Ming-Na Wen on Exploring Fennec Shand in ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’

The latest Star Wars animated series, The Bad Batch, finds the galaxy at a turning point. The Clone Wars just ended and the Empire is quickly rising to power. Clone Force 99, a squad of elite clone troopers with genetic mutations, along with a young female clone named Omega, must navigate this rapidly changing galaxy. Along the way, they are quick to learn that to play it low might be the most difficult task, when they have the likes of Fennec Shand after Omega.

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‘Yasuke’ is a Beautiful and Bloody Love Letter to the First Black Samurai

Yasuke. A real life folktale. Not so much in the sense that he never existed. It’s more like there isn’t much known about his mysterious life, aside from how challenging it must have been.

All that’s known about history’s first Black samurai is that he was likely born around 1540 in Africa, around the Mozambique area. At some point in his life he came in contact with Oda Nobunaga, a feudal lord of Japan, and became a member of his samurai guard.

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Three Characters Lauren Mary Kim Performed Stunts for in ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2

WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the second season of The Mandalorian.

Lauren Mary Kim, a seasoned stunt actor and martial artist, has been making waves this past year for her work in two Star Wars productions. She did motion capture for the character of Ahsoka Tano in the series finale of The Clone Wars and she doubled for Emily Swallow’s the Armorer in the season one finale of The Mandalorian.

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What the Season 2 Finale Means for the Future of ‘The Mandalorian’

A year ago, when Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon emerged from a wrecked Tie Fighter wielding the Darksaber in the end-credits stinger to season one of The Mandalorian, it was a signal to the audience that season two would tie more directly to established Star Wars canon than initially expected. Fast forward to the end of season two and it’s safe to say no one was prepared for just how extensive those ties would be.

In a season full of cameos and call backs to every installment of the franchise’s four-decade history — from the return of Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett to the live action debuts of Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan and Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano — The Mandalorian season two proved to be as integral a part of the Skywalker Saga as each of the episodes released in theaters since 1977. None more so than the events of the second season finale, titled “The Rescue.” Spoilers for The Mandalorian season two finale from here on out.

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‘Mulan’ is Still the Wokest Disney Princess Movie Your Kid Hasn’t Seen 600 Times Yet

Originally posted on Melancholyball.

The “Disney Princess” mythos is a genre as restrictive as it is globally-superpowered, but in terms of the Official Princess Movie with the most patriarchy-subverting politics, I think it’s no contest: Mulan is by far the most progressive-minded cel-animated Disney Princess film, while also performing its essential sedative-hypnotic function on your child’s developing emotional vocabulary. (Pocahontas has an argument too, but for my taste, the underlying colonization-conquest story is so far outside of Classic Disney’s natural lane, you kinda wonder what they’re even trying to say, and also the songs in Pocahontas are not my jam.)

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A New Generation of Marvel Heroes is ‘Rising’

In an exclusive revealed by Buzzfeed, Marvel has announced a brand new multimedia animated project called Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. Starting with a series of animated shorts, the plan is to have a full-length animated feature debut some time in 2018. Think of it as Marvel’s answer to the DC Super Hero Girls franchise.

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Please Cast These Actors in a Live Action Star Wars: Rebels

This Saturday, Disney will air the third season finale of Star Wars: Rebels, and by all indications, it’s going to be awesome. I’ve said it before, but Rebels is probably my favorite entry into the Star Wars canon since Empire Strikes Back. Season three has only solidified its GOAT status as far as televised Star Wars stories go. If you don’t believe me, be sure to check out last week’s episode set on Tatooine — which only made me want a solo Obi-Wan movie even more.

In tandem with Rogue One, Star Wars: Rebels is the perfect bridge between the prequels and the Original Trilogy. And not for nothing, Rogue One, in a way, featured the first live action incarnations of our favorite members of the Ghost crew. While Chopper was the only Rebel we saw on screen, if we ever get to see the rest in the future, here are the actors I’d like to see playing them.

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AAPI Women are Awesome Action Figures

Originally published at NBC Asian America

I am an avid toy collector, and every few years I like to take stock of the number of action figures that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander characters. When I started doing this in 2009, it was difficult coming up with enough figures to fill out a Top Five list. Fortunately, it has become much easier to populate these lists since AAPI visibility in pop culture has dramatically increased in the intervening years. In fact, I actually had a difficult time winnowing down this year’s list since there are so many AAPI action figures from which to choose! Moreover, nearly every slot on the list is populated by female characters, which hopefully puts to rest the fallacy that girls don’t buy action figures.

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Disney’s Live-Action Mulan Launches ‘Global Casting Search’ for Chinese Actress

Disney’s 3-D live-action story of the 1998 animated hit Mulan has officially received a release date: November 2, 2018.

It will be exactly twenty years after the original film was released, with the title character voiced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Ming-Na Wen.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has launched a ‘global casting search for a Chinese actress’ to play the title character. Yes, you read that right. A Chinese Actress.

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Diversity on Fire: Thoughts on the Return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.

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First Look at Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

One of the most buzzed about pieces of information to emerge out of San Diego Comic-Con over the summer happened when Marvel dropped a surprise teaser that revealed — some might say “confirmed” — that Ghost Rider was making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this fall. And the All-New version of Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, is the one coming to the small screen. Now we know what Gabriel Luna is going to look like on the show.

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Could Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Become TV’s Diversest Show?

Four of these people are gone-zo. Can you guess which?

