What the New Trump Ad Says: Democrats don’t know what they are doing

This Trump ad put together after both of the national conventions tells a good story that accurately frames the situation. I have been writing and speaking for a very long time about how out of touch liberals are to the heart of human beings. One of the best examples of this has been the makers of the new Star Wars movies where they had all the tools in the world to produce a good movie but have destroyed the brand of the movie franchise anyway with an over emphasis on social justice and racial and sexual politics. I personally see it all the time, especially in the business world where corporate participants have simply been trained by too many left leaning institutions, like college, and it has numbed their hearts to the ways of human enterprise, and they are lost as to what to do without group consensus. Liberalism destroys leadership, and leadership is what makes action possible, so its no wonder that for people like Joe Biden and Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton—all of them, that they believe the best days of America are behind it and that the purpose of government is to manage the decline. But in Trump we elected a builder, a person who knows how to get things done, and put his personal touch on the Republican Convention which shows.

Democrats tried to use coronavirus to put limits on Trump’s campaign freedom trying to trick him into adhering to the Covid-19 rules that they made up to provide strength to their limits. They felt that if they could dull Trump’s creativity and energy that they might have a chance at this election so they made a big deal about the in-person convention that was supposed to be held in North Carolina. Then when Trump found a away around their opposition by moving the convention to Jacksonville, Florida they tried to use the coronavirus spikes as a way to push Trump toward a virtual convention like they were planning. That left Trump to do the convention largely from his home, which happens to be the White House. Democrats asked for it, and Trump did what he always does, he found a creative solution that was not limited to the tight controls of government. If Joe Biden was going to work from his home, Trump would too which would satisfy the critics. But in the end it worked out well for Trump because it helped him show the world that he was the occupant of the White House and that he had all the energy and creativity to stay there.

This more than shows the benefits of thinking outside the box, but it demonstrates emphatically why this new Republican Party is so much better than the old one and why Democrats are hopelessly devoted to failure. America is all about swagger, creativity and tenacity, which is why capitalism works and socialism doesn’t. You can’t have a bunch of leeches living off a system of economics and expect it to work. Capitalism needs constant vigor to continue to push competition and invention toward new objectives and the Democrats have rejected all those elements. At least in the past with Democrats like JFK, they were at least pointing to the stars and wanting to go there. These modern Democrats simply want socialism and communism and hope that if they play their cards right that they’ll be in the ruling class administration. That’s not what Trump wants, he’s already won at life, he’s achieved things and is proud of what he has accomplished and now as president he wants to share that enthusiasm for others to feel. What’s wrong with that? Not a thing, its what we should expect out of all politicians. And Trump wants to win this election like he does all things, giving us a full example of ultimately why conditions in America have improved under Trump. A passion for winning is the beginning of any success.

Yet there is more said in that Trump ad than most people realize, Democrats expected to win this election by defining the rules of conduct which they control, then forcing everyone else to adhere to them. That’s how we ended up with the Covid-19 reaction, is that liberal “experts” set limited ground rules which were controlled by a centralized authority that severely limited the output of the nation economically. Which is precisely why socialism never works anywhere and communism is a complete failure. Democrats point to China and says that communism can work, but they are wrong. China lives off the lives of others, they do not do for themselves. They steal American business ideas and technology and use their vast labor force to produce everything cheaper. The lack of self-direction in their economy is obvious, where even with over a billion people and vast plots of land, they still trail behind the GDP of America. A free people are much more efficient and creative than a people dominated by too many rules and regulations. Democrats had to live by the rules they created with the convention, where Trump worked around the rules and the results were obvious. One convention was certainly better than the other—by a lot.

This election is about rules and freedom, and they do not go well together. Democrats believe that an overly managed society is the path to prosperity, and when it doesn’t come easily, they point to racial diversity and sex to garner improvement. But the lesson they have never learned is that economics is a measurement of creativity, a society of free people who all have equal opportunities to be successful is the best way to arrive at a fair and just society which is how Trump was able to parade a long line of very diverse people to the convention to say great things about him for days on end without pause. There wasn’t a weak spot in the entire convention whereas the Democrats came across as a telethon at 2 am in the morning. Ultimately tribalism is a liberal concept and like the chieftains of old modern liberals believe that rules make a society great. By cutting off the head of a captured prisoner the Mayans thought that the gods would bring them rain for a harvest, or that the many Indians of North America could appeal to the spirits for passage into various phases of life with a little dance around the campfire. And modern Democrats believed that appeasing an invisible enemy in Covid-19 with face masks would save them from certain death, and shutting down the economy to appease the viruses’ ego might help make it go away.

Republicans like Trump believe in creating and using their imaginations to drive impulse to action. They aren’t waiting for the appeal of any gods; they are of the belief that immortality is present in creation and that mankind can shape their own destiny which is where success comes from. Back to the Star Wars example of the old movies versus the new and why Bob Iger at Disney even with the vast resources at his disposal was unable to duplicate what George Lucas did. Achievement in life is not about skin color, sex or group think—adhering to the rules of a tribal council. Rather, it is in individuals who want to win at life who do shape the rules of the universe and point the way into the future. And you can tell by that ad that Donald Trump wants to win this election and for those of us who also like to win, the parameters of victory are obvious.

Cliffhanger the Overmanwarrior

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Rise of Skywalker hits the Billion Dollar Club: Star Wars in the age of Trump

The final verdict for me on the new Star Wars movie the Rise of Skywalker is that I’m happy it crossed over the billion-dollar mark for the weekend. Disney needed that number to justify everything they had put into the effort, and that means more for the future, which is a good thing. I could rip the movie apart technically, and continue to be upset that Lucasfilm under Disney’s guidance veered away from the source material that was there for them for the plunder. We will never get the Jaina Solo that the series deserved and who lived dear to many people’s hearts before The Force Awakens ever appeared. But with all the mistakes made, I felt Disney turned the corner with Solo: A Star Wars Story and reached out to the fans who didn’t reach back. So Disney redoubled their efforts to win back fans with this latest movie with obvious hat in hand. That was enough for me. The most important thing to come out of this latest film is that it is one of the most positive movies I’ve seen in a very long time, everything is above the line and positive, which ultimately is what Star Wars is always about. And why people love to see the movies. We all understand reality and the nature of it. What we want to see in movies is hope, and optimism, and that is what Rise of Skywalker is all about.

