Points for Discussion Regarding the Season 1 Finale of “Star Wars Resistance” on Disney Channel and XD

Last Sunday, the inaugural season of “Star Wars Resistance” had its finale on Disney Channel and Disney XD. It was certainly an action-packed temporary farewell to the Aces team of the Colossus Platform as they finally openly stand against the First Order. It was also an ending to some important relationships as characters cement their alignments on two opposing factions.

Here’s a list of discussion points regarding the two-part “Resistance” season finale “No Escape.” The first part of the episode aired back in March 10:

  1. Major plot tie-in to the 2015 sequel film “The Force Awakens,” as First Order General Hux denounces the New Republic by having Starkiller Base destroy the Republic capital on the Hosnian System. Among the numerous lives lost is the family of Resistance spy Kaz Xiono.
  2. Following the imprisonment of most of Team Fireball, the Aces and Commander Doza, Kaz leads his remaining allies to find a way to escape from Colossus. The solution: the platform itself, revealed to be a giant spaceship long concealed underwater.
  3. That realization plays into how the Colossus people begin to systematically remove First Order Stormtroopers from the place. Through quick decoy play they trick the troopers into sections that can be flooded, flushing them out into the ocean where the monster fishes eat their fill.
  4. First Order Agent Tierney has completely brought over Fireball mechanic Tam Ryvora, who willingly joins them and becomes hostile to her former friends. Since her only reference to the First Order’s predecessor the Empire, is her very kind factory worker grandfather, Tam supports their successors.
  5. After most of the season being spent in starfighter races, the Aces finally get into all-out combat with First Order TIE Fighters. Even ex-Imperial Griff Halloran seems genuinely invested in protecting Colossus from them. More aerial combat ensues and Kaz saves Jarek Yeagar by shooting down Vonreg in a dogfight.
  6. Space pirates have been the initial antagonists for the Colossus’ Aces before the First Order arrived. This time around they return to help their erstwhile victims against the TIEs. Granted, they have their own beef against the First Order, but a new alliance forms here.
  7. The appearance of a Star Destroyer forces the Colossus crew to fall back and escape into hyperspace. Their planned destination is the planet D’Qar, headquarters of the Resistance. Unfortunately the entered coordinates were incomplete, ensuring the Colossus will reappear somewhere else in the Galaxy. And in any case, the Resistance would ultimately abandon D’Qar as of “The Last Jedi” anyway.

“Star Wars Resistance” season two premieres this fall on Disney Channel and XD. It’ll be close to the cinematic arrival of “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

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James Gunn Rehired to Direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

One factor for the unlikely box-office success of 2014 MCU film “Guardians of the Galaxy” can be attributed perhaps to the inspired direction of James Gunn. He was able to repeat that triumph with the 2017 sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Unfortunately, work on a “Vol. 3” was stalled by some unfortunate circumstances.

When social media in 2018 floated old tweets (2008-2012) by Gunn, filled with jokes regarding touchy subjects like rape and pedophilia, Disney cut ties with him. This action upset MCU and “Guardians” fans even as he was hired by Warner-DC to pen a script for a possible “Suicide Squad” sequel/reboot.

Ultimately however, as CNN tells it, Disney decided to take James Gunn back. On Friday, March 15, Marvel Studios has reinstated him ad director for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” a possible installment in the upcoming Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

This is great news for fans of more adventures by Star-Lord and friends. Gunn had already finished a script for “Vol. 3” before he was fired in July 2018. Disney-Marvel decided not to actively pursue a replacement director and event moved back the film’s production to 2021. Now, development could pick up from the break.

But not immediately; Gunn is already committed to working on the new “Suicide Squad” film for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. He will be resuming work on “Guardians” afterwards, though Disney has given no further comment beyond confirming Gunn’s reinstatement.

The initial axing of Gunn from Marvel Studios was met with criticism by fans and pushback from both “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast members and sympathetic celebrities. It was pointed out that the director’s old offensive tweets were recovered by ultraconservatives in retaliation for Gunn’s criticism of US President Donald Trump, and that Disney’s action was caving to political pressure.

