers a heartwarming vulnerability to a character who hasn’t stopped running, fighting, and caring for nearly two decades. The Doctor has never taken a second to grieve, or stop running. He’s lost innumerable companions, and was responsible for destroying half the universe with the Flux. A messy piece of Doctor Who canon which has now been beautifully woven into the Doctor’s character thanks to Russel T. Davies.

Davies delves into the characters vulnerability, and insecurities forcing the Doctor to question his being, and ability to save others. The line “I’m all sonic, and TARDIS, and Time lord, take that away, what am I?” is an incredibly powerful piece of character development, made all the more impactful through Tennant’s performance. The Doctor has always put himself above others, but “The Giggle”, more specifically Donna, encourages the Doctor to stop trying to sacrifice himself for others, and to instead take a second to care for himself.

With Tennant returning to the role, audiences will instantly have that connection to this version of the Doctor, making his vulnerability much more heart-wrenching, and his ending much more satisfying.

Tate was equally fantastic as she has been through all three specials. Her confident, and hilarious performance continues to prove why Donna Noble is one of the best ever Doctor Who companions, and her chemistry with Tennant is deeply infectious.

Still from “The Giggle” (BBC Studios)

The episode carried a lot of emotional stakes way before the title music kicked in, what with the episode forcing viewers to sit through another David Tennant regeneration. However, what was supposed to be an emotional finale, resulted in an unprecedented and incredibly exciting final 20 minutes. Davies introduced possibly the most divisive aspect of the show… well ever. We are of course talking about, Bi-generation. The idea that instead of changing faces, the Doctor instead becomes two Doctor’s. A current Doctor, and a new Doctor. This not only served as a great way to introduce Ncuti Gatwa, who instantly proved himself as an extraordinary Doctor, but also gives the 14th Doctor a satisfying arc that finally lets him rest.

Bi-generation is a fantastic concept for now, but in the future, this idea could lose all the emotional weight a regeneration used to harbour. Saying goodbye to a current incarnation of the Doctor was never easy. But, if Bi-generation is a continued element then no regeneration will be as impactful or emotional as it once was. For now, it was perfect.

All in all, “The Giggle” – and collectively all three specials – are some of the best work Doctor Who has ever put out. The final special of the 60th celebrations served as a satisfying and emotional goodbye to the modern era of Doctor Who and an exciting tease at the franchises future. It’s an undoubtedly bonkers satire, that blends horror, musical, comedy, and drama elements together to create the best and most heart-warming Doctor Who episode ever. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us Whovians.

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