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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Mandalorian Returns

This Friday, October 30, sees the return of the hit Star Wars series The Mandalorian for a second season. Set five years after Return of the Jedi and the fall of the Galactic Empire, the incredibly popular first season starred Pedro Pascal as the titular bounty hunter as he came across “the Child” (popularly known as “Baby Yoda”) and took him under his protection. The star-studded first season included Carl Weathers, Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Werner Herzog, and Nick Nolte as a variety of allies and adversaries, with direction from show creator Jon Favreau, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi, among others. The music (available on hoopla) earned an Emmy Award for composer Ludwig Göransson.

Everyone knows about the Star Wars movies, of course, with six of them appearing in the top 20 grossing films of all time. Recently, though, the saga has taken to the small screen to expand its universe, primarily through animation. Starting in 2008, The Clone Wars showed the Jedi and other heroes as they fought to defend the Old Republic. Rebels took over in 2014 and followed a ragtag band of friends as they struggled to put together a coalition that could take a stand against the Empire’s tyranny. Resistance began in 2018 and ran for two seasons alongside the sequel trilogy. The Mandalorian is the first live-action Star Wars series, but there are plenty more on the horizon. Diego Luna is returning to reprise his role as Cassian Andor from Rogue One in an upcoming show, and Ewan McGregor is once again donning the Jedi robes of Obi-Wan Kenobi for a new limited series as well.

Star Wars is always popular with fans and library patrons, and the return of The Mandalorian is likely to bring renewed interest. Click the links above for the movies and TV shows, and be sure to visit our website for soundtracks, audiobooks, and plenty more related content.

Friday, September 4, 2020

In Memoriam: Chadwick Boseman

Written by Jon Williams

The entertainment world was stunned last weekend by the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman after a long private battle with colon cancer. He was 43.

Boseman got an early start on a career in film and television. He got a degree in directing from Howard University, where Phylicia Rashad was one of his teachers and Denzel Washington was a benefactor. He began on the small screen with bit parts in shows like Law & Order, CSI:NY, and ER. In 2008 he appeared in his first big-screen role in The Express. However, he stayed mostly on television for the next few years, landing recurring and regular roles on the shows Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown (both currently unavailable), one more one-shots on shows like Castle and Justified (Season 2 unavailable).

His star rocketed to the top for good with his first starring role. In 2013, he played Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in Major League Baseball, in 42. (Coincidentally, the day he passed, August 28, was the date MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day this year.) He then went on to play other Black icons: James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up, and Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2017’s Marshall.

While Boseman achieved praise for portraying each of those larger-than-life, real figures from American history, the greatest portion of his fame came from his role as a fictional king. T’Challa, the superhero Black Panther, was created by Marvel Comics in 1966; Boseman brought him to the silver screen in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. The character got his own standalone adventure in 2018’s Black Panther, detailing T’Challa’s coronation as King of Wakanda and the first threat to his rule. Boseman played him again in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Black Panther (#4), Infinity War (#5), and Endgame (#2) are currently three of the top five grossing films of all time at the domestic box office.

Chadwick Boseman’s final film role was in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on a play detailing a recording session for blues musician Ma Rainey; release plans for the movie are still up in the air. In the meantime, make sure to have his work available for patrons who want to celebrate this phenomenally talented actor. Click on the links above, or SmartBrowse his name on our website to find more.