Okay. Here be much spoilerage.

Now that season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and that’s the last time I type that out) is over, I gots some identity-politickin’, pot-stirrin’, white-people-genocidin’ things to say.

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N.O.C. One-Shot: Whitewashing in Black and Yellow

As reported by The Hollywood ReporterFresh Off the Boat star recently caused controversy after likening studio attempts to make Scarlett Johansson seem “more Asian” to the practice of blackface. In this One-Shot, the author of that article, Rebecca Sun, and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign join Keith to discuss the problematic nature of that analogy and why it’s important for non-black people of color communities to reach out rather than co-opt.

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Which AAPI Actor Deserves the Nerd Grand Slam?

This week’s reveals from Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell are further proof that it’s hard out there for an Asian actor who wants to be in a genre film. Fortunately, there are a few AAPI actors who have claim to the coveted “Nerd Grand Slam;” that is, they’ve starred in a superhero franchise, a Star (Trek or Wars) vehicle, and an epic fantasy. But who is the nerdiest? Dominic Mah, from YOMYOMF.com, joins Keith to decide which actor is the One Nerd to rule them all.

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What’s the Deal with the POC Characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

In a week where the Deadline Hollywood website shot itself in the foot for asking us to consider the poor white actors being denied work due to the current spate of “ethnic casting” for TV pilots and series, the ever-ongoing fight of POC actors to get more than table scraps is never far from mind. Despite the Bat Signal thrown up by Deadline to save whiteness in Hollywood, the fact remains that productions still routinely limit or shut out entirely actors of color from starring roles.

On Twitter this weekend the thread #whedonandrace critiqued Joss Whedon’s problematic depictions of black and other POC characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This discussion has been ongoing among fans of color since Buffy and Whedon became a name; it just happened that this time it spawned a hashtag. Soon the thread became a general critique of his handling of race, encompassing Whedon’s other TV series as well as his films, including the series he co-created with Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon for Marvel Studios,  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., at first glance, is diverse in its casting (at least of its secondary recurring cast members and guest stars; its regulars are largely white), the series reveals an unsettling pattern of how these characters of color are depicted.

Simply put, what’s the deal with POC (mainly black) characters being killed, maimed, or evil on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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Eight Reasons Why Melinda May is an Avenger

Originally posted at ComicBook.com

To say Agent Melinda May is a beloved fan favorite of ABC’s hit series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a massive understatement. There’s a reason why some have nicknamed the superhero spy series The Coulson/May Power Hour.

There are also those who have dubbed Agent May an unsung Avenger. The fact that she is portrayed by the extraordinary Ming-Na Wen should be reason enough. After all this is the same gifted actress who brought Chun-Li and Mulan to the big screen.

The following are eight reasons that explain why Melinda May is an Avenger.

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S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two: Agents of C.H.A.N.G.E.

I don’t live-tweet very often. I usually leave that job to the professionals here. But last night, I found myself watching the second season premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, and I happened to have my phone with me at the time.

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the series. From the jump last season, the show reminded me of everything that I usually hate from a Joss Whedon production. That said, I continued to watch it out of some sort of nerd obligation. And while the post-Winter Soldier episodes did get relatively better, the second season premiere wasn’t really on my radar all summer.

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The Disney Triple Crown: Why Ming-Na Needs to Be in Star Wars

UPDATE: November 4, 2019

Vanity Fair has an exclusive first look at Ming-Na in The Mandalorian! She has the Disney Triple Crown, y’all!!


Earlier this week, Lucasfilm announced the addition of two more actors to the cast of Star Wars Episode VII. We do not yet know who the two relatively unknown actors — Pip Anderson, who’s British, and Crystal Clarke, who’s African American — will play in the movie, but I’m guessing their roles must be substantial enough to warrant a press release about their casting. If their characters are indeed prominent, Clarke will join John Boyega and Lupita Nyong’o in making this “the blackest Star Wars ever.”

Still, every time breaking Star Wars casting news comes across my feed, there’s always one name that I hope to see in the headlines: Ming-Na Wen.

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Well, That’s What I Get for Watching S.H.I.E.L.D.

I should have known better.

Shawn tried to warn me on several occasions, but I didn’t listen.  After I got out of Captain America: The Winter Soldier over the weekend, one of the first things I thought about was how the events of the movie would affect Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a show that until now, I couldn’t care less about. Sure, I’ve seen every episode since the pilot, but that didn’t mean I cared about it. Most of the time, I just let it pile up on the DVR and binged two or three at a time. Usually letting it play in the background while I was doing something else. On the one hand, watching it this way made the episodes where there wasn’t much plot momentum (and there were a lot of them) more bearable. On the other hand, I still didn’t care about any of these characters.

Then The Winter Soldier happened, and I thought, “huh, maybe I should care” so I tuned in last night and “live” tweeted with the West Coast. Needless to say, spoilers (for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America) follow.

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First Impressions: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

If you caught our Fall TV episode of “Hard NOC Life,” then you know how excited the Nerds are for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — which makes its premiere on ABC tonight at 8pm ET. (Coincidentally, today marks the blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 from Disney as well. Corporate synergy at its finest, folks!)

Fortunately, our friend — and honorary Nerd of Color — Jeff Yang scored himself a screener of tonight’s pilot episode and wanted to share his first impressions of the show. After the jump, check out his initial thoughts on the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic (Televised?) Universe, also posted at Medium.com.

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