AVATAR Sequels Finally Get Release Dates

It’s now official: the trips to Pandora will re-commence in December 2020.

Director James Cameron revealed at last year’s CinemaCon that there will be four sequels to the original Avatar, which is still the top-grossing film of all time at the global box office. The 2009 entry into the franchise made $2.8 billion worldwide.

In the meantime, the Tours to Pandora feature at Walt Disney World in Orlando will begin May 27, 2017. It’s part of the productions partnership with Disney Animal Kingdoms, and was announced in August 2015. In a February 2017 conference call, Disney exec Bob Iger announced that the new park would be opening this summer.

 




H2O #154: In Which We Discuss the Premiere of DOCTOR WHO

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The Doctor has returned! And he’s got a new companion (two, really). And he’s got photos on his desk! And he’s got a desk! And a vault! What’s he got in the vault? Probably the thing that’s going to keep him Earth-bound this year, very much as he was in his Third incarnation…

After having seen the episode twice, we found plenty of things to like and plenty of things to wonder and speculate about. Sonic screwdrivers. Penguins. Lectures about physics and poetry (they both rhyme). And Susan! That photograph isn’t there by accident. With the original Cybermen making an appearance later this season, it’s a sure bet that the photo of the Doctor’s granddaughter is there for a reason.

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Programming note: H2O is now on a bi-weekly schedule, so every other Saturday is when you’ll get a new episode.

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CHRONONAUTS To Hit the Big Screen for Universal

Deadline is reporting that playwright & screenwriter Philip Gawthorne will be writing Universal Pictures’ big screen adaptation of the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Chrononauts, created by Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy. Chris Morgan of the Fast & Furious franchise will produce under his Chris Morgan Productions banner.

RELATED ~ 2016 Eisner Winners Announced

Gawthorne comes to the project after writing an adapation for Kojak and the remake of Cube, and is currently co-writing Black Hole and World Breaker.

The story follows Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly, two scientific geniuses who crack time travel and go on an adventure, televising the experiment along the way. They love to have fun, and now that they have time travel in their hands, will they work for the betterment of mankind? And what happens when things go horribly wrong… as they do.

Millar is also the writer of Marvel Comics’ original Civil War event, and he later formed the Millarverse with original creator-owned titles such as Wanted and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Murphy is an Eisner-winning artist who created Punk Rock Jesus and has worked on several DC Comics titles.

Ainsley Davies will oversee the project for Chris Morgan Productions, with Universal’s Jay Polidoro supervising for the studio.

 




AGENTS OF HYDRA Gives Us Fits About Fitz — LEVEL ELEVENTY-SEVEN #114

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Episode 418 “No Regrets”
Written by Paul Zbyszewski
Directed by Eric Laneuville

Finally, the introduction of Dad… and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is starting to lose a little of that self-assured swagger he’s been sporting in the Framework. Is Madame Hydra (Mallory Jansen) telling him everything? Or is she manipulating her lover at the same time she’s digging her claws into the rest of everyone’s world?

It’s clear that the elder Fitz (David O’Hara) has had a profound impact on his son’s upbringing and resulting character and personality, and it’s also clear why the “real” Fitz doesn’t want to have anything to do with the man. The lovable Leo Fitz is a product of his mother’s influence, and it remains to be seen what happens when the team gets out of the Framework and Fitz has to confront his memories of this twisted version of himself.

Likewise with Mack (Henry Simmons), who’s going to eventually have to give up the idea of being with his daughter Hope (Jordan Rivera). And though Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) is affected by that one relatively happy tableau, she’s still keenly aware that this is all just a digital make-believe world. Jemma faces a crisis of conscience, of a sort, complicated by the fact that Mace (Jason O’Mara) and Ward (Brett Dalton) don’t buy her story.

