6 Questions We Still Have After Watching Netflix and Hulu's Fyre Festival Documentaries

Netflix
Netflix

Nearly two years after it engulfed the internet, the disastrous Fyre Festival was recently chronicled in two separate streaming documentaries. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened hit Netflix on January 18. It was preceded earlier that week by Fyre Fraud, which is streaming on Hulu. Both films examine the poor planning that led up to promoter Billy McFarland’s failed 2017 concert event on a Bahamian island that promised a premium experience and instead delivered cold cheese sandwiches and FEMA tents for housing. The entire fiasco was largely perceived as an indictment of Millennial materialism and the questionable coercion of social media influencers.

After viewing one or both films, viewers may still have some outstanding questions about the Fyre fallout. Here’s what we know about the wayward Woodstock and some of the lingering issues the documentaries raised.

1. Why did Billy McFarland participate in the Hulu documentary?

Billy McFarland—who is currently serving a six-year federal prison sentence for the wire fraud he perpetuated to raise money for the Fyre Festival—was conspicuously absent from Netflix’s Fyre, seen only in archival footage. Viewers of Fyre Fraud on Hulu, however, watched as McFarland sat for an interview and blinked into the camera. (He was filmed prior to his sentencing.) Though he didn’t offer much in the way of substance and issued a string of “no comments,” some people were surprised he chose to cooperate at all.

That participation, it turns out, was a matter of money. According to Fyre Fraud co-director Jenner Furst, McFarland was paid to sit for an eight-hour interview and share behind-the-scenes footage of himself and other festival planners. Furst would not disclose the exact amount they paid McFarland but told The Ringer it was less than the $250,000 figure being reported by some outlets. According to Chris Smith, director of the Netflix documentary, McFarland was also willing to sit for his film—for $100,000 in cash. Smith declined, feeling that it would be rubbing salt in the wound of the vendors and other individuals who had suffered financially as a result of the festival.

2. Did Pablo Escobar really own the island?

Fyre’s organizers and social media planners made considerable hay over the idea that the “private island” where they originally planned to hold the festival was once owned by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. It’s not entirely clear why connecting the festival site to a notorious drug lord would be appealing, but in any case, it’s not actually true. The event was held on Great Exuma, which was never owned by Escobar. An Escobar associate, Carlos Lehder, once owned a neighboring island called Norman’s Cay, which Fyre organizers had originally wanted to use as the festival site.

3. Why was there so much available footage of the festival’s planning?

Chalk it up to the age of social media and a desire to chronicle every moment of what McFarland and his team expected to be a watershed moment in pop culture. Fyre hired Matte Projects, a production company, to follow them around and gather footage; Netflix’s film also utilized material shot by an employee at Jerry Media, the ad agency hired to promote the festival, who was filing a daily vlog of the company’s experiences with McFarland.

4. Did any attendees get a refund?

A still from Netflix's 'Fyre' (2019) documentary
Netflix

Some did—but not from Fyre. Many attendees paid between $500 to $2000 for admission, not including deposits to wristbands that were meant to facilitate a “cashless” weekend. Despite a rash of lawsuits, there are no reports of Fyre refunding ticket prices or settling court judgments. Instead, some fortunate customers contested the charges with their credit card companies and were able to get the transactions reversed.

5. Will these be the only two movies made about the festival?

Probably not. After the films premiered, actor Seth Rogen tweeted that he and The Lonely Island creators Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer were still working on a fictional feature film about a music festival that “goes horribly wrong.” It’s unclear whether the festival inspired the project, but at this point, it would be a hard thing for any screenwriter to ignore.

6. Did anyone actually get to swim with the pigs?

Two pigs swimming in the Bahamas
iStock.com/bearacreative

The wild, native pigs of Great Exuma were of great interest to Fyre organizers, who shot promotional footage of models frolicking with the oinking mascots. Later, reports of patrons being accosted by “wild animals” surfaced, though it’s unclear whether any festivalgoer was actually harmed by them. One attendee actually called encountering them the highlight of an otherwise miserable experience. “Fyre is a huge sh*t show but it hasn’t been a total loss. I got to meet [a] swimming pig yesterday,” he wrote.

7 Things We Know (So Far) About Baby Yoda, the Breakout Star of The Mandalorian

© Lucasfilm
© Lucasfilm

From the moment he appeared onscreen in the closing moments of the premiere episode of the new Disney+ series The Mandalorian on November 12, the creature referred to as Baby Yoda has become an internet sensation not seen since the likes of the IKEA monkey. The Rock has displayed his affection for the cooing green infant on Instagram; a man purportedly got a tattoo of Baby Yoda holding a White Claw seltzer and insists it’s permanent; and a Change.org petition is underway demanding a Baby Yoda emoji.

That Baby Yoda has gripped the imagination of the country is no small feat, as precious little has been revealed about his origins other than that he appears to be a member of the same unnamed species as Jedi master Yoda, which has traditionally been shrouded in secrecy. More will be revealed as The Mandalorian continues its weekly run through December 27. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far about the alarmingly adorable creature canonically known as “The Child.”

1. Baby Yoda is 50 years old, but he still seems a bit behind developmentally.

Owing to the long lifespan of Yoda’s species—Yoda himself lived to be roughly 900 years old before expiring in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, set five years prior to the events of the Disney+ series—it makes sense that the “baby” in the show is the human equivalent of someone about to subscribe to AARP: The Magazine. We learn Baby Yoda’s age in the first episode, where Mando is told he’s being tasked with finding a target that age. It’s a clever bit of misdirection that sets up the climactic reveal that the bounty hunter is after an infant.

