‘Lego Star Wars’ Halloween Special Premiering on Disney+ Oct. 1

The new animated special Lego Star Wars: Terrifying Tales will premiere Oct. 1 on the Disney+ streaming service as part of its Hallowstream celebration.

After the events of Rise of Skywalker, Poe and BB-8 must make an emergency landing on the volcanic planet Mustafar, where they meet the greedy and conniving Graballa the Hutt, who has purchased Darth Vader’s castle and is renovating it into the galaxy’s first all-inclusive Sith-inspired luxury hotel. While waiting for his X-Wing to be repaired, Poe, BB-8, Graballa and Dean (a plucky and courageous young boy who works as Graballa’s mechanic) venture deep into the mysterious castle with Vader’s loyal servant, Vaneé. Along the way, Vaneé shares three creepy stories linked to ancient artifacts and iconic villains from across all eras of “Star Wars.”

The voice cast includes Jake Green as Poe Dameron, Raphael Alejandro as Dean, Dana Snyder as Graballa the Hutt, Tony Hale as Vaneé, Christian Slater as Ren, Trevor Devall as Emperor Palpatine, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as NI-L8, and Matt Sloan as Darth Vader.

 

Disney+ Reveals Details for ‘Star Wars: Visions’ Anime Series to Debut Sept. 22

At Anime Expo Lite July 3, Disney+ announced seven Japanese anime studios working on “Star Wars: Visions” — a collection of animated short films from Lucasfilm that will stream exclusively on Disney+ Sept. 22.

They are Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio (Twin Engine), Studio Colorido (Twin Engine), Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Science Saru, and Production IG.

Lucasfilm’s Jacqui Lopez (executive producer), James Waugh (executive producer), Josh Rimes (executive producer), and Qubic Pictures’ Justin Leach (co-executive producer) and Kanako Shirasaki (producer) were on hand to reveal each studio and give fans a special look at the environment and concept art as they debuted the title and first details of each short.

The shorts are The Duel (Kamikaze Douga), Lop and Ochō (Geno Studio, Twin Engine), Tatooine Rhapsody (Studio Colorido, Twin Engine), The Twins (Trigger), The Elder (Trigger),  The Village Bride (Kinema Citrus), Akakiri (Science Saru),  T0-B1 (Science Saru) and The Ninth Jedi (Production IG).

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“As a first formal venture into anime, each ‘Star Wars: Visions’ short bears a unique Japanese sensibility, which in many ways aligns with the tone and spirit of Star Wars storytelling,” according to Disney+. “From the beginning, stories told in the Star Wars galaxy have counted Japanese mythology and the films of Akira Kurosawa among their many influences, and these new visions will further explore that cultural heritage through the unique animation style and perspective of each anime studio.”

‘Stranger Things’ Keeps No. 1 Spot on Parrot’s Digital Originals Chart for Fourth Week

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” remained in the No. 1 spot on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. chart the week ended May 22. It had 43.5 times the demand of an average series after a 7.5% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity. It was No. 6 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows after a trailer for the fourth season was released.

It’s the fourth week in a row the 1980s-set supernatural drama has claimed the top spot on a digital originals that it many ways seems stuck on autopilot, as the top five shows repeated in the same spots from the previous week.

The Disney+ live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained No. 2, garnering 36.4 times the demand of the average show after a 0.4% drop in demand expressions. It was No. 9 on the list of overall TV shows.

Another Disney+ “Star Wars” series, the animated “The Clone Wars,” had a 0.7% drop in demand expressions but remained No. 3 with 35.9 times average demand. It was No. 10 on the list of overall TV shows. Strangely, while “Clone Wars” is no longer presenting new episodes, a spinoff series called “The Bad Batch” is in the midst of its first season but apparently has yet to make a dent in Parrot’s metric measurements since it bowed May 4, though that hasn’t stopped Parrot from crediting the spinoff for keeping up fan interest in “Clone Wars.”

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” stayed No. 4, registering 32.4 times average demand after a 1.2% drop in demand expressions.

The Disney+ original Marvel Cinematic Universe series “WandaVision” remained No. 5, registering a 0.2% rise in demand expressions, giving it 31.8 times average demand.

Another Disney+ MCU series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” dropped a spot to No. 7 with a 3.7% dip in demand expressions, giving it 30 times the demand of an average series.

