Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-fi;
Not rated.
Stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Sung Kang, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Kumail Nanjiani, Grant Feely, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Jimmy Smits.

Shortly after Disney bought the rights to “Star Wars” and announced a series of spinoff films, the character fans most wanted to see return was Obi-Wan Kenobi as played by Ewan McGregor, to see what the Jedi master was up to in the decades between the prequels and the original trilogy.

So, naturally, Disney didn’t do that, instead making Rogue One, about the Rebels stealing the Death Star plans, and a movie about a young Han Solo that no one seemed interested in.

When Solo underperformed at the box office, Disney put all the spinoff movies on hold, including a rumored Kenobi trilogy, according to writer Stuart Beattie.

Had Disney started with the Kenobi movie in the first place, it might have established a solid foundation for the studio to make whatever spinoffs it wanted. Then again, given the lackluster writing of the sequel trilogy, maybe its delay was for the best.

Instead, “Star Wars” spinoffs were repurposed into fodder for the Disney+ streaming service following the massive success of “The Mandalorian.”

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Presented in six parts, the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series tells the story of Obi-Wan 10 years following his exile in Revenge of the Sith. Living in squalor on Tatooine under the name Ben, he has abandoned the Force and seems resigned to his fate under the reign of the Empire, carrying out perfunctory duties to keep an eye on young Luke Skywalker. While he pays lip service to the idea of one day training Luke to become a Jedi to oppose the Emperor, he seems to have no real plan to accomplish it, with his biggest obstacle being Luke’s uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton).

As the last remnants of the Jedi are hunted by Imperial Inquisitors, Obi-Wan remains in hiding, refusing to help. Yet he is guilted into action by his old friend Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) when Luke’s sister Leia is kidnapped from Alderaan. Leaving Tatooine to rescue the other twin who is key to future plans to defeat the Empire, Obi-Wan soon learns not only that her abduction was part of an Inquisitor’s plan to draw him out, but that his former student, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), survived their duel and is terrorizing the galaxy as Darth Vader.

To reclaim his purpose, Obi-Wan is forced to once again confront Vader.

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The “Obi-Wan” series plays a bit like “Star Wars” books did in the 1990s and early 2000s, filling in gaps in the storytelling of the movies. The show not only bridges the span between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but also seeks to explain some other inconsistencies between the original trilogy and the prequels (while possibly creating a few more along the way, but that’s easy enough to overlook). It is mostly successful in that regard, though the writing and direction isn’t as polished as it might have been had the project stayed a theatrical feature. When binged, the series runs about three hours and 45 minutes, not counting recaps and credits, feeling like a lengthy movie, but more like a fan film than a true epic.

Another letdown is the music. While John Williams returned to provide a marvelous theme for Ben that does most of the heavy lifting, the rest of the score by other composers feels more like generic action music, when there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate other existing themes from the “Star Wars” canon that aren’t really exploited until the final episode.

McGregor shines as Kenobi, delivering the emotion and pathos of a man dealing with the guilt of failing to stop the rise of the Emperor. It’s also great to see Christensen back as Anakin, and the scenes with Darth Vader are some of the best to feature the character in the entire “Star Wars” saga. The standout is Vivien Lyra Blair as li’l Leia, who demonstrates the sass and smarts of her future self but with a childlike curiosity about the universe. Pairing Leia with Ben proves to be an inspired choice, if for no other story reason than it explains why she would name her son after him despite having limited contact in the original films.

‘Andor,’ ‘Willow’ Trailers Among Lucasfilm’s Disney+ Content Announcements at Star Wars Celebration

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Lucasfilm Studio Showcase on the main stage of the 2022 Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center May 26 included a few surprises among the announcement of release dates for several anticipated Disney+ series.

The primary announcement was that the new “Star Wars” series “Andor” will launch exclusively on the Disney+ streaming service Aug. 31 with two episodes. Fans in attendance were also shown a trailer for the series, which stars Diego Luna, who reprises his role as Rebel spy Cassian Andor in a prequel to the 2016 film Rogue One.

The first season will include 12 episodes and delve into Andor’s path to becoming a hero of the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire. A second season of 12 episodes will reportedly continue Andor’s story leading into the events of Rogue One, which dealt with the Rebels who stole the Death Star plans just before the events of the original 1977 Star Wars film.

