Skip to content

Month: June 2022

The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi : Where have we been, what have we learned, and where are we going with all of this?

FYI – This post series will discuss many, many, oh so many spoilers of the shows The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. You have been warned.

I honestly don’t remember a time when I didn’t love Star Wars. I was almost 6 and a half years old (first grade!) when I saw the first one in the theater (probably at the long-gone NorthPark 1 and 2 with their delightful earworm of a Feature Presentation Trailer) and never got it out of my head. I wanted the toys, I wanted the comics, my brother and I had the Han Solo pistol from Kenner and the other would have the Storm Trooper blaster rifle and run around the house shooting at each other. I bought the movies on VHS, then DVD, then digital. I’ve seen them all multiple times at this point (I’ve probably seen the original at least 100 times), even the one’s I didn’t love.1I’m looking at you, Rise of Skywalker. I loved watching Clone Wars and Rebels . I even watched 2 episodes of Star Wars Resistance (not so great).

All of this is to say, my fan credentials are solid, bro.

I do not remember this ad, but I was probably going nuts the moment I saw it.

So it was with great interest that the first slate of Star Wars shows were announced several years ago, starting with an original show called The Mandalorian. My interest was piqued: who would the Mandalorian be? What time period in the Star Wars timeline would it take place? Would anybody from the films show up in cameos, or possibly play major roles?2These are all very very important Star Wars questions. Sure, sure, all of the early love was for Baby Yoda, but having loved Boba Fett from a young age (my mom sent off for the action figure that promised, YOU FREAKING PROMISED KENNER, to shoot the rocket out of his backpack) I was stoked. I even subscribed to Disney+ to see it (which is honestly the real reason they’re making these shows, right?)

Long story shorter, I liked The Mandalorian. A lot. A very cool show made by very cool people who just wanted to make something very cool. It did just enough fan service to keep the old guard watching3The ice cream maker/safe, the Dark Saber, Scout Troopers (my favorites)… and built up new stories for new fans that joined in. It was fun and exciting and Din Djarin was a great anti-hero to start off the Star Wars TV Universe.

Din Djarin, the Mandalorian, aka “Mando”

Fast forward 2 seasons of The Mandalorian. Din Djarin has reunited Grogu (Baby Yoda) with an actual Jedi master that can train him. As you know if you watched the show, that Jedi was the one and only Luke Skywalker, fresh off burning his father’s body on Endor and attempting to start up a new Jedi academy. There is a tearful departing from Din and Grogu, Luke walks away, and we’re left with Din trying to figure out what he’s going to do with the Dark Saber and probably try to not be killed by Bo-Katan. The show made it feel like Din Djarin’s story has come to an end.

Credits roll.

But wait…there’s more!

Holy crap, what is this?! Are we now going to follow another Mandalorian? Will the show shift from Djarin to Boba Fett? Mysteries abound!

A year goes by, and The Book of Boba Fett premieres to…not stellar reviews. Maybe the anticipation was too sky high, but for me it all rests on the shoulders of once-cool-but-now-isn’t director, Robert Rodriguez. I loved his El Mariachi, but this was…not El Mariachi. I’m not going to go into too much depth on the show, as I’ll save all of those sins for later, but the video below sums it up well.

This is what The Book of Boba Fett felt like to me. SPIN! Barf.

But wait, there’s more!

Slowest. Chase. Ever.

Granted, the Sand People culture and lore made this show for me, but it felt like so much potential that was wasted. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni should have tapped the brakes on this before it was too late. Sadly, they did not.

Which brings us to the latest, Obi-Wan Kenobi.4Serious side note – what is the deal with the very lame basic names for these shows? At least The Book of Boba Fett had an interesting, catchy name. But they’re only going to get worse as more shows are made. Andor. Ahsoka. Can’t anybody think of something more creative to call these? Coaxing Ewen McGregor back was a great idea and I felt that the show did it’s best to stand on its own, unlike TBOBF,5The Book of Boba Fett. which was just The Mandalorian, Part 2.

All of this leads me to thinking about these shows and I’ve been wondering where we’re going with them. Working with characters that we already know , possibly from their births all the way through to their deaths, has already been discussed and shown on film. Fans know this stuff. We know that Anakin Skywalker was born on Tatooine and died in the second Death Star. Ben Kenobi was tutored by Qui-Gon Jinn and died on the first Death Star. Boba Fett came from Camino and, well…died on Tatooine before he was reborn for TV. What else is there to know? Why keep squeezing more dollars out of these characters that I love? And what problems do these shows create by existing?

So I want to go through each of the shows and break them down up to where they currently are. From The Mandalorian, to Din Djarin appearing in TBOBF to Boba Fett and finally to Obi-Wan Kenobi. I’m probably going to go all longform here, but that’s the breaks.

So, coming soon…

Leave a Comment

The Lansdowne Portrait

Gilbert Stuart was one of America’s great portrait painters, painting more than 1000 people, including the first 6 presidents1Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams. He was a Loyalist, and at the onset of the American Revolution, he moved to England where he continued painting and honing his craft. But mounting debts led him to Ireland, and then, finally, back to America. He had an idea that could would get him out of his debts – paint George Washington. It was 1793 and Washington was just beginning his second term as Commander in Chief.