Two of Netflix’s animated originals joined the top 10, with “Castlevania,” based on the video game of the same name, rising six spots to No. 6, earning 30.3 times average demand after a 46.4% growth in demand expressions. The anthology “Love, Death, and Robots” reached No. 10, up from No. 28 the previous week, growing 70.2% in demand expressions to reach 25.3 times average demand.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 63.4 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

Disney+ Presenting ‘Simpsons’ Short Based on ‘Star Wars’ May 4

Streaming service Disney+ on May 4 — Star Wars Day — will release the new original “Star Wars” spinoff series “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” alongside a first-of-its-kind short from “The Simpsons” and multiple themed cinematic experiences in celebration of a galaxy far, far away.

Disney+ will debut “Maggie Simpson in The Force Awakens From Its Nap,” a new Star Wars-inspired short, bringing characters from the Star Wars galaxy to the fictional town of Springfield. The new promotional short is the first of several from “The Simpsons” that Disney+ will release throughout the year paying tribute to the service’s marquee brands and titles.

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Additionally, Lucasfilm and Disney+ have commissioned original artwork to take over the service for several days — a first for the platform. A global group of artists and Star Wars fans have created illustrations representing an assortment of Star Wars movies and original series, bringing them to life in their own unique styles. The artwork will be featured on the service until May 9 and will also be available for purchase through Amazon.

“The Bad Batch” follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch (first introduced in “The Clone Wars”) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch — a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army — each possess a singular exceptional skill which makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew. In the post-Clone War era, they will take on daring mercenary missions as they struggle to stay afloat and find new purpose.

The new “Simpsons” short finds baby Maggie on an epic quest for her stolen pacifier. Her adventure brings her face-to-face with young Padawans, Sith Lords, familiar droids, Rebel scum, and an ultimate battle against the dark side.

Star Wars Biomes” offers a virtual vacation to some of the “Star Wars” films’ most iconic and beloved locations such as Hoth, Tatooine, and Sorgan.

“Star Wars Vehicle Flythroughs” gives a look at two of the “Star Wars” films’ most iconic and beloved ships, examining the memorable interiors and exteriors of the Millennium Falcon and a First Order Star Destroyer.

Blu-ray Collection Focused on Making of Creature Features Due July 13

Music Box Films specialty label Doppelganger Releasing July 13 presents The Monster Collection, a three-disc Blu-ray set containing the feature-length documentaries Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters and The Frankenstein Complex.

Both films are directed by Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso.

Released in 2019, Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters examines the life and career of Phil Tippett, the Oscar and Emmy Award-winning visual effects genius whose work in creature design, stop-motion and computerized character animation has been seen in such classics as the original “Star Wars” trilogy, the “Jurassic Park” and “Twilight” franchises, and the effects powerhouses RoboCop, Dragonheart and Starship Troopers.

The Frankenstein Complex, from 2015, offers an appreciation of the greatest movie monsters in film history and the talented effects artists who have been bringing them to life for the past century. The film goes behind the scenes of such classics as King Kong, Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, An American Werewolf in London, Alien and more to talk to the filmmakers responsible, including Rick Baker, Greg Nicotero, Chris Wallas, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Verhoeven, Joe Dante, John Landis, Kevin Smith and others.

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The Blu-ray set also includes 12 hours of bonus materials, including:

  • Feature Commentary with Phil Tippett and directors Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso;
  • “Meeting the Monsters” making-of documentary;
  • Prehistoric Beast (1985), a short film by Phil Tippett with audio commentary;
  • Mutant Land (2010), a short film by Phil Tippett with audio commentary;
  • Phil Tippett Museum: A Virtual Gallery of Tippett Creations;
  • “Joy of Working With Phil,” an interview with Paul Verhoeven;
  • “Phil Will Fix This!,” an interview with Joe Johnston;
  • “Animating With Phil,” an interview with Tom St. Amand;
  • “Phil’s Vision,” an interview with Chris Walas;
  • “Friendship, Robots, and Dinosaurs,” an interview with Dennis Muren;
  • “From Stop-Motion to Computer,” an interview with Craig Hayes;
  • Memories and Archives with Phil Tippett;
  • Dinosaur Supervisor (Jurassic Park) with Phil Tippett;
  • Starship Troopers 2 with Phil Tippet and Jon Davison;
  • “Dinosaur!” with Paul Verhoeven and Jon Davison;
  • Mutant Fish (Piranha) with Joe Dante (1978);
  • “Modern Craftsmanship” with Alec Gillis-Robot Design with Craig Hayes;
  • “The Birth of a Poster” with Paul Wee;
  • “Musical Storytelling” with Alexandre Poncet;
  • Mad Dreams and Monsters Isolated Musical Score;
  • “The Frankenstein Odyssey” making-of documentary;
  • “Digital Craftmanship” post-production featurette;
  • The Frankenstein Complex Musical Score;
  • Master Class with Guillermo Del Toro;
  • An Extended Conversation with John Landis and Joe Dante;
  • An Extended Conversation with Mick Garris;
  • An Extended Conversation with Steve Johnson and John Vulich;
  • Q&A with Joe Dante, Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso;
  • Inside the Lair of Rick Baker;
  • Inside the Lair of Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis;
  • “Paper Monsters: The Art of Charles Chiodo”;
  • “Living With Monsters: The Art of Kevin Yagh”;
  • “Sympathy for the Devil,” an interview with Bernard Rose;
  • “The Gremlins Pool,” an interview with Sacha Feiner;
  • “From Latex to Pixels: The Art of Gino Acevedo”;
  • “The Beauty and the Beasts: The Art of Ve Neill”;
  • Deleted and alternate scenes;
  • Photo galleries;
  • Theatrical trailers;

