Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Before Jon Favreau produced his wildly popular space Western about a little-known segment of the Star Wars universe, the only reference to Mandalorians on the big screen was a passing one in Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, where it’s revealed that Jango Fett — the genetic donor for the entire clone army — is a Mandalorian. Seventeen years later, Disney released the most popular addition to the franchise since Obi-Wan turned Anakin into Lieutenant Dan. You ain’t got no legs, Anakin!

Thanks to Favreau, Star Wars fans now have a live-action show about one of the greatest warrior cultures in the Star Wars universe. What fans of the show may not know is that much of Mandalorian culture and mythology is borrowed from real history — specifically, Viking culture. But before we talk about everyone’s favorite maritime raiders, here’s a brief history of Mandalorians.

Behind the Scenes

During the production of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and visual effects artist Joe Johnston developed a design for a team of Imperial Super Commandos with weapons built into their armor specialized for the purpose of killing Jedi. As production continued, they scrapped the idea and rolled the special forces team into the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Photo courtesy of Disney+.

The first reference to the Mandalorians was in the Empire Strikes Back novelization by Donald F. Glut, where he described them as “a group of evil warriors defeated by the Jedi Knights during the Clone Wars.” 

For the next 30 years, Mandalorian culture was expanded in myriad Star Wars novels, comic books, and other sources. In the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) video game series, Mandalorians were portrayed as some of the most dangerous antagonists in the galaxy, second only to the Sith. Throughout the extended canon, it was only hinted that Boba Fett was connected to the Mandalorians. 

In 2010, during Season 2 of The Clone Wars animated series, fans finally got to see the fully fleshed-out concept behind Mandalorian warrior culture. “The Mandalore Plot” episode introduced viewers to the Death Watch, a Mandalorian terrorist group bent on continuing their ancient warrior traditions. The Death Watch was pitted against a new modern pacifist movement led by the sister of Bo-Katan, the blue-armored Mandalorian played by Katee Sackhoff in Favreau’s live-action series.

Viking Raiders of the Galaxy

The introduction of Mandalorians to The Clone Wars cemented them as the Viking raiders of the Star Wars franchise. Animation producer Dave Filoni wanted to give the Mandalorians a “Nordic flavor” using the traditional V-shaped breastplate worn by many Norsemen during the tail end of the Viking era as the foundation for the design behind all Mandalorian armor.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Today there is only one known example of a complete Viking helmet in existence. This Viking helmet was excavated on a farm called Gjermundbu in Ringerike in central Norway. The helmet dates to the 10th century. This image was originally posted to Flickr by Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi.

The Clone Wars also cemented the idea that Mandalorians were not a race but a way of life. Mandalorians are willing to take anyone who swears to live by the creed and adhere to Mandalorian tradition regardless of their species. This sets them apart from The Empire, which is portrayed as favoring humans over other “inferior” races. Obvious racial metaphors aside, this idea of adopting people into the tribe was one shared by Vikings, who often adopted the children of their slaves.

The comparisons with the ancient maritime raiders doesn’t stop there. Proving oneself through combat is the cornerstone of Mandalorian self-identity and culture, and they all follow the Mandalorian Creed, which — frustratingly for nerds like me — has never been written out or vocalized. Mandalorian fans may remember the creed as the reason Din Djarin (Mando) has to return Grogu (Baby Yoda) to the Jedi, but good luck figuring out what the creed actually says. Like, how am I supposed to join if I don’t even know their mission statement?

One thing we know for sure about the creed is that it instills a love among Mandalorians for single combat. It’s the only other rule in the creed ever mentioned, and it pops up continuously during the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons. Mandos can invoke a Game of Thrones-style trial by combat for pretty much anything. Don’t like your boot lieutenant? Fragging him just gets you another boot replacement, but if you slay him in single combat, now you’re the LT! Want your buddy’s car? Slay him in single combat, and it’s yours — no pink slips required. This is essentially the Viking code of honor/succession, too. 

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
In The Mandalorian, the title character meets Grogu, the child. Photo courtesy of Disney+.

For this fictionalized group of war-hungry space pillagers, the Mando creed pretty much rewards those who are really good at mercilessly killing without moral reservations. This probably explains their long history of warlords vying for power, the constantly changing heads of state, and nonstop wars, which is how real Vikings actually lived. 

