We’re in the dead zone between Christmas and New Year. Typically this is the week where the site traffic reaches its nadir. Most of us come here to fill the dead space in our day: Commute. Coffee break. Time between classes. The waiting room of the ripperdoc. You get the idea.
But those quiet moments are in short supply around the holidays, which means the site is a ghost town. That’s fine for me, since it gives me time to finish up my end-of-year writeup.
But if you’re one of the rare souls with time to kill in the last week of the year: Welcome! Let’s enjoy a quiet, low-key, low-stress discussion about topics of low importance.
Heads up: I’m going to spoil the season 2 finale of the Mandalorian, so if you haven’t seen it yet then proceed at your own risk.
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 Merry Christmas
Or Merry post-Christmas. Or happy pre-New Year. Whatever.
06:15 Mandalorian: Star Wars Fanservice
If you’re curious and just want to see the magic of creating a 30-something Mark Hamill with technology, then here is the clip. Watch it quick. I imagine Disney will hit that with a takedown before long.
23:26 Mailbag: Avorion
a little while ago Egosoft’s X games came up in the comments and Paul mentioned he would prefer to feel more like a master of industry in space rather than a spaceship managing factories.
Well, recently I came across the game Avorion (https://www.avorion.net), which offers more of that experience than the X series. So I was wondering if Paul has checked it out and what his opinion on the game is.
36:38 The Badguy is the GM
Batman v. Superman Wasn't All Bad
It's not a good movie, but it was made with good intentions and if you look closely you can find a few interesting ideas.
Punishing The Internet for Sharing
Why make millions on your video game when you could be making HUNDREDS on frivolous copyright claims?
Lost Laughs in Leisure Suit Larry
Why was this classic adventure game so funny in the 80's, and why did it stop being funny?
A Star is Born
Remember the superhero MMO from 2009? Neither does anyone else. It was dumb. So dumb I was compelled to write this.
The Strange Evolution of OpenGL
Sometimes software is engineered. Sometimes it grows organically. And sometimes it's thrown together seemingly at random over two decades.
101 thoughts on “Diecast #327: Nobody Will Hear This”
Hey, I listened! Not like I had anything better to do. Anyway, I noticed a few years ago, there was a Forces of Destiny with Luke Skywalker. For all that he’s an acclaimed voice actor, Mark Hamill can’t do the voice of his younger self. Every other voice around, just not his own.
And you’re right about legal issues. I vaguely remember one of those BTS types talking about how they extracted a word for a deceased actor from another word. Making Tarkin say ray taken from afraid, or something like that. Instead of just taking it from another Cushing movie.
In my province, Xmas gatherings are strongly discouraged, since we did a pretty mediocre job of containing the germs this summer and fall. So we’re all alone, not travelling, or even visiting people in the same city. The internet shows and podcasts are where I get like, 90% of my human contact even on a normal year, so I’m also listening to this. :)
My corner of the world beat covid early and hard. I could go forth and mingle if I wanted, but, well, I don’t want. I want to stay inside playing games and listening to podcasts. :)
Two days later, I remember it was Obi-Wan who says Rey in TFA. At first they got Ewan McGregor to say it, then a sound person was able to extract it from Alec Guinness saying afraid.
So I was pondering about The Mandalorian and then I realized it’s biggest issue for me. I thought season two was an improvement over season one but still felt like the show didn’t really solve it’s core flaw and was pretty much the same, only better because the adventures and direction were more solid this season.
To me, the biggest problem of the show that keeps it from being truly great is the characters. They’re serviceable but not particularly compelling. Like it wasn’t even Luke’s appearance in the season finale that really bugged me but rather Grogu separating from Din not having that much impact because they were barely together in this season, most of the episodes in season two have Grogu getting sidelined in favor of focusing on Din helping someone else with their problems. Compare and contrast to The Clone Wars which is a similar show about a variety of adventures, the difference is that show has engaging characters and as a result it tends to hit a lot harder with genuinely memorable moments that isn’t just some character from the movies appearing.
I’ve seen a lot of discussion saying The Mandalorian is the closest thing in Star Wars to feeling like the OT in a long time and I agree with that but I just don’t think it’s on par with the trilogy. I feel like it could improve into something great but its being setback by just being content with staying “fine”, not to mention the three upcoming spinoff shows spawned from this show that steals away potentially interesting stuff for future seasons.
My biggest issues with The Mandalorian are:
(1) I find it hard to empathise with a guy without a visible face. There’s a reason Lucas put full helmets on the Stormtroopers – it’s so we don’t care if they die.
(2) I don’t get how Beskar works. Where is the excitement supposed to be in a battle where the hero has invincible armor and the bad guy doesn’t? It can even block a light sabre! I found the scenes where he’s wearing cruddy Stormtrooper armor way more tense.