Both “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Vol. 2” combined earned Disney-Marvel a $1.6 billion take in the international box office.

Resort Hotels in Disney World Soon to Offer Mermaid Swimming Lessons for Age 4 and Up

“Mermaiding” in this day and age can mean either portraying artistically as a mermaid with costume tail, or swimming underwater like a mermaid with said tail. The performance aspect started in the early 20th Century, with the hobby and activity aspect starting up in the 1980s, even before Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” arrived in cinemas.

Still, the Disney animated classic was a big contributor to the eventual mermaiding subculture. And Walt Disney World looks to be harnessing some of that “Little Mermaid” magic for their summer 2019 special offer at four of their resort hotels.

“Mermaid School” will soon be available to participate in for Disney World guests who are staying at the Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and Beach Club Resort. Booking for this special swimming activity class starts mid-March, and will accept students four years old and above.

These resort hotels’ Mermaid School classes will be held twice a week on specific days: Art of Animation Resort will have theirs on Sundays and Thursdays; the Caribbean Beach Resort on Wednesdays and Fridays; both Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts will share their Mermaid classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Disney World’s Mermaid school starts at 8 AM and lasts for an hour. Participants will be taught how to swim like Ariel and other mermaids. In addition, all will be fitted with their own swimming-tail suits in their size as part of the package, which is worth $50 per head.

The Mermaid School classes are brought to Disney World in cooperation with the Florida-based Mermaid Academy, which offers mermaiding lessons and also manufactures swimming tails. These tails will also be offered for sale during Mermaid School sessions at Disney World.

For more information on this, should you be staying at the hotels mentioned above during your Disney World trip, you can visit their official blog to enroll, or call 407-WDW-PLAY.

Points of Discussion for Latest “Avengers: Endgame Trailer”

The Disney umbrella is busting out cinematic trailers like nobody’s business this week. Mere days after Disney Pictures itself sort of “redeemed” scary blue-skinned Will Smith by releasing a longer trailer for “Aladdin,” now we have another for their next Marvel Studios blockbuster, “Avengers: Endgame.”

While the previous teasers have focused on the current events of the MCU following “Avengers: Infinity War,” this trailer decides to dip in the past. In doing so it reminds viewers that “Endgame” is going to resolve myth elements of the first ten years of the saga, and the 21 films that came before. Let’s go list some trailer stuff that makes for good discussion.

  1. Reminders of the past: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in his last recording to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) talks of his origin story. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) recalls his “Winter Soldier” conversation with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) remembers his father Odin and his home Asgard.
  2. How did Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) go from secret agent archer to samurai-like vigilante? A seeming flashback with his daughter from “Age of Ultron” seems to be a hint; said daughter even visually resembles the second/female Hawkeye (named Kate Bishop) from the source comic books. And vigilante-Clint has a Mohawk.
  3. Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) does get out of the Quantum Realm (from “Ant-Man and the Wasp”) as seen in one of the previous teasers. He’s seeing a lot of missing posters in his neighborhood. Did something happen to his family?
  4. Steve’s recently meme-worthy line: “I keep telling everybody they should move on. Some do; but not us.” To this, Natasha Romanov/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) adds the following, “Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to anyone who’s not in this room to try.”
  5. The surviving Avengers and other heroes prepare for their rematch against Thanos (Josh Brolin) in their own way; at least the ones on Earth are.
  6. Eventually, Tony’s own group of stranded space survivors makes it to Earth. And they go off to find Thanos wearing identical uniform spacesuits. These were spoiled in official LEGO sets.
  7. Post-titles, Thor tests Carol Danvers/Captan Marvel (Brie Larson) by summoning his Stormbreaker axe close to her head. She doesn’t react; he approves of her nerve.

“Avengers: Endgame” premieres April 26.

