Don’t make Jon Favreau put away his favorite ‘Star Wars’ toys

‘The Mandalorian’ returns for its third season, and it has all your favorites. PLUS: A new ‘Ted Lasso’ trailer, and can a multiple ‘Lord of the Rings’ projects exist at the same time?

Don’t make Jon Favreau put away his favorite ‘Star Wars’ toys
Grogu, Din Djarin and Greef Karga in The Mandalorian episode “The Apostate.” / Lucasfilm

Do not ask Jon Favreau to put away his Star Wars toys.

Don’t do it.

It doesn’t matter if it makes sense for the story. It doesn’t matter if it’s illogical. It doesn’t matter if you have to tell your audience to go watch “user-generated content” online to understand what’s now happening.

Do no ask him to put away his Star Wars toys.

The Mandalorian premiered its third season on Wednesday, returning to our screens for the first time since December 2020. I mean, that’s if you don’t count the major presence that Din Djarin and Grogu had in The Book of Boba Fett

I’ve written on several occasions in this newsletter now about how Star Wars chose to reunite Din and Grogu in a show that wasn’t theirs, undoing the emotional finale of The Mandalorian’s Season 2 finale where Din finally completed his mission, finding a Jedi to train Grogu in the ways of the Force, with the duo going their separate ways.

If you skipped The Book of Boba Fett (which is fair, since nowhere was it positioned as required watching to understand The Mandalorian), you started watching Wednesday’s premiere and saw that Din and Grogu were back together, as if they had never been apart. There was a conversation between Din and Greef Karga that hand-waved away the major plot developments that took place in The Book of Boba Fett, and then we were back to the adventures of Din and Grogu.

Through several interviews leading up to this premiere, Favreau has made it clear that he chose to undo the Season 2 finale since he basically just wanted to keep making the Baby Yoda show. (Like I said, don’t make him put away his favorite Star Wars toys.)

“I knew that I didn’t want to dedicate a lot of screen time within The Mandalorian to a period of time where there wasn’t a lot of character progression,” Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. “Both [Din and Grogu] were kind of stuck, as far as character progression goes, until they were reunited. So, my feeling was that it would allow me to do both of those things and freed me up now two years later to have a whole new context for these two characters to have a relationship and move forward.”

Just say you want to make the Baby Yoda show.

The Season 3 premiere also planted the seeds of Favreau bringing another one of his toys back. It turns out the people of Nevarro were so appreciative of IG-11’s sacrifice in Season 1, they put his dead body on display in the town square. For his quest to Mandalore, Din now needs a droid and IG-11 is the only droid in the entire galaxy he wants for the job.

So they’re going to have to reanimate IG-11’s dead body.

Once again, don’t make Favreau put away his Star Wars toys.

Of course, much of The Mandalorian itself is built on new versions of classic Star Wars characters. Want Yoda? Here’s Grogu. Want Boba Fett? Here’s Din Djarin. (Oh, wait. Here’s Boba Fett too.) Want IG-88? Here’s IG-11.

This is a show built entirely on someone who considers himself an original Star Wars fan being handed the keys to a part of the franchise. And he’s going to keep playing with his favorite Star Wars toys — even if it doesn’t make sense.

A few other quick thoughts

Why is Din sticking with the rules of his offshoot Mandalorian cult? It doesn’t matter if you took of your helmet. They don’t want to be your friend. Stop trying. You have the Darksaber. As Bo-Katan said, “wave that thing around, and they’ll do whatever you say.”

Was that Paz Vizsla’s kid undertaking the Mandalorian helmet ceremony at the beginning of the episode? (Also, why did that tiny helmet make a suction sound when it was put on? We could still see his hair in the back.)

Where do Din and Grogu live? On his new ship? Have they been sleeping in it for two years?

“Grogu.” “Come again?” “His name is Grogu.” “If you say so.”

Cara Dune? Special forces. Gideon? New Republic war tribunal.

It’s nice this show started having a character announce the name of each new planet they land on. Star Wars has not been great identifying its new locales during the Disney era.

Look, if Grogu wants an Anzellan as a pet, let him have one.

Yikes, Bo-Katan HATES Din, huh?


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The News
Morfydd Clark in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. / Amazon Studios

Warner Bros. wants Lord of the Rings to be its Star Wars; Amazon thinks there’s ‘enough fan love to sustain’ Rings of Power

Wherever you fall on the debate whether there are too many Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars movies and shows to keep up with, one thing fans never have to worry about is how big of a mess those franchises could potentially be if there were two studios trying to make their own projects at once.

That’s the looming issue for The Lord of the Rings fans.

Rights to this franchise have long been a mess, but at least during the era of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, there wasn’t another studio out there muddying the waters.

Amazon isn’t so lucky. Only a season into its massively ambitious and expensive The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series, the streamer is now going to have to compete by Warner Bros. jumping back into the Lord of the Rings, um, ring.

“Though there are no scripts yet, one insider suggests to The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. hopes to turn LOTR into a Star Wars-like franchise,” The Hollywood Reporter writes in its piece following up on WBD’s big announcement last week.