May (Ming-Na Wen) also faces a crisis of conscience when faced with the notion that Hydra will brainwash and kill people to keep them compliant. In the face of her failure at Baharain, her failure at Cambridge, and the way Daisy (Chloe Bennet) has been trying to get through to her, maybe — just maybe — there are things finally not adding up. Unless 1 + 1 = terrigenesis and a lot of whoopins…

Props to O’Mara for his very solid performance this week. His life in the Framework as the Patriot is worthy of song.

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The panel: Maia Ades, Mindy Inlow, Sam Sentman, Timothy Harvey, Jason Hunt

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Philip K. Dick Award Winner Announced

The 2017 Philip K. Dick Award has a winner.

It was announced Friday, April 14 at Norwescon 40 that The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper has won the award for distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time in 2016.

Set thirty years in the future, the story follows a former soldier Allen “Mercy” Quincy, survivor of the third world war. Mercy suffers from PTSD, and he’s haunted by survivor’s guilt along with mnemectomy — the process of putting unwanted memories outside of self in an attempt to degrade them. After meeting a dancer named Ruby and starting to move on with his life, Mercy’s brother reappears with news that Mercy’s missing sons have been spotted, and the two begin a search for the children in a journey north to the family cabin on Vancouver Island.

Special citation went to Unpronounceable by Susan diRende.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust, and is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society with the award ceremony sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society. This year’s judges were Michael Armstrong, Brenda Clough, Meg Elison, Lee Konstantinou, and Ben Winters.

You can see the presentation here (thanks, Don!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAtLrF36_lM

 




New XANTH Film and TV Franchise in Development

[featured image: cover art by Michael Whelan]

Variety reports that Steven Paul’s Sp Entertainment Group is developing a series of film and television projects adapting Piers Anthony’s Xanth fantasy series.

Beginning with A Spell for Chameleon (1977), the series originally was planned as a trilogy — the next two being The Source of Magic and Castle Roogna — but Anthony continued in the wake of strong positive reception from fans. It’s now one of the world’s largest fantasy book series, with number 41, Ghost Writer in the Sky, set to be published this month. Anthony noted in the Author’s Notes for book 27, Cube Route, that the first trilogy was now complete. (27 = 3 cubed)

The Xanth series is set in a universe where humans are born with unique magical abilities, and the stories generally center around people with “Magician” level abilities. There are also centaurs, demons, dragons, gargoyles, golems, naga, nymphs, ogres, zombies, and a host of other magical an fictional beasts. Some half-humans also have been found to possess magical abilities as the series progressed.

A Spell for Chameleon tells the story of Bink of North Village. Bink, it seems, possessed no magic and was afraid he would be exiled. Except the charts say Bink has power at the level of the King or the Evil Magician Trent. But no one can figure out just how Bink’s power manifests itself, Bink gets exiled to Mundania, where he has to figure himself out. Along the way he meets a strange woman named Chameleon (so named because her beauty and intelligence shift in inverse proportions depending on the time of month). They also encounter evil magician Trent, who wants to invade Xanth.

Paul will produce along with Hans Futterman and Spike Seldin, who heads development and production for SPE. Paul’s genre credits include Ghost in the Shell and the two Ghost Rider movies.




World Fantasy Awards Unveil New Design

The World Fantasy Awards has a new award design.

Following a year-long competition, the World Fantasy Awards Administration and the Board of the World Fantasy Convention selected a design from artist and scupltor Vincent Villafranca. The new design will be presented at the World Fantasy Awards in San Antonio, TX during the annual convention November 2-5, 2017.

The selection process involved invitations to artists with a proficiency in 3-D arts in the fantasy and horror communities. The shortlisted contenders were asked to supply a model of their designs, which were then provided to a foundry for quotes on pricing to make sure the new award would fit within the budget of conventions moving forward.

The World Fantasy Award Statuettes are for excellence within the Fantasy genre, presented annually at the World Fantasy Convention. The categories are Life Achievement, Novel, Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Anthology, Collection, Artist, Special Award-Professional and Special Award-Non-Professional.

