It happens every single time a veteran sits down to watch a movie with friends and family. The civilians grab a bag of popcorn while the veteran starts biting their lower lip. The civilians start to enjoy themselves and the veteran starts offhandedly remarking on how “that’s not how it actually happens.”
Before you know it, the veteran hits pause and proceeds to give a full-length presentation on why the film is a disaster because they put the flag on the wrong side of the soldier’s uniform.
Most of what makes a military film bad isn’t intentional, of course. No one wants to spend millions on making a bad movie. But when done right, as so many have been before, troops and veterans will keep it on their top ten film list. So, Mr. Hollywood Producer, when you set out to make the next military blockbuster, use the following advice about the five biggest military movie mistakes.
Hire a good military adviser (and listen to them)
This may come as a shock to some veterans, but there are people on film sets whose entire job is to point out what would and wouldn’t happen in the real military. They’re called military advisers. The great military films are made or broken by how much the cast and crew decide listen to said adviser.
On a magnificent film set, like Saving Private Ryan, for example, everyone from Steven Spielberg to the background extras listened to every single word Dale Dye spoke. A good adviser knows they’re not on set to interrupt the creative team’s ideas. If they speak up to say something is wrong, it’s for a good reason.
Writing that reflects reality
When there’s something fundamentally wrong with a film, it can often be traced back to the writer. One of the first things they tell up-and-coming screenwriters is, “you can make a bad movie from a good script, but you can’t make a good movie from a bad script.” And the best writers are those who can make is something feel authentic and realistic, no matter how extraordinary the setting.
Military films are no exception. The fact is, no two troops are the exactly same. This goes for every character in the film. Every character, lead or background, should be fully dimensional and the audience should have a reason to care if they get unexpectedly shot in Act 2B.
Don’t expect a three-act character arc in the matter of one deployment
While we’re still poking fun at writers, let’s talk about the all-too-common problem of trying to turn real stories into scripts by shoehorning their actions into the Aristotelian structure. For those unfamiliar, this is your basic story of a random nobody becoming a legendary hero. Luke Skywalker did it — but it took him three movies, the loss of his mentor, and multiple failures to finally become a Jedi master.
Don’t expect to apply that same structure to a biopic that begins with a troop being a nobody at basic training and ends with them becoming a battlefield legend. In fact, some of the greatest war films rely on something simple, like “we need to go get this guy” to carry the story. A good story doesn’t need to be humongous in scope to be compelling.
Use authentic wardrobe
Despite how it may seem, there is no law that states that you must mess up uniforms if you’re to use them in a film. In fact, there’s actually a Supreme Court ruling that states you can use real uniforms in the arts — so there’s no excuse.
Use a military adviser and give them a say in the wardrobe department. Or, if you want to keep it simple, hire at least one veteran from whichever branch as part of the wardrobe team.
Retell the big scenes with smaller moments
It’s called a “set piece.” It’s the huge, elaborate moment that costs a boat-load of cash to capture. It’s what fits perfectly in the trailers. These are the scenes that action sensations, like The Fast and the Furious films, are known for. And yet, they often leave us feeling like something’s missing when done in military films — the personal touch
And that’s what really makes military movies different — sure, there are explosions in war, but it’s an intensely personal moment for the troops fighting. The gigantic scenes will sell much better if they focus on the fear in someone’s eyes more than flying a telephoto lens over the battlefield.
To give some perspective, The Simpsons is older than Operation Desert Storm. Troops who enlisted when the show started are able to retire from the armed forces now. After 27 seasons, a show known for its originality is bound to have some characters join the military, develop veteran characters, or otherwise live out some military-related mayhem.
The Simpsons hometown of Springfield is located near a historic battlefield site, where (apparently) during the Civil War, Fort Springfield saw a bit of the action.
But when the government closed Fort Springfield in the modern day, it forced a lot of local businesspeople to pack up their trades and services and move to places where their services would be more popular.
The military was central to many more episodes and it started in the first season with Bart the General. Since then, Homer and his friends have joined the Navy, Grandpa recalled his WWII exploits, Bart was an unwitting recruiting tool for the Navy, Lisa visited a “Dodgers of Foreign Wars” office in Canada, Maggie was shown to be an expert marksman, and Principal Skinner hinted at dark periods in Vietnam.
Bart the General – Season 1, Episode 5
After Bart defends Lisa from bully Nelson Muntz at school, Bart takes her place as Nelson’s favorite target. When Bart becomes sick of getting beaten up every day, he enlists the help of Grandpa Simpson and an unbalanced military antique store owner named Herman Hermann.
Bart organizes the kids of the schoolyard to fight Nelson and his bully friends (who are not Jimbo, Dolph, or Kearny) with a massive, nonstop barrage of water balloons. Nelson surrenders to Bart’s forces and signs a treaty ending hostilities between them.
Best Line – Abe Simpson: “Bart, you can push them out of a plane, you can march them off a cliff, you can send them off to die on some God-forsaken rock, but for some reason, you can’t slap them.“
Bart vs. Australia – Season 6, Episode 16
Bart makes prank calls to Australia and is forced to go there in person to apologize. While there, they stay at the American embassy.
Best Line: Bruno Dundridge: “Hey, you’re just some punk kid, aren’t you? Well, you picked the wrong guy to tangle with, mate!”
Bart: “I don’t think so. You’re all the way over in Australia. Hey, I think I hear a dingo eating your baby.”
Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming – Season 7, Episode 9
Bart’s nemesis Sideshow Bob escapes from a prison work detail on a local Air Force Base. While the base is being cleaned for an air show, Bob dresses up like the base commander and sneaks into a top secret area to steal a 10-megaton nuclear weapon.