The cast also includes Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Denise Gough and Kyle Soller. The executive producers are Kathleen Kennedy, Sanne Wohlenberg, Diego Luna and Michelle Rejwan. Tony Gilroy is the creator and showrunner.

From Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment comes the fantasy-adventure series “Willow,” based on the 1988 film of the same name directed by Ron Howard. “Willow” will premiere Nov. 30 on Disney+.

Warwick Davis returns to play Willow Ufgood in the series from executive producers Jonathan Kasdan, Ron Howard, Wendy Mericle, Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan.

Disney+ series “Willow”

In a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures flourish, the adventure continues, as an unlikely group of heroes set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home, where they must face their inner demons and come together to save their world.

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Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni at Star Wars Celebration 2022 in Anaheim, Calif.

In addition, “Star Wars” TV gurus Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni took the stage to confirm that Disney+ flagship series “The Mandalorian” will return for its third season in February 2023. A clip shown exclusively to fans in attendance showed the story will deal with the title character’s quest to the planet Mandalore to regain his lost honor. The season will also feature fallen Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan, played by Katee Sackhoff, who made a surprise appearance on stage to thank fans for their support.

Filoni said “Mandalorian” spinoff series “Ahsoka” is currently filming and also is on track for a 2023 premiere. The show focuses on former Jedi Ahsoka Tano and stars Rosario Dawson, who appeared in a video greeting in costume.

Favreau and Filoni then introduced a new “Star Wars” project for Disney+ called “Skeleton Crew” from director Jon Watts and screenwriter Christopher Ford. Watts is a long-time collaborator of Favreau, having directed him in the three Marvel Cinematic Universe “Spider-Man” movies, while Ford co-wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming. Watts, Ford, Favreau and Filoni will also serve as executive producers of “Skeleton Crew,” which will be set in the post-Return of the Jedi era of “The Mandalorian” and focuses on four children who are lost in the “Star Wars” galaxy and trying to make their way home. Watts also announced Jude Law is attached as one of the stars of the series, which he said should premiere in 2023 as well.

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To wrap up the Lucasfilm presentation, studio president Kathleen Kennedy introduced legendary “Star Wars” composer John Williams, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday and was on hand to conduct a performance of his new theme for the Disney+ “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series debuting May 27 (Disney+ subsequently moved up the debut to the evening of May 26). Williams then played the iconic “Indiana Jones” theme as Harrison Ford made his way onto the stage.

Ford announced that the fifth “Indiana Jones” movie will premiere in theaters June 30, 2023.

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Series Hitting Disney+ May 27

“Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the new Disney+ limited series from Lucasfilm, will debut exclusively on the streaming service May 27.

The series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master.

The story begins 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

The series also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.

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“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor and Joby Harold.

The series was originally set to premiere May 25, the 45th anniversary of the theatrical premiere of the original Star Wars in 1977. However, in a video announcement posted March 31, McGregor announced that Disney+ was pushing series premiere back two days to Friday, May 27, but will make the first two of six planned episode available that day. The new Friday release date coincides with the Star Wars Celebration fan event taking place May 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray ‘Indiana Jones’ Collection Arriving June 8

Paramount Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm June 8 will release the Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The set will also include digital copies of all four films: 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Each film has been meticulously remastered from 4K scans of the original negatives with extensive visual effects work done to ensure the most pristine and highest quality image. All picture work was approved by director Steven Spielberg.

The 4K presentation includes Dolby Vision and HDR-10, plus Dolby Atmos audio. All four films were remixed at Skywalker Sound under the supervision of sound designer Ben Burtt. All original sound elements were used to achieve the fully immersive Dolby Atmos mixes while staying true to each film’s original creative intent.

The Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection also includes a collectible booklet with behind-the-scenes images from all four films. Extras include each film’s original theatrical trailer and seven hours of previously released bonus material:

  • “On Set With Raiders of the Lost Ark,” including “From Jungle to Desert” and “From Adventure to Legend”;
  • 1981 documentary about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark;
  • “The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark” restrospective featurette;
  • The Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom;
  • The Making of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade;
  • The Making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull;
  • “The Stunts of Indiana Jones” featurette;
  • “The Sound of Indiana Jones” featurette;
  • “The Music of Indiana Jones” featurette;
  • “The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones” featurette;
  • Raiders: The Melting Face! ” featurette;
  • “Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies” featurette with optional pop-ups;
  • “Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations” featurette with optional pop-ups;
  • “Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute”;
  • “Indy’s Friends and Enemies” featurette;
  • “Iconic Props” featurette from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull;
  • “The Effects of Indy” featurette from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull;
  • “Adventures in Post Production” featurette from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

 

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The set marks the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was originally released in theaters June 12, 1981.