During the centuries leading up to the Viking Age, which began in 793 AD, the peoples of Norway and their surrounding territories were in a near-constant state of war. Small tribal groups were scattered across the harsh, cold country. Long winters and short farming seasons meant raiding other tribes was a necessary part of surviving in their world. Just like the Vikings, Mandalorians spent a lot of time warring and vying for power. 

In 865, Vikings finally stopped slaughtering one another long enough to form what historians call the Great Heathen Army, which invaded England with the intent to conquer new worlds, much like their Mando counterparts did when they nearly wiped out the Jedi during the time of the Old Republic. 

Perhaps the most Viking part about Mandalorian culture is just how much we don’t know about it. Just as Djarin has to piece together a thousand years of forgotten history to try and understand what it means to be Mandalorian, historians have faced a similar challenge in studying the exploits of the West’s most notorious maritime raiders. Thankfully, that’s never stopped anyone from making great shows about Vikings — and Viking-like warriors. 

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Looking back on the USO tour legacy of Robin Williams

Robin Williams went on six separate USO tours from 2002 to 2013. Williams inspired countless other comedians and performers to pack their bags and head overseas to share their light with the world. There are hundreds of stories that surround the humanity of each and every visit Williams had.


Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

(USO.org)

For example, take the time on the 2007 USO Chairman’s Holiday Tour, where Williams saw a group of soldiers waving at him from behind a fence across a grassy berm. A wave and a loud joke across the field would’ve surely made those soldiers day… But according to USO VP of Entertainment Rachel Tischler, “… he jumped across the berm and went running over to them. Obviously, our security team completely freaked out. Again – height of the war here. But he didn’t care. He just wanted to go over and shake their hands and thank them. And that is what he was like.”

That’s the thing with Williams. He didn’t just go overseas and perform a couple of comedy sets and dip out. That, in and of itself, would still be a beautiful act of service. But that wasn’t enough for Williams. He jumped the berm in everything he did.

“What was great about him on tour was that he always took the time to sit down and talk to people about what they were going through, what life on the base was like, about personal experiences,” Tischler said. “And then he’d get on stage and he’d be telling a joke about Mexican Night in the [dining facility].”

Robin Williams as troops “Retreat” at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

www.youtube.com

Williams wasn’t just a loose cannon of human decency on USO Tours, either. He was also a respectful observer of military tacit codes. Just watch this video of Williams’s set being cut short by Taps at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

At the first sound of the beagle, you can almost feel his gut lurching to make a joke. Every single time that Williams had gone on stage, he was a comedic amoeba, calling out things happening in the present moment. He had conditioned himself to make a joke there. But he resisted. He pulled against his greater impulses, and respectfully lowered his head.

You can tell it meant something to him, as he said “I’m never going to forget that.” And what happened next is quintessential Robin Williams— he made a joke about the present moment that unified the entire camp.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Holiday Tour, International Airport in Baghdad (2003)

(Mike Theiler. EPA.)

Unity is the central theme of Robin Williams USO tours, and that’s the legacy left behind. Every man and woman stationed who got to see him took a piece of Williams back with them. Williams loved it too, “There’s nothing I enjoy more than traveling with the USO and giving back to our troops in whatever way I can,” he said, “They work hard, sacrifice a lot and deserve to be treated like the heroes they are. The very least I can do is bring a smile to their faces.”

Many comedians have followed in his footsteps of unity since: Lewis Black, Louis CK, Ralphie May, and Stephen Colbert, just to name a few. As our country feels increasingly disjointed, it’s important to focus on the “Robin Williams” moments; we can reach across the aisle and truly connect with each other.

Whenever we feel distant from each other, we don’t have to shout from behind a fence. We can jump the berm.

MIGHTY MOVIES

The ‘most Russian movie possible’ has a machine gun toting bear

What makes a movie “the most Russian movie possible?” In this case, it isn’t the long takes and subtle camera movement that trademarked films of the late Soviet Union. It instead features modern-day Soviet-level superheroes drawn together from all corners of the former USSR in order to fight an evil super villain who destroys Moscow and wants to take on the whole of Russia.

One of them is a military-trained, literal Russian Bear who mows down robotic drones with a minigun.