Bob demands Springfield give up television completely or face a nuclear explosion. The town complies until Krusty the Clown finds a Civil Defense shed and uses the transmitter to gain 100% of the audience. Bob’ detonates the bomb, but it’s a dud, so he steals the Wright Brothers’ original plane an launches a kamikaze attack on Bob’s shed, keeping Bart as a hostage. The attack is also a dud and Bob is arrested again.
Best Line – Abe Simpson: “You’re ignorant! That’s the Wright Brothers’ plane! At Kitty Hawk in 1903, Charles Lindbergh flew it 15 miles on a thimble full of corn oil. Single-handedly won us the civil war, it did!”
Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in ‘The Curse of the Flying Hellfish’ – Season 7, Episode 22
In this episode we learn about Grandpa Simpson’s World War II service. His unit, the Flying Hellfish, included Mr. Burns and a few other guys from Springfield. They found some valuable paintings in Germany, locked them away, and established a tontine. The last person alive from their unit would inherit the riches.
Mr. Burns and Abe Simpson are the only two left, and Mr. Burns keeps trying to kill Grandpa. With Homer’s help, they resolve to get the treasure before Burns does. Bart retrieves the treasure from its undersea hiding place, but is intercepted by Burns. They chase Burns to shore only to be caught by the police and the paintings returned to their rightful owner.
Best Line –
Homer: “Maybe it’s time we put Grandpa in a home.“
Lisa: “You already put him in a home.“
Bart: “Maybe it’s time we put him in one where he can’t get out.“
The Secret War of Lisa Simpson – Season 8, Episode 25
In response to Bart’s latest prank, Marge and Homer trick him into the car by telling him they’re going to Disneyland. Instead, he’s shipped off to military school. Lisa decides to go against the academy tradition and attend alongside Bart. She likes the structure and tough curriculum of the Rommelwood Military School, but is immediately rejected by the all-male cadre of students as the first female attendee.
Bart is a “born soldier” but Lisa struggles with the physical aspects of the training. The last test of the academy is a challenge called “The Eliminator,” which Lisa dreads but must finish. Bart helps train her in secret. When Lisa almost falls off during the test, Bart is the only one who encourages her and she finished second grade. She passes and Marge and Homer tell them they’re going to Disneyland, they get in the car to find out they’re just going to the dentist.
Best Line – RangeInstructor [to Bart]: “Since you’ve already attended public school, we’re assuming you’ve already had experience with small arms. So we’re gonna give you something a little more advanced.“
The Principal and the Pauper – Season 9, Episode 2
Widely regarded as one of the worst episodes ever made and later completely ignored by the canon of the show, this episode features war movie legend Martin Sheen as the real Principal Skinner, and the man we know as Principal Skinner named Armin Tamzarian who assumed Skinner’s identity after Vietnam when he couldn’t break the news to his mother that Skinner died.
Armin is convinced to return to Springfield after every one in town realizes they don’t care for the real Sgt. Skinner, whom the residents tie to a chair and put on a train out of town. The local judge orders the fake Skinner to resume his identity theft and order everyone never to talk about it again.
Best Line – Homer [In his mind, after Skinner says he’s a fraud]: “Keep looking shocked… and move slowly towards the cake.“
Simpson Tide – Season 9, Episode 19
After causing a meltdown trying to mutate a doughnut into a giant doughnut in the plant’s reactor core, Homer decides to enlist in the Navy Reserve after seeing a recruiting ad on TV. Moe, Barney, and Apu join him. They soon graduate from the Naval academy and are placed aboard a nuclear submarine in a war games exercise, under the command of Captain Tenille.
The captain likes Homer and leaves him in command when he goes to check a torpedo hatch. Another sub fires on Homer’s and Homer accidentally fires Captain Tenille back at them. Homer accidentally leads the sub to Russian waters and the U.S. interprets this as a mutiny with intent to defect. The Russian government reveals they’ve secretly been the Soviet Union the whole time and the sub incident almost leads to nuclear war. After the incident Homer receives a dishonorable discharge.
Best Line – Homer: “You can’t spell ‘dishonorable’ without ‘honorable.‘”
New Kids on the Blecch – Season 12, Episode 14
A music producer discovers Bart, Nelson, Milhouse, and Ralph Wiggum’s musical abilities and sets them up as the next hot boy band, Party Posse. Their first single is called Drop Da Bomb. The song has a strange lyric as the hook: Yvan Eht Nioj.
Lisa discovers the video contains subliminal messages to get people to join the Navy, which is just Yvan Eht Nioj backward. The band is a Navy recruiting operation, Project Boy Band. N’Sync guest stars in the episode and explains how the Navy protects people every day. They then give JC Chasez to the Navy as an enlistee.
This is the episode that either made people believe The Simpsons predicted the Arab Spring uprising in Syria OR that the show and the Syrian Civil War is part of a larger, Western, anti-Muslim conspiracy. The reason is because a flag shown on the side of a vehicle in one of Party Posse’s music videos looks a lot like the Free Syrian Army flag.
Best Line – Homer: “It doesn’t mean anything, it’s like ‘Rama Lama Ding Dong’ or ‘Give Peace a Chance.’“
The Bart of War – Season 14, Episode 21
Because of some of Bart’s badder behavior, Marge establishes a teen group called Pre-Teen Braves, based on Native American culture. The group includes Bart, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson, and Database. Homer starts out as leader, but Marge soon takes over because of Homer’s leadership failures. With the help of a Mohican man, they are inspired to clean up a field, but find another group, called the Cavalry Kids have already done it. The Cavalry Kids are led by Kirk van Houten, and include Milhouse, Martin Prince and Jimbo Jones.
This inspires a race to see who can do the most community service work, and when the Braves keep the Cavalry from getting to Springfield Isotopes Stadium on time to be bat boys for the team, the Braves take their place, and a battle ensues over singing the national anthem. The Sea Captain suggests they stop fighting and sing a nation anthem of peace, so the crowd sings “O Canada.”
Best Line – “War is not the answer, except to all of America’s problems.”
