MANDO CAME TO SO CAL
One thing that the new Disney+ series of The Mandalorian is doing new is that it is the first Star Wars property to not be filmed in England. New technology allows the show to show amazing photo real effects in "the Volume." There's an awesome video from ILM you can (and should) check out about it here. But sometimes there is just too much action to fit into a box studio.
When Chapter 14 of The Mandalorian Season 2, debuted a few weeks ago, we were all treated with a new planet in the Star Wars Universe, "Tython." Many people oddly thought it looked a lot like Southern California... and they were correct! In fact, we can confirm this was shot inside the Central Coast! On Christmas Day, Disney+ released an episode of Disney Gallery, a behind the scenes look at making the new season, it was revealed that director Robert Rodriguez and the production filmed on location in Simi Valley.
Simi Valley lies just along the border of the Ventura and Los Angeles County line, and is a part of Ventura County, which is a part of the Central Coast. This episode was shot using stages and the new "Volume" technology, but the large action scenes involving the Mandalorian (Din Djarin), Boba Fett and some stormtroopers were shot in the hills above Simi Valley and was actually about 500 feet away from being in Los Angeles County. We will still claim it as Central Coast!!
Take a look at a Google Maps look at the area the Boba Fett and Fennec Shand action scenes took place. You can see from the image above the round rock in the upper left corner matches what is behind Boba Fett.
The rocks to the bottom of the image are the same ones that Fennec Shand runs across while the stormtroopers shoot at her feet. You can see in the still below matching holes along the bottom, as well as the round rock on the ridge from the other still. Digital artists we able to simply blur out the San Fernando Valley in the background.
ABOUT THE "STUDIO ZONE"
Many films are shot in Simi Valley because it is in the TMZ. Yes, like the popular show, but the TMZ is an actual term that stands for the "Thirty Mile Zone" and several parts of Ventura County fall within that line. In fact, the Screen Actor's Guild has only two "Studio Zones" which is a TMZ in LA and a TMZ in New York City. You can see that info here. The one in LA is centered at La Cienega and Beverly Blvds.
Productions have been taking advantage of the labor agreements and government tax incentives to produce within this zone since 1934. For example, actors and crew members are expected to transport themselves to these locations and will not need hotel accommodations, which is a huge budget savings. Older major studios regularly purchases "movie ranches" on the outskirts of the TMZ and made them large outdoor studios, most without any formal backlots or stages, and were meant for exterior shots only. You can see in the map below, the MGM Conejo Ranch was to be considered being in the Studio Zone, even though it is further than the actual TMZ.
While Ventura County is the furthest south on the Central Coast, it still is a vital part of the TMZ and is quite literally Hollywood's Backyard. Take a look below.
Christmas came early for some hardcore Disney+ fans! Disney released a massive treasure trove today at their investors meeting, including footage of new Disney+ shows spanning from all corners of the Disney universe. This is obviously a reaction to the news of what Warner Brothers has done with HBO Max for all of their upcoming films to be released in theatrical and streaming as well. As for Disney, they will either (mostly as of right now) be releasing films on their streaming service, Disney+ or traditional theatrical releases. We'll breakdown a little here for you by section.
Just because the MCU had a nice neat button on it, known as Avengers: Endgame, doesn't mean it's over. Far, far from it... but then again we all knew that. Today was huge for Marvel, announcing new feature films such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third feature in the Ant-Man franchise; and Fantastic Four, which introduces Marvel’s most iconic family. Marvel Studios’ upcoming feature films also include Black Widow, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther 2, Blade, Captain Marvel 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
This doesn't even include what they're doing on the small screen with Disney+. They are making many new shows for the streaming service including the animated series What If...?, a live action series for Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye (with Hailee Steinfeld joining Jeremy Renner in the series), She-Hulk, (starring Tatiana Maslany in the title role alongside co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth), Moon Knight, Gaurdians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and a series of original shorts, I am Groot.
But don't forget about everyone's favorite badguy, Loki, who is also getting his own show. You can see the trailer below.
Marvel also released its trailers packed with new footage for Wanda Vision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. All three shows show a distinct and vision at what is going on in the MCU, following the events of Endgame and all will be on Disney+. It was also released that these shows will play heavily into what will happen in future MCU movies, including the much rumored about Spiderman-3 with Tom Holland (ok, this is a Sony movie, but we all know the truth), and Doctor Strange Into the Multiverse.