In the Russian action flick “Zaschitniki” (which translates to “Guardians“), the bear and other Russian superheroes are formed as an Guardians of the Galaxy-meets-Suicide Squad super unit who must take down a force of robots and henchmen who threaten all of Russia after they destroy the Russian Army and burn Moscow to the ground. The Guardians are superheroes formed through science during the Cold War, intended to protect the USSR from invaders.

Xenia has the power of invisibility and can change her body into water, Lernik can control Earth and rocks with his mind. Temirkhan has super speed and kills people with curved swords, and Arseniy turns into a giant bear-man who wields an equally giant machine gun. The creator of a subsequent superhero creation program flees the Soviet government and hides in Siberia, continuing his experiments and turning himself into a cyborg and creating clones of himself.

All of the heroes hide for decades after the fall of the USSR, emerging only because the Russian government wants to restart the program.

You see where this is going.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

To shots like this.

The Guardians are quickly captured by the evil cyborg doctor. While he’s off controlling an army of robots and tanks to gain control of all the Russian satellites in orbit so he can control all the technology in the world. Somehow, a Russian officer frees the Guardians. She trains them to fight and gives them special suits and weapons. An all-out Avengers-level brawl takes place in Moscow with the Guardians just murdering the other side.

Eventually they have to come together to defeat the villain. They touch each other and release a blast of energy, which the Russian officer forgets to tell them while they’re training for this big battle.

Listen, what you need to know is that Guardians isn’t a great movie, even by international action flick standards. What it does have is an awesome werebear and some other cool action scenes, which is all we ever really wanted. It also has a setup for a sequel which will be the worst movie I ever watch from start to finish.

MIGHTY MOVIES

10 more of our favorite songs from war movies

Summer blockbuster season is almost officially over (The Atlantic claims it stretches from March to Labor Day), and with that, we here at We Are the Mighty have been talking about our favorite movie soundtracks. Of particular interest are our favorite songs from war movies.


This list was nearly impossible to cull down, because many of the best soundtracks are instrumental compositions (which are great), but don’t exactly scream “turn me up!” So we collected a series of songs (many from Vietnam movies) that are sure to either make you sing along, dance, or cry.

1. “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” Nancy Sinatra – “Full Metal Jacket”

“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” with the line “Me love you long time” from Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”, made RR in Vietnam seem way more entertaining than it probably was.

2. “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” Otis Redding – “Platoon”

There’s just something about this song that makes you wanna roll one and kick back on a dock somewhere.

3. “California Dreaming” The Mamas and Papas – “Forrest Gump”

Speaking about rolling one…

4. “Get Around” Beach Boys – “Good Morning Vietnam”

We couldn’t have a list of our favorite songs from war movies without a little Robin Williams. In “Good Morning Vietnam,” Robin Williams’ character boosts morale much like Robin Williams did on his many USO tours.

5. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Bobby McFerrin – “Jarhead”

“Sir, I got lost on the way to college, sir!”  Classic.

6. “Brown Eyed Girl” Van Morrison – “Born on the Fourth of July”

Though Van Morrison never intended to release this song on an album when he recorded it, we’re sure glad he did. The Grammy’s were, too, as the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007.

7. “Miracles” Coldplay – “Unbroken”

You can’t possibly listen to this song and watch this video and NOT immediately want to watch this movie.

8. “There You’ll Be” Faith Hill – “Pearl Harbor”

I know battle hardened Marines who cry during this. It’s the military version of crying after Old Yeller.

9. “Fortunate Son” Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Forrest Gump”

Except for all the beer and BBQ, Vietnam isn’t anything like America for an FNG…and other lessons to be learned from Forrest Gump.

10. “Sgt. Mackenzie” Joseph Milna Mackenzie – We Were Soldiers

This haunting melody perfectly captures “We Were Soldiers” final battle in la Drang Valley.

As the story goes, the singer, Joseph Milna Mackenzie wrote the song just after his wife’s death. He stared at a picture of his grandfather above his fireplace and was overcome with wonder about his grandfather’s final moments before he died on the battle field in WWI. The song, according to Mackenzie, suddenly came to him.

Check out the rest of our favorite war movie songs below:

Articles

The dark origins of Bikini Bottom

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Wikimedia Commons


Have you ever sat around wondering how Spongebob learned to tie a Windsor knot, how Squidward acquired his affinity for the arts, or how Plankton became perceptive enough to develop a Napoleon complex? Well, here’s a theory that should simultaneously quell your curiosity while fulfilling the core function of the internet: robbing you of your childhood innocence.