 

 

Disney, Lucasfilm to Bow ‘Mando Mondays’ Consumer Products Showcase for ‘The Mandalorian’

Disney and Lucasfilm Sept. 21 announced the pending launch of “Mando Mondays,” a global consumer products, games and publishing program launching Oct. 26 that will introduce merchandise inspired by the “The Mandalorian” series on the Disney+ subscription streaming video platform.

The “Star Wars” spinoff series — which took home seven awards during the 2020 Emmy Awards — will return for its second season Oct. 30, streaming only on Disney+. The Mandalorian and the Child (dubbed Baby Yoda by fans) continue their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies as they make their way through the dangerous galaxy in the tumultuous era after the collapse of the Galactic Empire.

Following release of new episodes every Friday on Disney+, subs can visit MandoMondays.com each Monday to see what new toys, collectibles, apparel, books, comics and related digital content will be unveiled. Mando Mondays will run for nine weeks, culminating on Dec. 21.

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“When ‘The Mandalorian’ debuted last year on Disney+, the show became an instant phenomenon, with fans of all ages expressing excitement for products related to its iconic characters — particularly the Child,” Kareem Daniel, president of Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing, said in a statement. “This fall, as the world continues to watch the narrative unfold, we will further bring this unique Star Wars story to life through a must-have selection of toys, books, comics, digital content and more.”

Select pre-orders for the first wave of Mando Mondays products will kick off Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET across top retailers globally, including shopDisney.com. Products available for pre-order Sept. 21 include the Hasbro Black Series Credit Collection, new Funko Pop! bobbleheads, the “Lego Star Wars” The Child construction set and much more, all viewable now at MandoMondays.com.

Star Wars Celebration 2020 Canceled

Disney-owned Lucasfilm June 15 announced it has canceled the 2020 Star Wars Celebration confab slated for Aug. 27-30 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., citing the ongoing efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

A memo posted at the official Star Wars Celebration website (StarWarsCelebration.com) states “the health and safety of our fans, attendees, exhibitors, guests and staff is always our No. 1 priority. Due to the global impact of the COVID-19 virus and in speaking with local and state authorities on the latest public health guidelines related to indoor conventions, we have made the decision to cancel Star Wars Celebration for 2020.”

The site announced that the next Star Wars Celebration will take place Aug. 18-21, 2022, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Star Wars Celebration event, which started in 1999, is typically held every couple of years.

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Fans who were planning to attend this year’s Star Wars Celebration may either transfer their current ticket to the new event dates, receive a refund or receive a credit for Star Wars Celebration merchandise. Those who transfer their tickets to 2022 will receive a free exclusive Star Wars Celebration stormtrooper character pin for all transferred tickets.

All information about transferring tickets or requesting a refund can be found at starwarscelebration.com, and ticket holders will receive an e-mail with detailed instructions on submitting a request. Fans who pre-ordered merchandise can opt to still receive their order or request a refund. The exclusive merchandise planned for this year’s show will be available for purchase online at some point in the future.

The ticket refund and merchandise credit request period will open June 22 and must be completed by Aug. 26. Hotel reservations booked through the Star Wars Celebration housing portal will automatically be canceled.

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Star Wars Celebration is the latest high-profile pop culture convention in Southern California to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, following WonderCon slated for the Anaheim Convention Center in April, and San Diego Comic-Con International in July.

‘Star Wars’ Tops April Disc Sales; ‘Frozen II’ Remains Year’s Best

Disney-owned Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was No. 1 on the domestic top 10 list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for April 2020 according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service.

The latest “Star Wars” installment was released on disc March 31, and had been the No. 3 seller in March based on its single day of sales alone. Its April tally, when it spent three weeks atop the weekly charts, helped pushed it up two spots on the year-to-date list to become 2020’s No. 2 top seller.

The No. 2 seller in April is Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life, the action sequel that arrived on disc April 21 and spent two weeks as the top seller. That wasn’t enough to place it on the top 10 yearly list though.

Universal’s Dolittle, an April 7 release, landed at No. 3 on the monthly chart, while Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level ended up at No. 4, down two spots from the previous month.