The critical reception of the film I have said, and continue to, is solidified in the politics of our times and can be seen in the election of Donald Trump. For all the reasons that some people hate Trump they hate Star Wars. Some people don’t like optimism, they want artistic interpretations for the problems of their lives, not a “can do” spirit to take on anything and to win with perseverance. I think demographically, many fans of Star Wars are also Trump supporters even though Vanity Fair wants to believe that these movies are all about the resistance to Trump. The comparisons to modern politics and the way people vote with their money at the box office is synonymous. Where the rubber hits the road people pay to see hope and to walk away from a movie theater feeling good. And that is what Disney gave audiences finally after messing with the formula with experimental film makers several times in previous attempts. If Disney had just listened to George Lucas at the start of this journey, they’d be a lot better off, but at least they were able to make a recovery with these latest two films, Solo and Rise of Skywalker. Thankfully for them and the rest of us, they weren’t pig headed about it.

Even more importantly, the new ride at Disney World, The Rise of the Resistance continues to show enthusiastic support from a hungry audience. After going to Disney World the week after the ride opened at Hollywood Studios to ride it, my concern was that the movie would come out and people wouldn’t like it making the billion dollar investment that Disney made in the new Star Wars land not worth the effort. I was concerned that it was too little too late and that the brand damage to the property was too far gone. But still, well past the holidays people are showing up in the mornings to ride the most technical ride in the world and its selling out within an hour of the park opening still, meaning that the enthusiasm for Star Wars is still very high.

The most important part of the movie, Rise of Skywalker I think is at the end when Rey goes to the old farm of Luke to bury the lightsabers there for future generations. When Rey rides down the little sand dune as she did in the first movie it showed that J.J. Abrams and other writers for this latest movie understand that Star Wars isn’t about change, its about surviving and living to have a better day tomorrow. With all the events of the films in this recent trilogy Rey had shown that she was still that hopeful girl from the first movie unchanged by the tragedies she had endured. Even though Rey should have been Jaina Solo, and The Force Awakens shouldn’t have ruined the main characters from the original by dumbing them down into stumbling fathers or failed Jedi masters, or women who put their careers before their families only to breed the next generation of galaxy killers, acts like the one with Rey at the end are what Star Wars has always been about, and its great to see it get back on course.

My interest in all this is of course cultural. I don’t get much from a movie like Star Wars that inspires new thoughts in my mind. The movies are meant for children. I want the movies to do well for kids to have something to grab on to for a future where expansion into space and taking values with them for goodness late into their lives is key to establishing a wonderful future. Star Wars is key to that future, so I am very interested in how Disney uses the brand to shape goodness, and optimism in our society. But after The Last Jedi, which I liked because it had some interesting things in it, I wasn’t sure Disney would ever figure out what to do with the George Lucas creation.

But after visiting Galaxy’s Edge in Disney World and seeing The Rise of Skywalker several times at the movie theater, I can say that I am happy with the results and the mythic imprint it has on our society. There are a lot of very positive messages that are spawning off these efforts that will shape the intent of this next century so its all very exciting. It would have been a very sad story to see the brand disintegrate due to all the progressive political experimentation that has been going on, all the #METOO gestures in an attempt to win over the girls away from the boys in the audience. Star Wars is still a movie for boys ages 8 to 13. Girls can come, but its made for boy problems and no matter how much Disney wanted to change that, it was never meant to be. So at least The Rise of Skywalker returned to those roots as best they could, and the box office rewarded them with another billion-dollar money maker which they needed desperately.

Corporate filmmaking is a very different thing from a young George Lucas going to the bank to get the money to make Empire Strikes Back with all his hopes and dreams on the line, which showed in the final cut of the film. We may never see ambitions like that again in Star Wars due to the need of the films to make so much money to cover the corporate expenses. But there was a lot at stake with Rise of Skywalker even though Disney certainly has plenty of money to work with on a budget and advertising. It was good to see that a big company like Disney can gamble in a big way and come up winners when so many people need the win. Disney continues to show they don’t always understand what a winner looks like, as most big companies don’t, but they are always on the lookout for them, and they win more than they lose. And this time, its good that they won, because Star Wars will have new life, which I think is great for our future in many ways that are still undefined mythologically.

Rich Hoffman

Smuggler’s Run is the Best Ride in the World: Technical innovations in storytelling that are now the definitions of pop culture

This has been a year of “never thought I’d see its,” to say the least, which culminated for me while watching the Disney parade on Christmas morning from the parks. Specifically, when I saw Portugal the Man perform “Feel it Still” in front of the life size Millennium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars has always been popular, but there has always been a kind of social tension, it wasn’t something that people felt comfortable talking about in public. If you wore a Star Wars shirt to school like I used to all the time, kids would gang up on you for it with massive amounts of unjustified peer pressure. But after a long evolution, particularly with shows like Big Bang Theory making geekdom fun, and “popular” the Disney ownership of Star Wars is showing signs of mind-bending culture changes that were evident that Christmas morning. No longer were kids forced to keep their thoughts to themselves, Disney had made it so that Star Wars was just as popular if not more so in knowing which quarterbacks were coming out of the draft this year from which colleges. It was a shift in sentiment that I never thought would be possible, yet there it was. As I watched I couldn’t help but think that many of the same people who are those invisible Trump supporters loving the optimism of an optimistic tomorrow were the same people that spent thousands of dollars at Disney every year and would put on the mouse ears for a visit on Christmas morning to the parks to participate in their parade.

Thinking of that Millennium Falcon, after a recent trip to Disney World where I was able to ride that ride 8 times, and ride the new Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage at the new Pandora land at Animal Kingdom I have proclaimed that I thought Smuggler’s Run, which is essentially a flight simulator for the Millennium Falcon was a better ride for a number of reasons. As Rise of the Resistance has opened in December at Disney World and was a feature of the parade in promoting the ride to a hungry Christmas morning audience, a lot of people don’t know just what a miracle these rides are. Especially in regard to the Millennium Falcon’s Smuggler’s Run. I included a video on this article that goes into the details of just how impressive the engineering is on Smuggler’s Run. And even thought Rise of the Resistance has a lot more technical tricks to help make the magic happen, I think the engineering of Smuggler’s Run is so impressive that it’s in a category all by itself even if most of those miracles happen where nobody will ever see them.

Being a huge fan of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars I know a lot about the ship and how it should be laid out, so while I was riding it I was looking for flaws, which can be seen from my Instagram posts included here. As it is, the many mechanism that make the ride possible are completely hidden from even the most rigorous fan. There were little things that I could point out, such as parts of the cockpit altered to accommodate mass riders, and some of the internal pathways to the cockpit that were stretched to fit the needs of 1800 riders per hour. What is most clever is that the ride creates the illusion of walking into the Millennium Falcon’s interior and boarding the cockpit as a single experience when in reality there are seven cockpits on four giant rotary tables that are timed out to perfection for all the loading and unloading that goes on. Each ride vehicle gets its own wrap around screen and sits on a flight simulation platform that would have made NASA jealous a few decades ago. The technology and timing involved in this ride is incredible and all of it is done to ensure that the riders can not see the strings behind the scenes and can instead believe in the experience as a real one.

