Is Robert Downey Jr Playing Grand Admiral Thrawn on The Mandalorian & Other Disney+ Star Wars Shows?

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn?

After 2020’s thrillling 2nd Season of The Mandalorian and the phenomenal Final Season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars both streaming on Disney+, fans are excited about what’s next for our favorite corner of a galaxy far, far, away. In Episode 4 of The Mandalorian’s 2nd Season, titled “The Jedi”, not only were we introduced to Rosario Dawson’s live-action iteration of Ahsoka Tano, but a MAJOR name from Star Wars mythology was dropped as well. A name that has potentially massive implications for the future of the franchise. In this episode, Ahsoka revealed that she is hunting Grand Admiral Thrawn himself. While many viewers likely didn’t understand the weight that his name carries, Thrawn is one of the most fascinating and dangerous villains in the Star Wars Universe. With more seasons of The Mandalorian and the recently announced upcoming shows like Ahsoka, Rangers of The New Republic, and The Book of Boba Fett, all coming down the pipe line, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni plan to keep these shows closely interconnected much like The MCU. The plan being that at some point, there will be some big crossover miniseries or movie on Disney+ that will bring all the characters from the various shows together to combat some larger threat.

Grand Admiral Thrawn would be the perfect antagonist to embody that larger threat in a team up project like this. Not only would he poses an existential threat to the galaxy, but he’s also a fantastic character. Thrawn was first introduced in a trilogy of novels written by Timothy Zahn.

The novels told the story of how The Emperor sent Thrawn on a special mission to investigate a strange new threat that took him far beyond the outer rim, for years. He was so far away in fact, that communication between himself and the heart of The Empire was impossible. Thrawn finally returns with a small fleet to find The Rebellion victorious and The Emperor killed after the events of Return of The Jedi. He rallies what’s left of The Empire and with his brilliance and lethal cunning comes damn near close to destroying The New Republic. 

From The MCU’S Greatest Hero to The Most Cunning Villain In Star Wars?

This image was created by a fantastic digital artist. I don’t have the artist’s name right now, but as soon as I do I will post it on this article with a link to see more of their work.

    Rumor has it, that none other than Robert Downey Jr, old pal of Jon Favreau, is in talks with Disney and Lucasfilm to sign on as the character in upcoming Star Wars projects for Disney+. While it hasn’t been 100% confirmed that Thrawn is the character Downey is meeting with Disney/Lucasfilm and Favreau to discuss, reports have been very clear that the role is not a cameo, it’s a significant part, it would require Downey to wear some sort of prosthetic make up and it would be a departure from the heroic characters he’s been playing over the last 15 years or so. 

     I think this is fantastic news. Like I mentioned before, Downey is good friends with Jon Favreau, it’s a fantastic role for any actor, and after the unmitigated disaster that was Dolittle, I’m certain Downey is probably looking for a sure thing for his next major project. As an added benefit, I often describe Thrawn as an evil Sherlock Holmes. Considering that Robert Downey Jr. played a pretty damn good Sherlock Holmes in the past, that’s just one more check in the plus column. I really hope this rumor becomes reality. It’s interesting that so many elements from The Star Wars Expanded Universe are being brought into play lately because when Disney bought Lucasfilm they tossed out all of the Star Wars EU stories and filed them under the umbrella of Star Wars “Legends”. Meaning the stories were no longer considered canon. I understand why Disney/Lucasfilm would want to do that at the time, a lot of the EU stories took place after Return of The Jedi. The company wanted to keep the “Post-RoTJ” time period wide open, so they didn’t have any pre-existing stories or characters that would interfere or contradict the direction that they wanted to go in. Which didn’t work out quite as well as we all would’ve hoped, however, I must admit that I absolutely love The Force Awakens.

Thrawn was reintroduced to Star Wars continuity as the main villain facing the fledgling Rebellion in the final 2 seasons of Star Wars: Rebels. An argument could be made that Lars Mikkelsen, who played Thrawn in Rebels, wouldn’t be a bad choice to play the live-action version of the character. So I really like the actor, he played the villain Charles Augustus Magnuson in Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Season 3, he also played the wizard Geralt meets in the first season of The Witcher. Personally I think his brother, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale, Doctor Strange), would be much better suited to play Thrawn. Unfortunately, he already played a pretty major character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Galen Erso, the man who was forced to design and build The Death Star. BUT he also put the fatal flaw in the space station’s design that allowed Luke to destroy The Death Star during The Battle of Yavin.
We’ve even seen Thrawn appearance in some excellent comics recently. Disney also owns Marvel Comics, so there of been some fantastic Star Wars graphic novels published, with one miniseries specifically focusing on Thrawn.

