For the second week in a row, J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is dominating the global box office, holding the title as the No. 1 movie in the world.

The so-called “final chapter” in the Skywalker Saga (reviewed here) has proven to be a hit with most fans despite a bit of pushback from those who didn’t necessarily get the conclusion that they’d hoped for (pour one out for the #hashtaggers out there). Although it opened around 20% behind Rian Johnson’s divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker caught up in its second weekend, coming within 2% of its predecessor, according to Deadline. Of course, the latest feature film is far from all that’s happening in a galaxy far, far away, and the conclusion of The Mandalorian‘s first season on Disney+ has kicked off a new cycle of Star Wars news.

Spoiler Alert!

The Mandalorian Goes Out with a Cliffhanger

There is much to be said about how The Mandalorian wrapped its first season. Kicking off with a pair of Imperial Scout Troopers (Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally) who were viciously attacking our precious Baby Yoda, the sinister Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) emerged as the villain for whom we’d all been waiting. Gideon hit the streets with a platoon of Death Troopers (previously seen in Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels) alongside countless Stormtroopers (portrayed by cosplaying members of the 501st Legion) bearing weapons (E-Web Heavy Repeating Blaster!) and vehicles (Imperial Troop Transporter!) that were previously known mostly by kids who played with the Kenner Star Wars collection back in the early 1980s.

Moff Gideon Arrives

But that ending. … Moff Gideon emerging from the wreckage of his modified Imperial TIE Fighter (based on unused concept art from The Force Awakens) while holding the Darksaber? That was unexpected. The unique weapon — that appears to be a lightsaber with a blackened blade — first appeared in animation via The Clone Wars. Through that series, and later Star Wars Rebels, the weapon has a complicated lineage that ties it to the Mandalorian people along with other players, such as Darth Maul. Wookieepedia offers a must-read entry for those wishing to go down the Darksaber rabbit hole, complete with a list of Clone Wars and Rebels episodes that have no doubt seen a lot of play on Disney+ this past week.

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Season 2 of #TheMandalorian coming Fall 2020

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Appropriately, series creator Jon Favreau revealed that the second season of The Mandalorian will debut next fall. He made the announcement via his social networks, accompanied by a statue of a shirtless Gamorrean — the species best known as the guards of Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. According to Deadline, unnamed sources close to the production say that the second season will include several familiar characters who were previously introduced within the Skywalker Saga.

With roughly 10 months or so to wait, some fans are already experiencing Mandalorian withdrawals. And, if twitter is to be believed, some are already canceling Disney+ until the new season arrives. This is probably a great time to remind folks that the long-awaited return of The Clone Wars is just a few months away, and the timing could certainly open the door for some characters from The Mandalorian to show up in animated form.

Updated Mattel The Child

Mandalorian Merch + Baby Yodamania Continues!

He’s still technically the Child, but Baby Yoda continues to inspire fans far and wide. Following the initial ho-hum offerings that were eclipsed by proper preorders from Hasbro and Funko, more merch is appearing, including some updates to previously announced offerings, most notably Mattel’s 11-inch vinyl head plush. When the toy was first announced, the image came with a disclaimer that it was a digital concept that would change with production. Now we have a better look at it (pictured above).

Baby Yoda - The Child - Shop Disney

Not to be outdone, shopDisney and Disney Store will have their own version of the adorable green character — and it might be the first to arrive. According to shopDisney, the 11-inch Small Plush version of the Child will be available in February. Additionally, the blast doors have opened to unveil casual shoes and Child on Board signs. If you play The Sims 4, you can add a statue of the Child to your game.

If the Child isn’t your bag (Scout Troopers!), Entertainment Earth (EE) is offering preorders for some Mandalorian merch you may have missed. After some quick sell-outs this fall, the retailer is restocking Hasbro’s Black Series 6-inch figures, including the title character and Cara Dune, along with an assortment of Funko Pop! Vinyl figures. EE also opened preorders for new items, including wall art and apparel. This is all in addition to Hasbro’s upcoming Vintage Collection waves, which will also feature characters from the series.

Further Transmissions

  • Lucasfilm honored UNC Charlotte shooting victim Riley Howell by naming a Jedi in his honor. The Charlotte Observer has the story on how the real-life hero who stopped others from being killed was honored in the new book Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — The Visual Dictionary.
  • The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio spoke with The Hollywood Reporter for an in-depth interview to set the record straight on several debated topics and how he and J.J. Abrams pulled the sequel trilogy and the entire saga together at the end. Additionally, the writer also tells Awards Daily that there was so much to process that the film could’ve been split into two —like Harry Potter and Twilight — though that was never a real option.
  • How did Harrison Ford return as Han Solo one last time? Vanity Fair has the story.
  • Vanity Fair also has an oral history of how the filmmakers brought Carrie Fisher’s final performance as General Leia to life.
  • There is a connection between Luke Skywalker and Poe Dameron via Poe’s parents, and the details can be found in a new comic.
  • Loma Homes is offering an Airbnb rental of a vacation property known as Twelve Parsecs. The nine-bedroom villa is fully Star Wars-themed and is located just 15 minutes from Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. You can view a walkthrough of the house on YouTube.

Photos: Lucasfilm, Disney+, shopDisney, Mattel