Basically, this unique aquatic society was the result of U.S. nuclear testing in the South Pacific Ocean, and that all of your childhood pals, from Mr. Krabs to Mrs. Puff, are radioactively mutated fish.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Our thoughts exactly

History seems to support this claim. The nuclear testing site that the theory refers to is Bikini Atoll, a group of islands in Micronesia. After World War II, the U.S. military detonated 23 nuclear devices on the islands as it geared up for an arms race with the Soviet Union. Remember that island that appears at the beginning of every SpongeBob episode? Well, that’s what remains of Bikini Atoll. The creators of the show left other clues to this radioactive origin story, such as Squidward’s Easter Island head residence (a hint of the town’s South Pacific locale), the popular Bikini Bottom magazine Toxic Waste Monthly, and the mushroom cloud that seems to rise from every explosion in the show.

So, it seems likely that the bombing of Bikini Atoll created Bikini Bottom, a nightmarish seascape where a sponge is economically extorted by a crab, who somehow fathered a sperm whale. But maybe it was all for the best. Bikini Bottom seems like a pleasant enough city, and the residents certainly have less mundane lives than your average fish or sponge. All’s well that ends well, right?

Maybe not. Because before U.S. nukes created one of America’s most beloved children’s shows, there were real, non-animated people living on Bikini Atoll: 167 to be exact. Bikini Atoll is part of the Marshall Islands, which has its own distinctive language, culture, and society. Leading a subsistence based lifestyle, Bikinians were a subset of this society.

In 1946 the people of Bikini Atoll were compelled to “temporarily relocate” by the United States, who wanted to begin nuclear testing on the islands. They were told they had to leave “for the good of mankind” and were subsequently sent to Rongerik Atoll, an uninhabited group of islands one-sixth the size of Bikini that lacked adequate sources of food and water. The U.S. navy dropped them on the shore with several weeks of food supplies and left. Soon, the Bikinians had a serious malnutrition problem, with most living on the brink of starvation. Within two months of relocation, they were begging the U.S. to allow them to return to Bikini, not knowing about the nuclear devastation being brought down upon their home. Their calls were ignored, and they were left on the island for two years. “We were dying, but they didn’t listen to us,” commented one of the inhabitants of Rongerik.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Eventually, the government began the process of moving the Bikinians to Ujelang Atoll. A handful Bikinians were sent to Ujelang to begin construction of their new society. But two months later, the plans fell through. The U.S. had chosen a second location for nuclear testing, Enewetak Atoll, and decided that the Enewetak people, instead of the Bikinians, would be relocated to Ujelang.

In 1948, The Bikini natives were finally liberated from Rongerik and sent to Kwajalein Atoll, where they lived in tents next to a concrete military airstrip. Six months later they were relocated once again to Kili Island, a .36-square-mile island where most Bikinians still live today. The island greatly differed from the Atolls they were accustomed to, making their traditional methods of fishing and food cultivation far less effective. Starvation once again became a daily concern and the Bikinians had to rely on USDA rice and canned goods to survive. The island was also prone to flooding, making them vulnerable to hurricanes and typhoons. They soon began referring to Kili as “Prison Island.”

Meanwhile, nuclear tests continued on Bikini Atoll, culminating in the 1954 “Castle Bravo” test, which detonated a nuclear weapon 1,000-times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The blast was larger than the U.S. government expected and the resulting radioactive fallout spread throughout the Marshall Islands, blanketing inhabited islands and contaminating their residents. The subsequent health effects still plague Marshall Islanders today.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Mushroom cloud at Castle Bravo

Decades passed, and in 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that the now 540 Bikinians would be able to resettle their home islands. The Atomic Energy Commission issued a statement saying “There’s virtually no radiation left and we can find no discernible effect on either plant or animal life.” Feeling confident in these assurances, Bikinians began to resettle in 1972. But in 1978, tests by U.S. physicians revealed that the radiation levels in the 139 people on Bikini Atoll were well above the permissible level. They were evacuated.

