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New Escapist Column! On the Cautious Conservatism of the Mandalorian…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine late last week. This one looking at the big streaming news of the week, the release of The Mandalorian.

I have very mixed feelings about The Mandalorian. There are parts of the show that I enjoyed, like its obvious debts to samurai cinema or its exploration of the aftermath of Pax Imperiosa as a way of anchoring the franchise in the present moment. However, I was much less convinced of how decidedly retrograde it felt. So much of The Mandalorian seems designed to assure viewers that “this is Star Wars“, retreating away from the relative ambition of projects like Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi or even Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for the safe and the familiar.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! How Disney Have Monetised Spoiler Culture…

I published a new piece at Escapist Magazine over the weekend. I’ve been thinking about this for a little while, since the release of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and it came bubbling to the surface with the announcement that the first episode of The Mandalorian would include “a dramatic Star Wars-universe spoiler in the first episode.”

This got me thinking about the way in which, more than any other mass media company, Disney have weaponised spoiler culture as a selling point, to create urgency among consumers and to use that to drive the market. They have also used it to shape the conversation, to control what can or cannot be said about their films and at what point. Spoiler culture has grant Disney a surprisingly strong control of the fandom-driven market. It’s an incredibly canny move from the company, one which has exploited a core part of current nerd culture.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.