 

In addition, Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters and The Frankenstein Complex will be released individually on VOD starting July 13.

The Mandalorian: Season 2

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-Fi;
Not rated.
Stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Katee Sackhoff, Mercedes Varnado, Rosario Dawson, Timothy Olyphant, Bill Burr, Carl Weathers, Horatio Sanz, Giancarlo Esposito.

The eight episodes of the second season of “The Mandalorian” offer the kind of “Star Wars” moments the franchise’s fans have been clamoring to see for decades.

Series creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni are drawing from nearly all aspects of “Star Wars” lore for inspiration — not just the original trilogy, but also the prequels and animated spinoffs as well.

Instead of trying to reinvent the universe the way the sequel trilogy seemed to be trying to do, “The Mandalorian” unmistakably wants to play in George Lucas’ sandbox. The episodes have all the fun and joy of what it’s like to play with “Star Wars” toys as a kid, and imagine all the adventures possible in that galaxy far, far away.

It’s not fan service. It’s fantastic.

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Picking up from last season, bounty hunter Din Djarin, the Mandalorian of the title, embarks on his quest to return to the Jedi the child everyone refers to as “Baby Yoda” (whose name is finally revealed to be Grogu). But doing so will require a great deal of compromise and sacrifice. Along the way he encounters Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), a Mandalorian from the “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” animated shows who desires to reclaim her home planet from the chaos of the Empire’s wrath. She leads Mando to another animated character brought into live-action, the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who needs his help to free a village from a warlord in one of the season’s standout episodes.

Another great episode sees the return of Bill Burr, who has to help Mando on a mission to locate the menacing Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Their infiltration of an Imperial base leads to some of the tensest moments on the show, culminating in the “Star Wars” version of the great basement shootout from Inglourious Basterds.

And if that weren’t enough, we get the return of Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), last seen being swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi. Not only did he survive, but he’s finally living up to the potential for badassery only hinted at in his limited screen time in the movies but which has nonetheless made him a fan favorite since his introduction.

The season also has a few more surprises in store, leading to one of the most emotional and satisfying finales a fan could hope for.

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There have been some grumblings about the wide variance in running times of the episodes — ranging from barely more than a half-hour to more than 50 minutes. But this just demonstrates the creative advantages of posting content to an ad-free streaming service as opposed to needing to fill a set run time to account for a time slot and advertising. The show’s creators are telling the stories they want to tell, and they are using the time they need to tell them. No more, no less. And the results speak for themselves.

 

Disney+ Teases ‘Boba Fett’ Spinoff in ‘Mandalorian’ Finale

While Disney announced several new “Star Wars” Disney+ shows at its Dec. 10 investor day, it left one for a surprise reveal during the streaming service’s flagship series. The Dec. 18 season two finale of “The Mandalorian” contained a teaser for a new Disney+ show called “The Book of Boba Fett” to debut in December 2021.

Boba Fett is a legendary bounty hunter in “Star Wars” lore first introduced in an animated segment of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special before playing a minor role as an antagonist to Han Solo in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi, with the character seemingly dying in the latter during a battle against the crime lord Jabba the Hutt.

A younger Boba Fett appeared in 2002’s Attack of the Clones, where audiences learned that he was an unaltered clone of Jango Fett, another bounty hunter who served as the template for an army of clones. After Jango’s death in that film, young Boba took up bounty hunting himself, as seen in the “Clone Wars” animated series.