My perspective is coming from an older person who grew up on these movies. When I was a kid, my family couldn’t afford to get me the Kenner Millennium Falcon to play with so made my own out of a box. So, it is astonishing to me to read these modern critics of these rides and of the new Star Wars movies knowing how much better things are now than then. Having the ability to even visit a Millennium Falcon in real life let alone fly in it is bizarre and a huge step for science fiction and the art of modern storytelling. That Smuggler’s Run is a reality let alone other options like Rise of the Resistance in the same area is an astonishing achievement in any field of endeavor. But especially in storytelling where a ride goes to so much trouble to create an alternate reality in physical space is a jaw dropping enterprise. But then again, to host a concert by a pop culture group on a Christmas morning broadcast mainstream to the world is something I never would have thought would be possible. Knowing that, the prospects for other surprises in the future are very exciting.

But for my money, and well beyond sentiment, the Millennium Falcon ride Smuggler’s Run is the top ride in the world right now, and it will take years to match it by anybody. Also on Christmas Day my wife and I went to see Rise of Skywalker again and I couldn’t help but notice how full the movie theater was from very normal people wanting to see that movie after the day’s festivities had ended. The Millennium Falcon is one of the feature characters of that movie and it is fun, even though its just a machine. The well-known starship was so well featured in the film knowing that it was a kind of advertisement for the ride in Galaxy’s Edge. People watching the movie with their big drinks and overflowing popcorn could travel to Disney World and actually fly the thing—over and over again—and that is a new thing in the art of storytelling that we haven’t yet dealt with as a species, not only the ability to create a story to hold some abstract concept, but to physically participate in the intellectual inclusion of it into our collective subconscious—and with such swagger that Disney could feature it on a popular television broadcast with a modern rock group as part of the package.

I point it out because all things lead to other things and I can’t help but notice that we are expanding our intellect as human beings because of these kinds of technical innovations. The conflict that we hear about on the news is that the rigid orders of the past have not yet caught up to that notion. But the fans of the Disney experience, and through mythology like Star Wars, a new kind of vacationer is being created. Not a passive cocktail drink by the pools of some exotic destination, but the Disney participant that is looking for an above the line experience and is willing to pay a lot of money to get it. And for those people, Smuggler’s Run gives them a seamless experience of a reality that was only available to the imagination. Now it’s real, leaving it to be pondered what the next generation of entertainment will be. At this point, we can only wonder, because the evidence is quite jaw-dropping in its perspectives.

Rich Hoffman

Nobody Should Care About China’s Box Office: Reaching a market of over a billion people can’t justify surrendering to communism

What I have always loved about Star Wars, aside from the obvious creativity that it takes to make the movies, is that they are in and of themselves positive stories that don’t get hung up on negativity. Yet the theme of our day is negativity, because if people are in a state of discontent they may be open to the offerings of some political class. It was probably always this way to some extent, but its really bad now, where negativity is insisted upon by certain sectors of the world, as a culture. Yet, its not always easy to see, but when something like a new Star Wars film comes out, the pop culture reaction to it is an obvious measure that we can all see and touch. And it was never clearer as to what the intentions for our society is than in reporting on the new Star Wars film, which was probably the most positive film I’ve seen by anybody in a long time, and one that certainly stands for goodness. Clearly the intent of the characters in the movie were to make clear choices about good and bad behavior. So of course the focus on the reviews was that this latest movie, The Rise of Skywalker is that it is the most poorly reviewed film since The Phantom Menace, and that it has bombed in China at that box office, see the Variety article below:


This is why I write so much about Star Wars, the movies are very positive and defined about what good and evil should be—as any kid’s fairy tale would. That makes them as a work of art a wonderful measure about social values and the motivations of our cultural forces. Further, I would offer that communism has been the functioning plan for many years, especially those college trained as all media people are to some extent, certainly in the case of writers of these types of articles like Patrick Frater a defense of China and its communism is baked into their view of the world, and by attacking films that are distinctly American points of view, China continues on with the mission they’ve had all along and is constantly assisted by universities and their products to advocate for and against certain types of cultures. The effort becomes grossly obvious when entertainment trades make it so obvious such as trying to slam a movie as successful as The Rise of Skywalker which made over $177 million domestically over its opening weekend and will continue to do well at the box office over the long Christmas week. Especially when the news around the world that in just a few days it made $376 million globally. That is hardly anything to sneeze at, or to ignore, culturally.

The problem is one that I have pointed out often, especially coming out of Hollywood for more than a couple decades now, where Chinese companies have been buying up interests in film studios and even trade magazines. They have been trying to do to American markets what they do internally in China as communists, and that is to control everything at every level. I mean give me a break, Star Wars was beat at the box office in China by Ip Man 4: The Finale, and that is very fishy. Instead of making the story about the Chinese box office being a failure of Star Wars to reach an audience, the story is really about how China as a government controls such box office numbers so that they can protest against western ideas influencing their country, especially when the protests in Hong Kong are fueled by those same western ideas. The box office numbers themselves do not tell the story, but our media which has been heavily influenced by the Chinese even from such a far reach uses the known measurements that China controls to attempt to shape the kind of stories that are told in our culture—which the rest of the world obviously loves as they were.

I admired Disney, which is a big global company that wants to please everyone, because they allowed the filmmakers of Star Wars to get back to what made the films popular with fans and The Rise of Skywalker is a love letter back to them full of very positive storylines that don’t get hung up on negativity. The previous installment The Last Jedi was taking a turn to the dark side in all aspects and critics loved it. But the fans didn’t. As I said at the start of this article, one way to control people is to take away from them hope, disconnect them from options so that they will be forced to embrace a way of life that the controller wishes to impose. When Star Wars looked to be taking a negative “realistic” tone with this modern trilogy, critics loved the film, but when the box office diminishing returns started showing that fans were leaving, Disney had to make some decisions and listen to the fans, and return to the kind of storytelling that Star Wars has always been for people—which is not the trend of the world full of communists in China that still have global plans.

I doubt that Patrick Frater from Variety is an open communist, but I would bet that he’s likely an anti-Trump political personality and that the whispers of his college days speak to him in copious amounts, and that the roots of those whispers were sympathetic to the type of society that China has been trying to export for decades. Star Wars obviously stands against that sentiment. While in the states, Variety has been very supportive of Star Wars so long as they could view the Resistance as being anti-Trump and liberal. However, the reality is that Star Wars has always been a small government love letter and few stories in the history of storytelling has ever shown how a government can be great one day, and on the next turn into a mass manufacturer of dystopia and scandal. The enemies of American ideas I would offer are those who have also been giving bad reviews to The Rise of Skywalker. While Disney has tried to make everyone happy, especially with the ridiculous lesbian kiss at the end of the movie as if to throw a bone to the dogs, ultimately there is no way to shut out the negativity that comes from the press because the goal is to attempt to keep people from being enchanted by the positive messages of Star Wars, since it is control over mankind that is at stake.