Today, the native inhabitants of Bikini Atoll continue to seek compensation from the U.S. government for the devastation of their home. Many demand that the U.S. clean up the mess they made in Bikini so they might return home. Some have more modest claims, like Simon Jamore, who wants access to better healthcare for four of his family members who have developed cancer. The islands remain almost entirely uninhabited, excluding the marine citizens of Bikini Bottom. For now, the only thing fit to live in Bikini Atoll is a radioactive fry-cook sponge.

MIGHTY MOVIES

7 Band of Brothers actors who got famous

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

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Christenson (Fassbender) with Maj. Winters (Damian Lewis) at the Kaufering concentration camp (HBO)

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

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Nice salute there Private (HBO)

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

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
1st Sgt. Evans wasn’t amused by the can of peaches either (HBO)

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

Actor from Band of Brothers
Meehan (O’Mara) and Winters (Lewis) figure out the location of the invasion (HBO)

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

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
No fake laughing from Fallon here (HBO)

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

Actor from Band of Brothers
Miller and the other replacements were berated by Pvt. Roy Cobb for their Presidential Unit Citations (HBO)

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

Actor from Band of Brothers
He learned to respond to Guarnere in kind (HBO)

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.

MIGHTY MOVIES

3 reasons ‘War Dogs’ is the best civilian war movie

Two childhood friends take advantage of a loophole in the way the U.S. military puts out its contracts and become international arms dealers. Yet, it’s the crazy true story on which the movie War Dogs is based. Add to that the stellar performances of co-leads Jonah Hill and Miles Teller and you get a dark comedy veterans and civilians alike can crack a beer and watch together.

1. Bromance with guns

Inspired by the improbable adventures of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz (who has a cameo singing “Who fears the Reaper” in the retirement home scene), the movie addresses a mostly comedic tone on a very serious subject: international arms trafficking. Although some people criticized the comical treatment of the subject, the minimization of the US government’s part in the story. What better way to get people interested in a serious and controversial topic than by giving them a good laugh?

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
(War Dogs Trailer, YouTube)

With sleek action, a rocking soundtrack and well-crafted dialogues, the movie offers to take the viewers through the rollicking adventures of two Miami pals living the high life. Drugs, guns and accompanied by women with a shaky morale compass? They’re borderline CIA material at this point. Yet, by and by, the promised buddy comedy turns into an indictment of unrestrained capitalism, human greed and the Administration that led to the war in Iraq. War Dogs is a dark comedy that pelts you with laughs and insights into the heart of human depravation with the same enthusiasm and leaves you with a smile on your face reciting, ‘Fallujah bad!’

2. Veterans would not have made the same mistakes

After all, how can two regular guys without any particular qualifications become suppliers on multi-million dollar contracts for the most powerful military in the world? What devil did they bargain with to become such wealthy international arms dealers? Can any shred of morality survive in this business? Also, how do we get in on that? Asking for a friend.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
(War Dogs Trailer, YouTube)

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller each deliver a Terminal Lance-like performance in their respective roles. Hill, playing a bloated, cocaine-using Efraim Diveroli (Hill gained 44 pounds for the part), reprises a role somewhat similar to his part in The Wolf of Wall Street. He’s equally sleazy, callous and convincing in both roles. As the more naïve Packouz, Teller is almost innocent enough to be touching. The characters are a charismatic scumbag and a gullible, yet loyal friend who get in over their heads. Neither were evil masterminds. Albania, a Communist country for a long time, made 80% of its trade with China. That fact alone would have alerted more clever businessmen about the dangers of dealing with communists. It takes a special mindset to accept to exchange one’s integrity and morality for money.

3. Its a commentary on unchecked capitalism

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
(War Dogs Trailer, YouTube)

That mindset is the one fostered and encouraged by unbridled capitalism. As Diveroli says: “God bless Dick Cheney’s America!” How many young Americans are taught that it’s all about making money, no matter the cost? That everything can be accepted and forgiven if it’s in the name of profit? In the same vein as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, War Dogs uses dark comedy to denounce massive moral failings in the modern capitalist society. It makes us laugh about a profound and disturbing truth. Maybe it’s a laugh to avoid crying.