The Wettest Stories Ever Told – Season 17, Episode 18
This episode is three short stories depicting the citizens of Springfield in three classic ocean-going tales. The second of these is a retelling of the Mutiny on the Bounty, featuring Principal Skinner as the Bounty’s Captain Bligh, and Bart as Master’s Mate and chief mutineer Fletcher Christian.
Like the old story goes, the crew was given treatment much different from what they expected and so they mutiny, going instead to an island of natives and marrying into the tribe while setting Captain Bligh and his bosun adrift.
Best Line – Captain Bligh: “First of all, in an effort to save water, you will no longer be given any water. And because of a drawing of myself having a romantic congress with a merman… (the crew laughs)… I am dumping all your mail out to sea.”
G.I. D’oh- Season 18, Episode 5
Army recruiters try to recruit Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney but they realize that the teenagers of Springfield are too smart to want to join the Army, so they go to Springfield Elementary School to trick kids into signing Delayed Entry Program so when they are old enough, they will automatically be enlisted. Marge is horrified and she sends Homer to the recruiter. Homer forces them to tear up Bart’s pre-enlistment contract, but they convince him to join instead.
Homer’s Colonel hates him and assigns him to the opposing forces team during an upcoming war game. OPFOR is filled with undesirable recruits and the Army uses actual ammo instead of blanks with the intent to kill the OPFOR. Homer and his forces escape to Springfield during the exercise and the Army orders an invasion of the town, declaring martial law.
The Colonel starts detaining all men who are “Fat, or bald, or have ever been amused by the antics of Homer Simpson.” Marge leads an insurgency against the occupiers. She spikes the town reservoir with alcohol, resulting an a hangover which makes the Colonel surrender.
Best Line(s) –
Marge: “Homer, our son joined the army!”
Homer: “Yeah, big deal. By the time Bart is 18, we’re gonna control the world… We’re China, right?”
Principal Skinner: “I’d do anything for my beloved Army.”
HBO’s miniseries Band of Brothers is a show that will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time. Its powerful storytelling, incredible acting and precise attention to detail make it the standard against which other military media is compared. Upon repeat viewings, you may notice a few familiar faces in some of the episodes. When the show premiered in 2001, many of these actors were still young in their careers. While Band of Brothers may not have catapulted any of them to instant fame, it’s still fun to go back through and pick them out.
1. Michael Fassbender
Now famous for his portrayal of a young Magneto in the X-Men series (and its subsequent “Perfection” meme), Fassbender’s second credited role was as Pvt. (later promoted all the way up to Tech. Sgt.) Burton “Pat” Christenson of Easy Company. Remember the trooper whose canteen ran out before everyone else’s following the night march at Tocoa? That was him. He appeared in seven episodes of the 10-episode miniseries and can be seen until the series finale.
2. Tom Hardy
Yup, that Tom Hardy. Before Peaky Blinders, Venom, Dunkirk, Mad Max, The Dark Knight Rises, and even before Black Hawk Down, Hardy played Pvt. John Janovec in Band of Brothers. He appeared in the last two episodes, “Why We Fight” and “Points.” Most notably, he was the trooper caught in bed with a woman by Cpt. Speirs when he was looking for his loot of silverware. Hardy also portrayed Janovec’s tragic death in a jeep crash following the German surrender.
3. Simon Pegg
You know, the funny British guy that isn’t Mr. Bean. Well known for his comedies alongside Nick Frost like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz as well as blockbuster hits like Mission Impossible and Star Trek, Pegg had a short role (albiet prominent) in the first two episodes of Band of Brothers. Portraying Easy Company 1st Sgt. William Evans, Pegg did his best American accent (i.e. southern) when delivering the court martial notice from Cpt. Sobel to Lt. Winters. He also made notable appearances alongside Sobel during the barracks inspection for contraband and later in a C-17 on D-Day with Lt. Meehan.
4. Jason O’Mara
Speaking of Lt. Meehan, O’Mara played Sobel’s replacement in the training period leading up to D-Day in “Day of Days” and the flash-forward to D-Day in “Currahee.” Recently, O’Mara has appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Jeffrey Mace and in The Man in the High Castle as Wyatt Price. Military movie buffs will also recognize him as Company Sergeant Jack Prendergast in Siege of Jadotville. Lt. Meehan and 1st Sgt. Evans were killed on D-Day when their C-17 was shot down by ground fire.
5. Jimmy Fallon
Yup, late-night talk show host and SNL regular Jimmy Fallon had a brief cameo in “Crossroads” as Lt. George Rice. As Easy Company and the 101st move into Bastogne to hold off the German counteroffensive, Rice pulls up in a jeep with ammo to equip the ill-prepared paratroopers. The jeep that Fallon drove was an actual WWII jeep and used a manual transmission…which Fallon admitted he didn’t know how to drive. So, the plan was to have Fallon push the clutch in while two stagehands push the jeep to close the shot. “So I drive, I hit my spot, I go, ‘Good luck boys,’ and I forget to press the clutch, and these two dudes are pushing the car, and the wheels aren’t moving because the clutch isn’t in,” Fallon recalled. “I don’t know how they made it work, but they made it work.”
6. James McAvoy
Ironically, James McAvoy would go on to star across from Michael Fassbender in the X-Men series as a young Professor Xavier. McAvoy played Pvt. James Miller in “Replacements” as one of the titular troopers. Miller was a member of Sgt. “Bull” Randleman’s squad and saw his first action during Operation Market Garden. Sadly, he was killed during Easy Company’s withdrawal from Neunen. His death is depicted on-screen and he is shown again at the end of the episode when Randleman retrieves his dogtags.