Disney+ will also be getting numerous other MCU connected shows such as
Some of the biggest news came to the Star Wars universe. Again, with the wrap up of the main "Skywalker" saga timeline, it became open season to go hunting for sideline adventures, which has proven to be instrumental with The Mandalorian, one of Disney+'s flagship new shows when it debuted last year. The show also has continued to expand on its global influence with the second season which is currently debuting new episodes.
Star Wars has already begun its spinoffs a long time ago... in a galaxy... well, same galaxy. Alright, same galaxy, but back with the Clone Wars, and animated show, which again has a spin off of that announced called The Bad Batch. The Clone Wars features, James Arnold Taylor, a Central Coast resident as a vocal artist for Obi-Wan Kenobi in the series. But spinoffs aren't limited to animated, even in The Mandalorian there is many cross references with characters coming to live-action form, especially in season 2. One of those characters is also getting their own live action show, Ahsoka, which is Ahsoka Tano, a Jedi from The Clone Wars and Rebels.
Disney+ isn't getting shows that are spinoffs of animated shows. It was announced that the previously announced show, Obi-Wan Kenobi, a "special event series" that features Ewan McGregor back in the title role, will have Hayden Christensen return as his apprentice turned master of the dark side of the force, Darth Vader.
But then, Rogue One, one of the few theatrical Star Wars spinoffs, is getting it's own spinoff (so many spinoffs), which is described as a "a tense nail-biting spy thriller" following Diego Luna's character from the film, Cassian Andor in a show called Andor. You can see the video they released about it below.
But Star Wars wasn't finished there. They also have The Acolyte, a mystery-thriller that will take the audience into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. Lando is also getting an "event series" for Disney+, but no word on if Donald Glover or Billy Dee Williams (or both) will be returning to reprise their characters.
Then there is also a new show set within the timeline of The Mandalorian, which is called Rangers of the New Republic. This new live-action series from executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will intersect with future stories and culminate into a climactic story event. This will probably be about the X-Wing pilots we've seen in the show in both seasons now. But why stop there with X-Wings? Check out this other announcement from Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins.
Rogue Squadron is set to come out in theaters around Christmas 2023. Oh and don't forget about Taika Waititi's unnamed Star Wars film that will come out in the future. Honestly, they couldn't be more vague about it. But wait... theres still so much more. There's A Droid Story which will introduce us to a new hero, guided by the legendary duo, R2-D2 and C-3PO. There's also more animated shorts coming. But why stop there LucasFilm?
They also announced they're in pre-production for the next Indiana Jones film, set to begin filming in Spring of 2021 and released in theaters July of 2022, with Harrison Ford back in the fedora. Then other fun LucasFilm news would be Willow getting a series on Disney+ with Warwick Davis returning. They are set to begin filming in March of 2021 and will be on Disney+ in 2022.
Don't forget about these guys. They also have some skin in the game. Pixar's Soul is slated to come out on Disney+ after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, going the same path as Mulan. But Disney is not stopping with the live-action remakes showing off titles for Peter and Wendy as well as Pinocchio. Also there's the spinoff movie following Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, a new version of Swiss Family Robinson and Percy Jackson and the Olympians all going to Disney+. More new films for Disney+ include, Hocus Pocus 2, a sequel to the 1993 Halloween classic. Reboots of Three Men and a Baby, with Central Coast Native, Zac Efron, and Cheaper by the Dozen with Kenya Barris and Gabrielle Union, and a new Sister Act film with Whoopi Goldberg returning.
But new shows coming to Disney+ are also interesting. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, with Emilio Estevez returns as Gordon Bombay and Lauren Graham joins the flock. Other shows include Turner & Hooch, Big Shot and The Mysterious Benedict Society.
However, as I said earlier, Disney is "mostly" releasing their films on one or the other, does not apply to Raya and the Last Dragon, which will debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres in March 2021. Premier Access for the title will be priced at $29.99. Today's presentation also included a preview of upcoming feature films such as Jungle Cruise, Cruella and prequels to The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.
Did that seem like a bit? Yes, yes it did. That's just most of what I could find. But what we can all say is that writing does not stop during quarantines and everyone is eager to get stuff rolling. And as consumers, we can't wait... I just hope we are not drinking from a fire hose when it comes out.
What are you the most excited for with all the announcements?