The original award, a bust of author H.P. Lovecraft, was designed by Gahan Wilson. However, with increased controversy surrounding Lovecraft’s perceived prejudice, the design was retired after forty years of use. Lovecraft’s image will still be used for the nominee pins given to all who are shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award.

The design itself follows the Administration’s desire for an award that would encompass the entirety of the fantasy field, from high fantasy to horror. Trees can be found throughout our various cultures, from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to Yggdrasill, trees have featured in a number of stories that would fall into the fantasy genre.

 




Josh Brolin Joins the Other Marvel Universe as Cable

Josh Brolin is moving from one Marvel movie universe to the other, joining Deadpool 2 as Cable. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the deal involves four films.

Brolin, who plays villain Thanos in the Marvel Studios series of films, was a surprise contender for the role. Short list included Michael Shannon and David Harbour, with other names bandied about including Ron Perlman and Stephen Lang, who made it known he was interested not long after rumors started spreading that the character would be in the film. (Lang even allowed for the possibility that his involvement in the Avatar franchise would prevent him from playing Cable.)

Brolin joins Zazie Beetz, who was recently added to the cast as the superpowered mercenary Domino. He will soon be seen again as Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War from Marvel/Disney.

Deadpool 2 is set to begin production in June, shooting in Vancouver under the direction of David Leitch.




AGENTS OF HYDRA Will Ruin Fitz — LEVEL ELEVENTY-SEVEN #113

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Episode 417 “Identity and Change”
Written by George Kitson
Directed by Garry A. Brown

First, a discussion of the newly released trailer for Thor: Ragnarok:

https://youtu.be/v7MGUNV8MxU

We finally catch up with Mack (Henry Simmons) and his daughter Hope (Jordan Rivera). They’re living off the radar, keeping their heads down. Only Hope jeopardizes that a bit by picking up a Hydra drone that went on the fritz. So when they get picked up, it’s very much a bad place for Mack. He ends up being set up by May (Ming-Na Wen) to expose Daisy (Chloe Bennet) as a mole within the organization.

Meanwhile, Coulson (Clark Gregg) is remembering slightly just a little more, and he goes with Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Ward (Brett Dalton) to find Radcliff (John Hanna) in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. And things do not go well. At. All.

Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is going to be one messed up dude when all of this is over…

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The panel: Maia Ades, Mindy Inlow, Kammie Settle, Jason Hunt

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H2O #153: In Which We Discuss The Return of DOCTOR WHO

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This week: the return of Doctor Who! As the tenth season of the revived series draws ever closer to our TV screens (and some cinema screens), we take a look at the upcoming teases and possible spoilers. Not only is this Steven Moffat’s last year as showrunner, but it’s also Peter Capaldi’s last season, and it looks as if Pearl Mackie may be a companion for only one season. Will Chris Chibnall do away with just about everything? Or is this a plan to give him a clean slate for the next season and the next Doctor?

Plus: what’s this we hear about John Simm returning as the Master? Along with Michelle Gomez as Missy? Could Derek Jacoby and Eric Roberts be waiting in the wings?

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Programming note: H2O is now on a bi-weekly schedule, so every other Saturday is when you’ll get a new episode.

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Squirrel Girl to Lead NEW WARRIORS on Freeform

[featured image: Marvel.com]

Hold onto your nuts, folks. Marvel has just announced that Squirrel Girl is coming to television.

The Hollywood Reporter first had the news that Freeform, which will be home to the teen drama Cloak & Dagger, has put in a straight-to-series order for New Warriors, a half-hour scripted comedy from Marvel, with Cougar Town‘s Kevin Biegel in talks to write the pilot and step in as showrunner.

“Freeform’s mission is to deliver incredible content to young adults and Marvel Television seamlessly aligns with that mission — we couldn’t be more proud to collaborate with them on Marvel’s New Warriors,” said Karey Burke, exec VP of programming and development at Freeform.

The series’ first season will be ten episodes, and will feature Doreen Green, also known as the increasingly popular character Squirrel — described as “tough, optimistic, and a natural leader”. She has the powers of a squirrel: acrobatic, can fight, and she can talk to squirrels. But her most important attribute is her faith in others.