Possible “Episode IX” Subtitle Reveal or Teaser at Chicago’s “Star Wars Celebration” Next Month

We’re now in the third month of 2019 with the ninth “Star Wars” film waiting this December. As you know, they still haven’t revealed the subtitle for this grand conclusion. After all, the Sequel Trilogy of Episodes VII-IX will bring a definite end toe Skywalker Family saga according to Lucasfilm.

No subtitle and no teaser. What should we expect with this, following the brutal “plot subversions” from “The Last Jedi”? CNET has it that a wait for answers might not take long now. A Twitter post from the official page of the “Star Wars Celebration” event in Chicago, hints at info from a major source.

Said source is J.J. Abrams, director of “Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and now of “Episode IX.” Abrams will be part of a movie panel during Star Wars Celebration on April 12. The tweet description boasted that this is the panel “Star Wars” fans have waited for. So foreboding, much?

While Disney itself hasn’t said anything regarding the “Star Wars: Episode IX” panel description on the Star Wars Celebration tweet, for the fans on social media this is the clouds of mystery parting. All bets are that Abrams will do a title reveal on his panel, or introduce teaser footage. Or both as others believe.

J.J. Abrams will be accompanied on the Star Wars Celebration film panel by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and several, unidentified special guests. The only concern fans have is that for those planning to attend at Chicago the lines for tickets are said to be long.

Star Wars Episode IX” arrives in cinemas at December 20, whether any significant reveals are made next month or not.

Planned MCU Film “Shang-Chi” Gets a Director

Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is already on the verge of being done, now that “captain Marvel” has premiered and “Avengers: Endgame” follows next month. The following “Phase 4” also has its start well in hand, as “Spider-Man: Far from Home” premieres July.

What isn’t set fully in stone yet are what other films will come out for MCU Phase 4. No less than seven specific movies have been mentioned to be in early development and only two of them (“Black Widow” and “The Eternals”) have start of filming dates mentioned. A third, “Shang-Chi,” might soon approach that level of prep now that Marvel Studios found a director.

The Hollywood Reporter has it that Destin Daniel Cretton has been picked by Marvel Studios to be at the helm for the production of “Shang-Chi.” This in-development MCU installment could become the first movie of the franchise to have an Asian main character (and lead).

Marvel Studios actually had a pool of potential directors for the film. Other directorial names that were considered before the final choice of Cretton are:

  1. Justin Tipping (“Dear White People”)
  2. Alan Yang (“Tigertail”)
  3. Deborah Chow (“Marvel’s Jessica Jones” on Netflix and “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” on Disney+)

Incidentally, Destin Daniel Cretton has worked with two MCU cast members. His current film project “Just Mercy” actually has him directing Michael B. Jordan (from “Black Panther”) and Brie “Captain Marvel” Larson herself.

The Marvel character “Shang-Chi” is a highly skilled Kung-Fu master if un-powered ordinary human, with a(n immortal) Chinese father and Caucasian mother. He has been a member of several Marvel Comics teams including the Avengers.

An interesting fact about his character history is that Shang-Chi originated from licensed properties. His first comic title came about after Marvel failed to get a license to adapt the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu.” Furthermore, his father is the stock Chinese villain Fu Manchu. A later Marvel storyline ret-cons this person into an original immortal character who only used “Fu Manchu” as an alias.

Marvel’s “Shang-Chi” already has a screenwriter with Dave Callahan (“Wonder Woman 1984”) while Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Jonathan Schwartz are executive producers. Perhaps the next step is to cast a (preferably Asian-background) lead actor.

Meanwhile, the current MCU installment “Captain Marvel” is still showing.

Disney Acquisition of Fox Assets to Happen March 20

Okay, let’s go over this one more time. In December 2017, Disney shocked the world by announcing its bid to acquire key media assets from Fox for $71 billion. The following year they beat off a competing offer from Comcast, and began work gaining approval from the world’s antitrust regulators.

By the time 2019 rolled around, both Disney and Fox would say to the public that the deal could be finalized in a matter of time. CNN reports that the time has been nailed down to an exact date. Brace yourselves: the Fox asset acquisition’s happening a week from now.