Another Sony Pictures’ release, Greta Gerwig’s lauded Little Women remake, debuted at No. 5 on the monthly chart.

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Universal’s 1917 slid two spots from the previous month to be April’s No. 6 seller.

Other April releases to crack the month’s top 10 include Warner’s Just Mercy at No. 8, Well Go USA’s Ip Man 4: The Finale at No. 9, and Universal’s The Gentlemen at No. 19.

The Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen II dropped to No. 7 in April after being the top seller the previous two months, though it remains the year’s top seller overall.

The rise of Skywalker on the annual list pushed Warner’s Joker down a spot to No. 3 for the year, and Jumanji: The Next Level to No. 4.

Otherwise, the list of the year’s top sellers was relatively unchanged from the previous month, with the exception of 1917 taking over the No. 9 spot. That and good sales for Lionsgate’s Knives Out (which remained at No. 10) pushed Fox’s Ford v. Ferrari dropped off the yearly top 10 list.

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According to NPD, the April 2020 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney/Lucasfilm)
  2. Bad Boys for Life (Sony Pictures)
  3. Dolittle (Universal)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  5. Little Women (2019) (Sony Pictures)
  6. 1917 (Universal)
  7. Frozen II (Disney)
  8. Just Mercy (Warner)
  9. Ip Man 4: The Finale (Well Go USA)
  10. The Gentlemen (Universal)

 

Year-to-date Top 10 (through April 2020):

  1. Frozen II (Disney)
  2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney/Lucasfilm)
  3. Joker (Warner)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  5. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney)
  6. Midway (2019) (Lionsgate)
  7. Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony Pictures)
  8. Terminator: Dark Fate (Paramount)
  9. 1917 (Universal)
  10. Knives Out (Lionsgate)

 

‘Frozen II’ Tops Disc Sales in March

The Future of ‘Star Wars’ Storytelling Is Clear

The week of “May the 4th Be With You” has been a banner one for Dave Filoni, the longtime animation veteran who is now one of the leading creatives of “Star Wars” content over at Lucasfilm.

Monday, May 4, marked the triumphant finale of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” the CG-animated series executive produced by Filoni that was given a chance by Disney+ to finish storylines that were abandoned after Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and canceled the series.

Filoni later went on to earn praise from “Star Wars” fans for producing the likes of “Star Wars Rebels” and “The Mandalorian,” the latter alongside noted fanboy filmmaker Jon Favreau.

Having worked with George Lucas since before “Clone Wars” debuted in 2008, Filoni is something of a creative bridge between the Lucas and Disney eras of “Star Wars.”

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In the first episode of the new Disney+ behind-the-scenes series “Disney Gallery: Star Wars — The Mandalorian,” which premiered May 4, Filoni talked about learning about live-action filmmaking from Lucas and applying those ideas to animation. All he expected from his initial meeting about doing a “Clone Wars” show was a story he could tell in line at Revenge of the Sith about being in a room as George Lucas ruminated to him about the zen philosophies of the Jedi. Filoni ended up getting the job, implying it had something to do with Lucas enjoying his work on “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

Yet when it came time to craft the sequels to Lucas’ films, the new regime turned to J.J. Abrams, not Favreau or Filoni. The new films have mostly divided fan loyalties over the creative direction of a franchise that seems to be in serious need of a producer along the lines of Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige who can oversee the coherence of the shared universe, an element that was noticeably absent from the recent sequel trilogy.

In the second episode of “Disney Gallery” that premiered today (May 8), Filoni delivers a soliloquy that should cement his status as the person who should fill that role. In it, he analyzes a key plot point from 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace from an angle many fans may not have approached it from before.

The “Disney Gallery” series features Favreu, Filoni and other filmmakers involved with the show and “Star Wars” engaged in a series of roundtable discussions about their approach to the material. At one point, the discussion turned to the nature of storytelling in the “Star Wars” universe.

“The prequels I thought were almost an impossible task,” Filoni says. “How do you tell the story that we’ve all grown up with, imagining who Anakin Skywalker was? You saw so many things in The Phantom Menace that you had just imagined, like the Jedi Council, and none of it really was what I had expected, but I know now that’s just like how creative George is, he just sees it differently.”

Filoni focuses on the climactic battle between Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Darth Maul, an agent of chaos working for the Sith Lord who would eventually become Emperor Palpatine.