From the announcement at Marvel. com:

“Marvel’s New Warriors” is about six young people with powers living and working together.  With powers and abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum of The Avengers, the New Warriors want to make a difference in the world… Even if the world isn’t ready.  Not quite super, not yet heroes, “Marvel’s New Warriors” is about that time in your life when you first enter adulthood and feel like you can do everything and nothing at once — except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.

Marvel’s New Warriors have always been fan favorites and now particularly with the addition of Squirrel Girl, they are Marvel Television favorites as well,” said Marvel’s Head of Television and Executive Producer Jeph Loeb.   “After the amazing experience we’ve had with Freeform on Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger we can’t think of a better place for our young heroes.” Loeb and Jim Chory will again serve as executive producers.

Freeform’s Burke tells THR, “The more we got to know Marvel and the more comfortable they got with us as the home for their young adult IP, these conversations became easier. They started to see our strength with young adults and together we could create a pipeline for content that was specific to our audience that felt younger than what they’re doing at the other channels.”

Freeform’s target demographic is known as “becomers” — the younger crowd on the cusp of becoming adults, tweens, etc. With shows like Shadowhunters and now two Marvel properties, the cable network is past the point where they’re “dipping a toe in” with regard to genre fare.

Cloak & Dagger has been shooting in New Orleans with a planned release in 2018. New Warriors has a planned release in winter 2018. When asked about the schedule, Burke said, “We’re modeling schedules now as we head into the upfront [on April 19]. That is one alternative. Or we may stick with a comedy night and a drama night as originals that we’re doing now.”

Burke also acknowledges that discussions about casting have already included talk about Anna Kendrick and Shannon Purser: “Those names have come up! This network has made a lot of stars and we’re in a unique position with Squirrel Girl and Marvel. The character is such a calling card. I’m interested to see if name actresses feel right for it. ” Burke also confirms they have the rest of the team in place (characters, not cast), but he’s not allowed to say at this time.

So… this might actually now be a thing:

https://twitter.com/Bosslogic/status/749126199696240640

 




AGENTS OF HYDRA Returns With No Regrets? — LEVEL ELEVENTY-SEVEN #112

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Episode 416 “What If…”
Written by DJ Doyle
Directed by Oz Scott

The Triskelion is intact! Skye is back! Ward is back! Tahiti is back! It’s old home week, as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings back a few elements of season one — and actually uses them in a way that makes the whole episode much more interesting that most of the entire first season. Even Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) is watchable in this episode! Of course, it’s no surprise that he’s a turncoat still, even in this made up virtual universe.

And poor Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge). After being dumped in the bottom of the ocean, almost drowned, stranded on an alien planet… now she’s a zombie.

In the tradition of Marvel’s What If…? series of comic books telling stories in alternate universes, tonight’s episode sets up a world in which everything is topsy-turvy. How much do our heroes realize they’re supposed to be the heroes and not the villains? How much will Coulson (Clark Gregg) remember?

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The panel: Maia Ades, Mindy Inlow, Dan Handley, Sam Sentman, Tim Harvey, Jason Hunt

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2017 Hugo Award Finalists Announced

The World Science Fiction Society has announced the nominees for the 2017 Hugo Awards to be presented in Helsinki, Finland during the 75th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) to be held August 9-13, 2017.

Best Series

  • The Craft Sequence – Max Goldstone
  • The Expanse – James S. A. Corey
  • The October Daye Books – Seanan McGuire
  • Peter Grant/Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
  • Temeraire – Naomi Novik
  • The Vorkosigan Saga – Lois McMaster Bujold

Note: The “Best Series” category is not a permanent category.