Presumably there is a way for him to get hurt even in Beskar. Is it about him getting hit in a vulnerable spot? If so, which spots are vulnerable? Will the armor lose structural integrity if he takes a certain number of hits? If so, how many? Or does the armor do the equivalent of reducing HP damage taken by 90%, so he can still die if he gets shot a couple of dozen times?
Beskar doesn’t work. It’s pure plot armor. I hate it.
I had no trouble empathising with him. Part of it is judging by his actions, not just his eyes. And how would *I* react in that situation?
OK. He is (was?) a guy who casually (or maybe not casually, it’s hard to tell how he felt about it when I can’t see his face) murders Jawa scavengers. Was that supposed to be a sign that he’s in need of redemption, and if so has he found it since then? Was it the kind of ruthless action you’re expected to take in a harsh and dangerous world? Or was it supposed to be comedy, because he’s disintegrating small people?
He said if he ever took off the helmet in front of someone, he could never put it on again, or something like that. But since then he has taken it off and put it back on again. Has he abandoned ‘the way’ now? It felt meaningful when he did it, but I’m not sure exactly what it means.
“Was it the kind of ruthless action you’re expected to take in a harsh and dangerous world?” That’s my guess, combined with a bit of comedy. He’s still the ruthless bounty hunter. His start down the path of goodness is when he rescues the kid.
I stopped watching sometime in S2, but maybe he decided his religious fanatic upbringing was the wrong one. He’s jumped to a different sect without such crazy beliefs as ‘keep your helmet on even when you have two suns beating down on you’.
I definitely take it as him abandoning The Way. Bo Katarn made him question it. With the prisoner he showed he could take it off when it was necessary but as an exception to the rule. And then in the last episode he took it off when it wasn’t necessary, which I took as him leaving The Way and embracing real relationships with other people, in this case the child.
The plot armour is not the Beskar. Obviously the guy would be invincible even if he was running around naked with a plastic bucket on his head because it’s his show and he obviously needs to survive week-to-week, regardless of the circumstances. Even equipped with magic metal impervious to most damage, it only covers around 50-60% of his body. Look at a picture of his getup (or any other Mando armourset). There’s the helmet, chestplate, backplate/jetpack, gauntlets, thigh guards, knee guards, shoulder pads. That’s it. Large sections of his body are exposed, like the shins/feet, the upper arms, neck/shoulders, groin, etc., covered only with fabric or maybe leather at best. The problem is not that he is wearing Beskar, it’s that the script demands that all shots only ever hit the Beskar, not any of the vulnerable bits.
In reality, a single, well-aimed shot to the nuts would put him down (and probably cripple him permanently). A shot to the upper torso/throat would be lethal. But that likely wouldn’t make for much of a tv show.
Ironically for this site, the mandalorian is not a show for nitpickers. I generally do nitpick things, but with star wars my suspension of disbelief is high so I love it.
I’m glad that Boba Fett and Ashoka are getting their own shows. I’m hoping that their departure means that we can get some episodes of The Mandalorian that are actually about the Mandalorian rather than fan-favorite characters from other movies and shows.
And people who aren’t me get two new shows about characters that they probably like better than I do, so it’s win-win really.
I feel Boba Fett could have made for a fitting replacement as main antagonist of the show since Moff Gideon is in jail now. The way Boba is usually depicted in SW media could have made him an interesting foil and rival to Din (essentially him but if he was willing to give away Grogu to the Empire without any remorse).
I really disliked how the show just made Boba this convenient ally and exposition dumped his backstory onto Din and then shipped him off in his own series once his use as a plot device had expired. Season 3’s plot is probably going to be about Din grappling with being the new leader of the Mandalorians which could be interesting but there needs to be a bit more conflict to make the next season truly compelling without Grogu.
Ahsoka getting her own show is fine and to be expected. Rangers of the New Republic feels really redundant with the Rogue Squadron movie coming out, if it’s a Gina Carano or NR pilots spinoff then it feels like just picking apart The Mandalorian until there’s nothing left in his own show.
Also forgot to add that The Mandalorian and it’s spin-off shows are all apparently going to culminate in a big crossover event like The Defenders or Crisis on Infinite Earths so it will probably be required to watch the other shows at some point.
What? Oh, man. That sucks. Or it might suck. Not all big crossover events are obnoxious like that but enough are that I’ve learned to be deeply wary. I regard it as deeply unfortunate when the storyline in whatever comic I’ve been reading gets abruptly and awkwardly derailed because some editor somewhere has decreed that it’s big crossover time. The crossover-ness of it all is why I’ve skipped at least half the Marvel movies.
That’s the nature of this sort of media. High profile success results in trying to replicate and monetise it with a bunch of spin-offs.
There’s no way they aren’t bringing that cashcow back again. The only question is how contrived it is. The writers haven’t exactly wowed me so far.
Maybe those killer robots are trained in the art of Teräs Käsi.
I listened! And then you talked about how nobody was listening and made it weird.