7. Andrew Scott
Funny enough, Andrew Scott acted across from James McAvoy in 2015’s Victor Frankenstein. However, the Irish actor is arguably better known for his type-cast baddie roles like Jim Moriarty in Sherlock and C in Spectre. Scott played Able company radioman John Hall in “Day of Days” where he links up with Lt. Winters upon his landing in Normandy. Gaurnere later nicknames him “Cowboy” despite his Manhattan roots. He links back up with Winters during the assault on the guns at Brecourt Manor where he is killed in action. The real paratrooper was actually named John Halls (with an “s”) and was from Colorado. For movie trivia buffs, Scott had a previous WWII-film role credited as “Soldier on the Beach” in Saving Private Ryan three years earlier.
For the record, we’ve omitted actors like Donny Wahlberg (1st Sgt./Lt. Carwood Lipton), David Schwimmer (Cpt. Herbert Sobel) and Colin Hanks (Lt. Henry Jones) because their appearances are more prominent and more well-known in the public eye. Even casual fans know that Mark Wahlberg’s brother, Ross from Friends and Tom Hanks’ son were in Band of Brothers.
But really, spoilers for The Mandalorian Chapter 12 ahead.
Let’s start with a bit of non-linear history. In the first season of The Mandalorian, we were introduced to the Yoda Baby — an “asset” sought out by the remnants of the Galactic Empire under the orders of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). We knew Gideon and his scientist Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) were using the child for experiments and we knew of course that the Yoda Baby has a powerful affinity for the Force, but we didn’t know what the connection was.
Let’s jump to the beginning of The Siege, shall we? Din Djarin and his little charge are working to repair the Razor Crest. Djarin’s got the Yoda Baby in a small compartment trying to re-work some electrical lines. This had me wondering, from a cognitive perspective, how old the Yoda Baby is meant to be here. I know he’s fifty years old (and we know that Yoda lived to be nearly 900 years old) but what’s the age that you would try having your kid accomplish a dangerous task where he can sort of understand your directions but not completely and he can’t speak yet? I’m not a parent, but, like, is this like dealing with a two year-old?
Anyway, after electrocuting the infant they realize they need some help so they head back to Nevarro. We meet some ballsack aliens Aqualish thugs gearing up to murder a cute alien muskrat. Luckily Cara Dune — Nevarro’s new Marshal — returns in time to save the little feller.
Dune and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, also the director of this episode) have a little side-mission for Djarin while he waits for his ship repairs: they want his help in destroying a nearby Imperial base. (My Dungeon Master pointed out that each episode of The Mandalorian is like a DND session and it made perfect sense. I think that’s also the series’ greatest struggle — the connecting lore isn’t quite strong enough to throw us all around the galaxy with random characters and missions.)
They leave the yoda baby with the other school children (which basically just endangers the other children, right? When has the yoda baby literally EVER not been attacked?) and we are given some new Yoda Baby meme-fuel when he steals a kid’s macaron. Plus now we can eat macarons at Star Wars parties.
Djarin, Dune, Karga, and Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), who was once a target for Djarin and is now an indentured servant of Karga — and the butt of too many bad jokes — head off to the base. Thanks to The Rise of Skywalker, every time I see Stormtroopers die, I wonder if they’re child soldiers. I still hate that JJ Abrams did that to me. Gina Carano’s gleeful little cheers whenever she kills one don’t help.
So here we are back to the controversial little midi-chlorians, introduced to aghast Star Wars fans during The Phantom Menace. The higher a creature’s “m-count,” the more Force-sensitive they are. Here at the base, which turns out to be a laboratory, we learn that Pershing desired the Yoda Baby for his high m-count in order to conduct his experiments.
It looks like Moff Gideon is trying to create a unit of Force-sensitive combatants, which is why he’s so eager to recover the Yoda Baby. After a very Star Wars-y canyon chase and TIE Fighter aerial battle (seriously, how amazing is Star Wars sound design? TIE Fighters sound so cool and distinct), the remaining Imperials are defeated and all is well.
The final scenes reunite us with New Republic pilot Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who attempts to recruit Dune to the cause, and introduce us to a new adversary, an Imperial Comms officer (Katy M. O’Brian) who ordered a tracking beacon attached to Djarin’s Razor Crest.
Remember that movie Stealth? It’s the one where Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, and the other sexy pilots are forced to fly with a plane that has a computer pilot and, turns out, computer pilots are bad because lightning can strike them and drive them crazy and then they murder all the people?
No? Well certainly you’ve seen or heard of the Terminator movies. You know, the ones where plucky humans and their hacked robot bodybuilder are forced to fight other robots in order to prevent a future apocalypse ordered by military AI?
They’re great films, but they imply that any future where computers are controlling the weapons of war is dystopian AF. In reality, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls are guarded by men with guns. It would be much better if the U.S. could guard those walls with robots with guns controlled by men.
This would provide two advantages. First, if the guards on the walls are robots — not fleshy humans — then people shooting at the walls can only destroy hardware, not kill men and women. But perhaps the bigger factor is that artificial intelligence is enabling robots to become better at some jobs than their human controllers.
Stealth‘s artificial intelligence can pilot fighter jets, but, for some reason, needs a special sensor that looks like a robotic eye instead of just using, you know, its radar or even just normal cameras.
This may sound familiar to people for one or both of two reasons. First, the Air Force is actively pursuing this as the wingman concept. But second, Skynet in the Terminator movies got its start piloting stealth bombers where it achieved a “perfect operational record,” according to Schwarzenegger’s character.
Is this so bad? I mean, sure, we should stop short of handing strategic control of the nuclear weapons to Skynet, but that was never a realistic plot premise. Remember, even during the height of the Cold War, it was rare for launch approval for nuclear weapons to be handed down past the president. If we don’t trust generals to make nuclear decisions without the president approving it, why would we ever let a computer have full control?
So, if we develop Skynet and don’t give it access to the nukes — if we create safe AI — we’re left with a completely new version of warfare where we don’t have to risk our own troops at nearly the same level as we currently do. Doesn’t sound so horrible now, does it?