    With Thrawn already having made his appearance on Star Wars Rebels and now possibly in live action for the first time, as well as Boba Fett officially surviving his trip into The Sarlak Pit (which is also an Expanded Universe concept), it seems that Lucasfilm is getting more comfortable about using EU characters and stories. They seem to be keeping the essence of exactly who these characters are, while changing minor details like when they appear in the mythology. Thrawn debuted on Star Wars Rebels at the height of The Empire’s power, right before the start of The Rebellion. In the EU, he comes into play after Return of The Jedi and the fall of The Empire. So people like Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni seem to be interested in using EU characters, they might just move around where they pop up in the Star Wars timeline and how they fit into mythology, while still respecting the essence of the character. Which begs the question what other EU characters might we see pop-up next? Dash Rendar? Prince Xizor, or a fan favorite character like Mara Jade? My money would be on the latter. Time will tell. Despite the lack luster ending of The Skywalker Saga, it seems like it’s still a pretty good time to be a Star Wars fan!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

PODCAST: The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

For five decades and running, Star Wars has become our greatest modern myth. In the distant future (assuming of course humanity hasn’t already wiped itself off the face of the planet), people will look back on Star Wars like we look back at epic poems like The Iliad and Beowulf. Stories like Star Wars and Beowulf endure because they’re primal, archetypal stories that speak to timeless themes of family, freedom, and hope. 

 Part of what makes Star Wars so special, is how it’s stories have touched multiple generations in very different ways. There were the folks who saw the original film at their local movie theater in 1977, unaware of the earth shattering, mind blowing, movie going experience they were about to have. Up to that point, nothing like Star Wars had ever been seen in the history of cinema. Looking back, it’s easier to see some of the stories and archetypes that influenced George Lucas and inspired him to create Star Wars. Then there are the kids like me, who saw the original trilogy when it was re-released in theaters for the Special Editions. It was indescribably cool to see these movies for the first time on the big screen. When The Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions were released, some were very frustrated with some of the changes George Lucas made to the classic trilogy. None of that mattered to me, I was a kid experiencing these classic films for the first time. Which is probably why I don’t find the changes to the movies so jarring. I feel extremely lucky that I got to experience every single Star Wars film, the entire Skywalker Saga for the first time on the big screen. Another group of fans are the kids who’s “original trilogy” is the prequel trilogy, that was the Star Wars they fell in love with. It’s one of the reasons the prequel‘s are looked back on more fondly than people may suspect. 

    So anyone, no matter the age, has their own very specific Star Wars experience. If you ask 10 different people to rank their favorite Star Wars films, you’re likely to get 10 completely different answers. If had to rank the films, my top three favorite Star Wars movies are The Empire Strike Back, Revenge of The Sith, and The Force Awakens. One movie from each trilogy. Beyond that, there are all of the books, comics, and video games that make up The Expanded Universe, which also affect a person’s feelings about Star Wars. I suppose technically The Mandalorian would fall under the umbrella of an Expanded Universe story. It’s not technically a part of The Skywalker Saga, yet it has already become an indelible part of Star Wars. So much so that The Mandalorian will be looked back upon as being a vital piece of Star Wars just as much as something like Return of The Jedi. 

Anyway, I was very excited to talk about the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian on this week’s show. In less than 24 hours, the final episode of the season sent shockwaves through the fan community. A rapturous, collective pop-culture event, the likes of which I don’t think has been seen, since Thanos infamously snapped half of the universe out of existence. It was one of those rare times when the term, “broke the Internet“ felt actually appropriate. So, on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we discuss the Season 2 Finale of The Mandalorian, and what we thought of the season overall.