Effective March 20, certain media organs from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox – the 20th Century Fox film studio, FX, Nat Geo, a portion of controlling stake in Hulu, et cetera – will all belong to Disney in an entertainment media masterstroke spearheaded by CEO Bob Iger.

In terms of pros, for instance Disney might finally reclaim the film rights to Marvel’s other big franchise aside from the Avengers: the X-Men. In terms of cons, well, the consolidation of the Fox assets into the Disney umbrella will certainly see some organizational restructuring, and layoffs. Around 5,000 people from both sides could lose their jobs according to analysts.

Meanwhile, the remnants of 21st Century Fox will be reorganized into simply “Fox,” centered on the Fox Network, Fox News and Fox Sports. A few more global regulatory approvals are pending before the big day comes one week from now.

In addition, Disney must also sell off its acquired 22 Fox-related regional sports networks to satisfy antitrust conditions, considering the media giant already owns ESPN.

Points of Interest in New “Aladdin” Remake Trailer

Of the three big Disney live-action remakes of their Animated Canon coming out this year (two if you discount the photorealistic CGI of “The Lion King”), “Aladdin” seems to come across as the weakest link. Its first teaser was minimalistic, and a later follow-up sort of “scarred” viewers who criticized the SFX work for Will Smith as the blue-hued Genie.

While “Dumbo” and “The Lion King” worked interest consistently with their previews, “Aladdin” was considered to be flubbing its own promotion. But when Disney finally released a full trailer for the movie on Tuesday, a vocal part of the criticism shut up; it was beautiful.

Let’s list some talking points:

  1. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) evading the palace guards (surely leading to the “One Jump Ahead” number) was pretty frenetic, with parkour choreography that would recall videogames like “Prince of Persia” (also adapted by Disney) or “Assassin’s Creed”
  2. Jafar’s (Marwan Kenzari) recruitment of Aladdin for the Cave of Wonders; rather than disguising himself thoroughly he appears to play himself in pitching the lamp-fetching to our hero; he still sounds kind of squeaky, but he doesn’t look overly sinister, which might explain why he’s trusted in Agrabah
  3. The first appearance of Genie (Will Smith) sees him act like the classic Arabian Night archetype rather than Robin Williams’ manic standup comedian…at first, then he gets to the funny dazzle
  4. “A Friend Like Me,” nuff said
  5. Aladdin discussing his Prince wish to Genie has the latter point out the vagaries of it – between “Make ME a Prince” and “MAKE me a PRINCE” – by conjuring a Prince that talks like he came from Bel-Air
  6. Genie giving “Prince Ali” wooing advice for Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) calls to mind Smith’s role in 2005’s “Hitch,” but with magic powers
  7. “A Whole New World” would like to point out to viewers that Scott is a singer
  8. Short snippets like a(n apparently authentic) Middle Eastern dance with Ali and Jasmine, and Ali being tossed into the sea while bound to a chair, show that this movie will not carbon-copy scenes from the 1993 original animation
  9. More action sequences like Aladdin doing parkour on an icy chasm, plus being chased by an apparently enlarged Iago the parrot help add an epic live-action scale to the narrative
  10. On an aside that’s not included on the trailer, Iago in this film will be voiced by Alan Tudyk rather than Gilbert Gottfried; whether he’s fitting or not remains to be heard

Disney’s “Aladdin” arrives in theaters this May 24.

NY Yankees to Repurchase YES Network from Disney, 1 of 22 RSNs that Need to be Divested from Fox Deal

Flash back to the minute details of the ongoing (but hopefully soon-to-conclude) Disney acquisition of media assets from Fox. The epic deal was first seen with caution by antitrust regulators. Ultimately Disney got a pass from the US government by agreeing to divest itself of 22 regional sports networks included in the initial asset package, to avoid antitrust charges due to Disney ownership of ESPN.

The Business Journals reports that before last weekend, Disney has entered into an agreement with the New York Yankees MLB team regarding the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network. YES Network is one of the 22 regional sports networks (RSN) that the House of Mouse must sell off as part of the conditions to gain regulatory approval for the rest of its FOX media acquisitions.