And, if the other side gets AI, that’s still better for humanity as a whole. Remember when the RAND Corporation anticipated that, by 2025, war with China would be bloody and unwinnable? No? We’re the only people who actually read RAND reports? Alright, then.
Here’s the thing: World War I was so horrible because it was a nearly unwinnable war for both sides. Once nations committed to the conflict, they poured blood and treasure into a never-ending pit of carnage. Millions died and little was gained for anybody.
AI wouldn’t make unwinnable wars winnable — at least not if both sides have it — but it could make them much less bloody, which is still a step in the right direction.
You know what would be even better than sending F-35s up with human pilots to detect enemy air defenses and suppress them? Sending them up with a bunch of fighters that are basically robots with AI. So, if they do get in a fight, they don’t need to take the hits.
(U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Joshua C. Allmaras)
So, what about poor John Connor, an excellent small-team leader? What’s he going to do when he isn’t allowed to kill Skynet but, instead, Skynet is controlling most of the planes and tanks and ships? Well, he’ll lead small teams or infantry units on the ground while A Few Good Men‘s Col. Jessup gives the marching orders. AI can’t replace all decision-making at the front, and calm heads under fire will be needed to authorize strikes and targets.
So, yes, we all secretly want Skynet on the wall, even more so than we want Col. Jessup up there. But we also need John Connor, as long as we can keep Jessup, Connor, and Skynet from murdering one another.
Everyone loves Baby Yoda. For parents, the Mandalorian caring for Baby Yoda has made the bleak space saga relevant to parenthood. In just a few short weeks Star Wars has suddenly become more relevant than ever to all sorts of people, and it’s all thanks to an adorable character called “The Child” who never speaks. But who is the Child? Is he somehow a clone of Yoda? Is he Yoda reincarnated? If you’re fuzzy on the timeline of The Mandalorian, did you think this was baby Yoda?
Here’s the deal. Baby Yoda is not Yoda and the guy who runs The Mandalorian just made that pretty clear. Jon Favreau (you know, the guy who made Iron Man) has been doing a pretty solid job steering TheMandalorian ship thus far, and recently he’s answered a few questions about why everyone loves “Baby Yoda” so much. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Favreau made it pretty clear, just in case you were confused, that this little creature is not the Yoda.
“I think what’s great about what George [Lucas] created is that Yoda proper — the character that we grew up watching— was always shrouded in mystery, and that was what made him so archetypal and so mythic.” Obviously, because another creature of Yoda’s species is being featured so heavily, some of that shroud is being lifted, but Favreau is quick to point out there’s still plenty to discover.
“We know who he is based on his behavior and what he stands for, but we don’t know a lot of details about where he comes from or his species. I think that’s why people are so curious about this little one of the same species.”
The keywords to focus on here are these: this little one of the same species.
Baby Yoda is not actual Yoda, because The Mandalorian happens six years after Return of the Jedi, the movie in which Yoda died. It was a peaceful death though, and before he died he told Luke “there is another…Skywalker.” Funny he didn’t mention another Yoda!
This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.
It’s 1987, I’m four years old and watching Predator. It was the 80s, so yeah, I lived on the edge. Arnold Schwarzenegger is yelling, “Get to the chopper!” and using mud to hide his thermal signature from a nasty, invisible alien. As I watch and re-watch Predator, awed as Arnold plays Major “Dutch” Schaefer, a Green Beret leading a covert, rescue mission, an idea pops into my mind: “I should be in Special Forces.”
Twenty-five years later, I don my Green Beret and earn my tab. Today, there’s still no question in my mind that Hollywood movies had a lasting impact on my decision to serve, and I’m not alone — you know it’s true.
Thirty years later, Arnold continues to inspire the next generation of military movies — even if he’s not hunting aliens or a robot sent from the future. Anyone who’s served knows the age-old saying, “attention to detail” and today, Arnold’s team at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy is committed to helping Hollywood storytellers get the details right about military life. The Schwarzenegger Center recently hosted a workshop that combined the best of the Hollywood world with some of the best military leaders from across the globe, many of whom will become Generals/Air Chief Marshall (gotta love the foreign ranks). Regardless of what flag was Velcroed to their flight suit, the mission for those in the room was clear: build relationships that can extend into an idea, a script, and even a movie.
Arnold told We Are the Mighty,
“Hollywood wouldn’t be the same without the stories of our military’s heroism that have inspired Americans and taught the world our values. I’m proud the Institute can support this important collaboration by bringing together top military and entertainment talent.”
Heroism, unshakable values, and collaboration brought the best of the best together. Participants in the discussion included Jerry Zucker (Director of Airplane!), Sarah Watson (Creator/EP of The Bold Type), Jon Turteltaub (Director of National TreasureThe Meg), and actor Jamie G Hyder (True Blood, Call of Duty), along with pilots from the Air War College International fellow program, which included officers from 20 nations, as well as representatives from the U.S Navy’s Hollywood liaison office. This pairing of two seemingly different worlds couldn’t come at a better time. All branches of the military continue to work tirelessly each year to meet their recruiting, retention, and readiness goals, while Hollywood has continued to push mega-movies with a military spin, like the freshly released Captain Marvel, and create new platforms for military storytelling, like Netflix, Hulu, and We Are The Mighty (yeah, yeah… shameless plug).
L-R: Jerry Zucker, Sarah Watson, Jon Turteltaub, Katie Johnson discuss their roles as storytellers
Both sides discussed the various similarities and challenges in their respective fields. The pilots in the room, who almost unanimously admitted that they earned their wings as a result of Top Gun (unfortunately not a Schwarzenegger movie), asked the writers and directors how to best share their own stories, to which Director Jon Turteltaub fired back, “Hang out with us. Even just a personal story can spark an idea.”