Listen here:  https://www.spreaker.com/episode/42564351  Or subscribe/listen on Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

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Before you go, I wanted to share a cool video. With the exception of Dave Chapelle, who has become a full-blown legend, Bill Burr is probably the best working comedian in the business right now. His character from Season 1, Mayfield, returned to The Mandalorian in Episode 7, where he showed off some impressive acting chops. Bill Burr’s scene with Mando and Mayfield‘s former commander from his days as a soldier for The Empire, was easily one of the best scenes of the season. The scene felt like it was pulled right out of a Quentin Tarantino movie, and I mean that in the best way. Despite the incredible dramatic acting talent he put on display this season, Bill is still first and foremost an ridiculously funny comedian. Which is why, when I came across this very funny video, I thought you guys might really enjoy it. You can watch the video below, take a look:

Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

BEWARE OF SPOILERS BELOW!!!

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If “you know who”can make an appearance on The Mandalorian, why not this? If done well, it could be really cool…

What I Want to See: Grogu the Gray Jedi

There’s going to be some spoilers for the Mandalorian season 2 finale, so you’ve been warned.

With the wrap up of season 2 of the Mandalorian we’ve seen Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) go off with Luke Skywalker. So in season 2 we learned that he was a Jedi youngling when Anakin slaughtered them, and now he’s going off with Luke to be trained, presumably alongside Ben Solo (the future Kyle Ren).

That is a lot of darkness surrounding the cute and cuddly character. He doesn’t have a great start—through no fault of his own— to a life as a Jedi. In addition to all of that there is clearly a conflict in him, one that we have seen before in Star Wars, that of emotional attachment. These elements, personally make me want to see Grogu be a Gray Jedi.

We’ve seen Gray Jedi before, but we’ve also seen people who would probably have been better if they hadn’t fought their nature, like Anakin. Emotional attachment is such a fundamental conflict within Star Wars, and I think letting Grogu handle that in a less binary more healthy manner will be cool.

When 900 Years OldYou Reach, Look This Good You Will Not

In addition to wanting to see Grogu go the way of a Gray Jedi, I also think he gives the storytellers an interesting opportunity to anchor the future Star Wars (both our future but also the stuff happening after the original trilogy) within the canon.

Yoda’s species ages at such a slow rate, that they have an opportunity to oversee or participate in such a wide range of generations. Grogu is years younger than Anakin (maybe fifteen) all the way through The Rise of Skywalker and he’d be the equivalent of a preteen?

Grogu can stand beside the Jedi that Rey trains, and the Jedi they train. It’s not to say that I want him to be a Yoda, where he is the wisest, and know so much about the Jedi order, but I think having a character who can come in and out of the different Jedi stories will help to keep Star Wars feeling connected in the wake of the Skywalker Saga ending.

Should Grogu get his own movie?

I’m not fully opposed to this, but I’m not sure it’s the way to go either, but if we’re going to get Grogu as a main character—and I’m assuming he’ll learn English as he grows older— I have a couple of ideas for who I want in charge of it.

Taika Waititi is one of my personal favorite filmmakers right now. He directed Thor: Ragnarok, taking the Thor franchise to a place I never thought it would be, and I loved it. Next he directed Jojo Rabbit, which you haven’t seen it is one of the best films of 2019, about a boy and his imaginary friend Hitler, in which he tells an endearing story of a young nazi during WWII.

The reason I bring up these two projects, is to say that Taika Waititi can take very weird concepts and make them great, because he understands storytelling, and isn’t afraid to dive into the odd. If we’re ever going to get a Grogu movie, I can’t really imagine it won’t be the weirdest Star Wars film to date.

I know that Patty Jenkin’s Rogue Squadron was the big film takeaway from last week’s Star Wars announcements, but we know that Taika Waititi is also going to be directing a Star Wars film, and while there has been little to know information on it, the one consistent thing people have been saying is that it’s going to be weird and different.

My last point in arguing for Taika’s take on Grogu, and is that he’s directed an episode of The Mandalorian, he’s already in someway connected not only with Star Wars, but with this character.

We’ve Never Had a Real Gray Jedi

This is going to be a controversial point, because there is some speculation that Qui-Gon was a Gray Jedi, or that Kanan was. But the only real confirmed Gray Jedi we’ve seen have come in books and video games. Never a show, never a film. It’s an aspect of the story that is open for expanding the lore for the audience that only watches Star Wars.

Like I said before, Gray Jedi make the most sense in a lot of ways, they’re not good or bad, but rather they’re balanced. It’s something which in a series always so concerned about balance, has been sorely lacking, especially when we have so many balanced non-force wielders. With Lando, and Han, and Hando—just now realizing what they did there with his name— we see good characters with bad sides, and bad characters with good sides. Even within this season of the Mandalorian, we see Boba Fett, who is a bounty hunter help to do the right thing due to his honor code, and then presumably become a crime-boss.

