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‘Book of Boba Fett’ proves Jon Favreau is the new George Lucas

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Filmmaker Jon Favreau was given the keys to the Star Wars live-action kingdom, and he’s yet to disappoint. That’s even clearer with the brilliance on display in the recently-debuted ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ on Disney+.

By Abdulkareem Baba Aminu

Boba Fett’s story in the original Star Wars movies has always held fans captive, myself included. It was intriguing, to be honest, with his morally ambiguous positions, tough bounty hunter image, striking armor, and super-cool tech. He was also tied into the stories of many fan-favorite characters and locations, like Jabba the Hutt and his crime empire, Tattooine, and many others. In fact, it is indirectly due to Fett’s popularity and mass appeal that we got the other Star Wars live-action TV masterpiece, ‘The Mandalorian’.

‘The Book of Boba Fett’, currently on its third episode, features glorious sweeping vistas – and new characters, creatures, droids, vehicles, and weapons – all seamlessly blended with classic, existing ones. The sheer genius of planning and execution, one might say and be very right. But who’s responsible for all this glorious fan service (‘fan service’ can never be a bad thing here)? That would be Jon Favreau, of course, aided by an incredible team.

‘‘The Book of Boba Fett’ continues to dish out fan-pleasing moment after moment, and it doesn’t look like that’s about to stop.’

L-R George Lucas & Jon Favreau

‘The Book of Boba Fett’ continues to dish out fan-pleasing moment after moment, and it doesn’t look like that’s about to stop. While it features a roster of old, classic characters, it also introduces many that add to the original characters, some in their first live-action appearances from other media, or even brand-new ones. My favorites? The Hutt twins. But that’s all I can say now, because spoilers. If there was any doubt that the search for a successor to Lucas has ended, Favreau obliterates it.

Favreau, most famous for directing ‘Iron Man’ for Marvel and also played Tony Stark’s right-hand man, Happy, created the Pedro Pascal vehicle ‘The Mandalorian’, with Dave Filoni.

Penning most of the first and second seasons of ‘The Mandalorian’, Favreau also directed the second season premiere episode. The show also gave fans perhaps the most well-received character since that universe was created decades ago. Now, it is quite obvious that the filmmaker truly understands the Star Wars universe, and how to build upon Lucas’ work, all the while adding cool new elements that are all his.

‘It has become crystal clear in ‘The Book of Boba Fett’, where even the ambience is that of classic Star Wars, and in the best way. It does make one wonder: Why the heck wasn’t this brilliant man offered a film in the final Star Wars sequel trilogy?’

While that was established in the hit ‘The Mandalorian’, it has become crystal clear in ‘The Book of Boba Fett’, where even the ambience is that of classic Star Wars, and in the best way. It does make one wonder: Why the heck wasn’t this brilliant man offered a film in the final Star Wars sequel trilogy? But I digress. Back to the matter at hand: It is clear that in Favreau, Lucasfilm has found a worthy successor to its legendary creator.

Reportedly, Favreau’s first taste of the Star Wars galaxy was on ‘The Clone Wars’, when he was given the chance to voice one of his favorite characters, a Mandalorian. That’s when he met Filoni, and began a friendship and collaborative relationship that would grow. Almost a decade later, he was able to return and create even more layers to their mythos, and cement them even more as Star Wars essentials.

So, yes, it appears to me that Favreau is indeed the ‘new Lucas’, and in the nicest way possible. And to me, he’s even better at being Lucas than Lucas himself, as both series he’s created are even more Star Wars than the prequel movies which Lucas wrote and supervised closely. Here’s hoping this winning streak we (fans and creators) are on continues into the next Star Wars series, and the next, and the next.

VIEWPOINT

Review: ‘Magic Pen’ is an example of the difference a film school can make

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When a pen can make you get high grades at school, why study?

By Nathaniel Bivan

In March 2022, Uzoma Ihejirika, a writer, concluded a three-month training at EbonyLife Creative Academy (ELCA), where he studied screenwriting. Then he wrote on Facebook: “the decision to take the course came at a perfect time: I’d just quit an underwhelming job and needed the thrill of learning a new skill; it was also a welcome distraction from confronting the uncertainties that stared me in the face.”