THR also reports that the studio would like to see Jackson return for the new movies — and that Jackson and his partners’ frustration over being left out of the loop on Amazon’s Rings of Power could play a role in whether he does return.

Meanwhile, Amazon is publicly putting on a brave face as Warner Bros. gears up to challenge Rings of Power.

“We’ll see,” Amazon Studios CEO Jennifer Salke told Variety when asked if we there was soon to be too much Lord of the Rings available. “We love our original series. We’re extremely proud of it, and invested long term. So, we definitely think there’s enough fan love to sustain ours for a long time.”

“‘Goddamn! No, [the reviews] are wrong! I’m right! MODOK is great!’”

Reviews (and the second-weekend box office numbers) have not been kind to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Which sucks if you’re Jeff Loveness, the person who wrote the film.

“To be honest, those reviews took me by surprise,” Loveness told The Daily Beast. “I was in a pretty low spot … Those were not good reviews, and I was like, ‘What the …?’”

The former Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Rick and Morty writer made his MCU debut with Quantumania, and from everything I’ve read was pretty excited about it. (Marvel Studios has a ton of faith in Loveness too, giving him the responsibility of writing Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.)

“I’m really proud of what I wrote for [Jonathan Majors] and Michelle Pfeiffer,” Loveness continued. “I thought that was good stuff, you know? And so I was just despondent, and I was really sad about it.”

Majors’ Kang did have some of the best dialogue in the film, with the actor’s quiet intensity selling those lines.

Loveness defended Quantumania’s take on MODOK, saying: “I’m like, ‘Goddamn! No, [the reviews] are wrong! I’m right! MODOK is great!’”

The Daily Beast piece actually has some great background on how Loveness took inspiration from The Simpsons for MODOK.

Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. / Warner Bros. Pictures

Is Ben Affleck directing the rebooted Batman film?

Before it was directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson, The Batman was supposed to be a solo Batman movie directed by and starring Ben Affleck. While the DCEU (and Affleck’s time as Batman) is being rebooted for James Gunn’s DCU, is there still a future where Affleck directs a Batman movie?

According to Above the Line, the answer is yes. While we’ve known for awhile that Gunn has talked to Affleck about directing a movie in the new DCU, Above the Line reported on Wednesday that “the rumor [they’ve] heard was that Affleck was planning to direct The Brave and the Bold.”

The Brave and the Bold is the title of the upcoming Batman (and Robin!) film in the DCU. I dunno, should Affleck jump back into the world of superhero blockbusters? I guess we haven’t seen what he can do behind the camera of one yet.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods director tells fans to see the movie if they want the character to stick around

Things don’t seem great for Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Box office tracking is down. The character wasn’t among the first chapter of announced DCU projects. And now David F. Sandberg, director of the sequel is telling fans that Zachary Levi’s Shazam “definitely won’t [have a role in future DCU projects] if people don’t go see the movie.”

I know that Levi has said he’s “Gucci” when it comes to having a role in the rebooted DCU, but I’m starting to think Fury of the Gods is the end of the line for this iteration of the character.

💬 💬 💬 Wanna share your comments, questions or recommendations? Leave a comment at the bottom of the newsletter.

Trailer Watch

Ted Lasso

The third and allegedly final season of Ted Lasso is less than two weeks away. Apple TV+ released a new trailer for the show this week. Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso and the rest of the AFC Richmond crew are back and ready to believe again in the wake of Nate’s betrayal.

Ted Lasso returns on March 15.

Peter Pan & Wendy

Huh, I was expecting this straight-to-Disney+ live-action adaption of Peter Pan to not be great, but the first trailer for the movie actually looks pretty good.

The Second Age of Jude Law (Dumbledore! Star Wars!) continues with him as Captain Hook in Peter Pan & Wendy.

Peter Pan & Wendy premires on April 28.

Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid in The Last of Us episode “Left Behind.” / HBO

The Last of Us

“Left Behind”

Another fantastic episode from The Last of Us. The show once again took a detour from its chronological narrative, this time to give us some background on Ellie’s time in the QZ and how she wound up getting bit.

The Last of Us taking a moment (I was going to call it a breather, but there are no breathers in this show) to show us what young love is like at the end of the world, and both Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid deserve a ton of praise for their performances in “Left Behind.”

I came across a few great reads about this episode since it aired, including Reid discussing with Entertainment Weekly any homophobic backlash to the sparks between Ellie and Riley, and production designer John Paino talking about how they recreated a mall for the show with Variety. (Remember when malls had carousels?)

Bob’s Burgers

“Stop! or My Mom Will Sleuth!”

Nothing groundbreaking in the most recent episode of Bob’s Burgers, but Teddy both having a business card that gives him the title of “The Handy” and considering using the name “Jim Thunder” on his new business cards obviously needs to be highlighted.

The Links

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Odds and Ends

Travis Kelce hosts SNL

Oh boy, I don’t know if I can watch an episode of Saturday Night Live full of Travis Kelce. It’s hard enough to watch him when the Buffalo Bills play the Kansas City Chiefs.

I’ll do it for you all, though …

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