This movie is just one more example of why China is ultimately irrelevant. Nobody can make movies culturally that China and America will enjoy together. If a film studio tries to make movies that China will like, American audiences will push it away. And if the story is too “western” then China will shut it down in their markets. This is the nature of this entire battle yet I don’t see any evidence from the trades in dealing with the issue properly. That is because they are part of the problem and when they can, such as in this Variety article, they must take down any challenges to China as a communist culture. To save Star Wars, Disney had to choose, and they went with traditional western storytelling as they should. Nobody cares about China’s stupid contributions. Its worth dropping a $100 million at the box office, which is likely what it cost. But that money will be made up many times over in the other markets before its all said and done, and Disney will be rewarded for their choice, even if the trades like Variety are rooting against it for all the reasons stated.

Rich Hoffman

A Review of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’: Star Wars is back and has a lot in common with the Trump impeachment

Sometimes things happen that are very good and you have an experience that was much better than you thought it would be and that was certainly the case of the latest Rise of Skywalker Star Wars film. I know a lot of my readers are perplexed as to why I write so much about Star Wars, and to understand why, I would point to this movie. It has a lot in common with the Donald Trump impeachment by the press, a desired narrative designed to shape a social argument. While the president represents in people a desire to push back against oppressive institutions—which is a continuous theme of all Star Wars movies and shows, the media itself has become one of those oppressive institutions where there trained minds within it find Star Wars ideas threatening, not just childish, but dangerous. So I read with interest hundreds and hundreds of reviews this week about the Rise of Skywalker while many of the same publications framed similar opinions about the presidency of Donald Trump. The common statement was that this new Star Wars film wasn’t very good, it didn’t take the needed chances, and lets face it, it steered away from the progressive politics of the last film, which caused a lot of trouble in the fan community. The Rise of Skywalker was a damn, good movie and a real love letter from the filmmakers to the fan base and it left me feeling very good about it and extremely hopeful for the future.

What Star Wars means to our society I cannot understate enough, the magic it has on our culture is invaluable. I think its very powerful, and important. As a kid’s movie it has the potential to set high goals in the minds of viewers, especially young ones and this Rise of Skywalker film understood that responsibility. These are not movies about reality, or progressive politics, plot points that film school losers studied were important, the Star Wars movies, all of them are about creativity and thinking beyond the scope of your present circumstances. They are also about overcoming impossible odds when faced with dire circumstances. In that fashion, there were parts of Rise of Skywalker that reminded me a lot of the original Wizard of Oz, particularly when the heroes of the story were trying to rescue Chewbacca from a First Order star destroyer. The themes were light on their feet and fun. Reality wasn’t the goal but the flow of optimism was and that made parts of this movie pure magic.

The reason the reviewers choose not to like movies like this and why they don’t like President Trump is that they wish to live their lives in a victimized status, to have something to blame for why they are losers in life. President Trump is about overcoming loser status, and so are Star Wars films at their heart. They are all about using creative tools and technology to help the viewers of the films unlock optimism in their lives hopefully well beyond the time that the lights come back up and the movie is over. The Rise of Skywalker was an optimistic love letter to the audience. Obviously, Lucasfilm has listened to the complaints of the previous films. And I will have to give credit to Bob Iger at Disney, he listened too. There was a lot going on in The Rise of Skywalker that was optimistic, ambitious and a real throwback to the Saturday morning serials that caused George Lucas to make these films so long ago. The opening credits complete with what was likely one of John Williams’ final musical scores was wonderful and set the stage the way these kinds of stories have for hundreds of years, and have been the key to why they are so beloved by so many generations of audiences.

Rather than give away the movie, I’d rather cover the spirit of the film and encourage everyone to go see the movie and reward Disney with a big box office score. I’d like to see this one break some records, because it deserves to. I keep hearing from critics that The Rise of Skywalker didn’t take any chances, the way people have become accustomed to in other theatrical releases, like a Tarantino film, or some movie that advances the political ideologies of the left where women rights are the dominate objectives. Let me tell you about risk, try taking a very private story telling film that Star Wars started out as in 1977 and hold its creative looseness intact as it transitions over to corporate media while still telling stories of individual input and sustenance as the pressures otherwise push down on the attempt. I never said it would be easy for Disney to make these movies, only that they should respect the fans that have stayed with the franchise for over 40 years of storytelling. There was a couple sitting next to me who were older than I was, probably by over ten years and they were sitting there at the end of the credits with me with tears streaming down their faces and a smile from ear to ear. I asked them if they liked the film and of course they were beyond words with approval.

I met similar people in line at Disney World just a week before The Rise of Skywalker was released. They like me had spent thousands and thousands of dollars to take a vacation to Disney World and ride the new Rise of the Resistance at Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. There were little kids in the line that took over four hours to get through, and there were people who were likely in their 20s in 1977 when the first movie came out and they were happy to participate in this mythology that had grown all these decades into these modern miracles of ride technology. What’s risky is in serving those types of fans while continuing to growth the business needs and take care of the corporate expectations, and Disney certainly put their best foot forward with this one. It may have taken them most of the last decade to get there, but from what I saw, they have finally found their footing. The results of The Rise of Skywalker were obviously good.

The most notable improvement was the return of romance to Star Wars, which had been avoided due to the political upheavals of our modern world. All the main characters ended up with love interests by the end of the film which was very satisfying intellectually, because lets face it, that’s how people think about things. It is unnatural to have passionate stories told in the refrigerator of modern politically correct politics. Yet Disney listened to the fans and gave Fin his third girlfriend of the series. I don’t want to make too much of it, only to note that the writers of the film obviously understood why the previous Star Wars films were missing the mark with fans, and this movie set out to correct that situation rather boldly. Hurray for good ol’ fashioned filmmaking and a turn for Hollywood to correct its course with this obvious attempt to appease the fans. Not the critics, but the people who actually buy a ticket, pay for their popcorns with a king’s ransom, and just want to think about something bigger than everyday life, instead of the restrictions of the unimaginative. Hurray for us all, Star Wars is back!