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Season two of “The Mandalorian,” set about five years after Return of the Jedi, revealed that Boba survived the events of the film, and was now in league with the assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). The pair agreed to help the title character protect Grogu, the child nicknamed “Baby Yoda” by franchise fans.

Fett is played by Temuera Morrison, who previously portrayed Jango and the clone troopers in the “Star Wars” prequels, and who also voiced Boba for the special-edition DVD of Empire.

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Some industry watchers had been reporting that Morrison was currently filming what they assumed was either a Boba Fett show or the third season of “Mandalorian,” and found it curious that the investor event didn’t mention anything related to the character, while other spinoffs such as “Ahsoka Tano” were touted.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

In the preview for the new show, which plays as a post-credits scene for the “Mandalorian” finale, Boba Fett returns to Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine with Shand. Jabba’s court in the criminal underworld is now presided over by his former majordomo, Bib Fortuna, who expresses surprise at seeing Fett is alive. Fett shoots Fortuna, then takes a seat on the palace throne with Shand at his side.

Update 12/21/20: “The Book of Boba Fett,” set within the timeline of “The Mandalorian,” will star Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen, and will be executive produced by Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez.

‘Disney Gallery’ Look at ‘Mandalorian’ Season 2 Bowing on Disney+ Dec. 25

The Disney+ series “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” will take a look behind the scenes of the second season of the popular “Star Wars” series in an hourlong special debuting on the streaming service Dec. 25.

The second season of “The Mandalorian,” which concludes Dec. 18, has featured the return of several fan favorite “Star Wars” characters, from bounty hunter Boba Fett to former Jedi Ahsoka Tano.

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The new installment of “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” showcases filmmakers and cast providing unprecedented access to the storytelling decisions and innovations that went into the second season of the Emmy Award-winning series.

Featuring immersive on-set footage that places viewers right in the middle of the filmmaking process, and rare insights from the cast and crew, this special documentary explores the production of all 8 episodes in season two — from early concept art through the groundbreaking technology introduced in the series.

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“Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” explored the making of the first season in eight episodes earlier in 2020.

Disney+ Set to Roll Out Slew of ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff Series; Patty Jenkins to Direct Next ‘Star Wars’ Theatrical Movie

On the heels of the global success of “The Mandalorian,” Disney’s subscription streaming video platform is set to roll out several exclusive series based on the “Star Wars” franchise over the coming years.

“Mandalorian” spinoffs include “Star Wars: Ahsoka Tano,”  featuring Rosario Dawson, and “Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said on Disney’s Investor Day Dec. 10.

Patty Jenkins

Disney+ will also be home to other “Star Wars” content, including “Star Wars: Andor,” featuring Diego Luna reprising his Rogue One: A Star Wars Story character, and the previously announced animated series “Star Wars: The Bad Batch,” a spinoff of “The Clone Wars.”

Kennedy also announced that Hayden Christensen would return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader opposite Ewan McGregor in the Disney+ series, “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Finally, Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins has been tapped to direct the next “Star Wars” theatrical release, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, set for a 2023 release.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy

 

 

‘Mandalorian’ Keeps No. 1 Spot on Parrot’s Most-Demanded TV Shows Chart

The Disney+ live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” topped Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings for a fourth-straight week the week ended Nov. 14, and also held onto the top spot on Parrot’s list of all TV shows for a second week. with 96.9 times the demand of an average TV series after a 1.5% increase in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity.

The show’s success continues to buoy other “Star Wars” content, with the Disney+ animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” climbing two spots to No. 5 after a 9% increase in demand gave it 34.6 times average demand. The recent third episode of the second season of “The Mandalorian” was essentially an extension of story arcs from both “Clone Wars” and another animated series, “Star Wars: Rebels.”

Holding at No. 2 on the digital originals chart, and taking No. 8 among overall TV shows, was Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things,” which saw demand expressions fall 9.7% to give the show 51.3 times average demand.

Warping into the third spot on the digital originals chart was CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery,” which rose two spots after a 5.6% bump in demand expressions to give it 35.7 times average demand.

HBO Max’s “Titans” remained at No. 4 on the digital originals chart with 35.2 times average demand, with expressions up 2.4%.

Netflix’s “The Crown” moved into the top 10 in anticipation of the new season premiering Nov. 15. Demand was up 14.7% from the previous week, when it was No. 11. It had 29.3 times average demand.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 2 overall TV series was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 88.4 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.