One of the results of Ihejirika’s latest adventure was being a part of the team that brought ‘Magic Pen’ to life – one of their four student films at EbonyLife Creative Academy available on YouTube. And so, I decided to take a peek and realized this is absolutely stuff to talk about, for if students can accomplish this in only three months (note, it’s one out of four such projects), then Nollywood has no reason not to be making fantastic stuff. Anyway, here goes.

When the first scene opens in a classroom where the major character, Charles, thoroughly anxious in an exam hall, vomits on his coursemate, I knew I wanted to continue watching. Then, as expected, going by the title and synopsis, another coursemate offers him the key to scoring high grades – a magic pen.

Now, the Nigerian film industry is still warming up as it tries to dive into the sci-fi world with movies like ‘Kajola,’ ‘Ratnik,’ and several more. Then came the Critics Company, a group of teens at the time, who made news for shooting sci-fi shorts with a smashed phone. So, yes, I was expecting magic, lights, and thunder, and… magic on Charles’ exam answer sheet. An addition to the growing effort. But I was disappointed, and I mean this in a really good way. The twist concerning the pen and everything it stands for totally ruined my expectations and yet earned the team responsible for this short film a standing ovation.

The actors didn’t annoy me, interestingly. Who are they? Are they new? Is this their first outing or what? These are all questions I need answers to because sometimes it’s frustrating to watch a Nigerian movie and wonder what the criteria were for selecting some actors. But then, I’ve heard that sometimes producers or anyone in charge tends to impose and even get a son, relative or friend on board no matter the consequences. This is sad. To the detriment of excellent work?

Bottom line: The acting is really good. If it isn’t, I’m sure I’d have gotten irritated and simply stopped watching and wouldn’t have wasted my precious time doing this review. I’m like that most of the time.

One take-away from this film is that not everything is the way it seems, and sometimes success is more than just what we do – it’s a mindset.

So, thumbs up to EbonyLife Creative Academy, to Ihejirika, and the entire squad, particularly the actors. And lest I forget, the videography is really good too. I particularly enjoyed the images in Charles’ mind that, for me, made watching ‘Magic Pen’ electrifying and, yes, sci-fi!

Watch the entire film below:

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#BookChaser: EB makes poetry ‘medicine’ that heals

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In a collection that transcends poetry, our writer discovers it is music, interrupted by rhymes and rhythm.

By Nathaniel Bivan

I met EB through his words on a blog – laden with stories and poetry – that made me reach out long before Covid-19 became infamous. I realized EB was famous before the pandemic and then, writing for and editing the arts section of a major national newspaper then, I reached out to him.

When I dug deeper, I found that EB also did Spoken Word. In fact, it probably is his core art. This was when his words stood out on a song, a cover if my memory serves me correctly. Then in 2022, his album ‘Incarnation’ drops.

‘Guns don’t kill, bullets do. My poems are guns and bullets. People should read me and let me be their bulletin,’ he says in ‘What Will Humans Do.’”

Then, “Today I am not the poet. Today I am the poem. Recite me when you are down, recite me when you are bound.”

So I chose to read EB, and this is what I found. When everything fails, what will humans do? Will we make more sophisticated aircraft? Try to make the sun shine after sunset? Maybe through a lamp against the sky when the moon refuses to brighten the night?

So I chose to read EB, and this is what I found. When everything fails, what will humans do? Will we make more sophisticated aircraft? Try to make the sun shine after sunset? Maybe through a lamp against the sky when the moon refuses to brighten the night?

These are the questions I find in EB’s work, just as I also find Nigeria’s dilemma, embedded in his poems. For instance, so-called banditry and terrorism in the north, where people are unable to go to their farms for fear of being killed, or worse.  

I’m writing this review a few hours after an acquaintance tells me about how his father evaded death in Southern Kaduna, a part of the north whose inhabitants prefer to call the middle belt. So, when I listen to EB again, his story of a mother and son’s encounter with terror is heart-wrenching. I picture Kagoro, the place where terrorists visited not too long ago, killing many. But it’s not only Kaduna, there’s Zamfara, Katsina, and most recently Plateau State where terrorists, commonly called ‘bandits’ have plied their deadly trade.

These are the images EB’s poetry paints in my mind, and without even trying.

Then there’s the soulful music, the play with tongues that’s in reality the Hausa language. Is this a musical album or poetry? I don’t care. I’m enjoying it, I tell myself. Stories drenched in music and rhymes.

No wonder he started streaming ‘Incarnation’ early. In just a few weeks it had almost sold out.