Rich Hoffman

How to Improve Oga’s Cantina at Galaxy’s Edge: Where creativity and a vastly expanding mythology can improve life dramatically

Obviously, my recent trip to Disney World had a positive impact on me, and I thought it would. It had been decades since I was really able to take a trip like that and just enjoy it without a whole lot of tag along projects. I could write a lot about all the positive experiences I had the week I was in Orlando at Disney World visiting all the parks and Disney Springs in general. But specifically I observed in the context of creativity some jaw dropping elements put forth by the new Star Wars land they call Galaxy’s Edge and I had a kind of moment after it all soaked in where I was in the Oga’s Cantina, a kind of recreation of the popular spaceport bar that was seen in the very first Star Wars movie way back in 1977, and I was awe struck. It was 2019, I was 51 years old and remember seeing that place for the first time in the movie and buying the album of the soundtrack and listening to the music over and over again on a record player. That popular cantina song was the gateway for my generation to science fiction and adventure, and here was the real thing, and they were selling drinks to an adult audience with barely standing room only around the bar. I included a few video clips of my point of view from the cantina that night here for reference, but it was really quite ostentatious that I could leave where I was having a couple of drinks with my wife and go outside to see the Millennium Falcon sitting there in a setting that belonged in a movie of the most fantastic type. It was quite an achievement to build, let alone experience and I couldn’t help but feel that something very important was happening to our human species.

Imagination had stepped over a kind of intellectual barrier and a new reality had been created born from a new kind of thinking driven by myth. Before visiting the cantina that night I had purchased from the marketplace just around the corner a much-desired deck of Sabacc cards which I had been waiting for really all of my life. After hundreds of books that I had read on that popular intergalactic poker game, finally Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge had invented a real game with real cards that could only be bought at that location and I was having quite a time with them. It was all a bit overwhelming and I had a lot of thoughts about what should come next to such an experience. Since a new reality has been born there at Galaxy’s Edge, and from the looks of the crowd, that cantina wasn’t big enough, nor would it be in the future I am offering my thoughts to help the story advance based on my observations. Granted, I never thought such a place would have ever been possible. But since it is, we should talk about improvements.

I’m not much of a drinker, so going to the cantina at Galaxy’s Edge was more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m not into the drinking songs and other things that go on in bars. But I do think the cantina should be more of a social destination, a place to meet people, get away from the heat of the day, and to freshen up. Since that cantina has the reservations booked for the whole day before you can even enter the park, its not a relaxing place to go. It’s certainly cool, but not relaxing. If I were program managing Galaxy’s Edge, I would offer some free advice to them–they need to build several more cantinas around the complex. The one they have isn’t enough. They need at least two more, and both of those need to be larger. They can be in the designs of other locations in the movies, but it is very obvious that Star Wars fans going to Galaxy’s Edge want to hang out and talk to other fans without a time limit, so more cantina space is required.

Also, the cantina management need to give happy hour prices to fans who cosplay, so that there are more people in the cantina who look like people from all over the Star Wars galaxy. Many people would willingly dress up in creature costumes if they could get significant costs knocked off their drinks and that would solve the environment problem of having the place full of non-Star Wars looking tourists. I would be surprised to learn that this wasn’t already happening, but I must suggest it because it’s the most logical thing to consider. That was really the only thing missing is the atmosphere full of strange creatures. Everything else looked great.

Additionally, as I had my drinks watching the crowds feeling like the best thing to do would be to have a good Sabacc game at the bar or in one of the booths. The booths around the outside parameter were full of families so such a game wouldn’t be possible. The cantina staff wanted quick turnover inside to make room for the lines of people outside, so playing Sabacc in the cantina just wasn’t an option and it should be. In fact, Disney I think has done such a good job marketing their new Sabacc game, that I think in a year or so there will be so many people playing it that they should host Sabacc tournaments at Galaxy’s Edge the way that poker tournaments are held in Vegas. I would go, I love the game. In a lot of ways I think it is much better than poker or black jack and it is otherworldly enough to allow participants to embroil themselves into the Star Wars mythology. Fantasy Flight Games has had great success with their X-Wing games and other Star Wars games. This Sabacc game would be the perfect meeting game in Galaxy’s Edge for years to come and would really enhance the cantina feel that you should experience when you enter those types of places. That would make the cantina more of a function than just a novelty act.

Going even further, I would think a cantina like Oga’s, except much, much, larger should be build at Disney Springs and it is there that yearly Sabacc championships should be played from players all over the country. The stakes could be simple, a week vacation package for four to the parks and hotels, that way it wouldn’t be gambling where money is exchanged, but still the prize would be in the tens of thousands and worth practicing all year to have a chance to win. And the tournaments could be broadcast on Disney+ the way poker games are broadcast on cable networks currently. I’ve been playing the game since I picked it up that day and it would be very good for television, and for cantina events.

All things come from imagination, even the games of our past like poker. When film and literature create in the imaginations of people the kind of demand I saw at Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, we are on the frontier of some new kind of thinking, and that is very exciting. I can see future engineers for space stations on Mars and beyond playing Sabacc to pass the time on those long space voyages that they started learning to play at Galaxy’s Edge in one of these cantinas. Its more appropriate for the future than the games of the past, and that is something that is astonishing to see, how intellect is inspiring creations not born of rigid societies, but of creativity and vastly expanding mythology.

Rich Hoffman

The Best Rides at Disney World: Enjoying the technical marvels of boundless imagination

I suppose I enjoy writing about anything, but rarely I get to write about something as enjoyable as the topic of today. Sure, even with all the concerns that there are in the world, it is nice to take a moment to have a little fun, and that’s what I did for myself for Christmas this year. I’m a fan of Star Wars, and very specifically the Millennium Falcon and it just so happens that they opened recently the new ride Smuggler’s Run at Disney World. So, I planned a trip to ride it giving myself no cost restrictions due to the unique nature of this particular vacation. I timed my visit to enjoy another Star Wars ride that just opened called Rise of the Resistance which appears to be the most technical ride ever created anywhere in the world to date. The result was an extremely enjoyable five amusement park journey over a 5-day period and over 40 miles of walking that exposed me to some really wonderful moments of pop culture development and technical mastery through wild imaginations. The story I tell here is one that would have helped me while planning this trip so I offer it to those who are in such a need, so that they can enjoy their vacations as much, or more than I did.

I wasn’t going to spend that much money and time dedication to a vacation and not see the most technical ride ever made that was themed to Star Wars so seeing Rise of the Resistance for me was paramount. The ride opened on December 5th and I targeted my visit for five days later once some of the technical kinks and consumer drop off had occurred. I hoped that the Star Wars franchise had been damaged to the point where I might actually be able to get on the ride in the middle of a work week at Disney World on a winter day between Holidays. But, the demand for this ride from the public was so intense that the ride was selling out just minutes after the park was opening each day, so approaching my dates at the parks, I was getting a little worried. I wasn’t sure if the ride would even stay running long enough to allow the visitors who wanted to ride the thing time to actually ride it. So there was a lot that could have kept me from riding it which made getting the opportunity a unique adventure in perseverance.