In addition, many of the writers expressed how participating in a short visit with the military changed their entire view of military stories. Writer and showrunner Sarah Watson recounted how impressed she was with the female sailors she met on an aircraft carrier visit. As a result, Sarah has dedicated herself to creating a female military character in her next project.
The respect was mutual. Col Ken Callahan, Associate Dean, USAF Air War College, added,
“The opportunity to interact with the entertainment industry at the Schwarzenegger Institute event was priceless. Helping future Air Chiefs from allied and partner nations better understand the role Hollywood plays in expressing American values globally is exactly what we are trying to achieve. Our sincere thanks to Mr. Schwarzenegger, his staff, the team at USC, and all of the amazing and talented individuals that took time out to help forge new partnerships with our group.“
Lt. Col Andreas Wachowitz, German AF (left), chats with writer Will Staples
The discussions throughout the day included deep dives into how various successful collaborations between the US military and Hollywood, such as The Last Ship and Transformers, can shape public affairs, recruiting, and soft power diplomacy. Basically, the military leaders asked if movies can make the world safer, and the answer was a resounding yes (especially if we are one-day attacked by Predator aliens).
The real question of the day came from Norman Todd, EVP of Johnny Depp’s company, Infinitum Nihil, who asked, “Who is the greatest Hollywood Actor?”
“We love Arnold,” Capt. Russell Coons, director of the Navy Office of Information West responded immediately. Even an Army guy can agree with that answer. We’ll continue to keep you updated as Arnold, both a great actor and leader, continues his effort to bring the military and Hollywood closer together.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale had a lot of loose ends to tie up — and a lot of Phase 4 fun to set up. The series began with Sam hesitant to accept the legacy left to him by Steve Rogers and Bucky traumatized from his past. By the end of the action-packed finale, both men have found what they were looking for.
The focus of this episode — and one of the most timely and relevant arcs of the series — was Sam’s journey to become Captain America. After a lot of struggle, he became Captain America the same way that Steve Rogers did — through the integrity of his actions. With his new flight suit from Wakanda, Sam was able to hold his own against Super Soldier Flag Smashers, the acrobat, crashing helicopters and plummeting trucks.
In sharp contrast to John Walker’s downfall, Sam’s heroics were also caught on camera and seen by the public. The message was clear: This is what Captain America looks like.
And while for many Black people in America and around the world a happy ending may feel too perfect, too unrealistic, Marvel has made it clear they are bringing messages of hope in their stories.
Sam’s final victory was not in combat: it was in speaking to the lawmakers in the Global Resettlement Council and asking them, “Who is in the room with you when you’re making decisions?” He pointed out unless the people in power consult with the people who need their help, they’ll never actually be of service.
A moment that hits hard is when Bucky, seeing his friend in action, finally calls Sam “Cap.”
Bucky remains a stalwart wingman, an epic fighter and a man of humor throughout this episode, but it’s in the finale’s final moments when we really see his healing come to fruition. He finally crosses the last name off his list: Yori, the father of the man he’d killed as The Winter Soldier. In offering Yori closure, Bucky found some of his own. Seeing him celebrate with Sam’s family, laughing and playing with the children feels like the happy beginning for the World War II vet.
Sam returns to Isaiah’s home, where we can see the healing that has transpired for Isaiah through Sam’s actions. Isaiah acknowledges that Sam accomplished something he’d never dared dream of: a Black man has become Captain America.
More than that, in one of the most touching moments of the show, Sam brings Isaiah to the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian and reveals that Isaiah and his men have been included in a tribute of their own, finally telling their story that the world may never forget.
John Walker makes an appearance here in an “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” moment. It was a nice touch to give him a choice between attacking the Flag Smashers or saving a truck filled with hostages. Walker chose to save the hostages, reminding us of the man he was — the man with Medals of Honor who served with valor in the Army.
No one is ready for a full John Walker redemption story — but perhaps he will be more understood going forward. It’s clear Marvel has plans for him. Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine gives Walker his new suit and title — U.S. Agent — and warns us all that “things are about to get weird.” Can’t wait.
When Sharon shows up with WMDs and straight up murders a Flag Smasher with a chemical agent, I knew it wasn’t good. We learn that during her time on the run, Sharon was the eponymous Power Broker, responsible for funding Dr. Nagel’s Super Soldier research, running the criminal underworld of Madripoor, and influencing the actions of the Flag Smashers.
She kills Karli Morgenthau, the teenager she was responsible for radicalizing, and finally earns her pardon from the U.S. government, who offer her a position within the CIA. She accepts and makes a call to an unknown entity, promising access to “government secrets, prototype weapons, you name it.”
Whether Marvel will order more from these heroes remains unknown (though Sebastian Stan has reportedly said he’s down for anything) but it feels great to see the Disney+ title card shift at the end of the episode. Though it would have been even better to see “Captain America and the White Wolf”… just saying…
Maximilian Uriarte is the renowned creator of the popular Terminal Lance comics and New York Times Best Seller The White Donkey. Uriarte’s new graphic novel, Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli, lends a raw and compelling, modern voice to the combat veteran experience. But before he did all of that, he was a Marine.
Artistry and the Marine Corps aren’t words that you typically see put in the same sentence, but Uriarte himself defies any Marine stereotype. “I’ve been an artist my whole life. I was always the kid in school drawing in the back,” he said with a smile. “I joined the Marine Corps infantry to become a better artist. I viewed it as a soul enriching experience.” He’s well aware that most people don’t use those words as a reason to join what is thought of as the toughest branch of service.
When Uriarte joined the Corps in 2006, he was adamant about becoming an infantryman – even though his high ASVAB scores allowed him to pick almost any MOS. But he shared that he wanted to do something that would shape him as a person, making him better. So, with his recruiter shaking his head in bafflement in the background, Uriarte signed on at 19 years old to become a 0351 Assaultman.