Best Fan Artist

  • Ninni Aalto
  • Alex Garner
  • Vesa Lehtimäki
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Mansik Yang

Best Fan Writer

  • Mike Glyer
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Natalie Luhrs
  • Foz Meadows
  • Abigail Nussbaum
  • Chuck Tingle

Best Fancast

  • The Coode Street Podcast – Gary K. Wolfe & Jonathan Strahan
  • Ditch Diggers – Mur Lafferty & Matt Wallace
  • Fangirl Happy Hour – Ana Grilo & Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia – Alisa Krasnostein, Alexander Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • The Rageaholic – Razörfist
  • Tea and Jeopardy – Emma Newman with Peter Newman

Best Fanzine

  • Castalia House Blog – Jeffro Johnson
  • Journey Planet – James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Helena Nash, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, Erin Underwood
  • Lady Business – Clare, Ira, Jodie, K. J., Renay, Susan
  • Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together – The  G, Vance Kotrla & Joe Sherry
  • Rocket Stack Rank – Greg Hullender & Eric Wong
  • SF Bluestocking – Bridget McKinney

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies – Scott H. Andrews
  • Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine – P. Alexander
  • Gigantosaurus – Rashida J. Smith
  • Strange Horizons – Niall Harrison, Catherine Krahe, Vajra Chandrasekera, Vanessa Rose Phin, Li Chua, Aishwarya Subramanian, Tim Moore, Anaea Lay, Staff
  • Uncanny Magazine – Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • The Book Smugglers – Ana Grilo & Thea James

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • Chris McGrath
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

Best Editor – Long Form

  • Vox Day
  • Shiela E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Editor – Short Form

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

  • Black Mirror, “San Junipero”
  • Doctor Who, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”
  • The Expanse, “Leviathan Wakes”
  • Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards”
  • Game of Thrones, “The Door”
  • Splendor & Misery

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

  • Arrival
  • Deadpool
  • Ghostbusters
  • Hidden Figures
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Stranger Things: Season One

Best Graphic Story

  • Black Panther Vol 1: A Nation Under Our Feet – Ta-Nehisi Coates & Brian Stelfreeze
  • Monstress Vol 1: Awakening – Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
  • Ms. Marvel Vol 5: Super Famous – G. Willow Wilson & Takeshi Miyazawa
  • Paper Girls Vol 1 – Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, Jared Fletcher
  • Saga Vol 6 – Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughn, Fonografiks
  • The Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than a Man – Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Best Related Work

  • The Geek Feminist Revolution – Kameron Hurley
  • The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg – Robert Silverberg & Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
  • The View From the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman
  • Women of Harry Potter – Sarah Gailey
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books – Ursula K. Le Guin

Best Short Story

  • “The City Born Great” – N. K. Jemisin
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” – Alyssa Wong
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” – Brooke Bolander
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron” – Amal El-Mohtar
  • “That Game We Played During the War” – Carrie Vaughn
  • “An Unimaginable Light” – John C. Wright

Best Novelette

  • Alien Stripper Boned From Behind by the T-Rex – Stix Hiscock
  • The Art of Space Travel – Nina Allan
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary – Fran Wilde
  • The Tomato Thief – Ursula Vernon
  • Touring With the Alien – Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay – Alyssa Wong

Best Novella

  • The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson
  • Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
  • Penric and the Shaman – Lois McMaster Bujold
  • A Taste of Honey – Kai Ashante Wilson
  • This Census-Taker – China Miéville

Best Novel

  • All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders
  • A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
  • Death’s End – Cixin Liu
  • Ninefox Gambit – Yoon Ha Lee
  • The Obelisk Gate – N. K. Jemisin
  • Too Like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

The WSFS also presents the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, given to the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer in the previous two years.

John W. Campbell Award

  • Sarah Gailey
  • J. Mulrooney
  • Malka Older
  • Ada Palmer
  • Laurie Penny
  • Kelly Robson

The finalists were announced via YouTube:

https://youtu.be/jm5zVLFWbqE

2,464 nominating ballots were cast this year, the second highest total in the history of the Hugos. Voting on the finalists will continue until July.