While my wife and I were traveling to Orlando Disney had created a boarding party policy to help alleviate all the intense traffic that wanted to ride the ride each day, something they were calling a virtual line. In their other very cool and technical ride that has now been open for over a year, the Avatar attraction called Flight of Passage, the average wait times are in the 190-minute range. Disney knew that for Rise of the Resistance that the times would be even greater, so they used this virtual line concept to get people access to the rides. That meant that you had to get to the park early and get in line to get a boarding pass designation that would then give you a kind of time slot to ride the ride. This is where things got tricky, the boarding passes couldn’t be booked but by a phone app, once you entered the park. There was a lot of digital interactions that I was very weary of, because I felt a lot of things could have gone wrong, and often do in other places. But the level of Disney competence turned out to be extraordinary and it all worked out in the end with hindsight. But it was very stressful if you were dead set in riding this new attraction—which I was. People were lining up to get their place in line essentially at 4 AM. The gates to Hollywood Studios, which is the Disney park that holds the new Star Wars rides didn’t post openings until 8 AM, yet unofficially the gates were being opened at 6:30 AM and within a few moments of that early time, all the boarding passes for the entire day were being given out. I knew we had to get to the park early—really early, and that we’d have to fight our way to get a boarding pass from a restless crowd.

What made things even worse, was that the ride was breaking down a lot and the park wasn’t getting through all their boarding passes issued in a day so even if you managed to get a boarding pass, you still might not get to ride. So to ensure that we’d get a boarding pass we arrived at the park at 3:50 in the morning and were the seventh car in line waiting for the parking lot to open. And sure enough, more people started arriving in droves. Security let everyone enter the parking lot without paying since they didn’t have any workers at the park yet to run the admittance booth. By 4 AM a massive line had formed at the security check in that lasted until it was thousands of people. At around 5:30 AM they ran everyone through security so that a new line could form at the front gate of Hollywood Studios. It was there where the real race would be on. You had to zap your way into the park before they’d allow you to join a boarding party for Rise of the Resistance and all those people would be doing the same thing at essentially the same time. Boarding parties could change, you might be one of the first people in the park, but if you had trouble with your phone, or the system crashed, a ten-minute delay could put you from 20 to 50 quickly. Anything under 50 had a good shot of riding that day, anything over was sketchy. The Rise of the Resistance looked to do about 100 boarding parties per day, so there weren’t infinite rides to accommodate all the people who were there. So we were stressed about getting that boarding pass even though we were at the front of the lines in all the phases. Still, lots of things could have gone wrong.

At 6:30 AM, they let us in, my wife and I zapped our Magic Bands at the station and in we were. Within seconds we had the app opened and much to my relief, we were boarding party 13, which meant we were sure to get a ride that day. And as it turned out, we’d have the chance to get on the ride in about a half hour. By 7:30 AM we were off the ride and in line to ride the great Smuggler’s Run. By 9 AM we had explored most of what we wanted to see at the new Galaxy’s Edge and were free to use our Park Hopper option to explore the other parks and the best of their best attractions. It was good that Disney had opened their park so early to take away the pressure of the day and to give themselves more time to give everyone they could rides on Rise of the Resistance. Without knowing but hoping that they’d do the same kind of thing at Animal Kingdom for the new Avatar ride, we showed up at 8 AM for the 9 AM open and were delighted that Disney opened the park there early as well, at 8:30 AM. Since we were one of the first in line we headed to Flight of Passage and were able to get on the ride before 9 AM.

In the end after riding everything, which was spectacular, the Smuggler’s Run turned out to be my favorite ride at Disney. My wife and I rode a lot of rides on our vacation, but we ended up riding Smuggler’s Run 8 times and each time I found myself enjoying it more and more. It wasn’t just because I’m sentimental toward the Millennium Falcon, but because the ride is a technical marvel to me that was a lot of fun to fly. I was equally impressed by Flight of Passage and Rise of the Resistance, but the flamboyant nature of Smuggler’s Run won the day for me. It turned out to be a couple of the most enjoyable days of my life.

Disney was brilliant in their marketing strategy. They liked that Rise of the Resistance was overselling and that they had to show sell-outs which only increased the desire for demand. People not willing to get up as early as I did weren’t going to get a ticket, and that made it the hottest ticket in the country for something that turned out to be more Broadway play than amusement park attraction. All these rides were more than just rides, they were theatrical experiences in many ways and were deeply impressive. Disney turned out to be very flexible on their openings so that they could build up ride experiences by thinking out of the box and I was very impressed with them. They not only built some of the greatest rides in the history of the world released all within a short time of each other, but they knew how to build the anticipation. Getting on Rise of the Resistance was more treasure hunt than just slugging through a line, and that made it that much more special. And that turned out to be the secret to getting on the rides at Disney World that people wanted to see so much. If you were willing to get there early, they’d find a way. They get the long lines to market, you get to experience something very cool, and that did make it a truly magical experience.

Rich Hoffman

The Full Sized Millennium Falcon at Hollywood Studios: A dream come true

I’ve been writing these articles every day for the last ten years, except for a month of two here and there. And during that entire time, I occasionally do these Millennium Falcon articles about that fictional ship from Star Wars because simply put, I’ve been in love that that vessel most of my life. When I was little it captured my imagination in many positive ways and has been a very important part of my life. It has always represented to me what could be instead of what is, and the excitement of such an intergalactic hot rod that is like a deep space RV has always been something of a goal of mine to see as a reality. I have thought of building one myself. I have supported other people who have attempted to do so. And whenever there has been some kind of movie prop or promotional material regarding the Millennium Falcon, I would go way out of my way to see it. Recently when Disney was promoting Solo: A Star Wars Story at NKU in the Cincinnati area, I took a very rare day off work to go see it. I am not a guy who stands in lines for much of anything, but for that one I showed up many hours early just to see an exhibit in a cargo container set up in the university parking lot. So you might imagine dear reader what it was like for me to finally see the Millennium Falcon in real life at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and to actually get the opportunity to fly the thing in a simulator environment. I would call it a religious experience above seeing Moses come down off Mount Sinai to present the Ten Commandments. For me, it was bigger than that.

Over 20 years ago I was invited with a special contingent of people to attend a unique viewing of Star Wars at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. It was a museum dedication to the costumes and model props from the actual films and how the power of myth had helped shape our society. It was a big deal for me, I was there with the Joseph Campbell Foundation for which George Lucas himself was on the board of directors. I had at that point spent most of a decade reading Joseph Campbell and much of his source material from Nietzsche, to Thomas Mann, Carl Jung, James Joyce including Finnegan’s Wake which has turned out to be one of my favorite books ever, and many, many others—so this was a very scholarly group I was meeting in Washington D.C. I was able to meet Joseph Campbell’s wife Jean at this event and I had brought my wife and kids so the weekend was promising to be very intellectual and a great networking event. Publishers were there, filmmakers, producers, it was a good group.