It was a decision that took his family by complete surprise, especially with the Iraq war in full swing. Raised in Oregon, Uriarte hadn’t been around the military but always knew he wanted to do something to challenge himself — something he was confident the Marine Corps would do. The year after he joined, Uriarte was deployed to the Al Zaidan region of Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines from 2007 to 2008.
Uriarte deployed to Iraq once again in 2009 and this time, had the chance to be a part of Combat Camera. It was here that he really started examining his experiences as a Marine and he began developing the now infamous Terminal Lance comic strip. He launched it in 2010, five months before his enlistment with the Corps was up.
“When I put it out [Terminal Lance] I really thought I was going to get into trouble,” Uriarte said with a laugh. What sparked its creation was being surrounded by positive Marine stories, told in what he describes as an ever-present “oorah” tone. “To me, it seemed not authentic to the experience I had as a Marine Corps infantryman going to Iraq twice. Everyone hated being in Iraq, no one wanted to go there.”
The Marines loved Terminal Lance. It wasn’t long before it became a cultural phenomenon throughout the military as a whole and Uriarte became known as a hero among young Marines.
Uriarte shared that he had always wanted to do a web comic and the Marine Corps was definitely an interesting subject matter for him to dissect. “In a way, it was cathartic. The experience isn’t something most humans go through. Doing it helped me move on in a healthy way,” he said. While authoring the comic strip, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Animation through the California College of the Fine Arts.
In 2013, Uriarte self-published The White Donkey after a successful kickstarter, which raised 0,000 for the book. A few months after its release, it was so successful it was picked up by traditional publishing and went on to become a New York Times Best Seller. The gripping graphic novel pulls back the curtain to expose the raw cost of war, especially for Marines serving in combat.
Uriarte knew he wanted to keep going and this time, wanted to take his storytelling a bit further. It was his hope that he could create something focused on the importance of human connection. Through all of this, he created Battle Born.
“It’s a story of a platoon of Marines going to Afghanistan, to fight the Taliban over the gemstone economy…. But it’s really about Sergeant King and his emotional journey,” Uriarte explained. He shared that he really wanted the character to reflect a modern day Conan The Barbarian, who he feels would definitely be a Marine.
“It’s really a meditation on the history of Afghanistan in the shadow of western imperialism, colonialism and looking at the tragic history of Afghanistan,” Uriarte said. “What does it mean to be civilized, is really the central theme of the book.”
Uriarte’s main passion is creating good stories that he himself wanted to see. He had never seen anything like Battle Born before – a Marine infantryman story that was very human grounded. “I truly believe that representation matters. It’s a lens I don’t think we’ve seen a war movie through before – the eyes of a black main character,” he explained.
Hollywood agrees: The book is currently in film development to become a live action film.
The biggest piece of advice he hopes to impart on service members getting out of the military is to use their GI Bill and go to school when their enlistment is up. “Just go and figure yourself out. It is a very safe place to decompress,” he explained. “The Marine Corps is very good at making Marines, but it’s bad at unmaking them. It’s a hard thing come back to the world and not be a Marine or in the military anymore.”
The 2018 annual suicide report found that soldiers and Marines took their own lives at a significantly higher rate than the other branches.
Uriarte struggled himself when he got out, but he found that school and writing was therapeutic for him. “When you get out, the thing Marines struggle with the most is, ‘Who am I?’ We always say, ‘Once a Marine always a Marine,’ but I think that is unhealthy,” he said. “People wonder why we have such high veteran suicides and it’s because we turn them into something they aren’t going to be for the rest of their lives.”
When asked what he wants readers to take from his work, Uriarte was quick to answer. “These are really stories of human experiences; passion, love and loss. It’s just showing that people are human and that Marines, especially, are human,” he explained. Uriarte also feels that his latest full-color graphic novel will appeal not just to those who enjoy comics, but to a wide spectrum of readers through a beautiful visual journey.
Uriarte uniquely tackles the difficulty of being a Marine and serving in the military with raw honesty and creativity through all of his work. His newest book, Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli is a deeply compelling compilation of the human experiences that affect us all.
You can purchase Battle Born Lapis: Lazuli and his other work at your local Walmart, Target or online through Amazon by clicking here.
You’ve seen him before. You know that guy… that guy from that one movie… he was in that thing. You know… And we do know. We all know. There are actors who stake their entire careers on being “that one guy.” Their bios describe themselves as “that guy” or “that guy from that thing.” They accept it, it’s their “thing” and it makes us love them all the more.
For war and action films, a few of these underutilized, gifted actors stand out above all others. Some even outshine the cast headlining their films. You know what I mean. Even if you don’t know their names, you know who I’m talking about.
1. Brian Cox
From playing Super Troopers’ highway patrol Captain O’Hagan to the numerous times he’s played Shakespeare roles, it should be obvious to anyone Brian Cox can be anything. He nearly kills all mutants as Col. William Stryker in X-Men II, leads the Greek siege as Agamemnon in Troy, gets tortured by Steven Seagaland freaking created Jason Bourne.
Also, how much cooler would Braveheart have been if this guy had more screen time?
His next war flick is the story of Winston Churchill in the hours leading up to D-Day. Awesome.
2. Keith David
You know Keith David. If any character actor can be considered as having a lot of time in fictional service, it’s Keith David. He was an integral character in the legendary war film Platoon, way back in 1986, and has since been a go-to for military roles.
While Enlisted wasn’t the greatest military TV show (it would be very difficult to top the undisputed champion anyway), no one lent it more credibility than Keith David’s role as Command Sergeant Major Cody. David’s characters are always out to make sure we get the job done. Finally, let’s face it, the guy knows how to wear the uniform.
If you don’t love Keith David now, you will. His next military film might become the military film of military films, Range 15(starring WATM’s buds from Article 15 and Ranger Up!). Check out the teaser:
3. David Morse
David Morse, a Nic Cage and John C. McGinley companion, adds heart to his roles with the bad guys and chutzpah to his roles with the good guys. He always looks like a man teetering on the edge.