That’s why War Dogs is the best civilian war movie. Its narrative is sleek and its story is almost too incredible to be true. The talented leads make the characters convincing, touching, absolutely un-relatable, flawed and funny, yet it is difficult to really hate them without seeing them as products of a broken environment. Its light premises lead to a mordant analysis of politics and corruption in the early 2000s. It gives enough laughs and action scenes to make the pill easier to swallow. Especially when your buddy says “I was in Fallujah,” and sh*t you not, he has pictures. It’s an uncomfortably entertaining movie that sits between the private and public sector of the war.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Why Gerard Butler gave a Pentagon press briefing

Critics who say the Pentagon doesn’t give the press enough briefings had their prayers answered — even if they didn’t necessarily get their questions answered. On Oct. 15, the Pentagon gave a presser led by actor Gerard Butler. If you know anything about popular culture news, you probably guessed the brief focused on the Navy.


The actor has been doing a full-court press around the military community in support of his new film, Hunter Killer. Butler’s October Pentagon press briefing was the first one given by the Defense Department since August of 2018.

At the time of the actor’s briefing, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White were not at the Pentagon. They weren’t even in the United States. The two were on their way to Vietnam when Butler took the podium.

He came to thank the Department of Defense for their help with his new film, due in theaters October 26th. In the film, Butler plays a U.S. Navy submarine commander with the mission of taking Navy SEALs into Russian waters to rescue a deposed Russian president from a coup plot.

“It was one of my childhood dreams to be on a sub,” the actor told the gathered press room. “I didn’t think it would happen the way it did, taking off from Pearl Harbor and sitting on the conning tower with a submarine commander.”

Butler spent three days aboard a Navy submarine in preparation for the film. While on the boat, the actor learned about how a submariner’s small, metal world works and took part in numerous training drills. He told reporters it was incredible to see how sailors are constantly being tested and must think creatively and intuitively.

“What I really took out of it was the brilliance and the humility of the sailors I worked with,” he said. This isn’t the first time Butler has made visits and appearances in the military community.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Marines demonstrate Marine Corps Martial Arts techniques for actor Gerard Butler at Camp Pendleton during his 2016 visit — though we’re sure he already knew this move in particular.

(Marine Corps Photo by Pfc. Emmanuel Necoechea)

In 2016, the actor also flew with the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force’s fighter demonstration squadron, visited Marines at Camp Pendleton, and toured guided missile destroyers at Naval Base San Diego in support of other films.

For Hunter Killer, he wanted to be sure to show his support to the Navy.

“I’d like to thank the Navy for all their help because we couldn’t have done it without them – or we could, but it would not have been a good movie,” Butler said.
MIGHTY MOVIES

Pennywise is back to haunt the Losers’ Club in ‘IT: Chapter Two’ trailer

The final trailer for “IT: Chapter Two” has dropped and along with highlighting the return of Pennywise, it makes the killer clown’s mission abundantly clear: He wants revenge on the Losers’ Club.

The two-and-a-half-minute preview opens with a grown-up Mike (played by Isaiah Mustafa), the lone member of the club to stay in Derry, saying that he remembers “all of it.” We then see a man drowning in the sewers crying out for help, only to be “rescued” by an eager Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård).


We then see the reunion of the Losers’ Club, who are told by Mike that Pennywise is back. He also reminds them of the oath they all took as kids to take down their tormentor if he ever returned. In case there were any doubts about Mike’s claim, Bill (played by James McAvoy) gets a horrific glimpse of the demonic force at a carnival, as Pennywise threatens to trap a young boy who may be Bill’s son.

IT CHAPTER TWO – Final Trailer [HD]

www.youtube.com

The frightening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the trailer, with Pennywise declaring his desire to get back at the group that stopped him.

“For 27 years, I dreamt of you,” Pennywise says. “I craved you. I missed you.”

His statement clearly sets the stage for a showdown between Pennywise and the Losers’ Club. Fortunately, the gang appears every bit as determined to face-off against their nemesis.

“We need to finish it,” Bill says. “For good.”

Pennywise spends the rest of the trailer scaring the shit out of the group, including Richie (played by Bill Hader) and Beverly (played by Jessica Chastain). If this is any indication, the IT sequel is looking like it will be even more devastating than the original, with Pennywise determined to raise as much Hell as possible.

“IT: Chapter Two” comes to theaters Sept. 6, 2019.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

The ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ trailer is perfect – don’t at me

Get ready for two minutes and fifty-six seconds of glory because the latest trailer from the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise just dropped. This is why The Rock wakes up at 4:00 to work out while the rest of us sleep like lazy jerks. Hobbs & Shaw looks like it will be completely ridiculous — and that’s why it’s going to be perfection.