I got to the event at the Smithsonian and we stopped at the actual model of the Millennium Falcon, the big one, from The Empire Strikes back that was over two feet long. I froze there looking at it for what turned out to be the rest of the day. Everyone else moved on, but I stayed there looking at that model close up for the first time for the rest of the day, and what turned out to be the rest of the weekend. I didn’t meet up with everyone later, but instead spent the rest of the weekend looking at the rest of the exhibit with my family and returning back to that Millennium Falcon model over and over again taking countless pictures of it from every angle in a time when you still had to develop film, before anybody had digital cameras or even a hint at an iPhone. I never forgot every little detail on that model and have been thinking about it every day since. So seeing the full sized model of the Millennium Falcon that the Imagineers had built at Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, Florida was well beyond a mind bending experience for me. It was God himself sitting there for me to indulge in until my heart’s content. It was a massive collision of imagination and engineering wrapped up into infinite possibilities that for me were beyond exciting.

I have talked about how excited I was to be finally at Galaxy’s Edge to walk around in the world of Star Wars. Well, I do have a voluminous vocabulary, and I don’t have words for how I felt about this experience, of seeing the Millennium Falcon aaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnddddddd, being able to go inside it and fly it. It was the most exciting thing I can ever remember doing, not just in the function, but in the possibility of it in thinking that such a thing would never have been possible. If there is anything of a heaven in my life, I could put that experience on loop for all eternity and not feel like I missed any other opportunity at happiness. That experience for me was the definition of happiness and my only regret is that I can’t have that experience every day for the rest of my life,

I can only thank the Imagineers and for Disney as a company for building such a thing. I might even buy some Disney stock after this wonderful vacation experience. For all the talk about social justice from Disney ruining Star Wars, this experience went a long way for me to forgive them for their mistakes. Disney could have gone cheap on this attraction and done something on much less of a scale, like the AT AT at Star Tours which I’ve always loved, but wished had been full sized. That full-sized model of the Falcon was as detailed if not more so as the Smithsonian model I fell in love with all those years ago. It was so special to see it up close, to eat near it, to walk inside it, to be a part of it in a reality created by Disney Imagineers for the love of people like me. They didn’t have to go that far, but they did, and I feel so much better for the experience of it.

I’m a very positive person, I have lived through lots and lots of very distinct disappointments that likely would have killed most people. But I never remember going to bed at night and waking up the next day without hope in thinking that today could be the best day of my life. In a lot of ways my source of inspiration was always the Millennium Falcon, a beat up old ship that everyone thought was junk that always ended up saving the day, and by the time it has arrived to these new movies, is the last hope for everyone in surviving to a new day. That has always been my relationship to that fictional spacecraft. And to that effect, I can say that no matter how tough life has ever been, no matter how disappointing days could sometimes be, it was worth waking up each day to arrive at a point in life where seeing this full-sized Millennium Falcon was possible. To say that I am filled with exuberance is an understatement. Seeing that thing that is much more than a movie prop in symbology is one of those things that I will always say was one of the best things I’ve ever had the privilege to experience. And that in itself is saying quite a lot.  It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get in life, its worth pushing through because somedays you have days like the ones I’ve just had where dreams do come true.  The fight is worth it just to have such opportunities.  So you should never cut yourself short and give up when things get tough, because they can always get better so long as you keep trying and working at it.

Rich Hoffman

The Best Couple of Days of My Life: Galaxy’s Edge was a true masterpiece and marvel of achievement toward creativity

Anybody who knows me, knows that the way to my heart is through creativity, anything that shows an effort at outside the box creativity is the way to win me over to any effort. This applies to food, buildings, works of art, even relationships. I judge just about everything on the creative level of input from the participants, and if they don’t show an effort at creativity, I quickly disregard whatever it is as useless. I’m largely a Star Wars fan because the film franchise, the toys, the merchandise in general have always been very creative, and its fun to visit anything Star Wars as to offer from a creative standpoint. I always find that the reality of Star Wars is better than the reality of our present society because in Star Wars they are asking creatively how things could be instead of crying about how things are. If I had to sum up my love of Star Wars in one sentence, that would be it. So with all that context I visited finally Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios and I have to say with great enthusiasm that it was a dream come true. I have to thank the Disney Imagineers and Bob Iger’s vision to turn them loose on this $1 billion dedication to creativity and everything that Star Wars could be, so that I could walk around and see, touch, taste and experience a Star Wars reality that I really thought would never be possible, even with my considerable talents at creativity being what they are.

I found my visits this past week to Galaxy’s Edge mind bending, and simply jaw dropping. I’ve traveled around the world and experienced many cultures. Nothing comes close to what I experienced at Galaxy’s Edge. Even though it is all a fictional reality, I found it quite clear that the Imagineers of Disney had not just recreated a Star Wars experience for fans of the films and books, but had created a better reality for which the stories of Star Wars had always been endeavoring to create in the minds of their fans. Only now it was real, you could see it, touch it, and taste it. The perfect symphonic elements of good storytelling I don’t think have ever been done this well anywhere in the world, ever.

I remember when The Lion King was all the rage on Broadway and how the use of the puppet props to recreate the story of the animated movie The Lion King touched people in what many thought was a sophisticated way. It was considered high art by even the most hardened social critics. Walking into this Galaxy’s Edge land dedicated to Star Wars with all the great sounds and music by John Williams genius work was not just watching a concert where the actors and musicians were on stage performing for you, but that you were now part of the story and the action was happening to you. It was an entirely new way to present a high art concept using a popular film franchise as the launching point. Everywhere I looked was an obvious, “this is how it could be” message by Disney Imagineers. The ever important asking of the question, “what if?”

To start by asking a question, “what if the values of cowboy cinema and Saturday morning serials could be met to the needs of the next generation of space traveler” was the question George Lucas asked years ago before using Joseph Campbell’s studies on mythology to launch the Star Wars film franchise. Then to see it evolve into a full three dimensional reality with the promise of more, and more for me was the most ambitious attempt ever conducted at such an audacious task, the realization of a fantasy into a known reality even on such a level as Star Wars is known for. This was the highest form of storytelling that I have ever seen in any format by any level of content. It was sophisticated, honest, and hopeful in inspiring people to ask those next level questions about our own reality. If you can have Star Wars in Disney World, then why not everywhere, and on any planet? As I walked around Galaxy’s Edge I thought of Elon Musk and what designs his engineers at Space X might be inspired to upon visiting this place and how the Mars expeditions of the future might take shape directly inspired by these constructs. In all my years of reading about mythology, comparative religion and science fiction in general, nobody had ever come close to doing anything remotely close to what Disney had done at Galaxy’s Edge. When they said this was the most ambitious project they had ever attempted, they weren’t kidding.

