How should the New Republic rebuild after the events of the sequel trilogy? In this episode, we debate issues like galactic representation, collective security, and planetary rights as we try to design the ideal structure for the new government. Does the New Republic need a big military? Should it go back to rotating its capital planet? How should it interface with the new Jedi Order? There are disagreements aplenty in this episode of Hoth Takes. Plus, Grace questions the very need for a galactic government, and Haley asks a provocative question about Force knowledge.
The success of Andor has created a new benchmark for quality Star Wars storytelling. But what lessons can Disney actually learn from Andor? What does its popularity tell us about the kinds of Star Wars stories that can succeed? And what does its success imply about the strengths and weaknesses of Disney’s existing Star Wars strategy? In this episode, we explore the perils of open-ended television series, the pitfalls of Disney’s risk aversion, and the challenges posed by cameos and synergy. Plus, we discuss how dark Star Wars can get, how to balance iconic Star Wars trappings with new settings and points of view, and how Disney can branch out into new genres and formats.
Recent Star Wars projects like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor have shown us the strengths and weaknesses of the Imperial surveillance state. But how effective are the Empire’s cameras, databases, and scanners, and how well do storytellers justify the failure of this technology to snare our heroes and stamp out the Rebellion? In this episode, Wired security reporter Lily Hay Newman joins Eric and Grace to discuss the depiction of surveillance in Star Wars. We discuss how the franchise has to adhere to its roots in the technological imagination of the 1970s, how the scale of the galaxy and the complexity of the Imperial bureaucracy might undermine an effective panopticon, and how mod parlors and other tricks can defeat surveillance. Plus, Grace and Eric offer some creative explanations for why Imperial security cameras aren’t constantly alerting Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker’s location.
Andor won critical acclaim for its gritty and nuanced portrayal of rebellion in Star Wars, but what makes its depiction of insurgency so special? In this episode, The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer joins Eric, Grace, and Haley to discuss how faith and revenge motivate rebellion throughout Star Wars, how Luthen’s approach to insurrection sets him apart, how class shapes the goals and decisions of Andor’s rebel and Imperial characters, and what the show says about the role of radical revolutionary violence. Plus, we compare Andor to Star Wars Rebels, Adam makes the case that Andor wants us to think Luthen is a fugitive Jedi, and we discuss a curious theory about two droids being one.
Andor season 1 ended with a triumphant run of episodes, and we’re here to break down all the greatness, from the cutthroat political maneuvering to the epic brawls, riots, and space battles to whatever’s going on with Dedra Meero and Syril Karn. Eric fanboys over Mon Mothma, Grace talks about familial love putting Cassian over the edge, and Haley discusses the genius of making Dedra sympathetic and relatable before showing her dark side. We also talk Andy Serkis, Ferrix funerals, Luthen’s all-around bossness, and Nemik’s manifesto. Plus: Hats off to Syril and Sergeant Mosk for having the best villain bromance in all of Star Wars.
Eight episodes into Andor, we keep finding more things to love. Join us as we discuss the Disney+ series’ surprisingly stark treatment of the surveillance state, police brutality, and the prison-industrial complex, tackling issues that Star Wars has either ignored or relegated to the background. We also cover Diego Luna’s extraordinarily expressive face, the many layers of Mon Mothma, the intimate portrayal of Imperial oppression, and the villains we almost want to root for. This series is so good that even Grace’s mom is loving it. Enough said.
We’re one-third of the way through Andor’s first season, and so far, things are looking incredibly good. In this episode, Eric and Grace break down how Andor is hitting all the right notes, from its grounded setting and its darker tone to its nuanced portrayals of heroes, villains, and everyday people. We talk about Mon Mothma’s unexpected vulnerability, the office politics of the Imperial Security Bureau, and Andor’s unflinching depictions of surveillance, migration, and insurgency. Plus, we explore the series’ smart integration of Easter eggs and celebrate production-design choices large and small.
Podracing: to paraphrase Qui-Gon, it’s very fast, very dangerous, and very possibly the best sequence in The Phantom Menace. In this episode, Daily Beast congressional reporter Sam Brodey joins us to discuss the podrace sequence’s uniquely excellent world-building, the racers’ bizarre backstories, and the high-octane competition’s best sound effects and strangest moments. Plus, we celebrate Fode and Beed, pitch ideas for a podracing mini-series on Disney+, and mourn Ratts Tyerell — gone but not forgotten.
How will the new Disney+ series Andor balance its ambition to be a political thriller about insurgency and migration with its imperative to serve a mass audience and respect Star Wars’ kid-friendly roots? In this episode, Eric, Grace, and Haley discuss their hopes and expectations for Andor, including a spotlight on Mon Mothma, an exploration of Imperial loyalism, and a focus on more grounded heroes. Plus, we digest a revelation about Mon’s past, ponder Tony Gilroy’s promise of journalist representation, cheer for Andor’s escape from the Volume, and consider whether the show is destined to be another battlefront in the culture war.
We’re mixing things up in this episode of Hoth Takes and turning the reins over to a special guest: Washington Post health-care reporter Dan Diamond. Dan, a self-admitted Star Wars novice, asks us a series of pressing questions about the galaxy far, far away, from how people get their news to why stormtroopers can’t hit anything. We also discuss the role of Star Wars in the real world, including why there’s so much anger in fandom and whether someday, far off in the future, Star Wars will become an actual religion. Plus, we try to convince a skeptical Dan of the majesty of Cad Bane (and his hat).