I actually thought Luke was the least cringe-inducing cameo in the Mandalorian. At least, after I found out all of these characters I’d never heard of were actually a thing and spent a depressing afternoon on Wookiepedia looking up their biographies.
The entire Expanded Universe confuses and saddens me, but I’d particularly like to call out the darksaber as being possibly the laziest and most unimaginative piece of extrapolation ever devised by a human mind.
I dunno. I mean, yeah, “The Darksaber” is a stupid name for a stupid-looking object that only a planet of cut-rate Boba Fett knockoffs could care about, but I think that “Dark Troopers” might just be worse. I just can’t imagine anyone who wasn’t specifically trying to be some kind of ridiculous pantomime villain naming his elite soldiers Dark Troopers. It’s the kind of name that only someone who was aware that he was a character in a Star Wars-themed Doom clone would pick.
The Empire was run by a guy who talked about the power of the Dark Side, so it’s in keeping with the established pantomime villainy of the setting…
The Emperor is a bit of a pantomime villain, to be sure, but he doesn’t know that he’s a pantomime villain. Yes, he talks about the Dark Side of the Force, but so do the Jedi. In fact, they do it first. We hear them use the term long before we even meet the Emperor in the films. He didn’t name the Dark Side and he doesn’t go around using the adjective Dark willy-nilly. He’s not ruling the galaxy from his Dark Throne while wearing his Dark Bathrobe. As best as I can remember, the Dark Side is literally the only Dark Anything in either the original or prequel trilogies. If I were trying to prove that the Emperor were a pantomime villain, then I’d start with the Death Star rather than the Dark Side of the Force.
The phrase “Dark Lord of the Sith” comes up in the prequels.
Dark Troopers in the EU were soldiers that had minor Force ability and were trained to use Dark Side techniques in combat (at least according to Star Wars: Rebellion). That’s how they got the name, and so it’s actually fairly appropriate.
I think your conflating them with shadow troopers. As mentioned elsewhere dark troopers were robots/cyborgs from the dark forces video game that functioned nearly exactly as they do in the show. Realistically I think they have that name simply because they were invented in the 90’s, and that was the style at the time.
I never played Dark Forces, and so was going entirely by the description in Rebellion:
Looking at the wiki, it looks like they’ve tried to support both sets, saying that the robots were replaced with humans and then were replaced with robots again …
Yeah, not too big on the “this is dumb” criticism because just Star Wars in itself as a concept is pretty dumb (WW2 in space! Magic and wizards! Monstrous aliens casually hanging out together in a bar!) and one of the reasons why it was considered to be weird, risky, and confusing by 20th Century Fox executives when it was being made. I’d say the part of the charm of Star Wars is in how it’s sincere with it’s concepts.
So I feel stuff like the Mandalorians, Darksaber, and Dark Troopers fits in a setting with a powerful muppet, Ewoks, and the guy in charge of the Empire having the ability to shoot lightning out of his hands and being hooded in a dark cloak all the time.
It’s not the existence of Dark Troopers that bothers me, it’s just the name. Star Wars can have super-soldiers if it wants to. That’s perfectly fine. But who would call them Dark Troopers? Why would anyone call them Dark Troopers? There’s nothing Dark–or even dark, lower-case–about them but their armor. I don’t think sincerity and the name Dark Trooper have anything to do with one another.
It’s most likely because The Empire is evil and black/dark is commonly associated with evil, I mean it’s the same organization that named it’s superweapon the “Death Star” or it’s capital ships “Star Destroyer”.
I won’t argue the point on “Death Star”. “Star Destroyer”, on the other hand, is a perfectly reasonable name for a naval vessel in space, given that real navies have been operating real destroyers since at least World War II, if not before.
It was also really on point for the SS to have skulls on their hats, and that happened in real life.
“Hans, have you looked at our caps recently? Are we the baddies?”
XD that’s exactly what I was thinking.
Wait, weren’t the Dark Troopers the big bad superweapon in the OG Dark Forces game? So they’ve been around a while, and not been invented for the show. But yeah, the name is kind of on the nose and generic.
Yeah it’s another case of Disney bastardising the EU. Take some previously established lore, strip pretty much everything about the original away except the name or basic idea and give it a new “twist” that makes it invariably worse than the original idea. Force-infused Stormtroopers? Interesting potential. Turning them into droids and thus completely invalidating the entire point of the last two seasons of the show hunting the midget frog? Ugh.
Special stormtroopers that are capable of using the Force in The Mandalorian would feel too on the nose. Also the Dark Troopers in the show are pretty much the same as their counterparts in the EU, specifically the 3rd generation types. I think you’re confusing them with the Shadow Troopers (can’t say I blame you, there are so many Black/Dark/Shadow trooper types in the EU).