Check it out:


Hobbs & Shaw (Official Trailer)

www.youtube.com

Hobbs & Shaw (Official Trailer)

Hobbs Shaw will be the 9th film in the Fast Furious franchise and just like its predecessors, it’s completely bonkers. But it knows that it’s bonkers — and that’s why it’s brilliant.

The franchise started out in 2001 with street racing, thieves, and an undercover cop (played by the late and very much missed Paul Walker), and since then it has exploded into a billion franchise that burns physics like NOS. In the latest film, they’re upping the ante and throwing in super powers.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

No complaints here.

“I am human evolutionary change. Bullet proof. Super human,” purrs Idris Elba, the self-proclaimed “bad guy” of the film. According to The Rock, Elba plays a “cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist [who] gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever,” and former nemeses Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) must team up together to stop him.

Even though they hate each other but actually share similar ideals. So silly.

Vanessa Kirby plays a rogue M16 agent in there somewhere, too, and I’ll be watching with my Bechdel checklist…

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

This is the party I signed up for.

Johnson has made a career out of over-the-top roles that he absolutely pulls off. He’s not making dark action flicks — he’s making films designed to give the viewer some fun. Hobbs Shaw looks like it will be no exception. The creative team doubled down on action thriller endorphins by playing up that ol’ “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” trope — and they did it because it works.

Also read: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wanted to be a CIA agent

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

You guys are so silly.

The trailer reveals a peek at what we can expect from the film: car chases, explosions, destroyed buildings, and dudes who have spent a lotta hours in the gym beating each other up.

And a girl. Somewhere. Getting captured it looks like. So probably also rescued. She better have some of her own agency is what I’m saying. We can talk about it later, writing duo Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson…

Ultimately, my bet is that the trailer is advertising the exact film it represents: an action-packed, fun-filled, no brainer experience, which is perfect.

Hobbs Shaw opens on August 2, 2019.

More: Read about that time The Rock surprised a combat veteran

MIGHTY MOVIES

The real reason why AFN commercials lack studio quality

The Armed Forces Network provides American troops, their families, and government contractors with a nice slice of the American media and entertainment from back home. But because the way the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS, and yes, it is pronounced like “a farts”) is run, the programming needs to remain neutral, balanced, and ad-free.


AFRTS is a nonprofit enterprise owned by the U.S. government. It does not and cannot air commercials during its programs. This is to avoid looking like any company has the endorsement of or sponsorship from the Department of Defense. Television shows are created with three commercial gaps in mind and, on AFN, these get replaced with public service announcements and command information spots that are just comically bad.

(Acidevil23 | YouTube)

 

AFN does run PSAs from the Ad Council that are actually high-quality and are made with great care. The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization that works heavily with agencies of the U.S. Government. Because they’re meant to raise awareness on non-partisan issues, they’re allowed to play on AFN.

They’re intended for general audiences and need to have the quality to compete against a paid advertisement. This is why troops still see ads for McGruff the Crime Dog while they’re trying to catch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Related: These 21 American Forces Network commercials are entertaining for all the wrong reasons

Which brings us to the most ill-received commercials: the command information spots. To put it bluntly, the top priority is to get the message across. This can range from just a Drill Instructor telling you to wear a seat belt to ads like Squeakers, The OPSEC Mouse.

 

(afrtsfan | YouTube)

It’s funny the first time, but watching the same ad every time you go to the chow hall will rot your brain. This isn’t the fault of the creators: The budget just isn’t there, the equipment is dated (if there at all), and deadlines are tight. A typical AFN commercial request comes down from command with little more than a call to action and a quick turnaround demand. Some of the nicer AFN commercials are made at Fort Meade, while the less-polished ones are made overseas. Both are created by civilian talent and troops with film-making aspirations.

When it comes time to create a new ad, brainstorm meetings are held to come up with something that’s memorable — that’s the key to all of this. It can be goofy. It can be weird. It can even be about a man in a Batman mask running around Bagram Airfield, shaking people down for breaking rules — as long as you remember the message.