The Hurt Locker wasn’t his fault. If anything, it would have been a whole lot worse without him (FYI, he was Col. “Wild Man” Reed). He was moto in The Rock (even if the white camis were more than a little suspect), watching him pull his teeth out in World War Z was cringeworthy, and besides, he was the Father of our Country. Show some respect!
4. John C. McGinley
Probably best known as Dr. Cox on Scrubs and as one of the Bobs in the film Office Space, John C. McGinley may have eclipsed being “That Guy,” but as far as military films go, he’s definitely one of the “Guys.” He was in Platoon with Keith David, The Rock with David Morse and was also killed by Steven Seagal (“On Deadly Ground”), just like #6 Brian Cox.
But unlike those guys, he was in Fat Man and Little Boy with Paul Newman, Born on the Fourth of July, and Highlander II, where he is killed by none other than #2 on this list, Michael Ironside.
5. Michael Ironside
If you saw Total Recall as a child, then this man haunted your dreams as he did mine.
If that wasn’t enough, Ironside is also responsible for the the best scene ever filmed. Easily one of the greatest people ever cast for anything, Michael Ironside adds intensity to any situation. You probably know him best as Jester from Top Gun and in real life, Jester would have smoked Maverick.
Ironside is vaguely threatening and intimidating. He doesn’t shout. He doesn’t have to. You’ll know if you f*cked up, because he’ll tell you. And you will respect him for that.
If Michael Ironside was an actual military leader, ISIS would never have even started their sh*t.
6. William Fichtner
The first guy shot by the Joker in The Dark Knight, William Fichtner is probably the most recognizable on this list, even if his name escapes you. He’s number one for a very good reason, Sergeant First Class Sanderson in Black Hawk Down.
Yeah, he was an Air Force Colonel, an astronaut in Armageddon (with Keith David!) but Fichtner trained with Delta Force for the role as SFC Sanderson. He might be more qualified to fight a war than some people in the actual U.S. military. And when the Independence Day aliens return for the sequel, they can look forward to fighting William Fichtner.
The idea of a macho-man being referred to as a “Rambo” is so ingrained in everyone’s brains that it’s hard to remember that there was actually a time before Rambo movies actually existed. But now, it looks like Sylvester Stallone’s alter-ego John Rambo is really going to be in his final movie titled I’m Getting Too Old For This Shit;Rambo: Last Blood.
Set to a slowed-down version of Lil’ Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” Rambo: Last Blood leaves no old-guy action-star cliche unturned, which is why it will probably be awesome. In a plot that looks kind of like a mash-up of the last 20 minutes of Skyfalland the final episode of Breaking Bad, it seems Rambo is going to set a bunch of boobytraps and kill a bunch of dudes who probably (maybe?) deal drugs. (Killing evil drug dealers is what badass old dudes do full time in action movies these days, just so we’re clear.)
Rambo: Last Blood (2019 Movie) Teaser Trailer— Sylvester Stallone
The only question that remains at this point relative to Last Blood is whether or not Sly will utter the greatest old-guy action movie battle cry of all time; will Sly actually say “I’m getting too old for this shit?” And if he doesn’t will it really be Last Blood, or could there be a sequel. It’s a bit of a paradox, to be honest. When someone says “I’m getting too old for this shit” in an action movie (usually Danny Glover), it almost certainly means there’s a sequel and they are, in fact, not too old for this, or any other shit.
Just a few years ago, Americans were stunned at the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico by the British Petroleum-leased oil rig Deepwater Horizon. On April 20, 2010, a blowout during the drilling of an exploratory well caused an explosion visible from 40 miles away that killed 11 of its crew.
Over nearly three months, the spill from the Deepwater Horizondumped 210 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Now a film about the disaster, “Deepwater Horizon,” is set to hit theaters Sept. 30.
Mark Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, an electrician and Deepwater Horizon survivor, in a film that takes an in-depth look at the people who were working on the rig that night. Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, and Kate Hudson round out the ensemble cast.
We Are The Mighty met up with the cast – and the real Mike Williams – at the film’s premiere in New Orleans and talked with them about the film and the motivations behind it.
As the pinnacle of a decade-plus of storytelling, “Avengers: Endgame” sews up a lot of loose ends. But with so many characters and so many storylines from the 21 films that came before it, even three-plus hours isn’t enough to answer every question fans have, questions like “Is true love real?”
Let us explain. One of the things fans have been wondering about since the end credits rolled on “Endgame” is why Cap designated Falcon as his successor and not Bucky, his best friend. An exchange between director Joe Russo and screenwriter Stephen McFeely — who also co-wrote the three Captain America films — on the commentary track reveals the answer.
The conversation in question comes as Cap is saying goodbye on his way back to return the Infinity Stones to their natural places in the timeline. Bucky says “I’m gonna miss you,” which is a strange thing to say if, as the rest of the Avengers believe, Cap will reappear in a matter of seconds.
Russo asks McFeely if Bucky knows something is up. “Yeah I think it’s clear from Sebastian’s performance here that he’s been clued into Steve’s decision,” he replies. “Why would he say ‘I’m gonna miss you’ if it’s gonna be five seconds?”
Now Cap, of course, does reappear seconds later, but as an old man, having lived a long life in his own era with Peggy Carter. Bucky spots him, which does come as a surprise, but Russo and McFeely make it clear that Cap tipped off his friend.
What does this have to do with true love? Well there’s obviously Cap’s decision to live his life with Peggy, but this exchange confirms that a negative reading of the situation — that Cap didn’t tell his best friend they’d never see each other again and chose someone else to carry on his legacy — is flatly wrong.
Fate might have pulled them apart, but when Bucky spots Old Man Cap he’s not angry. Their bromance is so strong that even living on different parts of the space-time continuum can damage their bond. If that’s not true love, what is?
This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.