Heh. See above for why I’m not the ONLY one who associates Dark Troopers with the Force-infused ones as opposed to the droids that they were in Dark Forces …
To be fair, a name is only stupid if people in universe treat it as stupid. With no context “the crack of doom” sounds ridiculous and is so on the nose that it sounds like the first thing a 7 year old would say if you asked them to come up with a really bad place, but everyone treats it with gravitas so almost no one is ever bothered by the fact that the destination for three epic books is a place with a name that could easily be turned into a butt joke.
I think that it’s the context of the name that does the work, and not just how it’s treated. If you can come up with a good reason for the name and if the name fits the overall context of the world then it can be even deliberately stupid and the audience will let it go. With “the crack of doom”, we can let it go as something that could turn into a butt joke because no one in Middle Earth would think of it that way or, in general, make that joke.
With Dark Troopers, if there was a good reason for choosing that as the name, then I think people would let it slide. Most of the complaints are that they seem to be called “Dark Troopers” merely because the Empire is evil and we need to associate the word “Dark” with them, which isn’t a good reason.
Thats fair, but “millennium falcon” is also pretty bad, and yet it’s just accepted.
I don’t think the Mandalorian final cameo could work as anyone else. There was a writing problem in The Mandalorian where it was impossible to move baby yoda on – when Mando was trying to give baby yoda to Ashoka, it felt wrong. Mando is a father to him, it would be cruel for someone to give their baby away to a stranger and move on. We don’t know Ashoka will be a good parent.
The final cameo works, because we know that person and trust them to be a good parent. Suddenly Mando isn’t giving away his baby to a stranger, he’s giving it away to a reliable friend of the audience.
Don’t you mean “depressed hobo who couldn’t teach somebody to tie their shoe laces without accidentally causing them to fall to the Dark Side”?
Hmm its seems you are talking about nu Luke. Which as far as I am concerned is a changeling that replaced the real Luke somewhere along the way.
As far as I am concerned Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker are non-canon.
Eh, I think you’re making an argument in reverse. I don’t think the cameo working or not working depends on whether Mr. Cameo is the right person for Grogu to go with, I think it working or not depends on whether his appearance makes sense, or fits the character motivations, or fits the themes of the piece.
Like, if it is true that, as you say, ‘it would be cruel for someone to give their baby away to a stranger and move on’, why would this be any less true for Mr. Cameo than it is for Asohka? Mando doesn’t know him any better, doesn’t seem to have any reason to trust him more.
I didn’t really mean it either as a defence or criticism of the show, or rather both. Shamus said that this was like the other unobtrusive cameos – you didn’t need to know the character before hand. But I was trying to say, that’s not true here, he only works because we know it’s Luke. It relies on audience knowledge of the character rather than in-show knowledge.
On the other hand, everyone who knows Star Wars probably does know who Luke is, and Luke does solve the problem of making the audience feel comfortable with the handover although it doesn’t make sense from Mando’s perspective.
The Ahsoka episode proposed a solution which I’m sure will be the endgame of the show: Just keep Grogu out of trouble for such a long time for his Force powers to slowly fade away.
I don’t think Grogu is out of the show forever, they’re definitely going to bring him back as main character at some point (guessing second half of season three or season 4) since he’s the lifeblood of the show’s popularity and merchandising.
I wasn’t really thinking of Grogru’s force powers as the problem. More that Mando doesn’t live a life suitable to raising a child, and if he changed to become someone who did, he probably wouldn’t create compelling TV. This way they can hand Grogru off, but also bring him back in as and when they want.
After much thought, I’ve decided that if the show absolutely had to have a super-badass Jedi show up to do cool Jedi things then Luke Skywalker is really the only acceptable choice. The last thing the Star Wars extended universe needs now is yet another Jedi who somehow survived the purges but who didn’t show up in the movies for some reason. There are too many of those already.
What I like about the ending of season 2 of the Mandalorian, is that I think you can tell so many different stories from there. Boba Fett on Tatooine is a story. Mando choosing to join Bo Katarn and learning about Mandalore is a story. You can jump forward 20 years and tell a story about Grogu. There is more to tell about the Imperial Remnant, about some of the planets they visited, about Ashoka.
For the first time in a long time Star Wars feels like a universe with stories to explore in every direction. That’s what I wanted from the sequels.
I listened to this!
Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker being in The Mandalorian has been discussed quite a bit already, but one thing I thought was weird is the Stormtroopers having bad aim is just a canon thing that gets lampshaded in the main plot. I guess they have to mention it at least since most of Season 2 was just scenes of the heroes blowing through waves of Stormtroopers because once again the Empire are the villains and of course they can’t immediately kill the good guys.
I think the charm of the series slowly eroded over time for me as there was less philosophical Ugnauts talking about trying to make things right with himself and more ‘look, a person you recognise shooting at some things you recognise!’ towards the end.
I NEVER listen to them, but I do read the notes and the comments. The only reason I might skip it in this time is that my schedule changes and I forget that it’d be up, but I’m always on at a time when I can read.
Yes, I have no life, why would you ask [grin]?
I’m also in the ‘never listen, always read’ region of the Venn diagram. That being said, I found this part amusing.
