Nostalgia+ Part 1: Star Wars Stuff
Disney+ gets criticized for lack of content. That perception may stem from a single pool of content to draw from. That limits the number of sources of hype for what’s coming to the service. Of course, calling all of Disney’s acquired media a single source oversimplifies the vastness of that single source. it’s easy to take for granted how much content the streaming service offers. New content? Not so much, it’s true. But new to you? Probably plenty.
Originally I planned to throw out a variety of recommendations for Disney+ content that might not be on your radar. Very quickly I’d written 1000 words just on Star Wars. Let’s start with that and see if Part 2 is “the rest” or if I end up with 1000 words on Marvel.
That’s probably what’s going to happen. For now, Star Wars stuff to check out on Disney+!
Star Wars on Disney+
The Mandalorian has done the krayt dragon’s share of Disney+’s subscriber acquisition, so most viewers looking for more content should start in the Star Wars section. Obviously the Skywalker Saga movies are available, but here are a few titles you may have missed.
Disney Gallery – The Mandalorian
I’m a pop culture documentary fan, starting with Star Wars documentaries, as I’ve mentioned before. Mandalorian being such a creative, commercial, and technological accomplishment, getting a behind the scenes look at the production and roundtable discussion from the creative and technical minds behind the series.
To reiterate, Dave Filoni is adorable. Listen to him talk about when it dawned on him that the faces of the aliens he used in a scene made completely impractical masks for the actors, something that didn’t come up when they were background aliens in the original trilogy or featured in animation he directed.
Documentaries on sci-fi series risk ruining the magic. Afterall, we all know Baby Yoda (let’s say I’m still calling him that to avoid spoilers) is animatronic, but the less proof of that, the easier it is to ignore. Fortunately, the series directors know not to sacrifice their cash cow with too many details.
On the other hand, they go into extensive detail about The Volume, the green screen dome in which they film the series. Even knowing all of the filming and set design tricks they revealed, it’s such a marvel of cinematography, knowing they film within it is like knowing there are cameras pointed at the characters at all times. It’s too effective to distract.
Lego Star Wars Christmas Special
It needs to be said: The Lego Star Wars Christmas Special starts weak. Every time Poe’s on screen, it’s low hanging fruit comedy that isn’t even trying to be original or tie into Star Wars. If you played the Lego video games, you’ll be familiar with this type of humour. It was effective in the early games when the characters spoke gibberish. In the later games, the addition of dialog took away from the charm of these moments.
That said, this issue bookends an otherwise entertaining Rey storyline. If, like me, you felt the latest trilogy was more potential than excellence, this taste of extended universe content based on the new Disney Star Wars movies makes me optimistic that potential will one day be met. I know he’s busy, but I’d love to see a Dave Filoni run show set in this era, featuring these characters.
Speaking of which…
In the Filoni article I linked to above, I say The Mandalorian is “inarguably Star Wars’ biggest win since the original trilogy.” Since writing that article, it’s not longer inarguable.
If you haven’t seen the last arc of The Clone Wars (the one that was released in 2020, years after the show went off the air after six seasons), I am not exaggerating when I say I can’t remember being that moved by epic Star Wars storytelling. Mandalorian included. It’s such a satisfying end to that series, end point for that era, and cathartic moment for one of Star Wars’ most iconic characters. If you felt the characterization of certain characters in The Clone Wars didn’t line up with their Prequel Trilogy counterparts, the final scene of The Clone Wars addresses that in a big way.
With Asoka Tano’s appearance in a recent Mandalorian, you might be itching to relive her early adventures. Obviously they start with Clone Wars, but her adventures continue.
This is the one I’m working on. There is so much crossover between Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Mandalorian: Asoka Tano. The Darksaber. Bo-Katan. Thrawn was namedropped. Mandalorian mixes up how it delivers callbacks, from subtle to overt. The most overt callbacks are to plot specific elements from these animated series.
I tend to marathon a few episodes of Rebels then take a break. There isn’t as much variety to the stories as there was on Clone Wars, so I take breaks when I feel like the episodes are blending together. That said, I know a bit about what’s to come (I’m near the end of season 2) and I’m excited to see some of the series’ most hyped episodes myself.
Rogue One and Solo
The A Star Wars Stories. If box office is to be believed, the odds are much better that you watched Rogue One than that you watched Solo.
Rogue One’s a movie I’m afraid to rewatch. I loved it when I left the theatre, but I was aware of inconsistent characterizations and questionable storytelling. However, Rogue One, like Avengers: End Game, is a movie where I can watch the last act like it’s its own short film. From when the Rebels arrive on Scarif to the Death Star plans getting handed to Princess Leia, and all of the Darth Vader bad assery in between.
If you haven’t seen Solo, it’s fun! There are a few cringeworthy moments shoehorning in explanations for non-mysteries , but that just means you’re in on the jokes! And overall, I think Solo’s strengths not only outweigh its weaknesses, they make it an enjoyable movie. In that way, it’s a perfect movie for streaming. Maybe it wasn’t worth going to theatres for, but it’s worth the two hours on your couch.
Coming Soon: Part 2!
Like I said, I didn’t intend for this post to be all Star Wars. Frankly, I love Star Wars. Having a streaming service dedicated to it and then some makes Disney+ worth it for me. The majority of my Disney+ viewing has been Star Wars. The majority, but not all.