YES_Network_logo

Launched in 2002, YES Network primarily broadcasts games of the NY Yankees, NYC FC of Major League Soccer and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, alongside other sports-related programs and documentaries. In 2012 it was acquired by Fox, and got included in their Disney deal since 2017. Because Disney already has ESPN, regulators required them to lose YES and the other Fox RSNs, with the company beginning to look for potential buyers.

Fox Business adds that the valuation of YES Network for repurchase by the Yankees is at $3.5 billion. Several companies are also part of the deal, receiving minority shares to the network: Sinclair Broadcast Group, Amazon and Blackstone Media Group.

The Department of Justice mandates that Disney has 90 days to find buyers for all its remaining RSNs in the Fox portfolio. This explains their low-billion-dollar offers like with YES Network, to encourage buyers. The closing of the Disney-Fox deal is described to be imminent.

List of Eating Places and Food Item Samples to Expect at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this Year

At the start of this month we ran a little feature and list of what sorts of shops to expect when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens this year on two Disney theme parks. We’ve already established that the expansion theme area will be immersive, genuine playing its setting as the smuggling town of Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu.

But aside from that, and of course the heavily-anticipated rides and attractions (one of which will actually open later than the rest), Galaxy’s Edge will also offer a unique experience for its guests who have come to their corner of the Galaxy far, far away: alien dining and exotic cuisine.

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If you could recall the cantina scenes from the original trilogy, or the dining room of Anakin’s house on Tatooine during the prequels, or even Luke milking green muck from an Ahch-to alien in the sequels, then you somewhat know what to expect from the dining facilities of Galaxy’s Edge.

But really, it’s thematic keyfabe. The new area’s going to dazzle diners with artfully-plated extraterrestrial food that (thankfully) should taste approximately to yummy Earth stuff. Here’s a short list of the three primary dining locations for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge:

  1. Black Spire Outpost Market – alfresco dining with plenty of “alien patrons” and droids milling about
  2. Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo – the outpost’s cargo depot, also the gathering spot for “travelling food shuttles” aka food trucks
  3. Olga’s Cantina – a sendup to similar cantinas in the Outer Rim; features ex-pilot droid DJ R-3X mixing music while the staff mixes galactic drinks (both alcoholic and not, to cater to everyone)

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But just what kind of alien food is in store when tourists to Black Spire Outpost decide to chow down. Here’s a sample list of menu items across all the places mentioned above. Let’s see if you enjoy the selection:

  1. Blue and Green Milk – Blue Milk was from the first “Star Wars” film ever, and Green was already mentioned
  2. Braised Shaak Roast – beef pot
  3. Felucian Garden Spread – veggie meatballs
  4. Fried Endorian Tip Yip – fried poultry
  5. Ithorian Garden Loaf – veggie meatloaf
  6. Meiloorun Juice, Turkey Jerky & Ronto Wrap Set – Batuu’s take on a Mexican snack set
  7. Moogan Tea, Blue Bantha, Bloody Rancor, Black Spire Brew, Carbon Freeze, Oga’s Obsession Provision & Cliff Dweller – the non-alcoholic menu for Olga’s Cantina
  8. Outpost Mix – popcorn
  9. Oven-Roasted Burra Fish – obvious from the name
  10. Oven-Roasted Tip Yip – if you want chicken roasted, not fried
  11. Phattro and Moof Juice – neither milk nor alcohol
  12. Raspberry Creme Puff with Passion Fruit Mousse, & Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse and Coffee Custard – self explanatory
  13. Smoked Kaadu Ribs – pork ribs
  14. The Outer Rim, Bespin Fizz, Yub Nub and Fuzzy Tauntaun – Olga’s alcoholic cocktails
  15. Yobshrimp Noodle Salad – finally, here’s their oriental cuisine approximation

Star Wars: GalaxyÕs Edge Ð OgaÕs Cantina Beverages

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in Disneyland on May 31 and on Disney World’s Hollywood Studios on August 29. A third location has begun work on Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, opening 2021-2025.