Who would still be having class this time of year? Asian societies, maybe? I was under the impression most cultures have some sort of holiday in this stretch of the year.
My understanding is that New Year is more important in Asia. Christmas doesn’t have much meaning, being a primarily Christian/Pagan celebration. Although as Western cultural influence seeps in, they pick up a few bits and pieces. I believe in Japan there’s some modern tradition involving cake and KFC for Xmas day.
Right — I figured Christmas wasn’t too big a deal (except in Korea; they’ve got some big churches). For some reason, though, I thought there was some other festival around the solstice. I’m not sure where I got that idea.
I’ve got good news and bad news about The Mandalorian. The good news is that it’s not over. The bad news is also that it’s not over. To paraphrase our old friend Obi-Wan Kenobi, it all depends on your point of view. On balance, I still like the show, but I liked the second season less than the first. The more tightly they try to integrate the show with the movies and especially with the other spinoffs, the less I trust them to tell interesting, original, and self-contained stories. (I confess that I’m still a sucker for Luke Skywalker, however.) I’m also increasingly disappointed with the show’s fight scenes and the Mandalorian’s invincible beskar armor. At this point, I’m convinced that beskar is merely the Mandalorian word for plot. It robs the fight scenes of tension and contributes to some very lazy staging.
Incidentally, have you heard about the many new Star Wars they’ve announced? Off the top of my head, there’s the Boba Fett show they teased after the last episode of The Mandaorian and an Ashoka Tano show. (I just knew her episode was a backdoor pilot. I hate backdoor pilots.) There are at least a couple of others, too, but I can’t recall what they’re supposed to be about. We’re about to drown in official Star Wars-brand licensed streaming content. Yay.
Some of the shows/movies have my interest but I’m not particularly excited for anything yet. I think Disney should focus on making original shows/movies that are set in the SW universe and not spinoffs from existing shows/movies.
The Bad Batch is the only exception to my disinterest in spinoffs since it looks to essentially be Clone Wars season 8. I used to be interested in the Obi-Wan show until it was described to be a “frolicking adventure visiting new planets and a rematch with Vader” then I just tuned out. People are hyped for Rogue Squadron but I was never really into the space battles/dogfights of Star Wars and after watching Wonder Woman 1984, I have very low expectations for the movie and it’s director. Taika’s movie looks interesting though even from just the logo being the only thing shown about it.
If there’s one casualty from all these new Disney+ stuff for me, it’s probably going to be my personal schedule. Did you know there’s going to be an MCU show airing each and every month straight from 2021 to 2022?
I have never been a huge Marvel fan, so I’m safe there. I’ve seen less than half the MCU films and exactly one episode of one MCU show and I regret nothing. I got over my compulsion to watch every single thing in a given franchise back in the 90s because of Star Trek: Voyager. Painful as it was at the time, it was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
Although if one of those Marvel shows happens to be called The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl then I may be in some jeopardy after all. That book was a delight and I should really go read the final volume already.
My biggest problem with Din’s ‘invincible beskar armor’ is that the showrunners apparently told the people writing/choreographing the action scenes to ignore the whole ‘armor’ thing.
Point the first: All the fist fights Din gets into where A) everybody is willing to punch his cuirass, B) don’t damage their hands in the process, and C) he reacts as if the punches actually hurt. The most egregious example is probably his introduction to Cara, but it’s by no means the only example.
There’s the related weirdness where no Mandalorian takes any blaster fire anywhere but on the beskar, never the unprotected spots in between plates.
Point the second: We know his helmet has an independent air supply, because we hear the pressure equalize every time he takes the thing off. And yet, somehow, dude’s apparently drowning as soon as he’s thrown in deep water. Oh, and he’s apparently swimming in his armor, too, because it doesn’t look like he’s using his rocket pack to keep himself on the surface.
For some people I imagine this is fridge logic, but for me this is takes-me-out-of-the-story-because-what-the-heck-are-the-rules-anyway aggravating.
Mando S2 was enjoyable enough, but also infuriating to watch at times. The peaks were higher (better action, more variety, some unexpected character development). But it made the lows stick out more (simple writing, ‘rule of cool’ firefights, a baffling and unwanted need to tie itself to the main series). And since we now have two seasons to analyze and evaluate the ‘progress’ it’s making, I’m now worried that that the show – and the others Disney has planned – are getting locked into a trajectory I don’t care for.
Luke showing up pissed me off, even if you look past the awful Deepfake attempt. I know it can be defended since it fits with the timeline and, frankly, he would indeed be the de facto ‘Main Jedi’ guy. But I really wanted this show to spin off further and further from the primary events of the films and do its own thing. I would have been more than happy if a brand new Jedi character had been introduced instead; one who had likely been in hiding like Ahsoka. Yes, the ‘Jedi in secret hiding that nobody was aware of’ trope is getting pretty shaggy by now, but not as groan-inducing as showing a fucking Deepfaked Mark Hamill . R2D2 beeping his way into the scene was salt in the wound. I am also deeply worried that Grogu’s blood is going to tie into Snoke’s backstory or something, and I couldn’t care any more. And ending with a teaser for your damn Boba Fett show is so lazy and insulting that it will probably work.