I couldn’t get enough of that place. It was the most comfortable I can remember ever feeling anywhere at any point in my life. When I was a kid I had a very creative place in my parents basement that was dedicated to Star Wars. I built lots of models and landscapes dedicated to the old Kenner toys and I enjoyed that until about age 13 when my parents were concerned that I’d rather spend time there than in dating and socializing. They took it down while I was at school one day and let me know that they were going to fix up the basement and were going to move me down there so I could have my own room through my teenage years. I never really got over that experience, I was so angry about it that I carried it around for years. Not that I could blame them, they thought they were doing the right thing. But for my kind of mind, it was the worst thing they could have done. I just wanted to have a creative space for my mind and when they took that away, there wasn’t a replacement so I internalized everything because there was no other choice.

And even when you grow up, it doesn’t get any easier. People want pieces of you every hour of every day, and if you are a good person, you do all you can to help them out with their problems. For me, the more people who come into your life the harder it is to find time to think, which is what I like doing the most. So as ridiculous as it sounds, I have been craving that creative space for myself all these years since then to now, but life just doesn’t give it to you. You either get it as a kid or never again because kids don’t yet have the responsibility of life. So they get free time to think about things, and when life came to interrupt my creative solitude, I did the best I could with it, but nothing life offered was ever as satisfying as that creative space I had in my parent’s basement when I was 9 to 13 years old. Walking through Galaxy’s Edge it was obvious that my sentiments were not alone to me, but that many of the people who had built the place, under the power of Disney’s financial abilities, had similar experiences as me, and this was a love letter from them to the efforts of creativity. It was a place I had been thinking of building since I was a little kid and seeing it and being there was very special.

I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to visit the place. It was and will likely remain one of the best couple of days of my life.

Rich Hoffman

The Mandalorian: One great show on Disney+

So the Mandalorian television show for Star Wars showing on Disney+ continues to impress me and make me very happy to have the new streaming service option as part of a massive collection of entertainment options. At this point there have been five episodes and its quite clear that the creators understand what Star Wars is all about, even if critics are still mystified as to the magic. Most people love the show, many of them like it. I have yet to hear from people who hate it. Critics in the industry continue to measure “greatness” by the amount of social justice in any entertainment product, and Star Wars has never been about that. When Disney has tried to make social justice part of the experience, Star Wars fails. And that is not the case with The Mandalorian. I wouldn’t say that Episode 5 was my favorite so far, but I do love the title, “The Gunslinger.”

It was fun to travel back to Mos Eisley spaceport on Tatooine from the original Star Wars movie and see the cantina, the Dewbacks, and the docking bays that originally started us all on this massive journey. This particular episode reminded me again of many of the great westerns that I grew up loving, specifically in this case, The Unforgiven with the stupid young kid playing off the much more experienced gunfighter. Critics keep providing a disclaimer that this series is Saturday morning cartoon material, and more specifically, Saturday morning matinee material which George Lucas grew up on. OK, so what? That’s what makes this kind of entertainment so special. That’s how Star Wars was born to begin with, so its not surprising that the creators are trying to get back to the roots of what makes the brand so special. Sometimes its good to tell a story without trying to change a public narrative, but one that reflects the one we have. Disney has certainly listened to the fans even if the industry is still trying to scratch their heads at why returning back to Mos Eisley was so much fun for fans.

I think its great that female directors are working on The Mandalorian. I thought Bryce Dallas Howard did a great job with Episode 4, brilliant even. It doesn’t matter to me if the director is a man or a woman, what matters is if the content is good, and with this show, it is. So long as nobody tries to turn the show into something that its not, The Mandalorian will continue to be a hit. I found myself looking forward to this latest episode all week and its been a very long time since I’ve had that experience, especially these days with all the on demand content that you can binge watch. Having a show that is this much fun to look forward to after a long hard work week is a wonderful thing to have, and I must thank Disney+ for giving it to us.

What is unexpected by me at this point in the show’s run is the popularity of Baby Yoda which is all anybody who is anyone is talking about. The little creature from The Mandalorian is taking over the internet and people are falling all over themselves for a chance to get the first merchandise that goes on sale. The Mandalorian is a cool show, so it’s a bit odd that such a cute character that so many people love has come out of it is the surprise. At this point in the season I wouldn’t have guessed that so many people would be talking about it. I would say the character is so popular that if we put Baby Yoda on the ballot for the next presidential election, that he’d win. That is the state of our political life these days, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

The value of something from a scientific perspective is whether or not its fun. In a society of thinking human beings, we all need a little fun in our lives, and anything that gives that to us is a tremendous benefit. Having fun gives us the ability to set perspective and manage stress, so in that regard, The Mandalorian is better than just a show, it’s a wonderful stress management tool full of big ideas as this gunfighter/bounty hunter travels around a galaxy in a cool starship and interacts with all kinds of challenges without getting too emotional. That makes these shows fun and a great relief from the mundane outside world that is addicted to problems and stagnant thinking. So far, The Mandalorian never seems too far from a solution no matter how great the problem has been. In this Episode 5 The Mandalorian gets into a dogfight in space with someone trying to collect a bounty on him, and his ship is knocked out stranding him. He doesn’t panic and cry to his mom, he just calmly fixes his ship and gets going again. Traditionally, that is what the Saturday morning serials did for young people, show them how to deal with tragedy with a kind of bravado that made all their normal problems seem small, and in that way, solutions were easy to find.

Everyone in entertainment could take a lessen from The Mandalorian. Nobody says that a good show must have a huge budget and a bunch of cry baby characters to be good. Just giving the audience what they are looking for is the most important thing. Nothing about The Mandalorian is trying to be the next critically acclaimed show, it’s just having fun being what it is and its kind of strange to find that so refreshing because when I was growing up, most everything that was produced had that kind of whimsical quality. Most of the time, the best things are the things that critics don’t like, because many of them have some social agenda they are trying to steer creative people to, such as social justice concerns that are here today and gone tomorrow as a political priority. The things that matter most to people are things that last no matter how politics are aligned.

If Disney keeps up this kind of production I will be firmly in their camp. I have been skeptical about them as a company as they have been way to political for me, even as recently as Frozen II. I am very much a lover of traditional Walt Disney productions, and this Mandalorian title and the direction of Star Wars recently gives me hope that we can get back to that kind of story telling and cultural reverence. But I’m bound to like anything that has the title, “The Gunslinger.” Kids need a lot more entertainment like that, the values extend deep into our culture not just into our past, but for our future. But heck with the kids, I need more of this, and apparently so do many other fans of the show. Baby Yoda is cute, and it makes the show better. However, what makes the show good is that its fun, and its not afraid to take some chances which is why I look forward to it all week long, and watch it at my first available moment every Friday.

Rich Hoffman