And though his habits—tasting space frogs and playing with spaceship knobs—seem developmentally accurate, child experts told Popular Mechanics that such curiosity is more in line with a 1-year-old, not the 5-year-old Baby Yoda might be analogous to in human years. He’s also not terribly verbose, putting him behind what one might expect of a person his relative age.

2. Baby Yoda is male.

After rescuing Baby Yoda from an untimely demise at the hands of bounty hunter IG-11 in the debut episode, the titular Mandalorian takes off with his young bounty to deliver him to his Imperial employer known as the Client (Werner Herzog). In episode 3, the Client receives the baby; his underling, Doctor Pershing, (Omid Abtahi) refers to the character as “him.” A pre-order page for a Mattel plush Baby Yoda also refers to the character as a "he." We have, however, seen a female member of Yoda’s species before. In 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a green-skinned Yaddle sits wordlessly on the Jedi Council.

3. Baby Yoda’s genetics are of great interest to what’s left of the Empire.

Why was Mando sent to fetch Baby Yoda? From what we could gather in episode three, the Client was desperate to gather knowledge from the creature, with Doctor Pershing told to extract something from his tiny body. That motive has yet to be revealed, but thanks to The Phantom Menace, we know Force-sensitive individuals can carry a large number of Midi-chlorians, or cells that can attenuate themselves to the Force. One fan theory speculates that these cells can be harvested, creating people with greater capabilities to wield Jedi powers.

4. Using the Force really tires Baby Yoda out.

In episode 2, a battle-weary Mando is in real danger of being trampled by a Mudhorn, a savage beast. Channeling his (presumed) Force abilities, Baby Yoda is able to dispatch of the threat, but the effort seems to exhaust him, and he spends most of the rest of the episode sound asleep.

5. Baby Yoda might become a Jedi Master in a hurry.

Despite his infantile status, it seems like it won’t be long, relatively speaking, before Baby Yoda achieves the Zen-like mindset and formidable skills of a Jedi Master. It’s been pointed out that Yoda achieved that rank at the age of 100, at which point he began training Jedis. That would mean Yoda’s species is capable of some pretty rapid development between the ages of 50 and 100.

6. Werner Herzog has a soft spot for Baby Yoda.

Herzog, the famously irascible director of such films as 2005’s documentary Grizzly Man and 1972's Aguirre: The Wrath of God, portrays the man known as the Client, out to capture Baby Yoda. Interacting with the puppet on set was apparently a source of amusement for the part-time actor, who sometimes addressed Baby Yoda as though he were not made of rubber. "One of the weirdest moments I had on set, in my life, was trying to direct Werner with the baby,” series director Deborah Chow told The New York Times. “How did I end up with Werner Herzog and Baby Yoda? That was amazing. Werner had absolutely fallen in love with the puppet. He, at some point, had literally forgotten that it wasn’t a real being and was talking to the child as though it was a real, existing creature.”

Herzog was so emotionally invested in Baby Yoda that he reacted harshly when The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau and producer and director Dave Filoni spoke of wanting to shoot some scenes without the puppet so they could add him as a computer-generated effect later in case the live-action creature wasn’t convincing. “You are cowards,” Herzog told them. “Leave it.”

7. Baby Yoda bootleg merchandise has become a force.

When Favreau decided to keep Baby Yoda under tight wraps before the premiere of The Mandalorian, it forced Disney to postpone plans for tie-in merchandising, which can often leak plot points from film and television projects in retailer solicitations months in advance. As a result, precious little Baby Yoda merchandise is available, save for some hastily-assembled shirts and mugs on the Disney Store website. That leaves craftspeople on Etsy and other outlets to fabricate bootleg Baby Yoda plush dolls and other items.

The shortage runs parallel to the predicament faced by toy maker Kenner upon the release of the original Star Wars in 1977. Faced with a huge and unexpected holiday demand for action figures, the company was forced to sell consumers an empty box with a voucher for the toys redeemable the following year.

Stranger Things Star David Harbour Claims He Still Doesn't Know if Hopper Is Dead or Alive

Jason Mendez/Getty Images
Jason Mendez/Getty Images

With the fourth season of Stranger Things in the works, fans are holding out hope that Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, is still alive and will be returning to the series. It turns out that we aren’t the only ones.

ComicBook.com reports that the Black Widow star recently made an appearance at German Comic Con Dortmund and, naturally, was asked if he would be returning to the Netflix series. The 44-year-old actor replied:

“Oh my Lord! I don’t know. Should we call the Duffer brothers? We don’t know yet, we don’t know. They won’t tell me anything, so we’ll have to see. I think you’ll find out at some point, we’ll find out at some point. Let’s hope he’s alive.”

The Hellboy actor then asked the crowd if they wanted Hopper to still be alive. When he was met with an explosion of cheers, he joked, “Guess what? Me too. Because I like working.”

Though many are still in mourning over Hopper’s presumed death at the gate of the Upside Down, Harbour stated that it was integral to the character that he died to release the guilt around his daughter’s death. He explained:

“I think Hopper—from the very beginning I’ve said this—he’s very lovable in a certain way, but also, he’s kind of a rough guy. Certainly in the beginning of Season 1 he’s kind of dark, and he’s drinking, and he’s trying to kill himself, and he hates himself for what happened to his daughter. I feel like, in a sense, that character needed to die. He needed to make some sacrifice to make up for the way he’s been living for the past like 10 years, the resentments that he’s had. So he needed to die.”

Though his death might have been necessary to rid him of his demons, we hope to see Hopper return.

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