So S2 left a bad taste in my mouth by the end. I’m sure I’ll see whatever comes next, but only because I watch it with friends. My personal curiosity for this universe’s adaptation to the TV has been heavily damaged because Disney is so insistent on ruining any good ideas it has with Star Wars. And the lineup of another 100 different Star Wars shows might have put the final nail in the coffin.
At least Bill Burr as an ex-Imperial was neat.
I thought the deepfake was fine enough until I noticed his lips weren’t in sync with the dialogue.
Yeah, it’s not the quality of the image itself that’s the issue, but the movements (and lack thereof) that give it away and thrust me out of the experience. And it could have been completely avoided by… not having the character there. Simple solution!
It’s also telling that they had to have their stand-in actor pose as a statue with barely any head movement or zero profile shots. Also can’t have him moving around and naturally interacting with the set and other characters, because that would could potentially get complicated and wouldn’t look right in a lot of shots without extra work.
The show weds itself to having a main character from the OT intervene in the plot, even though the technology really isn’t there yet to make it look good and seamless. Why would the show creators do this to themselves. Surely there was a more creative path to take without the Uncanny Valley baggage.
The company who did the deepfake was LolaVFX, the same one that does the de-aging CGI for the MCU movies. The CGI in those films look great so I’m guessing The Mandalorian was running short on the budget.
Another way to solve the Luke uncanny valley problem was to just recast him as I’m sure they’ll do in season three with Sebastian Stan but Disney is very and usually averse to that for some reason. Guy Henry, the actor who played Tarkin in Rogue One could have done it without the CGI because he already had a resemblance to Peter Cushing but they still put CGI on him.
I loved Season 2 of the Mandalorian. I don’t really see a problem with integrating other characters into the show. Still, it’s a bummer that it seems to severly hamper the enjoyment of so many people. To each their own, I suppose.
Also, I listened to this!
I don’t understand the idea that throwing another character who already exists in this time in that universe who would have reason to be there somehow diminishes the show as a whole. Or that fan service is a bad thing. Bad storytelling is one thing, but is almost like people hate nostalgia as an idea. I agree with you.
This is all obviously a matter of taste. Personally, I tend to dislike cameos and guest appearances by various extraneous characters because I find them very distracting. Am I supposed to know this character? Am I supposed to care about him? How much of this joker’s backstory are the writers just going to assume that I know? If they assume that I don’t know any of it, how much awkward exposition am I going to be subjected to? Is this character going to take over the show until he goes away again? It takes me right out of the show, even if the cameo or guest appearance turns out to be well or tastefully done in the end. I can’t not worry about those things in the same way that, no, I can’t just turn my brain off and enjoy the movie.
I’d also argue that cameos, except for the very subtlest sort, usually are bad storytelling. The same is true for fan service. Everything in a show should serve some story-telling purpose within the show. The purpose of fan service, however, is to give fans a little thrill by showing them something they recognize. It has nothing to do with story-telling and everything to do with pandering. Simply re-using existing franchise characters or concepts isn’t fan service. Fan service is re-using existing franchise characters or concepts when new characters or concepts would have served the current story better.
Plus the concept of “don’t remind the audience of better shows they could be watching.” Cameos invite direct comparisons of writing quality between the cameo show and the original, and even if you can hold up to it, you’re inviting people to drop their immersion and meta-analyse.
How are the questions you are asking about a cameo character you do not know any different than the questions you would be asking about a new character? Other than that metatextually you know one is a cameo character
Well, for one thing, I never worry that the writers are going to expect me to know anything about a new character. Nor do I worry that the writers are going to expect me to care about a new character from the moment he first shows up. New characters don’t bother me nearly as much because I know that they aren’t constrained by the kind of baggage that a cameo character is carrying around. They can do whatever best suits the current story.
Now, arguably, a cameo by an existing character that I’ve never heard of and don’t know anything about is just as good as using a new character, but even then it depends on the execution. If the cameo has a lot of the typical cameo signifiers–a close up for no reason, an uncharacteristic musical cue, etc.–and the show clearly thinks that I should be impressed by this guy’s mere presence, then that’s even worse than a cameo by someone I do recognize.
I think it might depend on if you “know” its a cameo however. I’ve seen all the clone wars and rebels so I knew who everyone was, but throughout the season I was always conferring with some friends of mine who not only hadn’t, but also had no idea the characters were cameos at all, and to them they were just interesting new characters to meet each week. And they felt the story still made sense and worked.
I agree, to each their own, but is it possible that the fact you “knew” they were cameos made it worse for you?