 

(The U.S. Army | YouTube)

MIGHTY MOVIES

7 reasons ‘Top Gun’ should have been about Iceman

In 1986, Paramount released Top Gun, story about a hotshot Naval aviator named “Maverick” who had some extreme daddy issues. The film was action-packed with awesome dogfights and a classic rivalry.


Did you ever wonder how different Top Gun would have been if Iceman — Maverick’s only competition — was the star of the film?

We did and here are seven reasons why we think the movie should have been about Iceman.

1. We would have seen way more pen flipping.

There nothing more badass than a classic stare-down to start off an epic rivalry. But add in a slick gold pen being flipped through the fingers of a top-notch Naval aviator, and you have the coolest introduction to a character (pun intended).

2. There would have been way more classic insults.

Let’s face it, Maverick wasn’t known for his sh*t talking other than “flipping off” an enemy pilot while being inverted — but Iceman was pretty damn good at it.

“The plaque for the for the alternates is down in the ladies room.” — Iceman

3. Top Gun would have had way more sex scenes in it — and they wouldn’t have been in complete darkness.

Iceman wasn’t looking to hook up with an instructor — he was much more interested in every single girl that was near the base.

 

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Iceman wears sunglasses at night — and he totally pulls it off. (Source: Paramount/ Screenshot)

4. They would have finished the iconic volleyball game since Iceman is no quitter.

Need we say more?

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Iceman even makes spinning a volleyball look cool. (Source: Paramount/ Screenshot)

5. No one would have traumatized over Goose’s death.

It would have just been another accident from a “military exercise” resulting in a fatality. That is all.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
(Source: Paramount/ Screenshot)

6. Iceman and Maverick would have totally got into a fistfight.

Do you really think Maverick could have beaten Iceman in a brawl? Well, if Iceman was the star of the movie, we probably would have found out for sure.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Iceman doesn’t back down from a fight unless it’s with the star of the movie. (Source: Paramount/ Screenshot)

7. The Top Gun graduation would have been shown since Iceman did beat out Maverick.

We think it would have been cool to know how he got the gold pen he was flipping around his fingers earlier — he might have told the story during his plaque presentation.

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
Why is no one talking about the hot girl in the background? Oh that’s right, because Maverick needs attention. (Source: Paramount/ Screenshot)

MIGHTY MOVIES

Even the GOT actors know their defense of Winterfell was stupid

Heading into Sunday’s Battle of Winterfell “Game of Thrones” episode, fans had their sights on the crypts of Winterfell and were prepared for horror to be unleashed inside. But, strangely, none of the characters on the HBO show seemed concerned about hiding out among decaying bodies when their enemy had the ability to raise the dead.

“We’re in a crypt. Nobody thought of that,” Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, said in an HBO video. “[The Night King is] bringing all the dead people back to life. And they’ve put the women and children in a crypt with all the dead people so … blah.”


Game of Thrones | Season 8 Episode 3 | Game Revealed (HBO)

www.youtube.com

Dinklage appears clearly flummoxed by the characters’ lack of foresight when it came to the dangers of the crypts.

“Tyrion is smart, but I guess not that smart,” Dinklage continued.

Ahead of the episode, fans were theorizing the many different ways the fight against the Night King might shake down. The dead Starks buried in the crypts being raised by the Night King and attacking all the people hiding in the “safe” place was among the chief predictions.

Related: 5 of the worst errors the living made at the Battle of Winterfell

Some people, including us, thought this was a terrible guess because surely Jon Snow and the Starks would’ve thought about this possibility? But nope. The dead were raised, and many people were killed. (Though not any of the main characters who were in the crypts.)

Mandalorians are the Viking Raiders of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Varys even joked about how the crypts were a good place to die.

(HBO)

We were surprised to see nobody defending the living against the dead inside the crypts, either. Arya had given Sansa a dragonglass dagger, but she hid with Tyrion and didn’t use it.

In the above HBO video, behind-the-scenes footage seems to show Dinklage and Sophie Turner (Sansa) getting in on the action and taking down a pair of wights. But either that wasn’t a real scene they were filming, or that moment never made it into the episode.

And so many lives were sacrificed both inside and out of the crypts of Winterfell. For a full rundown of the major fallen characters, read our list of the dead here.

“Game of Thrones” season eight continues on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

This article originally appeared on Insider. Follow @thisisinsider on Twitter.

Read more:
Do Not Sell My Personal Information