Nuance is lacking in the force, and Grogu the Gray would be a great way of introducing it. That’s what I want to see.

The Mandalorian Just Fulfilled the Promise of Boba Fett

It’s been a few days since season 2 episode 6, “The Tragedy” aired, so you’ve had a chance to watch it, but in case you haven’t seen it, spoiler alert.

I’m one of those people who for a long time hasn’t really understood the hype around Boba Fett. I’m a big fan of the original trilogy, and in it he’s got a cool look, and is a good character as far as plot devices and things go, but there has been something of a cult following around him since his first appearance in 1980.

When the prequels came out, there was backstory explaining Boba, and if I’m being honest, Jango and the clone troopers are much more interesting than Boba. Two trilogies down, and I just didn’t get the appeal.

Surprisingly, J.J. Abrams didn’t bring back Boba for the third trilogy, which was the only piece of nostalgia for the first trilogy that didn’t seem to be dredged back up (unless Phasma is supposed to be the Boba Fett equivalent?)

With it being accepted by almost all fans that Boba survived the Sarlacc pit, it seemed inevitable that most people’s favorite nothing would make it back into the canon Star Wars galaxy, and about a year ago, we started getting casting rumors and speculation about season 2 of The Mandalorian, and the big one was Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett (whom Boba is an unaltered clone of) in the prequels.

Temuera Morrison is Back!

It seemed he was going to be Boba, although I was really hoping that we would see him playing Captain Rex from The Clone Wars and Rebels. Captain Rex was a fan favorite, and while he’s been altered, he would also be identical to Temuera Morrison (although likely much older do to age enhancement in the cloning process).

Well, by the end of episode one, that hope had been dashed. Temuera Morrison was going to be Boba Fett, and there was almost no doubt to that.

When we finally got to this past week’s episode, we hadn’t seen Boba since the last shot of the first episode, and I had somewhat forgot that he was going to be coming back, and so when we saw his ship the Slave I following Mando to Tython, I was thinking “oh cool, we’re going to see these two square off,” with a bit of unexpected enthusiasm, but nothing near my Bo Katan energy from the third episode.

Then we saw Boba and Fennec Shand confront Mando about Boba’s armor which Mando is in possession of, and I realize that we’re not going to get the Boba Fett I was expecting. He was much more diplomatic, and while he didn’t seem hesitant to fight, he certainly wasn’t going to pick one unnecessarily.

Boba Fucks Shit Up

When Moff Gideon’s stormtroopers land and come to take Grogu (AKA Baby Yoda), we see Boba Fett sanz armor begin to tear up the stormtroopers. Now, we’ve had more than a season and a half of watching Mando overcome crazy odds, and prove himself as a fighter, we’ve seen Fennec do a bit of sniper work, but what we see of Boba Fett, is nothing short of amazing. Boba fucking up stormtroopers with a stick with a big ball on the end, is probably the best fight we’ve seen in the entirety of The Mandalorian’s run.

Halfway through the fight, we get to see Boba wrestling with the last stormtrooper (from the first batch) and seeing his armor sitting in the doorway of Mando’s ship the Razor Crest. We get a little bit of Mando and Fennec fucking shit up, but being massively overwhelmed by the numbers, and then what I can only describe as the previous fight scene, plus Iron Man coming out of the cave in the first Iron Man, where you’re like “oh, you are all fucking dead.”

Boba lays waste to the remaining stormtroopers before using the jetpack rocket launcher (which personally I kind of think is a lame weapon) to blow up one of the retreating ships.

This is the Boba Fett Everyone’s Been Talking About

In less than ten minutes, forty years after his first introduction, we got the Boba Fett that everyone seemed to think we had from the very beginning. We’ve been building this guy up with head-canon for decades, and I had absolutely no expectation that I was ever going to see the Boba Fett that everyone else was seeing. Then a tv show, not a film, directed by a man who’s been somewhat waning in his career over the last decade or two (Robert Rodriguez), brought it all together.

Boba Fett is fucking awesome. That’s a statement a significant portion of Star Wars fans would have said a year ago, a decade ago, or forty years ago, but it’s a statement that I didn’t believe until last Friday. Boba Fett is fucking awesome, and I hope the last two episodes of the season keep it up.

Article by Michael Cole