The Hugo Awards are presented every year by the World Science Fiction Society to honor the best of science fiction and fantasy from the prior calendar year. Only members of the WSFS may vote on the finalists to decide the winners. For more information on the Hugo Awards, see www.thehugoawards.org. For more information about the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, see www.writertopia.com/awards/campbell.

 

 




ECHO CHAMBER: Rebooting THE MATRIX Is a Terrible Idea. Or Is It?

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Recently, the Internet buzzed with the news that Warner Bros. is contemplating a reboot of The Matrix to be the Next Big Franchise to Make All The Moneys.

But is this a good idea? What stories are left to tell in that virtual universe? Do we need to know Agent Smith’s origin? Do we need to see a young Morpheus? Neo as a child? And what special effects innovation can be the next Bullet Time? Or is there potential for some really good stories yet to be told? Can we dive back into the Matrix after all this time?

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The panel: Mindy Inlow, Sonya Rodriguez, Thomas Townley, Tim Harvey, Jason Hunt

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STAR WARS REBELS Shows Us What We Should Have Had All Season

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Episode 321 & 322 “Zero Hour”
Part 1 Written by Steven Melching
Part 2 Written by Henry Gilroy & Matt Michnovetz
Directed by Justin Ridge

[photos: Lucasfilm]

This two-part story gives us the Grand Admiral we’ve been hoping to see all season, and if we weren’t getting a new season (we are), the show would be in a good place to stop. Except it’s not stopping, so we don’t have to worry about it.

We finally see Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson) in his role as brilliant tactician, using art as his method for examining races and cultures to predict how everyone is going to react to his maneuvers. His ships set up a blockade and start attacking the base on Atollon, and no one can escape because Thrawn has two Interdictor cruisers with him, setting up a hyperspace-negative bubble from which no ship can escape to get help.

And it would have worked, too, if it hadn’t been for that mangy mutt Commander Sato (Keone Young) and those pesky kids the command ship drawing Admiral Konstantine (Dee Bradley Baker) and one of the Interdictors out of position — by colliding with it head on.

Farewell, Commander Sato.

That creates an escape path for Ezra (Taylor Gray) and Chopper, who make contact with Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). Only they can’t afford to send any reinforcements because Thrawn would likely wipe out all of them and leave the Rebellion hanging out to dry. So Ezra heads to Mandalore to enlist the help of Sabine (Tiya Sircar).

Meanwhile, Hera (Vanessa Marshall) and General Dodonna (Michael Bell) are trying to coordinate an evacuation while Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) heads out to warn the Bendu (Tom Baker) about the attack, and just maybe there’s a chance he can get the Bendu to help. Only the Bendu refuses, saying he’s the one in the middle.

Except when the Imperial forces blast the planet to powder, the Bendu takes a little exception to that. As Thrawn and his forces overpower the base, Ezra and the Mandalorians are sabotaging the second Interdictor, giving the rebels a chance to escape. The Bendu, having had enough of this, appears in a giant cloud of smoke and starts pelting the planet with Force lightning, and it doesn’t matter who gets hit. He’s just had enough.

Overall, it was a solid two-part hour, and it only reinforces my thought that the entire season could have been like this. I’m still trying to figure out of the writers were told to limit their use of Thrawn, or they weren’t quite sure what to do with him, or they had to coordinate behind the scenes with Timothy Zahn for the book… or whatever. This is the kind of thing that should have been happening all season. Instead, we got sidetracked way too many times.

But at least it looks like next season will be based on Dantooine. That will take us one step closer to Star Wars and Rogue One, where the base is on Yavin. At some point, the Dantooine base has to feature in the story, and it would be fitting if the entire fourth season was spent with Thrawn chasing the rebels all the way to the Corporate Sector and back, with the high and mighty Grand Admiral trading witty barbs with Darth Vader over who’s got the better success rate running Mon Mothma’s Merry Men to ground.

 

Don’t miss our Star Wars related shows Salacious Crumbs and Star Wars Cribs on our YouTube channel, SciFi4Me TV.