Sure, that’s possible. Don’t know why you’ve got the word knew in quotes, though. To be clear, I’m not claiming and I’ve never claimed that the cameos in The Mandalorian somehow stop the story from making sense or working. I’m claiming that I personally find the obvious cameos in The Mandalorian distracting and unpleasant. I’m claiming that I would enjoy the show more without them. I also think that the show would be better without them, but that’s something about which I will grudgingly admit that reasonable people can disagree. If there are also non-obvious cameos in the show, then I haven’t noticed them and I salute the writers for their occasional subtlety.
My wife has never watched any Star Wars movies or shows other than the Mandalorian. She loves it, without understanding how psyched some of the cameos in season 2 made me (although she got suspicious over Ahsoka probably because she realizes how big of a thing I have for Rosario Dawson).
That’s fair enough. I agree people can have different views. And yeah I don’t know why I used quotation marks either. It should have been asterisks or italicized. I was just trying to use emphasis.
This is actually among my most active times of year on line – lots of downtime but still obligated to be at work.
But it’s also the week of the year nobody is putting out any good new content :'(
Anyway, I may actually get around to listening (I’m usually a text-only fan, sorry).
I haven’t watched any of the Mandalorian. The first I watched was the young Hamill scene. So from a non-fan, what struck me was the pacing felt off. The actors in the room also felt off. Like “Are you crazy?” about opening the door. Except there’s no response and nobody cares that he is about to open the door. There’s no reaction after he does. (A better line would have been “Bad idea.” Instead of “Are you crazy?”) Then there’s the quick cut to the disarm of the guy who wanted to kill himself didn’t work. There were two hot seconds there that shouldn’t have been there. There and how he very dilberately stood up and nobody noticed. There was nothing inherently wrong with what they did. It just needed a take two. In a word, the scene felt stilted.
The “Are you a Jedi?” at the end made me double face-palm though. Like seriously? The guy is using a lightsaber. He’s force pushing/crushing all the robots. There’s only one answer to that. “Yes I am. Are you ok? Have you taken a head injury? Do you require medical assistance?” Only because Luke has snark but I don’t he would go as far as “Are you fucking stupid?”
Mando didn’t know what a Jedi was before he met Ashoka. Before meeting Luke he’d seen two people with lightsabers, one who was a Jedi and one who wasn’t
Why do people roleplay less as they get older?
Because most RPGs fail to deliver on their implicit promise of a grand interactive story that reacts on the fly.
Some GMs and players are good enough to overcome the system’s limitations. Some GMs and players find systems that are better at delivering on their implicit promise. Most people get disillusioned and find other things they’d rather spend their time doing (such as raising children, doing the dishes, etc).
Because the reality that there’s not enough time in one lifetime to try to live two starts to settle in more, and they try to find ways to rationalize away their failure to come to terms with that realization of reality.
As an adult I have so much more free time than when I was a kid. The difference is in how I choose to spend my time as I want to use it effectively. After a few decades I’ve learned what I like, what I don’t, what works well, and what things are truly novel.
I heard it, but I didn’t listen.
I hope there isn’t a quiz!
Loved this episode. I think I need to listen to the ones where you guys aren’t expecting an audience, it’s way cooler convo’s.
Also I am pretty much the same age as Shamus and still role-play. Get together once a year with my buddies to play and it’s fun though I will admit not as fun as it was in my youth. However my daughters are getting into DnD the last 3 years or so and it’s been fantastic. Watching my oldest make the “mistakes” all GM’s do in the early times is almost as fun as playing for me.
And for me world building is by far the most exciting part for me as well.
I am not interested in the Madalorian, I watched the first 2 episodes of season 1 and thought “this isn’t for me” and I was disappointed but whatever.
Watching that clip you posed it gave me TLJ flashbacks of “you want to do that? Okay, but can you not be stupid about it?” Are the Dark Troopers networked or not? If they are then why can’t they seem to coordinate worth a damn, if not why did they stop trying to get into the door when the X-Wing showed up. Why did they even consider the X-Wing a threat at that point?
The show kind of lost me when it became apparent that our heroes, who had watched the droids launch from a planetary surface to the upper atmosphere a couple episodes back, thought that spacing the rocket boot equipped war droids ended them as a threat.
Thanks for answering my question, I actually found Paul’s take on the whole thing rather interesting. Maybe I should make a kickstarter to fund a game that ticks those boxes. I’ll call it… Space Inhabitant.
I keep trying to convince Shamus to kickstart a project with me, but he’s happy doing the blog. Space Inhabitant sounds fun though! I’m onboard.
Ahsoka Tano gimmick lightsabers.
It get’s even worse Shamus. (1) Not only does she wield ‘gimmick’ sabers (I’ll deal with the “white” later), she wields curved hilt gimmick sabers, aka dueling sabers. But (2) she wields them backwards! Even when blade forward, the curve is held backwards! The only other characters (Count Dooku and Asajj Ventris) in screen canon (movie and cartoons) to wield curved hilts, held them ‘properly’ (like one would a fencing hilt), since this “gives more control in lightsaber duels” (but supposedly reduces effectiveness in parrying blaster bolts, not that we ever see a reduced capacity…).