I have listened to and read a lot of poetry in my lifetime, but nothing like what Elisha Bala brings to the fore in ‘Incarnation’. But I am tempted to ask: are the songs original? Because if they are – and I suspect this is the case – then this is not just poetry, but art that deserves to travel around the world.

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And so the cancellation of Will Smith begins

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Shocking no one really, a string of Will Smith films are ‘to be axed’ after the Chris Rock slapping incident at the Oscars divided global opinion on what to do – or not do – to the Hollywood icon. Whatever the case may be, it appears a cancellation is underway. Here’s why that may be a bad thing.

By Justina Terhember

Will Smith shocked not only Hollywood last weekend, but the whole world, when he slapped Chris Rock live on stage following a joke at the Oscars. It was such a seismic event that it pushed Ukraine to second position on the list of online trending issues. Of course, those who do not support him have been calling for his head on a spike, and even his supporters (nay, sympathizers) have made peace with the possibility of harsh repercussions, it appears the cancellation of Will Smith has officially begun.

Specifically, because Netflix and Sony have reportedly shelved plans to make films with the actor, with a string of projects facing cancellation, and some upcoming films quietly shelved. Smith, 53, dazed the world last weekend when he stormed the stage of the Academy Awards and slapped Chris Rock after he made an ill-judged joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. Will returned to his seat and repeatedly screamed: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!” while the astonished A-List audience watched on in shock, and the internet broke in two.

Will later apologised to Chris via social media and on Saturday announced that he had resigned from his position as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but as expected from the pulse of reactions on popular media, the worst is yet to come.

Will later apologised to Chris via social media and on Saturday announced that he had resigned from his position as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but as expected from the pulse of reactions on popular media, the worst is yet to come. The Hollywood Reporter claims that a Netflix film titled ‘Fast and Loose’ meant to star Smith has been shelved in light of the scandal. The film had originally been set to be directed by David Leitch, but he pulled out of the project a week before the Oscars sending Netflix into a frenzied search for a replacement.

It appears that Netflix was understandably wary of moving forward. It is unclear whether it will try to make the project with another star and director. TMZ also suggested that Smith’s other Netflix projects, namely ‘The Council’ and ‘Bright 2’ could also be tossed into the trash as a consequence of #SlapGate. To make matters worse, even frequent collaborator Sony is said to have canceled plans to make ‘Bad Boys 4’, all for the same reason.

The Smith family

Also being reported, is that the slapping incident has affected a project he has been working on at Apple+, one deep in post-production, a drama titled ‘Emancipation’ which tells the story of a runaway slave from a Louisiana plantation. The film had already been tipped to secure Will a second Best Actor Oscar nomination but the Hollywood Reporter now claims: “The streamer had planned a 2022 debut but has not dated its release.”

There are more, and there will be more, obviously. TMZ adds: “There are other Sony-tied films of his (either as a producer or actor) that might see the same fate including a Hancock sequel and a Karate Kid sequel.” I won’t be surprised if they revoke his Oscar award. All for what? Because he lost his temper? It was a slap, not a punch for God’s sake. To be honest, when I saw the video, I even thought “He hits like a girl”. But jokes aside, where and when will this lynching stop? It’s not just about Smith, you know. He represents a lot, culturally and racially.

There are cultural ramifications that might be felt for years, maybe decades. Progress for Blacks in Hollywood was slow and hard-fought, so a thing like #SlapGate shouldn’t roll it all back. It’s almost like someone, or a group of people, are eager to tear the actor down.

What these heavy-handed (forgive the pun) cancellation measures will certainly prove is that there is nothing like forgiveness in the public court of justice, or in the sanctimonious halls of Hollywood. Like I wrote earlier, it’s not just about Smith anymore. There are cultural ramifications that might be felt for years, maybe decades. Progress for Blacks in Hollywood was slow and hard-fought, so a thing like #SlapGate shouldn’t roll it all back. It’s almost like someone, or a group of people, are eager to tear the actor down.

Smith has got a production company now, so beyond just starring in films, he’s heavily involved in making them lately. Is an active cancellation the best way to go? What happened to suspensions, fines, public apologies, and community service? No doubt, Smith was clearly in the wrong for resorting to violence, but let’s not forget the joke was a triggering one. There should be a middle-ground, less-messy way to handle this situation, and cancellation is not the way. Like the end part of one of his apologies, “I am heartbroken.”

  • The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of GeekAfrique.com

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