“I love the lightsaber fight with Darth Maul, not because it’s a lightsaber fight, but because George is so good at crafting why that fight’s important,” Filoni says. “In Phantom Menace, you’re watching these two Jedi in their prime fight this evil villain. Maul couldn’t be more obviously the villain, he’s designed to look evil.”

Filoni compares the emotional stakes of the battle with that of the fight between the older Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in the 1977 original movie before continuing.

“What’s at stake is really how Anakin’s going to turn out,” Filoni says. “Because Qui-Gon is different from the rest of the Jedi. You get that in the movie, and Qui-Gon is fighting because he knows he’s the father that Anakin needs, because Qui-Gon hasn’t given up on the fact that the Jedi are supposed to actually care and love, and that’s not a bad thing. The rest of the Jedi are so detached, and have become so political that they’ve really lost their way, and Yoda starts to see that in the second film. But Qui-Gon is ahead of them all. That’s why he’s not part of the Council.”

Filoni then references “Duel of the Fates,” composer John Williams’ signature track written for Episode I.

“So he’s fighting for Anakin, and that’s why it’s the ‘Duel of the Fates,’ it’s the fate of this child. And depending on how this fight goes, Anakin is going to, his life is going to be dramatically different. So, Qui-Gon loses, of course. … He knew what it meant to take this kid away from his mother, when he had an attachment, and he’s left with Obi-Wan.

“Obi-Wan trains Anakin at first out of a promise he makes to Qui-Gon, not because he cares about him.”

Filoni points out that when Obi-Wan first hears about Anakin, he considers him a distraction in the same vein as Jar-Jar Binks, and thinks trying to save the boy from slavery is a waste of time. In that sense, Obi-Wan shares the detachment from empathy that Qui-Gon worries has engulfed the Jedi Order.

“So he’s a brother to Anakin, eventually, but he’s not a father figure,” Filoni says. “That’s a failing for Anakin. He doesn’t have the family that he needs. He loses his mother in the next film. He fails on this promise that he made, ‘mother I will come back and save you.’ So he’s left completely vulnerable. And ‘Star Wars’ ultimately is about family.

“It’s everything the entire three films of the prequels hangs on, is that one particular fight.”

At that point, Maul’s role in the story has been fulfilled as disposable tool of the Emperor, who then turns his attentions to Anakin, eventually manipulating Anakin’s sense of loss to turn him into the evil Darth Vader by filling the fatherly void in Anakin’s life.

Filoni then turns to 1983’s Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and the scene where Luke is tempted to join the dark side by killing the Emperor out of anger.

“The only thing that’s going to save Luke is not his connection to the Force, it’s not the powers he’s learned. It’s not all these things that are an advantage to him,” Filoni says. “That’s gotten him to the table. But what saves Luke is his ability to look at all that, and look at his father and say no, I’m going to throw away this weapon, I’m not going to do that, I’m going to let that go and be selfless. And he says ‘I’m a Jedi like my father before me,’ but what he’s really saying and why we connect, why I connect so powerfully to it is he’s saying ‘I love my father, and there’s nothing you can do that’s going to change that.’ And the Emperor can’t understand that connection. Why wouldn’t you take from the power of the galaxy? Why won’t you take this?

“And Anakin, in that moment, has to decide to be the father that he’s never had. He has to give up all the power in the galaxy and save his son. And that’s the selfless act that he does in return for his son. And that’s what saves him in turn. So the son saves the father, the father saves the son and it works out perfectly, and I draw that line all the way from The Phantom Menace to Jedi. That’s the story of ‘Star Wars.’”

The example, Filoni says, is emblematic of the core values that all “Star Wars” stories should strive for.

“It’s all part of the fated arc. It’s all part of why it works and why we care,” Filoni says. “It’s not about X-Wings. It’s not about all these things we decorate ‘Star Wars’ in. It’s important, it’s part of the genius of it, but we soulfully react to it. We don’t just want an action movie, we want to feel uplifted. And ‘Star Wars’ is an adventure that makes you feel good, you know?

“That’s what I always go back to with ‘Star Wars’ is this selfless act, this family dynamic, which is so important to George, so important to the foundation of ‘Star Wars.’”

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The ultimate lesson, Filoni says, is one he learned directly from Lucas.

“Remember to make these stories hopeful,” Filoni says, channeling his mentor’s words. “Remember to give that to kids because they really need it.”