“When I can net a sum sufficient to take me to America, I shall be off to my native soil. There I expect to make a fortune by [portraits of] Washington alone. I calculate upon making a plurality of his portraits, whole lengths, what will enable me to realize; and if I should be fortunate, I will repay my English and Irish creditors. To Ireland and English I shall be adieu.”

The Lansdowne Portrait

But it’s hard for the common folk to meet American royalty (as some wanted Washington to be). So Gilbert formulated a plan – find someone who knew Washington, impress them, and then press them for an introduction. He did this with Founding Father, and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay.

Stuart’s portrait of Chief Justice John Jay

Stuart persuaded Jay, through a flattering portrait of him (above) for an introduction to Washington. Expat Stuart had first met Jay in 1782 when the Jay was in London negotiating the Treaty of Paris, the formal accord that would officially end the Revolutionary War. Stuart would paint Jay more than once, and by impressing Jay, Stuart won his introduction to Washington. Jay contacted Washington in 1794 about Stuart, and Stuart departed for Philadelphia in November, 1794 to meet the president.

All in all, Stuart painted multiple portraits of Washington, ranging from the Vaughn Type portrait, the Atheneum Type, to the Landsdowne Type. The Lansdowne Type got its name from the owner of the first full-length portrait Stuart painted, William Petty, also known as the first Marquis of Lansdowne. The portrait of Washington was a gift from William Bingham, a merchant from Philadelphian who gifted the portrait to Lord Lansdowne for his financial support of the colonies during the Revolutionary War.

The portrait stayed in England well into the 19th century, where it became the property of the Dalmeny family. It went on permanent loan to the National Portrait Gallery in 1968, but in In 2000, the portrait’s owner, William Dalmeny, decided to put the painting up for auction. If the Portrait Gallery couldn’t come up with $20 million, he would sell it to the highest bidder. Fortunately, for all parties involved, the asking price was matched, and the painting safely resides in the National Portrait Gallery to this day.2Some other sources I found for this piece were from Mental Floss and also Khan Academy.

Me, at the National Portrait Gallery in 2022. With George. Even let my hair down for him.

Leave a Comment

This Looks Fantastic

For All Mankind is far better than it deserves to be, mostly because of what Ronald Moore did to Battlestar Galactica in it’s final season. What a travesty. But it looks like he’s getting his act together, once again, for For All Mankind. I love this show, and watching some of the side characters grow has been one of the best parts about it. Not to mention the effects budget must be atronomical.

For All Mankind premieres this Friday, June 10, on Apple TV+.

Leave a Comment

Vice President of the United States of America – the Most Powerful Pointless Job

A NOTE – I originally started writing this series 4 years ago. It’s interesting to me again, so I’ll be completing it over many months. Stay tuned.

Second in command has always been the least important important role in any organization. History is littered with great people leading in the face of adversity and challenge, sometimes rising to the occasion but just as often failing. Their names are etched in history, but every one of these great people had to have someone there next to, or behind, them, to pick up the mantle if something, unfortunately, happened.

Abraham Lincoln had two vice presidents – Hannibal Hamlin and Andrew Johnson. One of those people, fortunately, did not set back the United States 100 years through his southern sympathies and post-Civil War reconstruction. Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln’s first vice president, on the other hand, had this to say about holding the office

There is a popular impression that the Vice President is in reality the second officer of the government not only in rank but in power and influence. This is a mistake. In the early days of the republic he was in some sort an heir apparent to the Presidency. But that is changed. He presides over the Senate–he has a casting vote in case of a tie–and he appoints his own private secretary. But this gives him no power to wield and no influence to exert. Every member who has a constituency, and every Senator who represents a state, counts for more in his own locality, and with the Executive who must needs, in wielding the functions of his office, gather around him, and retain by his favors, those who can vote in Congress and operate directly upon public sentiment in their houses.

So in honor of these people, I’ll be starting a new series here – The Vice Presidents. The series will not focus on the men who held the second-in-command office and then went on to become their own branch of government, but the men who served quietly and then, possibly through their own actions or through the choice of the American people, stopped. People like Elbridge GerrySchuyler Colfax and John Garner. They must have lived interesting lives and had ambitions, right?

So, The Vice Presidents. Coming soon.

Leave a Comment

Maybe I’m back?

Wow! It’s been almost 4 years since my last post, about John McCain’s funeral.

At the time, I just couldn’t do it anymore. We were knee-deep in the Trump presidency, with it’s crisis-each-day attitude. Trump hadn’t been banned by Twitter yet, so everyday was a new bunch of histrionics from the former POTUS. And we weren’t even up to COVID and the January 6th insurrection yet. And when those two things happened the world just turned upside down.

Parenting, worrying about the future of the country, worrying about the future of the human race, it’s been a difficult 3+ years. But some good things did happen –

  • through the miracle of modern science, we got many safe and affective COVID vaccines. Now if everyone would just take them and not think that they were a way for Bill Gates to track people.
  • The worst U.S. president in modern history and an all-around horrible human being was resoundingly defeated at the ballot box and a good, decent man was inaugurated at the 46th U.S. president.
  • My oldest son was accepted into UNT as a freshman.
  • My youngest started his freshman year in high school.
  • My parents are currently celebrating their 53rd anniversary.
  • My significant other and I are about to have our 10th anniversary.

So maybe I’ll try to write some more now. I may write some pieces, I may just post links, who knows. But it would be nice to continue this blog a little longer. We’ll see.

Anyway, hi again. 🙂

Leave a Comment