As for the white color, this comes from her time int he Rebels cartoon where she wielded those sabers first, and is explained in the 2016 novel Ahsoka. Apparent after defeating a Sith Inquisitor (not having her green saber anymore – lost at the end of the Clone Wars cartoon), she takes his “corrupted” saber crystals and “heals” them, turning the blade color white. This “represents her purity with the Force, neither being Jedi nor Sith”.
[retching noises from offscreen]
Manda isn’t over. Din is getting a 3rd season, my bet it’s a set up for the restoration of Mandalore, with Din and Bo having to figure out the Dark Saber nonsense. Since he won it in battle, Bo can’t just accept it from him, they must fight, and fight as though they mean it, and her win, before she can take the Saber back and “rule Mandalore”. So my bet, she decides to make him rule Mandalore while she pushes him around trying to make him the best ‘king’ she can make him be.
Sidenote, some of us wondered if they gave Din a spear to fight the Dark Trooper with as a callback to Oberyn Martell fighting the Mountain…
Good point; it also explains the oddly long part of the fight where the knockoff Terminator tries to smash his face in, but fails because he’s wearing a helmet. Cute.
Oh, and thanks *so much* for the additional detail about Ahsoka [more retching]
“Good point; it also explains the oddly long part of the fight where the knockoff Terminator tries to smash his face in, but fails because he’s wearing a helmet. Cute.”
Exactly. The moment the DT started trying to smush his head and failed, I thought, “Oh hoho, and here is where the Red Viper get’s his revenge on…”
Ugh. That’s it. The spinoffs have officially lost their lightsaber privileges.
You make it sound like Ahsoka is the only one to have done this, or that this sort of thing is particularly cringworthy. I do admit the “corrupted” crystals and the process of “bleeding” them that the Sith get up to is a little edgy, but really it’s just turning the terminology already in use in the EU up to 11. Previously Jedi and Sith had just been infusing their crystals with energy, the new lore wants us to accept that the crystals are force attuned by nature and red crystals are all made by “bleeding” them. As for “healing” them, that feat was also previously established in the EU by Jaden Korr who performs a “cleanse” on a red lightsaber crystal to make a yellow one. Again, just turning the terminology up to 11.
Personally I find all this additional lore about lightsaber construction and crystals and whatnot to be a fantastic addition to the Star Wars lorebook. But YMMV obviously.
“already in use in the EU”
That thing there? What you said? Yeah… it should have stayed in the EU. Leave it in Legends where it can’t hurt my ‘WWII Space Magic’ fiction…
What I don’t get about Disney is they said “get rid of the EU it sucked” and then seemed to go about bringing in only the worst elements of the old EU and Thrawn, who frankly since he was the protagonist of the books had his competence turned up to 11, making him a worse version of himself in the EU.
All hail the Algorithm!
Oh wait, wrong website. Nevermind.
I am nobody and I listened to this episode.
Is it strange that the one no-one is supposed to listen, I do? (I am mostly a reader of this site.)
It seems to me, your reaction to the ending of Mandalorian was similar to my reaction to Baby Yoda.
Disney has been scientifically constructing the perfect cutesy animated animal for generations, using their dark arts. And all their black magic was poured into Baby Yoda to make the perfect cutesy animated creature: the pinnacle of cuteness. I could see what the devil mouse was doing to me, and I was helpless to stop it. So I learned to stop worrying and love the Baby Yoda. You win Disney! You win! *shakes fist at the sky.
I’m just commenting to say that I listened.
Paul’s reconfiguring space ships bring to mind the formation effects from the Machineries of Empire sci fi book series.
Essentially they have this magic system where they use carefully timed ceremonies to warp space time in a way that produces “exotic” effects.
One of the consequences of this is the spatial relationships between stuff modulates the exotic effects.
So by changing the formation of your fleet of ships you can create exotic effects. Different formations will produce shields or cloaks or weapons etc.
So much of tactics is about choosing formations and modulating between them effectively.
But of course the enemy can see your formations, and they have their own formations and also they might have a different ceremony calendar that warps space time in a different way and then it gets more complex where those regimes butt up against each other.
And then there’s the conventional stuff, if you can disrupt the enemys shield formation then you can stick a rail gun round through their flag ship and end the battle early.
I find it a fascinating set of ideas, the best magic system I’ve seen since Mistborn.
The discussion on role-playing was real interesting and gave me some insight on what I’ve been trying to get out of games (tabletop, computer, and other) and why some of it hasn’t been working. All jokes about the name of the blog aside, I would love to hear more of that.
Heads up that as of right now, the RSS feed for this episode is pointing to episode 300 instead of 327, which I assume is another clever technique to ensure nobody will hear it.
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