After that kind of insightful analysis, is there any doubt that Filoni isn’t the true heir to the creative legacy of “Star Wars”?

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Tops Disc Sales for Second Week

Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker remained No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended April 11.

The concluding chapter of what is now dubbed “The Skywalker Saga” debuted in the top spot a week earlier.

The top newcomer, at No. 2 on both charts, was Universal Pictures’ Dolittle, a reboot of the “Doctor Dolittle” franchise with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role of the adventurer who can talk to animals. The film earned $77 million at the domestic box office. Dolittle sold 55% as many copies in its first week as Skywalker did in its second.

Another newcomer, Sony Pictures’ lauded remake of Little Women from director Greta Gerwig, debuted at No. 3 on both charts after a domestic box office haul of $108.1 million.

Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level dropped two spots to No. 4 on both charts in its fourth week.

Rounding out the top five on both charts was Universal Pictures’ war film 1917.

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Disney’s Frozen II, in its seventh week, landed at No. 6 on both charts.

The only other newcomer in the top 20 was Universal’s Cats, the notorious adaptation of the famed stage musical. It earned $27.2 million at the domestic box office.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 53% of total Dolittle sales, and 55% for both Little Women and Cats. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition comprised 6% of Dolittle‘s tally.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 12, Dolittle debuted at No. 1, followed by Little Women at No. 2.

Jumanji: The Next Level slid to No. 3, followed by 1917 at No. 4 and Cats at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-11-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-12-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-11-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-11-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-11-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-13-20

The Force Is With ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ on Disc Sales Charts

Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker scored a dominating debut on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended April 4.

The concluding chapter of the nine-film “Skywalker Saga” earned $515.2 million at the domestic box office.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 79% of the film’s total unit sales, with 24% of the total coming from the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition.

Notably, a pricey boxed set of all nine episodic films, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, also placed in the top 10 on both charts, at No. 7 overall and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart, selling about 3% as many copies as the standalone Rise of Skywalker (which was included in the set).

The 27-disc boxed set includes a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray and bonus disc for each of the films (Rogue One and Solo are not included), and is a Best Buy exclusive priced at $249.99. Unlike Best Buy’s recent $500 Marvel Infinity Saga 4K/Blu-ray set (which sold out during preorders and are now being sold for thousands of dollars on eBay), Best Buy stills has plenty of copies of the “Star Wars” boxed set available online and in stores more than a week after the March 31 street date, which may point to a combination of increased stock and lower fan enthusiasm for the Disney era of “Star Wars.” Best Buy brick-and-mortar locations are closed during the coronavirus pandemic but do offer curbside pickups.

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Otherwise, while physical disc sales have been declining for years, the recent shelter-in-place orders and store closures associated with the pandemic don’t seem to have tapered off disc sales on a week-to-week basis just yet, despite the expected boost for digital delivery and streaming by families looking for home entertainment options while stuck at home. Target and Walmart stores remain open as essential businesses, and Amazon still delivers (despite some politicians demanding retailers stop selling anything but food and household goods).

Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level held onto the No. 2 spot on the overall sales chart for the week and slid a spot to No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart. The adventure sequel sold about 15% as many copies in its third week as the new “Star Wars” film did in its first.

The previous week’s top seller, Universal Pictures’ war film 1917, slipped to No. 3 on the overall sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 4 on both charts was Disney’s Frozen II, while the animated Spies in Disguise, from Disney-owned 20th Century Fox, was No. 5 on the overall sales chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 5, Jumanji: The Next Level returned to the top spot, pushing 1917 to No. 2.

Spies in Disguise stayed at No. 3, followed by Sony Pictures’ The Grudge again at No. 4, and Lionsgate’s Knives Out remaining in the No. 5 spot.

Redbox has apparently not yet stocked copies of Rise of Skywalker as the title is not listed at the vendors’ website or available in its kiosks (some Redbox users reported a landing page for the film to take reservations was taken down in the week leading up to its disc release). Since Redbox doesn’t have a distribution deal with Disney, it needs to purchase bulk copies of Disney discs from retailers to stock its kiosks — a task made significantly more difficult by store closures, shipping delays, capacity restrictions and inventory limits imposed as a result of the pandemic. (Redbox’s distribution deals for Fox titles were in place prior to Disney’s purchase of the studio.)

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-4-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-5-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-4-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-4-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-4-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-6-20